Jun 12, 2009

Petition to not petition

With the advent of the internet analysts were singing the praises of shared information. What they didn't predict is how the world wide web became less of a resource for scholarly pursuits and more of a resource for the useless. The public embraced the new found technology and quickly started pirating copyrighted material, looking at...art, and writing useless content on blogs..oh wait.

Facebook embraces all things useless on the internet, but still most find it a fun social networking tool. What has bothered me about the site is all the petition requests for important issues, such as domestic violence and world poverty. Now granted I believe in the right to petition, but do folks really believe they're actually making a difference in signing an online document? Will clicking a link silence Rush Limbaugh or save a specific animal species?

The problem I have with online causes which require little more than clicking a link may lead to a false sense of accomplishment. For an apathetic America who can't be bothered to type an email to their Congressman this may give them the idea of making a difference and provide them with an excuse to not do something more, something that matters. I would like to think that most people are reasonable and understand that by being a fan of something on Facebook will do little if anything, but then again most still believe recycling most products actually helps the environment.

Most would argue that by clicking the links it will bring important issues to the attention of others, which is a fair argument; however people who weren't aware that child abuse exists probably will do little to stop it beyond spamming everyone with a Facebook update. Online activism can be as useful as a Chia Pet in a fight.

"I have referred to myself as an accidental activist on more than one occasion." - Joan Blades

1 comment:

Kelli said...

I have a friend whose sole purpose in life is to check the validity of those "daily click" sites. You'd be very surprised how many are actually valid companies. The Breast Cancer Site is a good example, their sponsors give something like (I can't remember the exact amount) a tenth of a cent per click. So, one click doesn't do much but, spreading the word through places like FB and MySpace could help fund a cure for your Mother, Sister, Friend or future Wife and Daughter.

As for the recycling blog... Recycling may not be a non-harsh way to "save" the planet, but the point is... we are reusing the goods we've already taken from the earth, not stripping her for new material. That's why it's important.