I have seen it written, on the walls of Facebook and in the stream of Twitter, that people dislike awareness campaigns. Whether it be changing your avatar to a certain color in support of an idea, adding a "Twibbon" to your Twitter profile pic or wearing all pink to shed light on breast cancer, some people think these sorts of awareness campaigns are symbolic acts that have no impact.
And, I suppose I can kind of see why.
It doesn't take a lot of effort to make your online profile pic purple. Or to repost an anti-bullying sentiment on your Facebook page. But does that mean what little effort it took has no impact?
Not according to Scott Henderson, who wrote a post at the Rally the Cause blog entitled, "Does Your Green Avatar and Yellow Wristband Matter?" He says that is does:
For those with causes rooted in systemic problems, changing your avatar (and its sibling actions) is just one type of engagement. But it isn’t a trivial action. Rather, it is a social signal that an issue matters to you. It opens up the door for others to ask about it. It also allows for those who were fearful to state the same opinion to join you publicly.
That's a really good observation.
Just because it isn't "hard" to take small steps online to signal awareness for a cause doesn't mean it doesn't count. Every little bit helps, just as Henderson has outlined above. Even if your tiny online action provokes a single discussion about the cause it seeks to highlight, then the effort is more than worth it.
Of course, adding a "Twibbon" to your avatar doesn't compare to diving in and volunteering or fundraising, it can make a difference. It can be the spark the starts a flaming fire of interest in your peers or family members. It could be the start of something monumental.
But, what do you think? Agree? Do you often take action online, however small, to shine light on an issue that concerns you?
We'd love to hear from you below.
[Photo by Paul Falardeau]