Join us as digital strategist Jennifer Hollett defines and dissects slacktivism in the 2015 Hancock Lecture.
Has traditional activism taken a back seat to trending topics, Facebook shares, online petitions and viral videos? These predominantly youth-driven campaigns are using technology in new and imaginative ways to attract new voices for causes and build formidable movements as they grow.
How has social media changed the way in which we understand activism? Are today’s youth a nation of everyday activists or dispassionate citizens who would rather mediate their involvement with the most urgent issues of today through technology? How does digital activism complement or empower traditional forms of activism such as protests, acts of civil disobedience and other interruptions geared at changing public policy and socio-political issues?
Social media activism encompasses a range of online engagement including hashtags, Facebook campaigns, and user-generated content pertaining to social issues and causes, and is often labelled and furthermore dismissed as slacktivism. This is often through a puritan, if not romantic lens of what is considered traditional activism. What would happen if we reject the notion of slacktivism, or better yet embrace it, to build engagement with some of the most pressing issues of our time?
Jennifer Hollett is a leader in tech, media and politics. Her career began in the late ‘90s, when digital wasn’t yet called digital at Sony Music Canada, where she became the company’s youngest manager, developing new media strategies for the label’s top artists. Jennifer also co-founded a startup and developed “Super PAC App,” which debuted #1 in its category in the App Store, helping make political TV ads more transparent. Most recently she was the head of news and government at Twitter Canada.
As an award-winning TV reporter and producer, Jennifer has over a decade of experience at CBC, CTV and MuchMusic covering stories across Canada and around the world. She won a Canadian Online Publishing Award for her work hosting CBC’s G20 Street Level blog during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto, and was recognized by Amnesty International Canada with a 2009 Media Award for her CBC radio reporting from Israel and Palestine. She continues to appear frequently as a commentator on Newstalk 1010, CP24 and CBC.
Jennifer made front page news as a candidate for Toronto city councillor in 2018 as part of a legal challenge to Bill 5, Premier Doug Ford’s cut to city council during the election campaign. She was also the federal NDP candidate for University-Rosedale in 2015, one of the country’s top races to watch. She studied public policy at Harvard University, obtaining her MPA. Driven by a passion for social justice, she has worked with Journalists for Human Rights, CARE Canada, and Plan Canada. She is a strong advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, and has moderated the G(irls)20 Summit in Toronto, Paris, Mexico City, Moscow and Sydney.