This is the month of November. In which in several countries all over the world, men opt to either grow a moustache, or stop shaving their beards altogether in order to raise awareness on men’s health issues. Prostrate and testicular cancers in particular get the most attention.
This year there was also the various ALS related ice bucket challenges, and infamously, there was the viral campaign to arrest Joseph Kony by the end of the year 2012.
Basically the internet and social media has become a massive vehicle where people with all manner of agendas can draw large amounts of attention, and sometimes funds and support for all manner of issues, ranging from the profound to the mundane.
Many of these social media campaigns have attracted the attention, and participation of local and international celebrities. Many of whom have wound up drawing more attention to themselves than the thing they are supposedly campaigning for
In the first place, one of the things I wonder about these campaigns, is where does the balance fall, in terms of attention for the issue at hand, the gimmick being used as an attention grabber and the high profile personalities that lend their names, or initiate these campaigns.
For example Joseph Kony is still at large, but on the flip side the ice bucket challenge raised hundreds of millions of dollars. In between there have been a lot of concerns over these campaigns amounting to no more that ‘slack-tivism.’ Basically the bulk of the participants are in it for the notoriety of the gimmick and not the cause being advocated by the issue at hand.
Nevertheless, the impact, however inefficient cannot be argued with. How many people would otherwise engage with the cause in question were it not for some internet campaign? If the internet campaign is such an unsatisfactory way of drawing attention to the things that matter to people (especially in Africa) why isn’t there a better model?
To the best of my knowledge, even with the things hat have received attention through social media campaigns, there are still many issued which have yet to have their day in the spot light. If I could put it that way, and frankly I am not sure it would benefit then causes in question.
For the record I’m still undecided if I will or will not shave this month.