Miguel Diaz ’17
A conversation happened with two of my friends.
Peeta: “Hey bro. Congress just made gay marriage legal, and I put the gay pride flag on my Facebook picture to support it.”
Gale: “That’s cool. Did you do anything else to help?”
Peeta: “No. I just put up the flag to spread the cause.”
Gale: “Hmm. People went through a lot to make sure the law got passed. Maybe donate money to help it even further.”
Peeta: “Yeah, but changing my profile to the gay flag was easiest way to help them.”
This man was just trying to show support for a cause he cares about, just like people around social media that are supporting the French after the attack in Paris on Nov. 13. The attack in Paris was an awful experience for mankind. In response to this, many people have been changing their social media profile filter to the French flag to help the cause. However, changing your profile picture to the French flag is not as effective as some may hope.
One hundred twenty-nine people have died from the attack in Paris; meanwhile, terrorist groups such as ISIS, which was responsible for the Paris attack, have attacked over 20 other countries. However, there are still no flag filters for those other countries, as stated on The Wired. There is some bias here that people could only choose the French flag and no other flags. In addition, there was an ISIS attack in Beirut, Lebanon the day before the Paris attack, but it was not as big of an impact on social media compared to Paris.
Changing your profile to the French flag will surprisingly lower the chance for people to support the cause. International Business Times research on a phenomenon called slacktivism “revealed that posting support online enables people to associate with causes but makes them less likely to commit any resources” such as money or volunteer hours to those causes. While some people are helping Paris recover in more concrete ways, there is a high chance many of them are not.
Some may say that they are still helping people in Paris by having the French flag. However, as stated before, there is high chance of people not actually helping because of slacktivism (slacker+activism).
As was the story with gay marriage, some people are not actually helping cause and only using one method that is not truly productive.
The attack on Paris was a horrible day for mankind. However, we should do more other than showing a flag to others.