So, many of my Facebook friends have taken up the call to raise awareness about domestic violence against children by replacing their profile picture with an image of their favorite cartoon character from childhood. This act is supposed to evoke the childhood memories lost by child victims of domestic violence. It is a noble cause and should be supported.
However, my twitter stream has shown that some recognize a problem with this type of social activism via the weak ties social network that is Facebook. It is one thing to agree with the message of a cause, and spend ten seconds changing your profile picture or status message. However, it is entirely another thing to feel incentivized to donate time or money, or even take bigger risks for the sake of a worthy cause. Here are some examples of tweets pointing to this:
@BookishJulia Julia SkinnerNot changing my FB picture. Raising awareness is only helpful if it transfers to meaningful action, rather than an excuse for inaction.@pnkrcklibrarian Punk.Rock.Librarian. [Lisa Rabey]Just posted on FB why I think the change your profile pic is dumb. How many guesses how many people will de-friend with that statement?Both tweets got a lot of responses. Lisa Rabey elaborates in the following exchange with Ian Clark:LR: @ijclark ANd I get irritated when people “support” a cause but don’t acutally do anything to SUPPORT a cause. Also: http://on.fb.me/e9bUVuLR: @ijclark Because most, actually a lot, assume profile->cartoon pic swap “teehee let’s remember childhood” not “swap to stop child abuse!”IC: @pnkrcklibrarian I’m right with you there….changing your photo isn’t on its own going to achieve anything. At least if they donate as well