Over the past few months, I've noticed a trend on Facebook and other social media platforms of my friends changing their status message or profile pictures, in an effort to "raise awareness" of a particular cause or disease:
- Women writing a status message that simply lists a color, purportedly the color of the bra they are wearing, to raise awareness about breast cancer;
- Women listing where they like to set their purse when they get home, with the saucy-sounding phrase of "I like it [on the bed, on the kitchen counter, etc.]," again to raise awareness of breast cancer;
- Tinting Twitter profile pictures green to support the Iranian election protests in June 2009;
- Changing Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to a red icon to support the fight against AIDS;
- And then, this week, changing Facebook profile pictures to a favorite cartoon character to support the fight against child abuse.
This all sounds very nice...after all, who doesn't want to fight cancer and child abuse? But I can't help but think, do all these photos and status updates and tweets actually accomplish anything? The only example I see of any of this social media maelstrom doing any good is the number of people around the world who changed their time zone to Tehran in June 2009 to make it harder for the Iranian government to track down those who were actually sending out tweets in support of the protests from within Iran.
For the most part though, this frenzy of status updates does not have much of an effect. After all, who isn't "aware" of breast cancer? I'm not even sure that being raised by wolves would be enough to be beyond the reach of the very talented marketing people who are responsible for making every single household appliance available in pale pink.
|You can have any color you want, as long as it's pink|
So, here's my radical idea: next time you get a message strongly urging you to "Help Raise Awareness!", instead of just changing your profile picture or status update, include a link where your friends can actually do something to help the cause, by donating money or volunteering.
As a conservative, I believe in limited government and I have deep concerns about the effect that generation after generation living on welfare might have on society. I do not think that long term public assistance is the best way for people to be happy, healthy, and safe. However, I do believe that we have a moral obligation as human beings to share opportunities with those who need our help. I am a very strong proponent of private charities, especially those with a proven track record. Private charity has a much better success rate than government programs, and is almost always more financially efficient.
Here are some charities that I would encourage you to support:
American Cancer Society (Cancer research and support for patients and families)
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (Breast Cancer research and support)
Ronald McDonald House Orlando (Provides housing for families of children who are being treated at local hospitals)Habitat for Humanity Orlando (Building homes for low-income families; neighborhood improvement projects)
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Central Florida (Humane Society) (animal rescue, treatment, and adoption services, spay/neuter programs, educational and abuse prevention programs)
BETA Center (Prenatal care and counseling for teen moms and at-risk families; educational support; child care training)
Wounded Warrior Project (helps wounded veterans and their families)
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (link includes information on sending holiday cards to wounded veterans, donating to support veterans and their families, and volunteer opportunities)
United Service Organizations (USO) (sends care packages to troops stationed overseas, entertainment and therapy programs, other support for active duty military, veterans, and families)
Please share the websites for charities that you support in the comments. Between my Facebook friends and Twitter followers (where I share links to all blog posts), plus all the other readers of this blog, that's several thousand people I can reach every week. If every single one of you decided to donate an hour of your time and $20.00 this week, think about what an amazing impact that would have!
OK, go out there and do some good deeds! Thank you :)
Amazon links if you like pink appliances (I wasn't kidding, they really do make everything in pink):