What is hacktivism?
A term first used by the online collective ‘Cult of the Dead Cow’, hacktivism now refers loosely to the act of using the internet to incite some sort of change (whether that be the democratisation of software, or exposing hidden truths). It is interesting to note that although hacktivists and their actions are generally portrayed in a negative light, they actually use a number of traditional forms of protest (sit-ins, petitions etc) in order to make their point.
Clicktivism …refers to the semi-passive act of putting your name towards a cause without fully engaging or investing in the project. A good example of this is the site “Change.org” which allows anyone to create a petition and post it online to gather “signatures”. The intentions of this website are very obviously positive and righteous, and the very nature of the internet means that previously local problems become accessible worldwide. However, with this new platform comes an influx of new problems and causes that you may or may not care about, and this indifference means that the act of signing these petitions no longer feels powerful and exciting (which in turn decreases the amount of people signing for these worthwhile movements). Take my current email inbox, for example:
I have received 7 emails from Change.org in the past month alone. It makes it extremely difficult to find a cause that you can actually believe in and back 100% when you are inundated with so many different options.
Despite this, there have been a number of high profile cases lately, where these public forums have created such a big impression that the issues in question have been brought forward to be discussed on a government level. Most notably for example, was the petition signed by over 500,000 British citizens calling for Donald Trump to be banned from entering the UK. What started off as a joke became a national issue which was formally debated in parliament; truly showcasing the power of the people (for want of a better phrase).