Sharing links is not 'helping'

Facebook albums, shared pictures on Twitter and updates saying 'things are terrible out here in chak number 42' is not an effective means of helping.

Nadya V August 19, 2010
So, The Express Tribune decided to run a report on all the fantastic mobilisation that is being witnessed online toward helping out flood victims.

Wow. So, before I start ranting about this topic, let me first say that there are a few online voices who are making a genuine difference by coordinating efforts and collecting funds, and that is commendable.

But then there is everyone else (and you know who I'm talking about); the other 90 per cent of armchair Twitterati and time-pass Facebook people who are busy sharing links and decrying the 'awful floods' and doing absolutely nothing to help.

So why should they share links if they don't care you ask?

1. Because it is the simplest way to appear passionate and caring about the issue without getting genuinely involved. What could be simpler than to get a news piece or video clip of children dying in relief camps, share it to your Facebook and add a personalised message, 'My heart is crying for them'.

2. The majority of our online crowd is also negating their sense of guilt for not doing anything because sharing links means, 'Hey, I've done my part by spreading awareness!'

This is what the majority of folks are all about in this crisis and I do not know whether this is because floods are not sexy enough as Sami Shah says, or because the urban elite are hardly affected so who cares? This was said best by Salman Latif much earlier:
Another thing that struck me while trying to decipher this conundrum was that maybe Pakistan’s online population, which is mostly based in either Karachi or Punjab’s developed regions, is too far away from the issue – literally. Why bother when our immediate circles or areas are unaffected?

Now, besides all the 'totally feeling down cuz of floods' lot, we also have the conspiracy theorists who say they would donate and help out, but they don't trust the government and government institutions enough to do so. We also have the misguided ones who want to set up their very own 'collection point' to show how much they care - and then they wonder why relief efforts lack coordination.

For the ultra-elite who feel sharing links on Twitter and Facebook is not enough, we have those who are on 'relief vacation' and roughing it in rural areas allegedly 'fighting the good fight' alongside journalists and almost every head-honcho anchor from broadcast media.

Please note: Facebook albums, shared pictures on Twitter and updates saying 'things are terrible out here in chak number 42' is not an effective means of helping. You want to help? Visit whip out your credit card and put your money where your clicking finger is. Better yet, next time you step out of the house, buy an extra bag of flour or sugar and drop it off to a camp set up by reliable group or institution.

My Tweetheart of the day:
Hafsx Adding a flood support Twibbon on your dp won't help. Donate and help the flood victims instead. #justsaying #pkflood
Nadya V Social critic and part-time gossip monger
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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