Pseudo-ActivismPosted: Fri 7 August, 2009
If you’re a regular user of Twitter or Facebook, you can’t avoid seeing ‘campaigns’ of one sort or another. Facebook has infinitely more of them – there seems to be a campaign for everything from “Bring back Smarties in round tubes” to “Free [name person of choice here]”
Twitter ‘campaigns’ seem to be more about changing your ID picture. They went green in support of Iranian elections earlier, and now there’s one about Freeing Gary Mckinnon that adds a “Free Gary” (as opposed to charging for him, one supposes) bar to the Twitter avatar.
Personally, I don’t get involved in these campaigns at all. If I wanted to do so, I’d go to something like the ePetitions section at Number 10 (Not that they get any more attention, but at least it’s being done in the right place) rather than the frankly pointless ones elsewhere.
Because the thing is, Facebook et al may be “the voice of the people”, but governments and (in general) businesses don’t really give a shit about what people say. There are exceptions to the rule, of course – such as Cadbury’s bringing back the Wispa bar – but there’s no way they’d have done that without the expectation of making a significant amount of profit out of it.
Iran didn’t give a shit about how many people’s Twitter icons went green. Number 10 didn’t give a shit about the anti-war protests and marches.
Facebook et al like these campaigns, because they add to the marketing profile of the people who sign up for them. That’s it. You sign up to these things – say, “Bring back Smarties” and Rowntrees will start to know how many people extra might buy a “limited edition” round Smarties tube, and thus make profit for them.
And that’s all it is.