I find a certain irony in the notion that my immediate reaction to this was to signal-boost it. But, you know, he’s right. (And he identifies succinctly the reason I almost never join the “if you agree with this put it in your journal/status/etc” memes, even when I do, in fact, agree wholeheartedly with them.)
i bloviate – Adding Action to your Activism
Here is an acid test—before you post that insipid status update or press send on that annoying email, ask yourself one simple question: “What is the purpose of my message? What do I want recipients to do?” If your answer involves “spreading awareness” and “pass it on” and solely that, delete the message, sign out of Facebook or your email, get up out of your chair, and go do something for that cause you care so much about.
What if you can’t get out of your chair… or out of your bed? What if lack of physical strength means that things you can do by phone and computer — including signal-boosting to people who maybe can go get something done is all you have to give?
While I’m sure that’s the case for some, it’s not for the vast majority of people I see doing these sorts of things. There are exceptions to everything, but the sentiment is applicable to far more than it isn’t.
The original poster points out that boosting the signal on opportunities for other people to do something (give money, donate time, etc) is worthwhile, but simply copying/pasting a message saying “I think X is great” or “I think Y is bad” without any actual input of original thought isn’t really ultimately all that helpful, and in fact runs the danger of becoming static on the airwaves, making the signal that much harder to find.
There are a lot of positive, active things someone can do with just an internet connection and a telephone, that don’t involve physically moving from your spot, but it takes more than pasting a general, content-free statement that you didn’t even write into your blog.
That’s what I was taking way from the original poster’s statement, and the message I was agreeing with.
Okay, that makes sense. I know how much can be done with a computer and phone; I wanted to understand if that was being considered “not good enough.” I can accept that it isn’t, but that it takes doing more that is actually useful with that computer than just saying, “I support so-and-so.” I sometimes say so anyway, but I recognize that I need to follow it up, if it’s to mean anything, and that usually there’s more point in skipping the saying so part and just getting on with the followup.
Yup, that’s exactly why I don’t copy/paste those messages.
I’m oddly reminded of this (Warning: NSFW):
I have to admit that this is a large part of why I don’t like Twitter and Facebook. People seem to post about the most inane things, and I’m not really sure why anyone cares. (This isn’t directed at anyone in particular.) The same is true with the just “repost this” messages. I don’t mind the ones where people write something thoughtful on the subject (so where people use it as a prompt for their own thinking) but if it’s just cut and paste I don’t see the point.
To me it’s kind of like the students who write everything they can think of on a topic, regardless of whether I asked it in the question or not -- I start just looking for the parts with actual content and skimmming over the filler. And that’s what happens with these; they become filler on an LJ page, not something that I pay attention to.
There’s some wisdom for you. I agree. In fact I think I’ll copy and past your post into my Livejournal and ask all my friends to do the same!
I agree and like this. I just posted “I’m a straight ally and feel I need to do more than parrot a meme to show my support” as my FB status.