The Protect our ABC (#ourABC) campaign run by the GetUp! company has established this many signatories. Fuelled by the imminent cuts to the public broadcaster the mobilisation of this campaign has been predominately online. While this seems like a phenomenal amount of support, what does this number actually mean? Does it really represent the level of support for the campaign or is it just another example of an increasingly ‘Clicktivist’ society.
Clicktivism at its core is the use of social media to disseminate a message to a wide audience. The ease and pace of this transference makes it ideal for activist movements. The two most notable Clicktivist campaigns are Kony 2012 and Occupy Wall Street. Fronted by pseudo marketing companies these campaigns gained notoriety through a two layered approach, both online and physical. The question that this successful approach garners for the protect our ABC campaign is,
Can it create change without a physical presence?
While the twitter hashtag shows that there is a certain level of physical activism, the level is nowhere near that of other successful campaigns. In fact it was dwarfed by the opportunistic demonstration shown by students on the television programme Q&A in regards to the deregulation of universities in Australia.
This display gained mass attention, particularly on social media and will continue to anchor this campaign. It will also continue to give this campaign a reference point, similar to a ‘make Kony famous’ or a ‘we are the 99%’ both catch cries of the aforementioned campaigns.
Time will tell through the Federal Budget whether this campaign was a success or not. However the plight of the clicktivist will continue. While online campaigning is now a necessity, it also seems an embodiment of this ideal is crucial to its success.