Digital activism

Digital culture has given birth to various forms of digital activism, from which algorithmic activism is one example. Jordana George and Dorothy Leidner define digital activism as “digitally mediated social activism” (2019). They divide acts of activism into three different categories: spectator activities, transitional activities and gladiator activities. Spectator activities often involve low levels of commitment, but can attract large numbers of participants. Digital spectator activities are quite common, and include, for instance, liking, upvoting and sharing political posts on social media. Some of these activities have been labeled ‘slacktivism’. Digital gladiator activities are less common and refer to activities that realize or achieve the transformation that other activists might merely call for. Think for instance of hacking a company of government in order to actually change something.

According to Emiliano Treré, people that engage in digital activism are often pioneers when it comes to using digital technologies (Diggit Magazine, 2021). Therefore, studying digital activism can help researchers to learn something about the future adoptation of digital technologies.


Diggit Magazine. (2021, May 4). Dr. Emiliano Treré on digital activism, democracy and disconnection.

George, J. J., & Leidner, D. E. (2019). From clicktivism to hacktivism: Understanding digital activism. Information and Organization, 29(3), 100249.