I read this article today by Hadley Freeman in The Guardian, Comment is free on how no one will notice when the world ends because we’re so distracted by pictures of cats on the internet (and other things like a dress that’s blue/black/white/gold/who actually cares).
Speaking of cats… (well, I did promise you a picture if you read this – I think it’s praying for our souls).
My first reaction was: She has a point.
#TheDress trended on Twitter for two whole days. It’s had numerous articles written about it, including the BBC, The Independent etc, yet the atrocities of the world continued – Boko Haram posted a video of an execution, an opponent of Putin was murdered in front of the Kremlin not to mention ongoing conflict in Syria. But people weren’t really talking about that, were they? Are we so consumed by fluff on the internet that we’re forgetting to shout out about injustices or take action to stop atrocities?
Personally, I don’t think so. Actually, I think the ‘fluff’ is sometimes just what’s needed to take our minds off these atrocities – just for a moment. Not to forget, not to pretend it’s not happening but to give ourselves a break from the awfulness of the world and have a laugh or a ‘ahhhh’ or a ‘I think it’s white and gold’ moment.
And this made me think about charities.
There are so many charities who deal with stories of child abuse, of addiction and what that does to a person/family/society, stories of people with incurable diseases, stories of bullying, self-harm, depression, suicide… imagine if that’s all these charities ever talked about?
Would you listen?
I can guarantee you wouldn’t. You’d unfollow them on Twitter, hide their posts on Facebook, unsubscribe from their enewsletters and worse – stop supporting them.
And that’s why it’s so important to balance your communications. I know that sometimes charities find it difficult to have light-hearted posts (that aren’t about fundraising) because they think that it’s detracting from the seriousness of their work.
It’s the charities that are able to talk about all manner of things in the appropriate tone and voice, at the right time, that are so successful in their communications. Examples of these charities are: Cancer Research UK, Mind, Refugee Action, Anthony Nolan, Macmillan, War Child to name a few. In fact, I loved this from Macmillan: