With a massive 300 thousand tweets this weekend and an incredible 1.1% of the UK population marching on Parliament, the biggest protest since the ‘Stop War’ march in 2003, it’s clear that the claims of ‘Brexit Boredom’ are overstated.
That said, some of the big hitters remain silent on the subject of Brexit generally, and on the march specifically. Neither Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May graced twitter with their opinions, leaving Sadiq Khan and Nigel Farage to take centre stage, with the latter stating “We’ve already had the “People’s Vote” – it was in 2016 and Brexit won”.
Slacktivism, a.k.a every-day-activism, is a growing trend in the UK. It’s the idea of protesting via the internet, petition signing, calling out politicians and business, and ‘voting with your wallet’. Research from the Foresight Factory shows that physical attendance at protests and rallies is down 5% year on year, this is closer to 10% amongst 16-24s.
However, the weekend’s events and the claims made by the slacktivism trend seem to be incongruent. How can people be protesting in a more casual manner, yet still have record turnout to a march on parliament?
There are two possible answers to this. The first is that people fall into two camps, one that’s engaged irregularly but intensely, and another that is engaged regularly but lightly. The first camp being the protestors, the second being the slacktivists.
There’s also a second answer which feels more likely; that with an increase in consumer power, availability of data, and the wild-fire spread of public opinion, the population is both a slacktivist and a protestor. With everybody exercising some form of ‘boycott’ online, and some adding to this with their physical representation at protests.
As the HuffPost says “We no longer live in a world where tweeting a hashtag in solidarity is enough. It should’ve never been enough in the first place. Vote. March. Donate. Volunteer. Organize” And this might betray a leftist-media-bubble view, but it looks like people are doing exactly that if it’s a topic they care enough about. People are still keen for a good old protest.
Crimson Hexagon “PeoplesVote” OR “PeoplesMarch” OR “PeoplesVoteMarch”