Share the Post or Share the Load
Yesterday, a friend of mine nominated me for a challenge.
Usually, this sentence would make my stomach churn. In college, a challenge from a friend likely entailed rapidly consuming a Smirnoff Ice or some equally foul cheap bear shot-gun style. Ew. These days, a friend’s challenge will more likely land me crawling through the mud for 10 miles in some Saturday-morning obstacle course. Also less than ideal, in my book.
Robin’s challenge was, thankfully, far more palatable. Announcing via a Facebook post that she’d be giving $140 to the Reproductive Health Access Project (Go Robin!), she encouraged me to pay the “Deed” forward to an organization of my choice.
Here at Deeds Not Words, we’re always looking for simple, shareable Daily Deeds (#DeedoftheDay) to help engage our audience in worthwhile action. With a strong message and a simple script as the prompt, Robin’s challenge fit the bill:
As Trump continues to execute his hateful agenda, I accept _________’s challenge to support refugees and everyone affected by these egregious violations of human rights. I will donate to the ________ depending on how many likes and comments I receive on this post in the next 24 hours.
1 like = $1
1 comment = $2
Once the challenge is over I’ll nominate 10 of my friends.
Let’s keep this going everyone!
Through completing this challenge, I learned a few things about myself, my friends and the nature of digital advocacy. These learnings led me to alter this simple Deed before sharing with our activist #ChangeMakers via Deeds Not Words. My thoughts below:
- Social media can be a real tool for change.
Actions as simple as copying, pasting and tagging can generate hundreds of points of awareness for an organization. Often called “vanity metrics”, likes and comments can be transformed to generate hundreds of dollars, if we get creative. All of this in just 24 hours. But this tactic’s effectiveness relies on active participants. Which leads to…
- “Slacktivism” is real.
People are generally willing to leave a problem for others to solve. This post challenge’s format is a poster case of “slacktivism”, where a simple ‘like’ gives a social media user the satisfaction that they’ve participated in something — when really, they’ve left the brunt of the burden for someone else (in this case, the nominee) to bear. We all have to commit to being active participants in solving a problem, not just acknowledging someone who is with a Facebook heart. Which leads to…
- The silent hero often saves the day.
Not all of those who make the most difference shout the loudest. My friend, who has requested to remain anonymous (Jordanian machine learning whiz who is almost as smart as he is kind-hearted) has offered to split the cost of the donation with me behind the scenes. His justification?
“No need for credits at all. I am doing this for others and not for fame. Karma knows how to come back to the people who do good.”
Let’s ALL be more like Anonymous, who — rather than contribute to the burden — actively looked to help shoulder it. Which leads to…
- Issues are intersectional.
Of the 39 comments I received, seven were from foreigners who live abroad and have not even considered American citizenship. This blew me away. Because Trump’s agenda affects many of those beyond our borders, friends from near, far, and very far all showed up (online, at least!) to help. Though some of them may not be directly affected, their radical empathy compelled them to join the charge.
At Deeds Not Words, we’re committed to intersectional feminism, uplifting the work of other causes as we rise. Comedienne Chelsea Handler said it best: “But I know this country is based on inclusiveness, on welcoming people, on loving people that are not like you, on not worrying about how something impacts your life personally, but how it impacts all the people around you and all the people that aren’t around you.”
Which leads to…
- Action must be inclusive.
The challenge outlined in this viral post is not entirely inclusive. It assumes that whoever gets nominated is in a position of giving to the extent of the force of their social media followers. As such, I decided to add a stipulation to those I nominated next and urge others to do the same: Share or Share. More specifically, share the post to continue the awareness and process of nomination, or share the cost burden and agree to take on as much of the nominator’s donation as you feel you’re able.
A organization’s call to action should inspire a #ChangeMaker to participate without barriers to entry. Collective activism should be just that — collective, not exclusive. It should incite action, without asking more than its audience is able to contribute. A good Deed is actionable, shareable and inclusive.