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Study: Extent of Students' Activism Directly Equivalent to How Much They Post on Facebook


Photo from PxHere / CC0

Ninety percent of student activist output assumes the form of Facebook posts and comments, a team of Penn researchers found in a study published Monday. The findings support previous research which concluded that students value “clout” roughly 10 times more than social impact. 

The study monitored 50 self-described “activists” at Penn over the course of a year. Participant Stewart Yates (C ’20) was disappointed by the results. “We should be shooting for at least 20% of real, meaningful work,” he said. “The rest can be shitposting, yeah, but a fifth should have some form of impact.”

Over half of all activist output was arguing in the comments section of shared news stories. After an average of five exchanges, one party would invite the other one to direct message them to speak further, an option chosen in zero percent of interactions.

“Personally I believe social media is the greatest driver of progress we have right now,” said College sophomore Rebecca Olson, foolishly. “I really think I’ve changed some people’s minds,” she continued, very much wrong.

Researchers expect Facebook posting to be the only remaining form of student activism at Penn by 2025, with the exception of indirectly contributing to new antitrust and fraud legislation.