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Social media as trivialisation
Devil Duckie
There is a meme going around on Facebook where people are prompted to change their default icon to a childhood cartoon character if they "care about violence against children/child abuse".

I'm all for making issues visible. Despite the naysayers like Gladwell, I do truly believe that social media allows word to get out there that might not necessarily have done. Sure, it's about the "cause du jour", what's trendy at the moment, what people notice. But that's no worse than what the newspapers pick and choose to publicise. And frankly, we do tend to care about what's nearer to us, community-wise (whether these are geographic or social communities) - it's a more developed kind of altruism that makes us consider those remote to us.

Having said all that, this FB meme irritates me immensely. The reason I feel it trivialises the issue is that NOT ONE of the solicitations I've seen provides any real information on child abuse - whether about the issue itself, or ways and means of addressing it. One of the things I enjoy about more-developed online communities, such as DW and even Reddit and so on, is that people use links. They cite things, they provide references, they suggest where to go next to help create meaningful change.

Changing a frigging icon does not. FB is powerful because it connects up people who would not have been well-connected before. People can publish information that they would not have broadcast previously. So I am just WAITING for more sophistication to develop around how to use this powerful resource.

In the meantime, if we do see these contextless posts, and it is an issue you care about, I suggest putting real information out there. Obviously, I couldn't feel more strongly about fucking child abuse - which is why my previous mild irritation about previous memes I have seen going around, complete with stupid semi-literate glurge and no pointers to constructive information, has finally burst its banks. If people want to change icons and post pictures, fine, whatever, if there is something REAL attached to it. Without context, it is trivial - a 30-second feel-good factor isn't enough..

And in the meantime, some secular charities are listed below that address child abuse. If you feel sufficiently well-financed and motivated, I'm sure they'll appreciate funds. And hey, FB has achieved something - it's prompted me to put this information out there (and bump up one of my own contributions).

http://www.familyhelptrust.org.nz/ - NZ
http://www.childhoodhero.com.au/home/ - Australia
http://www.nspcc.org.uk/ - UK
http://www.childrensdefense.org/ - US
http://www.ccfaa.com/ - Canada

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This. Exactly.

All these things accomplish is making people feel like they've done something good when they haven't done fuck-all.
(Frozen) (Thread)

Yes, such a waste of energy, all round.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

This is a perfect example of slacktivism: The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem.
(Frozen) (Thread)

Yep - I mean, I'm hardly the most active person myself, but at least I don't have the hypocrisy to pretend otherwise.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Slacktivism is the best word for it. My family are very guilty of it.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)


the fb meme is so friggin pointless. ooh looky me, i changed my default pic I'M DOING SOMETHING.
(Frozen) (Thread)

I couldn't agree with you more. The ones that really get me are the ones that are misinforming people like "All people with developmental disabilities just want to be accepted and don't want to be changed" or something like that. Based on what are you saying that?
(Frozen) (Thread)

The one of those that really raised my rent is "Depression is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign you've been strong for too long."

The even worse part is if you say something like "Er, no, depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain with clear ideation and effective treatments" you get shouted down because they were "just trying to say something nice".


(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

I usually ignore such things, but the first one was a request from my daughter, who works with students. So I did it. But I thought it was a bit silly.

So. I just posted your links (crediting "an LJ/DW friend") and why they are appropriate. Hopefully they will back-diffuse a ways.

(Frozen) (Thread)

hee. Got one repeat (well, it was from my daughter, but she has a lot of connections) in a few minutes. So. Your effort is spreading. :-)
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Yay, result! :-)
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Can I link this on FB? The pictures are giving me the shits.
(Frozen) (Thread)

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