These days it seems like everyone is trying to take advantage of the viral-marketing possibilties of social media and social networking websites. Even the pope is joining facebook! This week we saw a milestone in online animal activism: the animal rights cause on facebook has now reached 3 million members. Are you a member?
While this news does not mean anything directly for animal welfare, it’s an interesting landmark and a sign of the growth of our movement. Social media structures like this provide activists with an easy way to organize and quickly mobilize a large group of supporters to take action. With this facebook group you can send one quick message 3 million people who can sign a petittion, send an email to a politician or CEO, or donate to a particular cause.
That’s exactly what the the adminstrators of the animal rights cause on facebook are doing. They’re are asking their members to donate $3 each. If everyone did it, that would be $9 million. That’s a lot of money, but it’s also a little unrealistic to expect that all of the members would donate, especially in this economy. Even if only 10% of people decided to donate 3 bucks, that’s still $900,000. That money could go a long way towards protecting animals.
Erik Marcus just posted an an article on this topic entitled, “Using Social Networking to Dismantle Agribusiness“. It’s a short piece that addresses social media as a tool for animal advocacy. Marcus is the author of Vegan: The New Ethic of Eating and he blogs daily at Vegan.com. His main point is that animal activists are still not using the the new topography of the internet to win victories for animals. He points out that we each now have an opportunity to communicate with a huge number of people with very little effort, but despite all of the vegan blogs, vegan video cast, and podcasts, we are still not keeping up with the corporate world.
For the most part, the animal protection movement is a matter of cultural change, right? We need make our lifestyles and our habits more animal-friendly. We need to stop eating animals and stop supporting companies that abuse animals. And we need to inspire others to do the same. That is how we’re going to end factory farming and animal testing. It seems like one of the best things we can do for animals is to get more messages of compassion for animals on websites like youtube, flickr, on digg and on twitter. The more people we have talking about animal protection on social media sites, the more our message will be heard.
What do you think? Where does social media fit into our movement?
Read more: animal welfare
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