early this week, i read that some celebrities were signing off twitter for charity. i am not such a big fan of twitter, and although i've had an account for a while now (follow me), most of my just over 200 posts (okay, tweets) were just updates about activity on my youtube page and feedback from nike+ about my runs. i've only recently been actively tweeting due in no small part to the twitter for iPad application, which is cool. but i digress. the celebrities who announced their "digital deaths", such as lady gaga, alicia keys, justin timberlake, usher, among others, pledged not to tweet and stave off their need for online social networking until a million dollars were raised in support of families in africa affected by HIV/AIDS. the goal -- as in any charitable objective -- is laudable, but the choice of sacrifice, a bit strange. the idea is that the millions of followers of these celebrities would put in donations to basically resurrect the twitterverses of these pop stars. if i were a celebrity of the caliber of keys, gaga, or timberlake, i would just have donated a million dollars to charity.
of course i do not wish to take anything away from the concept. it is for a good cause, after all. the reason i am saying these things is that i find that most people think that supporting an advocacy ends at wearing a pin, or giving money, or saying something in public. but not much is actually done: we leave the actual task of implementation to others. not that i think everyone should be out in the streets feeding starving children, or building homes for those without. in fact, i might even think that doing it half-heartedly, or for the purpose of show, may even be superficial.
which brings me to even more superficial ways of advocating causes. in facebook, there have been cryptic messages announcing colors and places in the house, supposedly to raise awareness about breast cancer and whatever. just today, we had people changing their profile pictures to images of cartoon characters from their childhood, "for violence against children". how colors or areas in one's home raises awareness about a disease, or how cartoon characters can train our attention to the plight of abused children is beyond me. when someone begins to wonder why women are posting mysterious posts about colors, one begins to ask questions, and eventually, one solves the mystery: "ah, it's for breast cancer awareness." and then? one doesn't necessarily receive relevant information about breast cancer, nor is money raised for breast cancer research. nothing is done. awareness, i believe, goes beyond just knowing that the words breast and cancer are in the dictionary, and that put together they spell the bane of many women in society. it is just not enough. it is, to my mind, superficial.
to bring attention to things like breast cancer or that violence is committed against children, it is not enough that we engage in these bandwagon campaigns that achieve nothing concrete or tangible. if you think that people are unaware about the reality of AIDS/HIV, don't just wear a pin. inform yourself, and share what you know with others. yes, that pin looks good on you, but other than looking nice, what else have you achieved? get something done.