I'll admit, I'm one of the most skeptical people you will find when it comes to lackadaisical social media activism. Some people call it "slacktivism," and I tend to agree in most circumstances. If you change your Facebook or Twitter profile pic for a few days, or maybe a week, does it really do anything to help a cause?
And if so, isn't there more you could be doing to help said cause if you're really serious about it? I'm fully aware that if enough people participate in social media activism, it will at least generate conversation, which is never a bad thing. I just worry that some people edit their profile, or post one status or tweet and think they're done - that nothing else is necessary.
I feel a bit differently about a new social awareness campaign, partly because I think it's really cool and partly because it at least involves some level of real action (albeit just a donation).
It's called "When Things Fall Apart," and it works by destroying your Twitter avatar and gradually rebuilding it in 12-hour increments.
"All over the world, when things fall apart, the Red Cross puts them back together." That's the simply message at the beginning of this promo video, and it's also the basic premise behind the campaign. Things, like your Twitter pic, may fall apart, but they will be pieced back together by the good folks at the Red Cross.
Check out how it works below:
To get started, all you have to do is make a $10 donation to the Red Cross, then let the application take over.
The project was developed at the comp.social lab and Georgia Tech. The "focus on the design and analysis of social media." The lab's head, Eric Gilbert, is an assistant professor at the School of Interactive Computing.
Apparently, When Things Fall Apart was inspired by not only the continuing effort of The Red Cross, but specifically the green Twitter pics you probably remember during the Iranian uprising in 2009.
The most recent example of the profile-pic-changing phenomenon was of course, KONY 2012. Since the last time I checked, Joseph Kony still has not been "brought to justice," and I don't think that has anything to do with Jason Russell's epic meltdown.
But When Things Fall Apart is a lot cooler than most of these types of things, and as a prerequisite, you must donate. Hopefully, we'll see plenty of people's Twitter pics breaking apart and coming back together in the coming months. Don't be surprised to see it quite a bit if another big natural disaster strikes somewhere in the near future.[h/t Mashable]