Slacktivism: Is it worth the effort?

Identified as the act of showing support for a cause but only truly being beneficial to the egos of people participating in this so-called activism. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. Websites are now integrating social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook into their website interface to allow people to like, share and tweet an interesting topic without using any effort.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Bring Back Our Girls and the Kony 2012 are examples where simply clicking like or share made people feel good about helping the world by demonstrating their support for these causes. However, in reality, their likes, shares and retweets are only bringing this issues to light but not doing anything to solve the issue.

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According to Yu-Hao Lee and Gary Hsieh at Michigan State University, with their paper, ‘Does Slacktivism Hurt Activism?: The Effects of Moral Balancing and Consistency in Online Activism,’ they define slacktivism as “low-risk, low-cost activity via social media whose purpose is to raise awareness, produce change, or grant satisfaction to the person engaged in the activity.”

There is nothing wrong in posting, sharing and liking videos and articles. Bringing to light these issues may aggregate an active campaign, but without action, the impact is insignificant.

Celebrities and Their Influence Over the Fashion Industry

Media consumes our lives through its multifaceted features. Whether it be through social media and the internet, or the variety of television programs that are available to the general public, the media can have an effect on our lives. With celebrity journalism becoming more popular with today’s society, coverage on all the biggest stars has increased along with the development of modern technology. Celebrities are now featured in all forms of media, and have an effect on consumers, whether it be through the brands they are sporting or the food their eating, celebrities influence our society. In the fashion industry, celebrities have been trend setting for decades, but with the increase in social media and celebrity coverage in the recent years, to what extent do celebrities influence today’s fashion industry?

This topic became of interest to me when I stumbled upon an article relating to Kanye West’s ‘Yeezy’ sneakers, where Kanye and Adidas, the brand that is helping Kanye manufacture and create the shoe, were losing profit even though they sold out in every shop where the sneakers had been made available. So how come they were losing all this money? Well, when a person would go and purchase these sneakers for the retail price of $280 AUD/ $200 USD, they could resell the sneaker at quadruple the value, with the sneakers now costing over $1000. This ultimately resulted in resellers making more than Kanye and Adidas, the original manufacturers of the sneaker. But what was the cause of these sneakers skyrocketing in value? It was down to the fact that not only were they a limited sneaker, but the fact that this shoe was the idea of Kanye West, who is easily considered one of the most famous celebrities in the world today.

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After reading this article, I was intrigued and continued to find more articles and academic readings that discussed the influence celebrities have over society and its fashion choices. With this extensive research of the product, I uncovered more information about the relationship between celebrities and fashion. “The relationship between celebrities and fashion may become symbiotic; brands benefit from the attention celebrities bring them… but also enhance their own reputations thanks to their association” (Wigley, 2015).

To clothing brands, celebrities are the perfect outlet to endorse their products, knowing that with social media having a strong influence in people’s lives, that their product will likely be seen by large amounts of people. “Celebrities, with their pervasive media coverage and popular associations with notions of glamour, success and attractiveness, are natural partners for fashion brands seeking to convey attractive lifestyle affiliations and hence tap into consumers’ liking for easily understood archetypes in advertising.” (Carroll, 2009)

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This research project is going to try and answer the question of the extent that celebrities influence today’s fashion industry. To answer this question, I will tap into my social media connections with sneaker collectors from within the university as well as using in person and online surveys with university students to gain an understanding into how much celebrities influence our society’s fashion choices. After collecting a sufficient amount of evidence from surveys as well as using the extensive research of academic readings and even economic figures in regards to sneaker resale values, I will compose a research report that I believe will have efficient findings and provide a more personal perception into the way modern technology and digital media has allowed celebrities to have an influence on our personal choices when it comes to fashion.

Celebrity endorsements have been a strong marketing strategy since the late 1920s, where companies utilise a celebrities fame and popularity to gain an increase in consumers. The earliest recorded celebrity endorsement was by Lucky Strike cigarettes in 1928 where they utilised actor Al Jones quick rise to fame to promote their brand of cigarettes. With the success that the endorsement accumulated, companies began to use more and more celebrities to endorse their products, ranging from food to fashion.

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This lead to companies having groups of celebrities, ranging from all types of fame, from sport stars to actors to musicians, covering all aspects of society. As media and technology began to develop more digitally, there were more outlets for companies to spread their brand, more recently YouTubers and internet ‘celebrities’ being sponsored by a range of brands. With celebrity endorsements now spread across all media platforms and the fact that media now consumes our lives, many industries including the fashion industry can now be influenced by celebrities and their popularity.

Readings:

Wigley, Stephen M. (2015) An Examination of Contemporary Celebrity Endorsement in Fashion. International Journal of Costume and Fashion, 15 (2). pp. 1-17.

Carroll, A. (2009). Brand communications in fashion categories using celebrity endorsement, Brand Management. 17(2). 146-158.

Hacktivism – Good vs Evil

Hackitivism has become increasingly popular over the years, with hacking groups targeting large organisations in a form of protest. Groups such as Lizard Squad and Anonymous have utilised their hacking abilities to ‘promote political ends, chiefly free speech, human rights, and information ethics.’ However, there has always been a split between whether or not hacktivism as an act considered good or evil.

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When an act of hacktivism occurs, most people usually point to Anonymous as the cause, due to their notoriety. From the church of scientology to the Australian government, Anonymous have used their resources to ensure that their goals of promoting political ends and information ethics can be achieved. Depending on perspective, one can consider this act as both good and evil. Media outlets and news corporations can see this as an opportunity to attack the group, while other members of society see this as a heroic act.

In some instances, hacktivism can become an inconvenience, again depending on who is effected by the hacktivists. For example, hacktivist group Lizard Squad, had annoyed a lot of gamers for hacking into the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live as well as PC game League of Legends. In this instance, the act of hacktivism can be seen as evil, because of the attack on things that people enjoy and use nearly everyday.

So is hacktivism good or evil? Well, it really depends on your perspective. Hacking is now considered a weapon, and like weapons, it can be used to be good or bad, to attack freedom or defend it.