How to Save a Slacktivist

Is someone you know a Slacktivist? It might be hard to tell.

Signs include:

  • A strong political opinion but a flimsy understanding of politics.
  • A holier-than-thou attitude.
  • A belief that they’re “changing the world” when in fact they aren’t doing anything.
  • A complete absence at actual protests.
  • They’re annoying as fuck.

If someone you know is exhibiting any of these changes in behaviour, they might be a Slacktivist. But don’t Unfollow, Block or Unfriend them yet. There are steps you can take to help them.

Talk to Them

When a friend has succumbed to Armchair Activism, it can be hard to know what to say. You might even consider not saying anything at all, reasoning that it’s “none of my business,” or “I wouldn’t want anyone telling me what to do.” But think about it this way: if you became a puffed-up wanker that believed he or she were making a difference by reposting piss-weak “viva revolution” memes all over the place, wouldn’t you want someone to throw you a line before you completely disappeared up your own arse? Addressing the issue is critical.

The first thing to consider is your timing. Gently slipping the topic into conversation is a mistake. Your friend could become stubborn and deny that they have a problem. Worse yet, you could find yourself in a heated, one-way debate with someone who really has no fucking idea what they’re talking about. The best approach is to wait until you catch them in the act of sharing a meme, and then slap them very hard in the back of the head. For maximum impact, make it a running-slap, and couple it with a loud, “What are you doing, dickhead?” Be sure to land the slap at the exact moment you say “dickhead.”

Set Up an Intervention

If a hard slap to the back of the skull doesn’t work, it may be necessary to stage an intervention. Like a traditional alcoholic or drug addict intervention, a Slacktivist intervention involves bringing the subject into a room where friends and loved ones are waiting to voice their concerns. But unlike a traditional intervention, at a Slacktivist intervention the room is unlit and everyone is waiting to express their concerns with big sticks. This method of “beating the stupid out” has a very high success rate. However, in some cases the person you’re trying to help will turn around and make the intervention the focus of their Slacktivism, posting photos of their cuts and bruises accompanied by anti-intervention slogans. When this happens, it might be necessary to stage multiple interventions with bigger sticks.

Force Them to Attend a Real Protest

At first they will be resistant to the idea of giving up their Saturday to do something that will actually make a difference in the world, but if you can get them to the rally I guarantee they’ll come to the realisation that posting shit on social media is preaching to the choir and completely fruitless. They’ll dig their heels in at first, saying they were planning to go hiking so they might post something outdoorsy on their Instagram feed, but if you can stay on their case and get them to the protest, you just might save them from being an exasperating ball-bag for the rest of the Trump Administration. 

Try to Stay Involved in Their Recovery

Keeping a close eye on a recently rehabilitated friend is of utmost importance. It only takes one meme featuring some clever word-play to send them spiralling up their own arse again. So you must remain vigilant, and you must be determined. Above all, you must be a good friend with a big stick. And remember: no matter how lame your friend’s behaviour on social media has been of late, he or she is not a lost cause, and you shouldn’t delete their phone number, no matter how sick they’re making you with their bullshit. He or she is suffering from a condition that causes them to sincerely believe that they’re making a difference by expressing their outrage on social media, as opposed to actually getting involved and volunteering their time and energy to making a change.

Good luck.

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