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Clicktivism & The Power of Social Chatter

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This subtle third rail

tumblr_mkbyhaBOuJ1qe0lqqo1_500-04092013Katie Humphrey writing in today’s StarTribune noted the proliferation of pink and red equal signs on Facebook (as the Supreme Court heard arguments on gay marriage) and wondered if social media chatter amounts to much more than chatter. It’s a good question and a good article. Humphrey cited U of M professor of communication Heather LaMarre:

For a lot of people, the mere act of posting relieves that need or feeling for them to be involved. They feel like they did their part….

Anyone who writes regularly understands this dilemma: you want to write about something. But if you say aloud to someone the germ of your idea too soon, your pressure to write diminishes. Same goes for action, apparently: we feel we’ve done something if we’ve said something.

But that’s not exactly wrong, is it?

To say something is to do something. We’ve communicated that something is important to us—important enough to remark on it. Yes our likes and endorsements (LinkedIn) and tweets are cheapened by sheer volume and ease with which we dispatch these opinions. But each says something. And each does something, however slight.

Our talking is the beginning of our acting. Our talking is also a signal that others could pick up on in conversation and in relationship. And when others join in on this important thing we’ve identified, it starts to carry power, like a third rail. I think we’re seeing this power in all sorts of minor and major revolutions.


Image credit: Francesco Radino via MPD

Written by kirkistan

April 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm

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