I changed my profile picture on Facebook to a picture of the original Fireman Sam because I used to watch Fireman Sam all the time when I was younger. I even had a plastic firemans helmet and my cousin and I would run around the garden with my grans hosepipe pretending to put out fires like Fireman Sam. My uncle would show us how a Fireman would carry someone from a burning building and it was awesome. I even met Sam one – I can remember it vividly.
I put the picture up on Facebook because lots of people are doing it to ‘raise awareness for the NSPCC and to stop child cruelty’ and I know that simply changing my profile picture wont stop child cruelty and I know it will only raise a slight bit of awareness within the group of people who can see my profile.
It’s important to understand that Charity fatigue is a recognised phenomenon, where people become hardened to charity requests and campaigns the more they feel they’re on the end of them and this facebook picture changing campaign may have that effect which isn’t a good thing. I don’t even know if it is an official NSPCC campaign and I don’t know what the outcome will be.
I’m not stupid enough to think that by changing my profile picture for the weekend I’m going to save the world but I don’t need somebody to write a sarcastic blog post telling me what an asshole I am for thinking I will.
Chances are that those who have changed their profile pictures do support some of the charities listed in Jack’s post, if not other charities that mean something to them personally. There is the chance that a number of people will think that changing their picture will raise awareness, but that doesn’t make them bad people.
I don’t have money to donate to a charity (that’s why I’m dressing up as a Christmas tree on Friday to raise money for a charity, it’s the best I can do) and I know a lot of people on my friends list cannot donate money either, so changing their profile picture and linking to the NSPCC is the best they can do. It probably does make them feel as though they’re doing some good when they’re not, it probably makes them feel like they’re contributing to something when really they’re not, it might have a negative effect without them meaning it to, but people just aren’t aware of that and it doesn’t make them evil for trying to make a difference without realising they’re not.
Calling them egotistical isn’t very proactive, telling them about the reasons such campigns don’t work is and might help stop a knock on effect for the charity, but well done Jack for donating £20 to the NSPCC though, it seems the people changing their profile pictures on Facebook DID do some good afterall. I mean, would you have made your donation had it not been for people changing their profile pictures?
In summary, if you’ve changed your profile picture today think about what it will actually achieve. It’s great that you’re standing up and saying that you are against child abuse, but what awareness does your profile photo raise? Have you posted a link to the NSPCC website through which people can find out more about the charity and its work, and can also donate (if they’re able to)? If not, then maybe you could?