Prosocial media in action

Jane-Marie Fatkin*, Terry Lansdown

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)
    104 Downloads (Pure)


    Online social media has been criticized by social psychologists as ineffective in providing significant social change to such a degree that the term ‘Slacktivism’ has been coined as a counter term to online ‘Activism.’ Yet, research to support this theory is inadequate. To understand more about the activism/slacktivism debate, two events were studied that occurred in close proximity in the winter of 2013 and 2014 – Giving Tuesday and “SnowedOutAtlanta.” Giving Tuesday began in 2012 in the United States as a way to give back to charitable organizations during the holiday season following the chaotic consumerism displayed during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2013, other countries followed suit to make it a world-wide online giving phenomenon. The Facebook, group “SnowedOutAtlanta” was created by Atlanta resident, Michelle Sollicito after two inches of snow created a traffic gridlock in Atlanta that quickly turned chaotic. She sensed a strong need and created an open, online Facebook group where people could easily join and connect to one another. A content analysis was conducted on the tweets from Giving Tuesday 2013 and from the Facebook group page “SnowedOutAtlanta” 2014. Does social media provide a meaningful forum for prosocial helping behaviour and if so, how and why people are giving of their time, money, and resources? These two events provide insight into the current ‘Slacktivism’ debate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)581-586
    Number of pages6
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


    • Prosocial behaviour
    • Slacktivism
    • Social media


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