Hey, Phil here.
We’re a few months into the campaign now and have developed a community- A sub-set of our followers who will selflessly take action towards the common goal. This top 1% will send an e-mail when we need it, or share the cost of our publicity stunts. When we ask for help, we know the names of those who will say yes, and those who will fall silent until there’s a success to celebrate.
Our community are well aware that other members of society are not putting in the required effort, and it’s nice to see them encourage others to make an attempt. Going into this campaign, I was never anticipating that this would be an issue. There were half a million petition signers, just raring to go. Tens of thousands were raging on Facebook about how the Frankish brothers weren’t punished by the courts. I just assumed that if they were willing to spend so much time doing those things, they would take quick and simple actions to support an effective and organised campaign. Now it has dawned on me: animal abuse is not the only problem we’re dealing with. We’re contending with ‘slacktivism’.
‘Slacktivists’ do as little as they possibly can to make it appear as though they have contributed to a cause. In most cases, they even delude themselves into thinking they’re helping.
You may at times have seen some thin-skinned individuals take offence to the things we say, and notify us in the comments that they are ‘withdrawing their support’. Invariably it is the first thing we ever hear from them. Their definition of ‘support’ in this case is: clicking ‘Like’ on our page… and then doing f***-all. When they leave it hurts neither us nor the cause. The only thing they are taking away is the tumbleweed that was blowing around.
Recently we had a comment from a young hipster liberal who was offended by our notion that failing to take action is the same as passively supporting the Frankish brothers. Embarrassed that he was doing nothing to protect the women, children and animals in his society from sadists, he resorted to mumbling tired platitudes such as ‘Education is key’ and then he called me a ‘Fool’. Don’t worry, he’s been banned. Hopefully he will continue to ‘educate’ animal abusers in his own way, by playing Pokémon Go.
When you branch out from Operation Frankish, the slacktivism gets worse. A page which raises awareness about the Frankish brothers kindly agreed to share our fundraiser with their 10,000 followers. The response was more silent than that of Cleveland Police when we asked them to investigate Andrew Frankish’s Facebook status about child rape. Yet when there was an instance of drama relating to one slacktivist’s complaints about graphic images, 60 people dog-piled into the comments section to join the argument. Imagine if they had all chipped in £5 for a publicity stunt to get the animal abuse laws changed instead.
The reality is, there are only two ways to make a difference:
1. Do some work.
2. Fund the work of others.
Most people prefer the second option, because it is quicker, easier, and fits better with their busy lifestyle.
Sharing posts is good, but it is not a substitute for taking action. If you do nothing but share a call to action, what makes you think other people will act? If you share the example you have set however, then other people will follow.
Obviously, Operation Frankish do most of the work. It is unrealistic to expect that everyone will have Steve’s creativity, Nemo’s technical ability or simply enough hours in the day. We are doing the work because we have seen that no one else will. If we could fund our work all by ourselves, we would do it. But guys who volunteer to work full-time hours for free on behalf of the public don’t have enough spare cash lying around. The good news is that the public now have a quick, easy and inexpensive way to take action.
Your £1 donation is worth more than one million whining comments. Be an activist, not a slacktivist.