facebook activism.

Watch out kids, it's soapbox time.

Facebook has a lot of wonderful benefits. I like Facebook.

I can stay in touch with old friends.
I can make plans with current friends
I can arrange birthday parties, find out about events on campus and stay connected to the world.
I can find out more about what's going on in the larger world.

But that last one is part of the problem.

Let me make one thing clear before I hop on my soapbox: being involved in things your passionate about and showing that support on Facebook is such a wonderful thing. Facebook can be a wonderful platform for outreach and charitable efforts.

But the ease with which causes may be promoted via Facebook is also one of its drawbacks. Often the most successful campaigns aren't the most solid and in some cases can only make things worse.

It's easy to get drawn into a good bit of editing and viral marketing. It's easy to click share without looking further into the issue, without asking questions or probing any deeper.

That brings me to Kony 2012.

I saw the Invisible Children video in the fall of 2005. They came to chapel and showed their video. I was swept up in the movement, ready to give my time and money to the cause.

But that's just the thing. Where was my time and money really going? Only 32% of my money actually went to Africa. The rest went to things like video editing & staff salaries. Yes nonprofits have to pay their employees. But shouldn't the majority of the money spent be sent to the cause being supported? One of the things that 32% of my money actually went towards was support for the Ugandan army, which has been accused of activities such as rampant looting and rape.

Excuse me but I am not for supporting military intervention as the solution to this type of problem.

What should we do instead? Give people a better more viable option than further warfare and violence. I believe in the old adage that if you give a man a fish he'll eat for a day but if you teach a man to fish he'll feed himself for the rest of his life.

Yes Kony is an evil, cruel human being. But guys, he left Uganda in 2006 and Uganda has steadily been moving towards peace since then.

Like I said, supporting a cause is wonderful. Preventing cruel people from doing cruel acts is wonderful.

But supporting something that's not actually contributing to a viable solution because they have a catchy marketing campaign is not.

So let's change what we support. Let's push for programs that are actually helpful, regardless of how catchy or clever their propaganda material is. Because good or bad, that's what the information is: propaganda. I know propaganda has a negative connotation and conjures images of Hitler but it's a lot broader than the Triumph of the Will, kind of like feminism. But that's a discussion for another day.

We have the power to vote with our share buttons and like buttons, our status updates and wall posts. No matter what cause pops up on your feed, do a little digging first. If you still support the cause, go for it! Seriously. I want more of my generation and the younger generations to get involved in spiritual and charitable causes. But I don't want them to do it blindly. There may be something beneath the service that you do not support.

I guess the main point here is to do your research and like the Buddha said,

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

And yes, that includes this post.

I will now step off my soapbox and return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! Food for the Poor is one of the best charities of all. Over 90% of their donations go to feeding children! A much better use of my donation dollars. You need to post this info on your page and not just your blog. Love you dear!