Your click does not deserve a pat on the back

Did you change your Facebook profile pic to a cartoon to help raise awareness about child abuse?

Did you recently vote for your favourite charity so that they could win funding through an online contest?

You suck.

Unless you actually sacrifice something for the causes that you pat your back on for clicking for, you did no favours and deserve no credit.

If this is actually a cause that is of importance to you, you need to spend time, talent or money. Volunteer. Attend a fundraising event. Write a letter to your MP or news editor. Donate. Even better, donate monthly.

Raising awareness is important, but not when the actual cause gets lost.

I challenge those who changed their profile picture to cartoons to donate or volunteer with orgs who fight child abuse (the original purpose of the profile pics). Here are 3 to start:

Update: I added the phrase “If this is actually a cause that is of importance to you” in order to be clear that this post is directed at those that actually are patting themselves on the back. I stand by my position, but added this for clarification

Update 2: This is me shaking my head at “you suck” as an eloquent choice of words to express myself. As hard as it may be to believe, I am, incredibly, not in high school anymore.

The pomposity of web video (and its creators)

Credit: pursuethepassion

Pompous*: (adjective)

  • affectedly and irritatingly grand, solemn or self-important
  • characterized by pomp or splendor (archaic use)

*according to my Macbook Dashboard dictionary

Attending Net Tuesday Vancouver’s event last week on the use of video on the web left me with two impressions.

  1. Web video can be a highly valuable and splendid way for nonprofits to engage with their audience and spread their messages.
  2. People that create video for the web can be irritatingly self-important (see “HOWEVER” below)

The experienced panel offered great practical tips, the highlights being:

  • if you’re not a pro, free tools such as iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are fine (Final Cut Pro was the choice for the pros)
  • assuming you have a good story, video/editing quality doesn’t have to be great for a video to go viral, but sound quality is much more important
  • things going viral is hit or miss; quantity of output is as important as what you think quality is
  • other tools include Jamendo (free music), Mobygratis (free Moby music), freesound (free music), other Creative Commons audio sites, Tech Soup Canada (free or discounted software for nonprofits), (a free, web-based alternative to Photoshop for non-pros), qik (webstreaming tool), Craigslist (finding people willing to work on your project as a volunteer or for an honourarium)
  • Pull Focus Film School is a great Vancouver-based resource, as it  “partners aspiring film makers with non-profit organizations that are in need of film content”

For a great summary of Net Tuesday Toronto’s recent event on video, with even more specific tips, click here.


One story told by a panelist was of a video that was peddled to and turned down by two related advocacy groups because the video didn’t fit their values. Which means that the video makers either:

  1. made assumptions of what was needed and made a video without consultation and didn’t choose the right audience; OR
  2. consulted the client and yet somehow still subverted some of the values core to the client.

Don’t get me wrong. I thought the video quality itself was great. Well edited, good story line, emotional tension. I laughed, I cringed. The people behind the video production are obviously technically and creatively talented…

…but completely off the mark when it came to the core principles of the group the video was “made for”. And yet, the reaction was that of disbelief. They wanted cred for something they were trying to give away for free. The phrase “biting the hand that feeds you” was used. You’ve got to be kidding me. This is just a new age bourgeois version of pat-on-your-back charity.

The thing is, you’re not of service if you’re not wanted.