The Blackout Tuesday campaign has been described as a virtue signalling meme but what exactly does that mean and what’s the best way to show support?

Social media is a brilliant way of keeping up to date with events throughout the world.

It has given us an eye-widening look at the vicious clashes between police and protestors in the US since the death of George Floyd on May 25th.

And on top of that, it’s helped people offer support to those in need at this troubling time.

However, the medium of social media is often criticised as being a slave to trends and that criticism has been attributed to the recent Blackout Tuesday campaign, with many calling it a virtue signalling meme.

But what exactly is virtue signalling and what can be done to truly help the #BlackLivesMatter campaign?

Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Blackout Tuesday has been described as a virtue signalling meme

Social media ‘went dark’ on Tuesday, June 2nd as people across the world joined the Blackout Tuesday campaign, an initiative to offer support to the Black Lives Matter protests that are currently ongoing in the US.

We saw countless big-name companies, celebrities and ordinary people use their social media platforms to show their support, you’ll most likely have seen this in the black squares being shared around on the likes of Instagram.

However, while the campaign has proven to be immensely popular, not everyone has been so keen with some even labelling the movement as virtue signalling.

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What is virtue signalling?

Virtue signalling is the act of joining a social media movement or campaign, usually related to a social justice issue, to make it seem like you care about the issue without doing anything concrete to actually help.

Urban Dictionary’s top definition of virtue signalling is:

“To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else.”

The best example of this is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that exploded onto social media in 2014.

You couldn’t move on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for various attempts at the challenge that was supposed to be aimed at raising awareness and donations for various Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Motor Neurone Disease (MND) charities.

But just how many people donated to charities or researched the condition as part of the challenge?

This is the criticism that is being attributed to the Blackout Tuesday campaign that took place on June 2nd.


How to help the #BlackLivesMatter cause

There are plenty of ways in which people can make a real difference during these troubling times.

Some of them include, but are not limited to, the following:

Make donations – Arguably the best way of making an impact is through donations to relevant groups and charities. Donating to groups such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) or the Black Lives Matter cause is a great way of giving money to the people who know how best to use it in this situation.

Signing petitions – Signing a petition is a great way of showing your support for a cause as petitions are often shown to people in power and petitions with a huge swell of support can be hard to ignore.

Join the protests – The best way of physically representing your views during these times is to join one of the many protests taking place all over the world. Of course, they should ideally be undertaken peacefully but as we’ve seen from the police in the US, there is a chance you may end up hurt or arrested.

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