Why 'clicktivism' is important


There's no denying that everyone from companies to the U.S. government are monitoring what we say and do online. There's even a Homeland Security social media word watch list. Meaning if you tweet or use these words online, you're put on a watch list by the government.

Clicktivism, or the act of making political statements through changing your profile photo(s) and sending out messages using social networks as a means to communicate a social movement, is important because, even in some small way, it shows Uncle Sam something the marketing industry calls "sentiment." This week's ongoing Human Right's Council marriage equality campaign online eruption is a perfect example of this.


Get caught up here if you need the back story:

That's because the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, has been promoting an image of a pink equal sign over a red background in lieu of its blue-and-yellow logo to mobilize supporters online as the Supreme Court begins hearings on gay marriage today in Washington, D.C. A symbol of "equality," the photo has racked up more than 25,000 "likes" and 78,000 "shares" on the group's Facebook page in the last 24 hours. In fact, Mashable reports that since actor George Takei changed his profile picture to the red equal sign, the post has received more than 40,000 likes from fans.

Read more: What Is the Red Equal Sign All Over Facebook and Twitter?

Clicktivism is about swaying public sentiment reports based around online discussion and activity. Data on sentiment is intellectual property. The government, even if nothing else, is collecting this information and clicktivism is the citizen's way into the data history books, where people look many years later when they want to track a movement towards changing laws. It is a group of people exerting their sway and changing the data and it's a way to communicate with the people listening directly. There's nothing better for democracy than that.

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