In the early 2010s, in the wake of the Moldovan parliamentary election protests and Occupy Wall Street, digital observers coined the term “clicktivism” in an effort to delegitimize cyberactivism. Malcolm Gladwell even went so far as to assert that clicktivism (or slacktivism as it is more pejoratively known) lacks “discipline and strategy” and those who champion it “have forgotten what activism is.” A decade later, a new way of organizing is being pioneered on YouTube, a decidedly clicktivist initiative dubbed Views for a Vision that is legitimizing and monetizing passive protesting.
The concept is simple — creators upload videos to YouTube and then donate any AdSense revenue they generate to causes supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
YouTube creator Zoe Amira uploaded the first of these videos on May 30. The almost hour-long video is titled “How to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house” and highlights Black visual artists and musicians.
“This video project was created to offer people a way to donate and financially contribute to #blacklivesmatter without having any actual money or going out to protest themselves,” she wrote in the video’s description.
On June 3, less than a week later, she tweeted a screenshot of her YouTube analytics dashboard showing the video had already earned an estimated $21,539. The video has now been viewed more than 9.5 million times.
“Part of our work as organizers is to meet people where they’re at and make the revolution accessible and irresistible.”
There are now at least 71 videos whose creators have similarly pledged to use the same fundraising strategy, and a SUPPORT BLM playlist that compiles the videos has amassed almost 90,000 views. Some of the videos explain the gravity of the situation by sharing personal struggles with police brutality and dispelling myths about the eradication of racism. Others include mukbang or a makeup tutorial. One is mostly just a visual of a George Floyd memorial that runs for 10 minutes to maximize the amount of ads that…