Young people sharing videos about political or social causes online via social media may be more likely to engage in real-world activity to further that cause, new research suggests. The new research challenges the notion of “slacktivism,” which is a frequent way to describe young people’s political activity on social media.
Sharing beyond Slacktivism: the effect of socially observable prosocial media sharing on subsequent offline helping behavior
Source: Daniel S. Lane & Sonya Dal Cin, Information, Communication & Society, Latest Articles, July 3, 2017
From the abstract:
New forms of youth social and political participation have been termed ‘Slacktivism’ – low-cost online forms of social engagement that decrease subsequent offline participation. Previous experimental work has provided support for a ‘Slacktivism effect,’ but it is unclear if this theoretical model applies to youth media sharing on social networking sites. This study uses a novel sharing simulation paradigm to test the effect of publicly vs. anonymously sharing a social cause video on subsequent willingness to engage in offline helping behavior. Results show that publicly (as compared to anonymously) sharing a selected video on one’s own Facebook wall led to a greater willingness to volunteer for an issue-related cause. Participants’ existing use of social media for engagement in social issues/causes moderated the effect, such that only participants low in use of social media for social engagement were susceptible to the sharing manipulation. Implications for reconceptualizing media sharing as a unique form of online participation beyond ‘Slacktivism’ are discussed.