Posted on Wednesday, 6th January 2010 by chris wignall
Social media has given us the possibility off raising awareness of needs, issues, and causes more rapidly than ever before, but also has made it easy to give token support that translates to neither dollars nor activity.
Navneet Alang raises concerns about both the superficiality of facebook causes and the expanded potential for narcissism when we can add a logo to our profile without giving time or dime.
In part the argument says:
There is an uneasy feeling that, despite some success stories, all that breathless energy is creating more excitement than actual change. What’s more, lost in the energetic shuffle of social media is the threat that the Net’s culture of instant gratification and narcissism might be spilling over into real-world charity.
So far I’m in agreement, but then:
So many of us want to help and want to be a part of something. But in a time when everything, even charity, beckons us to both enjoy and express ourselves, it’s time to rethink the limits of online activism.
Let me be clear; I am an advocate for costly generosity. In a world as troubled as ours we dare not be entirely comfortable. However, if the suggestion here is that there is no place for feeling good in philanthropy we risk losing something crucial and transformative.
The good work being done at Charity Intelligence raises the bar for professionalism and quality for the nonprofit sector, but it seems to undervalue the possibility for lifechange experienced by those of us who give to organizations with which we feel a special kinship and become emotionally and actively (as well as financially) connected.
We can do both; and we should.