surrounded by clouds

On social networking.

I am basically a pretty big fan of a lot of social networking types of things.

I love blogging. Obviously.

I’m a big fan of Twitter. More on that in a post coming soon.

And then there’s Facebook.

You see, the thing about FB is that I used to love it. Back in the day – 2005, so very, very long ago – when I was a second year at uni I was introduced to this wonderful invention. It was still a pretty small deal then – just universities, and actually, I think at the time it was just St Andrews and many American institutions.

It was pretty fun. Basically, a new way to see photos, and get in touch with people without needing to text them.

Then more universities got added, and then it was opened up to everyone, and now it’s this huge beast.

There are some great things about it:

  • I love keeping in touch with friends who are spread across the world.
  • I love sharing photos.
  • I like using events pages for stuff.
  • It’s great to get in touch with students – and to make sure I can remember all the names that I need to!


  • I dislike the apps. I really can’t understand the point of Farmville.
  • And I’m frustrated by the way that people seem to think that publically stating their dislike for something on facebook will somehow change the world.

(FYI: I’m about to start a proper rant now so, if you’d rather not witness it please look away now. Otherwise, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you…)

In the last couple of days this little gem as appeared as the status of various folks in my particular circle of 531 close friends:

Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday (December 6th) there should be no human faces on Facebook but an invasion of memories. Join the fight to stop child abuse.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for stopping child abuse. There’s not many things in the world that I’d like an end to more than that. Really.

But, whilst I appreciate the well-meaning desire of those who are taking part, I can’t help but wonder what they imagine the outcome will be. Do they think that every abuser will take a glance at the cartoon faces, be filled with remorse and turn from their abusing ways?

I’d love to think so, but I’m not holding out an awful lot of hope.

It feels a little like a few months ago when I was stopped in town and asked to sign a petition ‘against violence to women’. Well yes. I am against violence to women. Honestly. In fact I think most sensible people of good conscience are, as well as being against child abuse, and murder, and torturing of defenceless animals. But what good does signing a petition saying so do for anybody?

Which is sort of what I asked the person who was collecting signatures – although I’m pretty sure I was a wee bit more polite, and wee bit less ranty and sarcastic. Probably.

So here’s my suggestion. Change your profile picture if you’d like to, but to make a more concrete difference to the lives of children who have been or are being abused please consider donating to one or more of these organisations:

Rant over.

In summary: loving the social networks, but wishing they could actually do more social change.



This entry was published on December 5, 2010 at 5:07 pm. It’s filed under Other and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “On social networking.

  1. Pingback: On 400. | surrounded by clouds

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