Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cartoon Characters On Facebook = Child Abuse Awareness? The Power Of A Meme

Social networking has seen some interesting fads over the years. Whether it be the recent #iamspartacus trend on Twitter or people sending round those dodgy emails proclaiming a virus is going to eat your computer unless you spread the word to your friends, people love following a cause online.

I have found myself a bit confused by the recent trend on Facebook of changing a profile picture to that of a favourite childhood cartoon character, all in the name of some vague raising of awareness.

The message being spread at the moment on the site claims:

‎"Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same, for the NSPCC. Until Monday (December 6th), there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories. This is a campaign to stop violence against children."

Ok fair enough, a good cause indeed and a form of affirmative action is following, fine. But how does this help children exactly?

I really am surprised that people aren’t being more discerning and my real problem is that this attempt at affirmative action is actually quite hollow. How is this doing good? Are the kids being beaten by their parents going to look at Facebook, see beloved characters on profiles, and have their tears of distress change to tears of joy by knowing that someone was rooting for them but is planned to do nothing to physically help? I very much doubt it. The question remains, what is this going to do for the kids?

My personal take is that it has gone so far now that people are blindly following to almost keep up appearances and appear to be behind a good cause, when they really might not take any real steps to help with this issue. Sure a few people that started it might be sincere but I fear that now a mass game of follow-the-leader is taking place.

I don’t mean to be cynical but I don’t see how changing ones profile picture to Snagglepus or Stoppit and Tidyup is going to do anything except allow the person posting the photo to have a bit of a laugh with their friends about how outrageous or nostalgic his/her picture is. Do people actually know why they are taking part in this, or do plan to give money to charity? I’m not so sure. 

Do you think this will lead to positive change or do you think the whole thing is a hollow gesture? 

2 comments:

Dauve said...

This is the current status of someone I used to work with, which makes absolutely no sense at all:

Ok.. So APPARENTLY The Whole Change Your Profile Picture To a Cartoon Character From Your Childhood To Raise Awareness Of Violence Towards Children Thing Is Infact a Ploy Devised For Pedophiles To Gain Easier Access To Children On Facebook?! Absolute Scum Bags!!

People just seem to do this sort of thing because on the surface it appears to be for a good cause, yet fail to actually think anything through to conclusion.

Also, Writing Like This Really Gets On My Nerves.

Dave said...

Well there we have one emotionally and morally manipulative point verses another. On one hand there is the idea of supporting paedos, and the other fighting paedos. This could cause some Daily Mail readers heads to explode potentially as they they deliberate over these two equally conflicting evils.