How digital activism can help achieve real change | DW's international conference: Global Media Forum. | DW | 10.04.2014
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How digital activism can help achieve real change

Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 11.30 a.m., Plenary Chamber

Hosted by: ONE

The bashing about "clicktivism" is old hat – and yet in vogue as ever. Similarly old is the postulation that online and offline activism must mesh effectively to achieve concrete political results. Despite this discussion and the distinction between both spheres being rather 1.0, it is very persistent. Firstly, because it is true that effective campaigns must mobilize both online and offline and secondly, because connecting both is easier said than done.

Collecting many signatures for an online petition, that’s feasible. But how do you get at least a fraction of your petition signers to participate in an “offline” campaign action or even meet with policy-makers? Moving so-called “slacktivists” up the famous “ladder of engagement” can be very wearisome – and often unsuccessful. Cultural pessimists and campaigners alike are therefore frustrated with digital activism.

On the other hand, low-bar digital means of participation allow people with little time or without a previous activism biography to support a political cause. In other words, online elements of participation can make a campaign more inclusive and impactful – especially when combined with compelling campaign actions that go beyond simply clicking a link.


Blázquez Fernández, Alicia
Senior Campaigns Manager, ONE, Germany

Cole, David
International Digital Director, ONE, UK

Elueze, Ify
Initiator of Online Petition for #BringBackOurGirls campaign

Hannemann, Paula
Director,, Germany

Lovett, Adrian
Director, ONE, Europe


Van de Laar, Julius
Independent Campaign and Strategy Consultant, Germany