It´s so easy to support a cause now! Is that really good?

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Yesterday, at the We Media meeting here in Buenos Aires, a friend told me that all of us gathered there were enthusiasts who believed that technology could help us transform the oh-so-horrible world we live in. “Otherwise, we wouldn´t be here”, he said matter-of-factly.

And, of course, I agreed. (That tends to happen when the person speaking to you is your friend and does it so matter of factly).

But on my way home I couldn´t stop thinking about all the causes I have joined since Facebook came out. I am a supporter of CHINAR (a really neat NGO that works with orphan children in conflict areas, such as Kashmir), “Ni un joven con su identidad cambiada” (a group that works to find the true identity of children unlawfully taken from their parents and given to adoption during the Argentina´s dictatorship), and Sierras Protegidas YA, an ecologist movement that protects mountains).

In most cases, I have joined because I have friends who promote these causes (or friends of friends, or friends of family members, and so on). On top of that, supporting is effortless, and penny-less. And it looks good on my public profile, and it makes me feel good about myself.

Where is my commitment? Does my support end with a (dollar-less) click? Or is this symbolic support really contributing to raise awareness of these issues? I don´t have any answers yet, and would love to hear ideas from you! I have a feeling that if social media is to contribute to change the world, I am going to have to do more than click…click…click…

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3 Responses to “It´s so easy to support a cause now! Is that really good?”

  1. Georg Neumann Says:

    Thanks for this post. Let me make two comments:

    Firstly, it is great there are many groups of people that believe we can use technology to create change and especially, and I would like to emphasize this: change how things are being done. I think there is still a long way ahead, not only to convince others that technology can make life and work easier, but also that interaction, discussion, de-centralising tasks, concepts that are inherent for social media, can be provide better results and make the work more effective.

    Secondly, on the question of the impact of causes, and the symbolic support for a social cause via a social network. I agree that simply joining a cause may only result in a contest of who has more supporters. Of course, one option is to tie a cause to a fundraising campaign. But thinking of applying this to, say the fight against corruption, there is reason to think that people joining a cause are favorable and open to actually live their life’s in a more ethically way and eg not pay the police when they get stopped. That’s something that can and should be used. But probably most of the organisations just create causes without really thinking of how to use them and start a discussion on the issues.

  2. NACH.COM » Noted: 11/16/2008 Says:

    […] It´s so easy to support a cause now! Is that really good? « ACCOUNTABILITY 2.0 […]

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