I just got into a debate with a friend who I would say am quite close with and quite-alright-with today. On Facebook. Over the awareness campaign that is currently spreading on Facebook.
I don’t want to name this friend because I respect his privacy and this is my opinion with regards to what he’d said. (To this friend in case you are reading this, I am still your friend even though we have different opinions about this matter)
So what happened was that he wrote on his FB status asking if people thinks that by placing a cartoon image as their profile picture will reduce the number of children being abused? And that we should “wake up” (the exact words were “Wake up people.”) and be more practical about it.
I replied that this was an awareness campaign and it may or may not reduce the actual numbers itself.
The thing here that really got to me was that this is an awareness campaign. Just like the many awareness campaigns that occur (and that I have learnt about in the few Marketing modules that I have taken), whether on Facebook or in real life itself, it is just purely to let people be conscious that there is such a thing happening.
However, whether or not they will take the next step in doing research or being “practical” (using my friend’s word) is not known. But I personally believe (so does other non-profit organizations) is that awareness campaigns is the first step that most organizations take to let others know that such things are happening.
Believe me, I bet not many of you know that the Singapore Children’s Society is the organization in Singapore that helps and does “practical” things to combat child abuse?
What pushed me to reply was that my friend had actually said that everyone was treating this whole thing “like a joke”. Awareness campaigns aren’t jokes. I know that there isn’t a specific organization that started this viral awareness campaign, but people who change their display pictures really do want to do their small bit for it and they only know how through changing their display pictures. And what I learnt before in “Introduction to Sociology” is that people do not blindly follow what their friends do in most cases. We will process information with what we have experienced before internalizing it or doing something about it.
Then again, isn’t that what happens with donating money? It’s a small bit that people know what to do to be able to help. But it isn’t you physically helping them. (I’m not saying that donating money doesn’t help, just that you are not perhaps donating your time to help or physically helping but it’s still helping know what I mean?)
Think about other awareness campaigns. Yellow ribbon project, pink ribbons, green-and-white ribbons… All these aren’t jokes to me. They aren’t time wasters.
The only difference is that one happened on Facebook and the others happened in real life.
By the way, this whole campaign is voluntary. Just like other awareness campaigns. If you don’t want to change your dp, don’t change. No one is forcing you to do so.
Updated: Why I say it creates awareness: There are people who still do not know about the whole cartoon thing and they actually do google about it. And there are quite a lot of articles that give statistics about Child Abuse as well as websites with regards to it. Here is the awareness. 🙂