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December 5, 2010 / Melissa Leeanne

New Media and New Lows of Laziness

It’s sweeping the social network landscape, a wildfire of cartoon character faces in place of the faces of our friends.  Similar to when women were mysteriously posting the colors of their bras.  In the name of fighting child abuse or breast cancer.  How?  How is changing a profile picture or posting a status update doing anything?

Awareness, they say.  Awareness.

I didn’t realize that there were people who were not aware that some children are abused or that some women (and even some men!) will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Perhaps I, myself, am unaware of the unaware.  With my multiple organizations, many relating to women’s issues (and therefore also children’s issues), perhaps I had overlooked the fact that some people are so busy with farmville that they didn’t realize that bad stuff was happening in the world, except maybe if they were causing it.

My problem isn’t with people using new media and social networking, it’s that people are patting themselves on the backs for doing something that in no way, directly or indirectly as far as I can tell, actually benefits victims of child abuse or cancer.  I’ve seen a handful of people post useful links to sites that work to prevent child abuse, but mostly people have googled an image from their childhood (ah, nostalgia), saved the image (does this fall under fair use?), and then uploaded the image to facebook.  And everyone reminisces about Rainbow Brite and the Smurfs and three people took a further step.

What I would like to see is people taking the time to do the following with their social networking:

1.  Post a useful link to a shelter or an organization where people can donate money or volunteer

2.  Post an article about statistics or prevention tips, signs to look for, or something that is in some way educational or helpful.

3.  Go and actually donate money or volunteer your time.

4.  Understand that you did not just save the world, whether you changed your facebook profile image or you actually posted an article, and think about some ways you can make changes – you obviously have some time on your hands.



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