Political activities on the Internet: Slacktivism or political participation by other means?
The impact of the Internet on political participation has been a debated issue in recent decades. Internet activities have been criticized for being slacktivism, where the real life impact of the activities is limited; the main effect is to enhance the feel-good factor for the participants. This article examines whether this accusation is valid. It does so by examining two aspects of Internet campaigns: Whether they are effective in affecting real life political decisions, and whether Internet activism substitutes traditional forms of off-line participation. Although it is not possible to determine a consistent impact of Internet campaigns on real-life decisions, there is no evidence of the substitution thesis. If anything, the Internet has a positive impact on off-line mobilization. Accordingly, there is little evidence to support the accusation of Internet campaigns being slacktivism. It is at worst harmless fun and can at best help invigorate citizens.
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