1 Instituto Superior Miguel Torga (PORTUGAL)
2 Instituto Superior Miguel Torga/Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Sociedade/Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 4766-4774
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1114
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
Activism, as a concept of Psychology, can be understood as a set of actions and attitudes that intend to effect social changes in several areas of a certain society (Baptista, Pereira and Costa, 2006). Social skills are social behaviours in an individual's repertoire that help him deal with situations arising in the interpersonal relationships he establishes (Del Prette and Del Prette, 2001). Studies on the direct relationship between activism (online and / or offline) and social skills are scarce. However, it is known that individuals who actively participate in the help of social causes tend to develop and acquire skills that help them to change, thus enabling them to have more satisfying lives (CIVICUS, IAVE and UNV, 2008).

The evolution of Information and Communication Technologies has allowed that the activism has also migrated to digital space, resulting in online activism, digital activism or cyber-activism (terms in this study adopted as synonyms), thus providing a new tool for activist practices through the formation and performance of social movements (Diniz and Caleiro, 2011).

This paper aims to relate activism (online and / or offline) with social skills, in order to understand whether those who support social causes (online and / or offline) have a higher degree of social skills. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to describe the social activist through the data collected from a sample and to relate social activism (online and/or offline) with other variables, such as social support and social skills. The main goal is to verify if active support in social causes, provided by the general population whether online and/or offline (regardless of the cause), has an impact on the satisfaction of the individual with regard to the relationships they establish in their daily life, as well as the existence or not of a greater degree of social skills.

The sample involved 210 participants, aged between 15 and 73 years. The majority are women (73.3%), unmarried (63.80%) and college (72.40%). A socio-demographic questionnaire was used, a questionnaire on social activism and the Social Skills Inventory.

The results allow us to infer that activists tend to develop a more spontaneous form of social communication, since they tend to follow their beliefs and feelings in order to effect social change. We also found that activists are willing to face everything and everyone to defend the cause in which they believe, but even if they know what they want to defend, the action automatically puts them in unforeseen situations, new and unknown, showing that they are able to deal with adversity themselves from human society.

The results reveal that those who support social causes offline (n = 134) present greater ability in the self-exposure factor to unknown or new situations. Those who support online causes (n = 96), as well as better ability in the aforementioned factor, also show a better ability in conversation and social skills. Analysing the group that supports online social causes (n = 96) and the group that does not support online social causes (n = 114) were found statistically significant differences that may reveal that individuals who support online causes, as well as better ability to approach online causes Unknown people, exhibited even better ability in the factor corresponding to conversation and social skills.
Online activism, social skills, social support.