20 Apr Now that we have your attention about breast cancer… did it do any good?
Social media never fails to get the word out, but what if your goal is more than just awareness? Cyberactivism is one of the most powerful forms of social media mobilization, but is it really doing any good? Breast cancer awareness has had a huge awareness increase in the past few years, with a lot of credit going to social media “games” and memes. Several games include sending private messages to ladies only and asking them to post something that appears sexual in nature but really isn’t at all. One game asked women to say where they liked to put their purse. Posts included things like “I like it behind the couch” or “I like it in the kitchen”. These types of games are fun, make people smile, intrigue some, and the hope is to spread awareness for breast cancer. It definitely did, but did it do more than just spread awareness?
Let’s break it down into the good and bad of cyberactivism – starting with the good:
- It’s easy to participate.
- It’s fun, free, and doesn’t require much effort. Everyone can join a cause right from their phone/keyboard at any time.
- It creates togetherness and a sense of “doing good”.
- Everyone likes to be a part of good social causes, right? It makes you feel like you’re helping out humanity which is an instant dopamine rush.
- The emotional appeal is real.
- The “I’ve been there, too” mentality is easy to get sucked into without even meaning to do so. Empathy goes a long way with any form of activism.
- It’s fast, and it’s global.
- Sure, we could all do lemonade stands and carwashes for our local causes, but it seems almost superficial when you think that you can reach millions in just a few days simply by clicking a few buttons.
Now for the not so awesome areas:
- What are we really doing here?
- We liked, we shared, we might have even given our two cents – but did we change anything?
- Did we gain the right attention?
- In the case of the breast cancer memes, we were looking to gain men’s attention, but did the men actually respond?
- Are we downplaying the real need for activism?
- Are we inadvertently making people feel like they’re already doing enough and therefore taking away from hands on activism?
How can we evolve cyberactivism into more actionable activism? What if we did a challenge where we had a meme where everyone that posted it donated $1 to be a part of the “meme club” going around, and everyone that asked how to be involved had to donate $2 ($1 for the how/why and $1 to post) before we told them? Of course, nothing on social media is required, but it would be a fun way to take part in these knee slapper viral posts while also actually making a difference. Now each post could have a link to the donation site with a funny hashtag like #twoboobiestwodollars. If even a half a million people shared the posts, it could easily tip over a million dollars for the breast cancer foundation of choice.
We realize the activism comes in all shapes and sizes and everyone should find a way to feel included for good social causes. Not everyone can wash cards, run marathons, or have bake sales… but most everyone can spare a buck or two and share a funny post on social media! Next time you start an awareness cause on social media, attach an easy call to action to it to REALLY make cyberactivism… well… active!