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Unmasking Cyber-Activism: The Good, the Quirky, and the Impactful

Have you ever noticed social media posts buzzing with cyber-activism? It's amazing how more and more folks are jumping on board to support causes close to their hearts. Take, for instance, animal lovers like Animals Above who go all out on social media to gain support for animal rights. Check out their Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/animalsabove/?hl=en.


And let's not forget October—National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pink ribbons are everywhere on social media and in public spaces that we visit in our daily lives, and the memes are in full swing.


Flashback moment…


I remember at one point in time women were asked to update their statuses on social media informing everyone that they had removed their bra on October 13th, which some may still remember to be “No Bra Day”, sparking a wave of curiosity and mixed responses between the female and male genders. Women would take pictures holding their bra, or burning it, or even cutting it up! Afaqs goes more in depth with the expectations behind the trend so click this link to check out their article: https://www.afaqs.com/news/digital/45982_blush-urges-women-to-free-the-breasts 


It was a quirky but unique way to raise awareness for breast cancer, and, well, let's just say it got people talking.

On the good side of this activism was men and women working together to raise awareness about this deadly illness. While women would take their bras off, men would put bras on in support of women.

Then, there was the downside of the activism, which included inappropriate comments of men asking women follow-up questions under their post about where they like to leave their purse.

Crazy right?


What is even more odd to me is the number of women who would respond to these questions with answers ranging from on their bed, under their bed, or in their car.


Sneaky, right?


Now, the intention was noble—to draw attention to breast cancer—but in the beginning the memes were released during the first days of October, and that made it tricky to link them directly to contributions for the cause. So why did so many people join in? Well, it certainly grabbed attention, and most women knew the drill. They figured no harm could come from it.


When I first saw these pop up on my Facebook feed I was young and a bit skeptical, thinking, "What's the point?" , “How is this not considered inappropriate?”There were no links to donate, and it felt more like a guessing game. As the posts multiplied, it became clear there was a gimmick at play, and I had to tune it out. It got to the point where I even unfollowed friends who kept posting and reposting pictures and memes associated with the trend, because it just became too much on my feed.


So, how could these memes have been more effective in raising breast cancer awareness? Simple. Provide clickable links that share the backstory behind the meme and follow it up with information on the program or organization that you are supporting. 


Take a page from the NFL playbook—literally. 


Players deck out in pink gear, and the football even gets a pink bow. It's a visual reminder, and they've raised nearly $15 million for cancer programs. Now, that's a touchdown for a cause!

What to remember from this article:

Number one, don’t fall for digital traps! Stay aware of people on the internet seeking your personal information.

Number two, identify the cause. Make sure you understand who and what you are supporting by posting certain content on social media.

And lastly, number three, make sure you keep spreading the good vibes!

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