Saturday, 11 December 2010


Facebook is the quintessential online accessory of the digital generation. Not only do we Facebook at our computers, we Facebook on the train, at work and even on holiday. It is therefore only inevitable that Facebook should pose a powerful influence upon our lives, as we live, sleep and breathe by the pulse of the ‘book’. Where we used to send invitations via post, we now create events requesting instant r.s.v.p's; where we used to develop photos in print, we now create archives of digital albums; where we used to pick up the phone, we now post on walls and where we once played with the potential to be the children of the revolution, we are now the children happy to accept the status quo.

We are told that the tools of social media have reinvented social activism. However, this revolution has been somewhat lost in translation. Despite Facebook's capacity to facilitate an impressive word of mouth effect, such as successfully kicking Simon Cowell’s X Factor hit from the Christmas Number one spot in 2009, in reality, Facebook does very little beyond powering idle chit-chat.

Whilst Facebook's ability to raise awareness with commendable speed and scale is undeniable, successfully spreading popular youtube videos, mocking groups or circulating important petitions worldwide, the awareness raised is somewhat of face value. We can all join a group and claim a part in the process of contributing towards the greater good, but revolution requires considerably more participation than the meagre click of a button. Revolution requires the strength of personal bonds.

As you jump aboard the most recent Facebook fad, changing your default picture to an image of your favourite childhood cartoon character in the name of stamping out child violence, stop and consider the influence of your actions. What real impact is the collaborative effort of millions of Facebook users adorning their digital profiles with Peter Pan or Postman Pat, truly having on the very real, very physical reality of child abuse?

So in the name of revolution, don’t just surf the net if you want to make waves in reality.

Rose Brownlow

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