This weekend has seen an influx of cartoon characters show up on peoples’ Facebook streams. According to what looks like the official Facebook fan page for the campaign, the Campaign To End Violence Against Children – Childhood Cartoon Faces, this was started by a volunteer.
I love this effort for a few reasons:
1) It looks–so far at least–to be something someone just decided to do. In other words, not a for-profit or commercial project.
2) Seeing childhood cartoon characters makes me smile, and reminds me of what always seems like a simpler time–the 1980s, and my own childhood.
3) Violence against children isn’t fair and it sucks.
NO ONE can argue with that last point. And if the first point holds true, then power to the person–or people if more were involved–for pulling this off in the social network. But my overarching question is going to be whether the campaign is actually going to make a difference. See point number two above? What is there in that stream of Woody Woodpeckers and Smurfettes showing up in my Facebook feed to get me to do something about violence against children? To be even more direct: how am I to know, simply from a stream of cartoon characters, that this is something having to do with a cause I would otherwise support?
That all depends.
1) If those changing their profile pic on Facebook “did it right” and made a statement about violence against children in their streams, or under their bio, then I would know what this was about. ASSUMING THE PARTICULAR POST(S) DIDN’T GET LOST IN MY OWN FEED.
2) If the post(s) DID get lost, but I was curious enough–which I was–there’s always Google to help me figure things out. Which I used to get at the fan page link above.
3) If the volunteer or people who launched this campaign were coordinated or connected well enough, they would have worked with at least some of the organizations to which their fan page linked to get some reference to the campaign posted to their organization home pages for the duration of the campaign. (I checked three of the links but saw no reference whatsoever to cartoon characters. Would be curious, though, to hear whether preventchildabuse.org or The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children are seeing upticks in their web traffic on account of being included in the org listing within the campaign’s Facebook page.
4) Finally, there would be some clarity if enough media coverage of the campaign occurs, traditional or online, that speaks to the campaign’s aspirations. As with the point previously made, there’s always Google to find some news stories. But FWIW, I saw nothing about the campaign on Twitter. Only Facebook. And again, nothing about the issue it was trying to help alleviate.
In closing, the cartoon campaign is a good start. But it needs more connection to the everyday above and beyond its own Facebook page and those of the people now rendered as two-dimensional, fictional characters in their profile pics.
And, for the record, my fave cartoon was Underdog.