I received an email today from One.org. As regular readers will know, I’ve often spoken well of this charity, having found them to be pretty right on most of the time. The email says that today is the global day of action against extreme poverty. So far so good. What does One.org want me to do? Write to my MP? Organise a march? Write to my local newspaper? Give some money, perhaps?
Not at all. That’s just not sexy anymore. They’d prefer I tweeted:
I’m standing up to end poverty today with @ONEcampaign. Pls RT and join me. #standup09
or posted a Facebook status:
I’m standing up to end poverty today with @ONE. Please post this as your status and join me.
How does this constitute standing up to end poverty? Saying that I’m against poverty? How original. How productive.
The last 2 years we’ve set a new world record, and if everyone takes part and spreads the world, we may very well go down in the pages of Guinness again this year. So start right now. Stand up.
Now I know that the average person doesn’t have time to get involved with in-depth activism. And I know that raising awareness is important. But I wonder if this kind of request isn’t actually counter-productive. If all NGOs can muster for the global day of action is twittering, I simply despair. I see a race to the bottom, with organisations competing against each other to see who can ask for the least committment and the least meaningful action from their supporters. Am I being too cynical?