Hey there, ladies and gents. Today, I’m going to toss a little scenario at your feet and I’m sure you’ve experienced it before. It’s an ordinary day and you’re there going about your merry business doing what you ordinarily do on an ordinary day. At some point, like hundreds of millions of others, you decide “You know, I want to see what my friends are up to. I think I’ll check Facebook.” Logging on, you’re immediately confronted by a status update from one of your friends:
“It’s child abuse awareness week. To support the children subjected to domestic violence every day, change your profile picture to a cartoon you watched as a child.”
“Well, hey,” you figure, “child abuse is bad, and I certainly don’t want to be seen as supportive of it.”
So you change your profile picture and post a similar status update. You feel all warm and fuzzy inside and you’re happy that you showed your support of the millions of children who are battered, bruised, and scarred every year. Hooray for you! You’re a good person!
Except that you didn’t actually accomplish anything. You’ve only acquired the illusion of accomplishment, that you might set your own mind to rest. Guess what? If you’d spent the five minutes it took you to change your picture and write that update browsing Memebase, or Cracked, or TV Tropes…you’d have accomplished just as much.
I’m not knocking social media here. I love it. It’s an incredible tool for spreading awareness, communicating with others, and just generally having a voice on the wide, frightening world of the Internet. That said…awareness is only the first step. If you simply update your status and languidly sit there stewing in a funk of self-satisfaction…
You’re part of the problem.
Maybe I’m being overly harsh, but the truth is, if you truly support a cause; if you’re truly against something, don’t just like a page, or post a single status update. Get out there and do something about it. Do you know of any organizations that are aligned with the cause? Donate to them. Do you know of any volunteer opportunities? Lend a hand, and do a bit of extra work on the side. Sign petitions online. Contact people who matter- people who can help you make a difference.
Social media’s an incredible tool for helping along social movements and causes, to be sure. But like any tool, it’s only as useful as the person wielding it. Don’t just update your status and leave it there to rot. Don’t be that guy/girl. If you really want to do something…
Get out there and do it.
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