The Faces of Amnesty

Interaction Design – Society & Technology

Week 2: Slacktivists

Slacktivism – Actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, e.g. signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website or application.

Slacktivism – Definition

Slacktivism is a term that combines the words “slacker” and “activism” to refer to simple measures used to support an issue or social cause involving virtually no effort on the part of participants. Slacktivism is most commonly associated with actions like signing online petitions, copying social network statuses or joining cause-related social networking groups. Slacktivism critics contend these actions are merely for participant gratification because they lack engagement and commitment and fail to produce any tangible effect, in terms of promoting a cause.


Techopedia – Slacktivism

Slacktivism is common online, particularly in social media, where statuses, information, images and avatars are posted and shared, allegedly to promote awareness within the slacktivist’s network.

Although slacktivism has a derogatory connotation, a U.S. survey conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) and Ogilvy Worldwide found that individuals that engage in slacktivism are more likely to contribute to a cause than non-slacktivists. This might include donating money and time, and even recruiting others to join a cause. As a result, nonprofits have started to cast slacktivists in a more favorable light. Rather than being viewed as non-contributors, slacktivists are now seen as potential (and more likely) recruits to the cause of an organization.


Amnesty International aims to turn slacktivists into participants with more consistent brand message.

Amnesty International is making a push to bring more “coherence” to the way it presents its brand after admitting it has previously had lots of different voices and lacked a consistent message.

7 Jan 2015 4:10 pm

amnesty international

The charity wants to turn those sympathetic to its objectives – what it describes as slactivists and clicktivists – into active participants.

The push began is being led by Jane Clancey, who was appointed last year as its first head of global brand.

Clancey works for the International Secretariat, the equivalent of Amnesty’s HQ, which is responsible for the organisation’s research and leads its campaigning work. Clancey told Marketing Week it differs to a corporate centre because it doesn’t “dictate” what its various local offices do, instead “facilitating” their work.

However, this means that Amnesty has lacked one voice with people getting a different message from the charity depending on how they interact with it. For example, she said, Amnesty might be talking about one campaign on its social media sites but something totally different on its websites.

“I am here to try and bring consistency and coherence to the way we present Amnesty. Before we had lots of different voices, there were a lot of people doing my job as part of their job but no one had a chance to focus on it,” said Clancey.

“The opportunity of digital platforms gives us a chance to join things up a bit more.”

Having taken on Clancey, Amnesty’s next step is a revamp of its international website which will go live at the end of February. The work is being done by digital agency Code Computerlove and will aim to inspire as well as engage with visitors.

Clancey admits that while Amnesty has always understood its purpose, it has not done a very good job of communicating that. She believes that simply posting content, which Amnesty does on a daily basis, is not enough, with the charity needing to make it easier for people to get involved.

“There is a job we haven’t been doing and that is joining up our content with effective storytelling. We have talked coherently about the people working for us and injustice but we need to tell personal stories in a way we haven’t in the past. Our content needs to inspire sharing and mobilise people, linking people up to campaigns they want to get involved in,” she said.

The new site will include improved search and navigation, making it easier for people to find campaigns relevant to them and join up with local Amnesty websites. The hope is the site will act as a hub showing curated content that is updated more regularly around themes that then form the basis of its wider communications across traditional and social media.

“We get good reach but we want people spending longer on the site and to make it part of a journey rather than just a destination,” she said.


Google Definition (no date) Available from: [Accessed 26 January 2017].

Thrash Lab (2013) Slacktivists vs. Activists. Available from: [Accessed 27 January 2017].

Divestopedia and Institute, S. (2017) What is Slacktivism? – definition from Techopedia. Available from: [Accessed 26 January 2017].

Airike, P.-E. (2013) Please like and share, and save the world! Slacktivism – what is it? Available from: [Accessed 26 January 2017].

FROM ACTIVISM TO SLACKTIVISM (2012) Recent posts. Available from: [Accessed 26 January 2017].

Vizard, S. (2015) Amnesty international aims to turn slacktivists into participants with more consistent brand message. Available from: [Accessed 27 January 2017].

Amnesty International Canada (2011) – the social media action centre. Available from: [Accessed 26 January 2017].


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