Editorial: Stop the Slacktivism

As of late, every time I sign into Facebook, I am greeted by a warm welcome from the site. Not only does the home page address me on a first-name basis, but Facebook has also made it possible for me to join forces with the world to fight Ebola.

As a nursing student recently returned from Kenya where I worked in a small clinic, I have taken a particular interest in the trending Ebola news. This doesn’t mean much, however, as the entire world has done the same—for now.

Without any intention of sounding like a heartless grinch, it seems that our culture has a tendency towards adopting grave concern for tragedies, only to quickly disengage as the intrigue of the original event fades.

Remember Kony 2012? Facebook and its followers devoured the media campaign behind rescuing a myriad of kidnapped Ugandan children. Users watched the documentary, shared the video, bought the kits, and so on. The enthusiasm for the project radiated around the world for a brief period of time before interest completely waned. Who knows where Kony or those children are now, but we were all really ready to save the world—at the time.

To be clear, I whole-heartedly commend Facebook and other companies alike that are using their presence and influence in our culture to help such a catastrophic disease. I am merely trying to raise a larger question. Even when we stop posting pictures in witty Ebola Halloween costumes and ignorant memes stop trending, will we all still be tenacious in our efforts to solve the
underlying problem?

I hope the answer is yes, and that the fight to stop the disease extends beyond society’s fleeting interest in the matter, and that we genuinely and thoughtfully work to remedy the problems we claim to care about.

Emily Hedberg, Sports & Opinion Editor