Pic from Indymedia
So you’ve got a beef? Something’s wrong with the world and you want it fixed?
Don’t be fooled — joining a Facebook group won’t change it. Adding a ribbon to your Twitter avatar won’t change it. Leaving a comment on a blog won’t change it. All these forms of Slactivism may help you feel like you’re doing something, but in reality they rarely change anything.
Ah yes – the new way to lazily attempt to impress your opinion on… someone… the Facebook pages. If your only action is to join some … Facebook page then you really don’t care about the issue that much.
— Commenter on Lifehacker
To give another example closer to my pet interest:
… if you just want to get rid of your anger, by all means tweet it into space with #transitFAIL. But you’ve done nothing to improve your transit system.
I’m all for social networking (my God, how long have I been blogging?), but if you want something to change, you have to actually get off your arse and do something.
Because unless many thousands of people join your Facebook page (very rare) or read your tweet, or comment on your blog, and it becomes so big that gets into the mainstream media, it’ll never really influence public opinion to any great extent, and nothing will happen.
1.3 million people read the Herald Sun; The Age about half that. Unless you’re Stephen Fry, it’s unlikely the number of people reading your tweets or looking at your Facebook page will reach even a hundredth of those numbers.
What you really need to do is stir up debate, and find and target those who make the decisions.
Write a letter – to your local or daily newspaper, get people talking about it.
Find a group campaigning on your issue – join them and get active – they can probably do with your help.
Contact your local councillor or Member of Parliament or candidate for office – by letter, by phone, or go and make an appointment and go and see them. If it’s a corporation, track down a contact in there and lobby them.
Get media coverage – hold a rally, hold a stunt, start a petition, get your message out there.
Oh, you don’t think your voice will have any effect?
Then remember that a few years ago, a team of three got the government to reverse its decision not to run trains all-night on New Year’s Eve.
In Victoria we have a state election coming up in about six weeks. And it’s not blindingly obvious who’s going to win. If you have a state issue, there has never been a more important time to make your voice heard.
Oh, before you do all that, join my Facebook page, of course.
Then get busy.
- PTUA: How you can help keep up the pressure for better public transport
- Yeah, I know social networking isn’t totally useless. But somehow, at some point, it has to relate to action in the real world. GetUp is probably a good example of how it can work.
- Thanks to Brendan Durward for this link: Small Change — Why the revolution will not be tweeted, by Malcolm Gladwell.