While activism in the forms of using social media platforms or doing viral challenges has been criticised, research shows that it actually is a force for social good.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, designed to raise money and awareness for sufferers of ALS, did not receive all the praise and admiration that one might assume. Given its good intentions, many criticised the challenge as ‘slacktivism’; that is, a lazy form of activism that has the guise of doing good but actually contributes very little to a cause and in some cases, detracts from it. In more blunt terms, “pouring ice cold water over your head . . . could not really help find a cure for ALS, a terrible neurodegenerative disease.”
A recent paper published this August in Science has outlined the discovery of a faulty protein in ALS patients’ neurons that could be blamed for the disease. Medicine applicants should read further about the protein, TDP-43, which does not work in 97% of ALS cases. One of the paper’s authors, Jonathan Ling, says that this discovery was helped in part by the collection of funds from the Ice Bucket Challenge, which helped raise $220 million in donations.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is not the only example of so-called ‘slacktivism’ doing concrete good. The ongoing eminence of police brutality and racial inequality in the USA has been brought into conversation through social media campaigns like #blacklivesmatter – not only did this bring awareness, but a digital petition on this subject lead to the removal of the racist Confederate Flag from South Carolina’s capitol.
PPE applicants should consider the differential impact of political protests from remote locations versus the physicality of traditional protests such as marches and occupations, while Economics students should investigate charity fundraising and charity spend, to assess whether the impact of viral fundraising campaigns and the monetary gains they bring in.
- HAT overview If you’re applying for History, or its joint schools, you... Read more >
- MAT mini mock paper & answers If you are planning to apply to Oxford to read... Read more >
- History of Art Reading List History of Art at Oxford and Cambridge allows you to... Read more >
- Oxford and Cambridge Access Schemes Oxford and Cambridge aim to offer places to the best... Read more >
- College selection checklist Your college at Oxford or Cambridge is where you will... Read more >
- Download a Physics Personal Statement “Over the past few years I have become gradually more... Read more >
- Classics and Arch & Anth Reading Lists If you’re applying for Classics, or for Archaeology and Anthropology,... Read more >
- HAT mini mock paper The History Aptitude Test or ‘HAT’ must be sat by... Read more >
- Music Reading List Applying for Music at Cambridge or Oxford requires a range... Read more >
- History Reading Lists The main challenge in the step up from school to... Read more >
- Personal statement: our tips in the Independent Here are 3 quick tips every hopeful should consider before... Read more >
- Medicine, Maths, and Economics Puzzles We asked three of our top Medicine, Maths, and... Read more >
- Oxbridge: the global impact Concerning UK university admissions, UCAS have released some interesting stats.... Read more >
- February’s Top News Stories Read more about some of the biggest news stories to... Read more >
- Choosing The Right A-Levels Picking subjects at A level can be a difficult decision... Read more >
- Admissions Tests: our tips as featured in the Independent Last year, the Independent asked us to provide some simple... Read more >
- Application Calendar Making an application to Oxford or Cambridge can seem like... Read more >
- Science Puzzle: experimenting with mice… We asked our Medicine graduate Jennifer to tell us a... Read more >
- 30 Real-Life Oxford and Cambridge Interview Questions The Oxford and Cambridge interviews are notorious for having academically... Read more >
- Economics & Logic Puzzle: ticket touts We asked top Economics blogger Resham Kotecha to challenge us... Read more >
- Oxbridge Open Day Guide With open days drawing ever nearer, applicants and parents alike... Read more >
- The Architecture of an Education: what are colleges all about? Explaining the difference between Oxford and Cambridge colleges and the... Read more >
- PAT overview If you’re applying for Physics, Materials or a relevant joint... Read more >
- Cambridge Law Test mini mock paper & answers If you are applying to do Law at Cambridge, chances... Read more >