Change Your Avatar, Change the World!

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

The latest Facebook fad is focused on users changing their user picture to that of a cartoon character from their childhood.  The purpose: to battle child abuse!  Users of the popular social media network are asking that their friends and family to change their Facebook profile picture to a cartoon from their childhood.  The goal is: to not see a human face on Facebook until Monday, December 6th. “Join the fight against child abuse!” the message ends.

While this is a grand idea, in and of itself, the only conversation I’ve seen is people congratulating others on their selection of cartoon characters as their avatars.  “Nice call on the Thundercats,” one of my friends comments to another.  Yes, nice call indeed, I’m sure it is helping much better than the others.

What I find incredible about all of this is that, while everyone is jumping on the fad-wagon and changing their pictures, this is all they are doing.  I suppose some activism is better than none, but not once have I seen anyone comment on the effects of child abuse, the ways to detect it, ways to change, numbers to call, organizations to contact …  It is as if someone woke up and said, “Well, we’ve used code words to describe our bras, where we like to put our purses, hey!  Let’s do the absolutely least possible thing we can to bring up child abuse, then ignore it all together!”  I’m sure it was a great concept all the way up to the execution, but now it is DOA.

Going out on a limb, here, I have to say that the folks on Twitter have a bit more common sense toward the subject.  I read numerous tweets yesterday from folks commenting on the whole Facebook/child abuse picture fad, and I’d actually like to share a few, as they are exactly what I’m thinking myself.

“Want to help children? Keep your profile photo and give time or money to one of the several charities that helps abused children.” – Pres_Bartlet

“Isn’t it lovely that problems such as child abuse can now be so easily solved, just by changing your Facebook picture to a cartoon?” – marmitetoast

“Change your avatar to a pic of cash to indicate you’ve donated to stop child abuse. Otherwise don’t kid yourself: you’re not really helping.” – whatdoiknow

You aren’t changing anything, folks, if you aren’t doing anything.  “I’m going to fight child abuse by changing a profile picture that only a handful of people can see.”  And that’s the absolute least thing you could do, I’m sure, or else you wouldn’t have done that either.  Yes, child abuse, breast cancer, AIDS, spousal abuse, etc … these are all real problems that have dire consequences in the real world.  Changing your avatar with the herd mentality that you are doing something good, I really can’t support because you’re doing nothing else about it.  Do you speak about child abuse to your friends?  Have you donated to help the cause?

Bah, what do I know.  I know I didn’t support this “cause” by following the herd mentality of the meme.  That’s just me, though.  Sorry to ruin anyones Sunday with this little rant.  Go back to your usual routine, friends, and have a great rest of the day.


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