I’ve been wondering this for a few days, so I’m going to drop it on the table. Watch out for the splatter. Please read and discuss.
Question for the Day: What’s the relationship between talking about doing something and, you know, actually doing something?
Anne Jackson is a writer and blogging and fellow church media person whom I interviewed here and here several months ago. Via some sort of social networking sphere (I forget…Twitter? Facebook? Blog?) she introduced me to the 50,000 Shoes in 50 Days drive for the organization Soles for Souls. Now, I like shoes and I like for shoeless kids to wear shoes and, let’s face it, where else can you buy two pairs of shoes for $5 anywhere? So I headed over to the campaign website and ponied up $20 to give kids some shoes. Then I blogged about it.
Apparently, somewhere between hearing about the organization and advocating for the organization, I did something crazy and radical — I actually donated money to the organization. According to Anne, who’s connected to the marketing of the 50,000 Shoes project, the statistics are a little discouraging. They’re not quite on target for the 50,000 shoes in 50 Days challenge.
Plenty of people are talking about it — to the tune of 3,500 blog posts written on behalf of the drive. But only 1,500 donations have been made. So…less than half of the people blogging about it are actually doing what they’re advocating and supporting the organization with something more than their social networks.
Am I hopelessly out of touch (yes!) or is that a little discouraging?
Call me old-fashioned, but I have trouble telling you to do something if I’m not willing to do it myself. I thought that was normal. Surely most people share that common-sense approach to responsibility or influence or whatever you want to call it. Right? But maybe not. I guess I’m naive. Because what does it say about our generation if we’re willing to engage our social networks to promote a cause, but we don’t do anything more than talk or write or blog? Why are we so willing to do the easier thing — like, um, clicking on stuff — but less willing to do the harder thing? When did talking about something good replace actually doing something good?
Which leads to this final question: Are social networks beneficial for anything other than joining meaningless groups or sending each other pieces of flair? Ponder that, and comment below.
In the meantime, I’m going to join my old friend Pete’s group. It’s called 1,000,000 Facebook Users Against Useless Facebook Causes Benefiting No One. Because we like to feel like we’re doing something.