…and that’s a GOOD thing.
Take a look at this popular Facebook status update…
Every person has 1000 wishes. A cancer patient only has one wish, to get better. I know that 97% of Facebookers won’t post this as their status, but my friends will be the 3% that do. In honor of someone who died, or is fighting cancer – post this for at least one hour….
Now look at this one….
Today I’m going to pause to remember all those who are suffering from cancer, as well as their friends and family who are affected by this terrible disease.
…or this one…
Please remember my friend _____, who is battling cancer right now. Feel free to repost if you know someone else that might be concerned about him/her.
The first one is trite and passive aggressive. The last two have similar messages and concerns, and the second even encourages reposting, but to me are much less offensive. There is none of the guilt-inducing “you can’t be my friend if you don’t copy me exactly” sort of language. To me the last two messages are much more effective.
Danielle Foster, a contributing writer at Suite 101, describes this type of Facebook activism very succinctly:
The purpose of raising awareness about an important cause is to inspire people to reflect on the issue. The hope is that after awareness is raised, action will follow. Do status memes promoting awareness accomplish action, or are they merely providing short-lived entertainment and self-validation?…
…What this whole message is really doing is fishing for validation under the cover of supporting cancer victims. If you are the poster’s true friend, you will re-post the message because being that person’s true friend makes you a great person who would not dare dis-honor cancer victims, or the poster’s friendship with you, by not re-posting. You are this person’s friend aren’t you? You don’t hate cancer victims, do you? You had better re-post.