My colleague Allison Boyer recently published a post right here on the BlogWorld blog about how changing one’s profile picture to reflect the cause of the day doesn’t really do anything. Allison basically calls b.s. on arguments that group reactions, such as changing one’s profile picture in support of child abuse victims doesn’t really raise awareness, or really do anything for that matter.
And this is where I disagree.
I’m not a huge fan of memes because I think they’re silly. I don’t generally follow the pack when it comes to posting stuff in my Facebook status, but I did this time, and here’s why:
I know for a fact that several of my Facebook friends are victims of child abuse in one form or another. I changed my photo for them. I changed my photo to say, “I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to have suffered, but now you can know you have my support, however you need it. ”
Now, changing my profile photo to a cartoon isn’t going to change that fact, nor will it stop people from abusing children. It won’t bring in millions of dollars or get anyone arrested, but it tells my friends I have their backs. I liken it to a candlelight vigil. Lighting candles won’t change the fact that someone died or someone is healing or that we don’t appreciate a certain behavior but it tells victims and victims families that we’re there for them. We might not be able to afford to donate, but we can offer a safe haven or a shoulder to cry on.
This is the Facebook community’s candlelight vigil.
People sometimes feel helpless as they know they’re never going to cure the world of what ails it. However, changing to a cartoon for a couple of days makes them feel as if they’re helping in some way, so I have no problem with it. If a victim of child abuse sees my cartoon picture in my profile and knows that I care, then it’s worth the whole brouhaha.
Allison, these memes ARE a call of action because they have us thinking about issues and discussing these issues. And yes, there are people taking action by donating or blogging, even if they’re not necessarily vocal about it.
Am I changing the world? Perhaps not. Am I making someone’s day? I hope so.