No, I’m not trying to sell you a new crazy scheme! No need to scroll down to the bottom to buy my special offer today only 😉
I’m referring to a story that went wildfire yesterday through the machineries of punditry and journalism almost as fast as the actual viral subject matter itself.
Consider the case study of Kony2012.com:
- pick a heart-wrenching news story (doesn’t matter that it’s 6 years old and largely innaccurate at this point)
- create a slick Final Cut production set to stirring music
- have it either narrated by a kid, or centred around a child’s perspective (that is proven heart-wrenchingly effective on the purse strings)
- Post it to your Facebook page (if you don’t have one, just create a charitable sounding name. No reputable track record needed, this crowd Invisible Children apparently raised 13 million last year and only passed along 24% of it—indicative of so many other unscrupulous ‘charities’ out there.)
- Watch the 70 million hits and $5 million dollars pour in over just the first 2 days!
Ka-ching! I’m not sure about you but that certainly tickles my inner entrepreneur’s fancy.
Expect to see many more of this formula to come. Beats ye olde TV infomercial with gratuitous footage of emaciated african children hands down!
Please don’t take this the wrong way. There are many sad states of affairs in our world that need serious addressing and I consternate over them just as much as any self-respecting progressive. But for the love of anything worth your actual empathetic attention:
- DON’T click away your money from your armchair solely for the sake of satiating your inner charitable nature and expect to be actually making a difference. Do you know the issue first hand? If not, have you researched it beyond a day? Chances are your contribution could easily be doing more harm than good to the root problems.
- Look with scrutiny at all the options out there for Aid in this and similar causes and try to go as direct as possible. I also like the latest trend of crowd-sourcing where some collective scrutiny can help worthy potentials rise to the top, for instance:
- DO expect it to possibly take generations to undo the damages our cultures have sometimes spent generations contributing to — through colonisation, questionable foreign policies, needs of the many outweighing the few, slavery, cheap labour, etcetera.
- Consider if it is really targeting root causes and not just a temporary bandage to the symptoms. For example: are you about to pony up for a poverty issue somewhere or inequitable labour while at the same time shopping at WalMart, CostCo or about to purchase another ‘relatively’ cheap techno-gadget like perhaps the one you’re reading this on?
The Age, AU – this one had me at: reposting Nigerian-American author Teju Cole’s Tweet: “…..White Saviour Industrial Complex…..” Reminded me of another coined term I’ve endeared myself to lately ‘First-World Issues’