Feature

Online causes may attract more clicks than commitments

Collecting 'likes' via social media doesn't always translate into real-world donations

By
2:04pm, June 27, 2014

TOKEN GESTURES  Collecting “likes” online or asking supporters to wear ribbons may not translate into real-world donations of time and money for charitable organizations. 

The Save Darfur Cause on Facebook had all the makings of a slam dunk cyber success. More than a million people joined the social media site’s digital movement a few years ago to save the people of Sudan’s Darfur region from mass slaughter.    

There was a hitch in Facebook’s humanitarian giddy-up, though: The vast majority of people who enlisted in the Save Darfur Cause recruited no one else to the digital crusade and contributed no money. The sum total of their support amounted to a computer click.

“Facebook conjured an illusion of activism rather than facilitating the real thing,” sociologist Kevin Lewis of the University of California, San Diego says about the Save Darfur campaign.

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