Cyber Activism on Facebook

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Before I branched out to Twitter, Facebook was where I hung out. I still spend time on Facebook because that is where my “friends” are. Twitter, on the other hand, is where I reach the world. I have won many people over to the cause with a few tweets and I have even turned some away from going to marine mammal circuses.

Facebook, however, is where it all starts. This is where we get the pertinent material of the day. This is where we get the real juice from the activism grapevine. It is a social media network within itself that extends to pages, groups and personal timelines throughout the globe. As a tool for cyber activism, it is a force to be reckoned with, but we have barely utilized its potential.

When I first started sharing on Facebook, I would post updates from Taiji as soon as they came in. I went to every group and page that I could before a notice popped up telling me that I was beyond my limit. I had gone post-crazy and was being punished for being an overactive activist. Eventually, I decided to prioritize my sharing. In the process, I noticed a couple of problems.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Have you ever posted to a page, only to find that your post had vanished? It would seem that your post was deleted but most times this is actually not the case. As shown in the photo here, there is a feature that allows the administration to choose what you see when you arrive at the site. Notice that “Save Misty the Dolphin” is in blue, while “Everyone” is in black. This means that you will automatically see everyone’s posts when you visit Save Misty the Dolphin. On the other hand, if you go to a site where the “Everyone” link is blue, you will have to click on it to see all posts. There are a few explanations for this:

  1. The site owners may not realize that this feature is turned off.
  2. Too many people may have “Liked” the page, causing the admin’s posts to become buried when visitors add their own content. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society official page is a prime example of this. There are over 370,000 subscribers. If even a small percentage of them posted there, it would flood the page.
  3. The admins feel that their content is dipped in gold while your posts aren’t worth crap.

Whatever the reason, it may not be worth your time and effort to post on a page where people cannot readily view what you deem important unless the admin actually shares your post from his or her site. So what do you do? Do you chance a post to such places? I usually don’t. I prefer to share where I am most welcome. Besides, the whole point of Facebook is to share. Right?

That’s why I like Save Misty the Dolphin. They welcome your links, photos and news. Even with over 6,000 subscribers, they take the time to interact with visitors by their comments and “likes” of what you have to offer. They even share the good stuff with their subscribers. Wow! If only all admins were like them.

I recommend that you subscribe to the official Sea Shepherd Conservation Society page so that you get their news in your feed. If you feel you may have missed something, don’t hesitate to visit. You should also search for the Sea Shepherd chapters nearest you. Most importantly, subscribe to (Like) Save Misty the Dolphin for the best news. They are constantly updating information from Sea Shepherd and Save Japan Dolphins. So, not only can you get all the hot stuff in one place, you know that you can add to their content when you get some breaking news  and they will pass it along.

Groups are also a great way to get some interaction going. If you are looking for a ton of fresh marine conservation news, I suggest you join Ocean’s Fury. Whatever your flavor, you can be sure to find it in a Facebook group. Just do a little searching.

You now know where to go for the good stuff and how to get the word out. Or do you? Facebook is set up in such a way that you should rarely have to venture from your own timeline. Once you have some good subscriptions, you should be able to sit back and watch the information highway as it speeds on by. So what’s the problem? There are teenagers out there who have promoted Jack Ass videos more than we activists have promoted a petition. Why is it so difficult for us to get The Cove PSA into the top ten viral videos? It’s because the teenagers know how to hit that “Share” button. They aren’t even trying to get a message across. They are just being cool and passing things along to their friends.

If you don’t “Share” an important link, you are as good as a weak link. If you don’t send the info down the highway, you are no better than a dead-end. Don’t let a video, article or news release stop at your doorstep when it is vital to the cause. Pass it along! Otherwise, your timeline is a mere short-circuit in the world-wide web. Start right now with The Cove PSA. Watch it each day and share it each day. Let’s get a few million hits on the video so that the teenagers of the world will have no choice but to notice and watch it themselves. Then we will have earned the right to call ourselves Cyber Whale Warriors!