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Facebook Slacktivism

FB-LikeButton-online-1024In the past few months, there have been so many changes to Facebook I can’t even enumerate them. They range from minor user interface tweaks to major overhauls in how you end up seeing your newsfeed. Photos have gotten larger. The number of “friends” you hear from has decreased. One thing that has not changed however is the constant barrage of abused and bloody animals, terrifying depictions of war atrocities and, in my opinion, some really gruesome stuff.

These images are not unlike digital bumper stickers. Perhaps the users sharing or interacting with these images meant well, but in the end, they are nothing more than attempts at gaming the Facebook system by the page administrators and garnering online engagement to improve visibility. I have not seen one example where actual money was pledged to fight these horrors, nor do I think people will lend a hand because of an emaciated child in a photo. They lent a click or a view. That’s it. They usually don’t even have links to any creditable outlet.

Above and beyond the apparent shock value of graphic illustrations of torture and suffering, segments of society are starting to think that a “share” or a “like” on a photo is enough to help end brutality. A like on a photo does not mean someone will be saved.

“SHARE IF YOU WANT TO END THE TORTURE OF PIT BULLS.”

Of course, Facebook also disallows images of breast feeding and will now allow you to do your own caption contests and use comments as entry methods for contests. Hmmm…

Reading apparently is for smartypants all over the world since they favor video and pictures in your feed. That sounds nice.

They are also paying $20mil in fines for privacy violations, from which it made $73 million in profits… Classy!

I believe these images are sabotaging the very causes they represent. They help the page owners and administrators place shocking content in our feeds that do very little in the wider scheme of things.

Don’t put a bumper sticker on your car. Donate your car. Don’t share a Facebook photo to help end hunger. Share a meal or your time volunteering.

The digital world is still no substitute for real life though Facebook might disagree. Facebook slacktivism is not the same as activism and volunteering. It is a means not an end.

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