My stance on most forms of online activism is well known. It’s the type of selfish ego-masturbation that allows us to feel momentarily good about ourselves while achieving next to nothing. 99.9% of the time it makes us feel good, and that’s where it stops.
A million likes on Facebook may sound awesome, but the truth is, that unless there’s a PR angle to it or the stars align – for every “1 million likes to save this puppy” campaign that succeeds in part due to online activism, there are probably a million “save the puppy” campaigns that fail.
Damn, that’s a lot of dead puppies! See what you’re responsible for Zuckerberg? Duping people into thinking they can save puppies by clicking “like” buttons… You monster! Anyway, I digress…
The truth that most people overlook, fail to grasp, don’t know about or just plain willfully ignore (I’m looking at you internet marketing zealots), is that a successful campaign needs both online an offline, and when push comes to shove, getting things done comes down to people actually making phone calls, hitting the street with their feet, donating money and time and ACTUALLY DOING THINGS.
Give me 10 people willing to donate an hour a week over a million Facebook “likes” any day!
Awareness doesn’t save a puppy. Awareness doesn’t stop your neighbor from beating the crap out of his wife and children when he gets drunk. Sure I might be aware that he’s kicking her ass, but what good does that do her if all I do is click a “like” button and then chuckle heartily at a video of a cat showing a dog which feline wears the cojones?
People taking action, donating time, money or just making the right phone call – That’s what creates change – taking action.
Also, if you need the last thread pulled for you – when you start taking meaningful action, that action will build awareness, and give you something that you can actually talk about. Then you can get on Facebook and Twitter and tell everyone to get out there and take action.