Nora Madison is Assistant Professor of Digital Communication at Chestnut Hill College and the 2019/20 Fulbright Scholar with the Digital Culture program at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her research examines the social and cultural impacts of technology on activism and digital representation. Recently her work specificlly focuses on the role of digital technology on everyday activism and the mundane acts of users endeavoring to create social awareness or change through often seemingly inconsequential, unorganized participation.
Mathias Klang is Associate Professor in Digital Technologies and Emerging Media in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. His research explores the ways in which we attempt to control technology and the ways in which our technology regulates us. In particular, he is fascinated with how technology impacts civil rights. His work looks at the ways in which our desire for convenient technology have led us to a slow but steady deterioration of many of our fundamental rights. The point of this work is not to avoid technology, but to imagine the legal protections and social norms needed in a technological society.
Digital technologies have enabled a wider breadth of political participation. The barriers to participate and share political material, and to activate be part of wider political action has been significantly lowered. However, this lowered threshold seems to have brought with it a discussion of what level of activity should be required of political participation. To critics of online political participation the effortlessness of signaling political stances is easily criciised and forms part of a wider critique of the slackers using digtal technology. This slacker activism has been readily denigrated as slacktivism. The goal of this paper is to challenge this derrogative designation. By comparing online and offline activism this paper argues that tthe term does not bring a substantive argument to the discussion of the role of technology in online political participation, but rather is a form of digital discrimination where those uttering the term are more negative towards the potential of technology than aware of it's formative role in the shaping of the activist persona.