Minggu, 05 Desember 2010

Facebook Cartoon Profile Pic

The latest Facebook meme-for-a-cause has people replacing their profile pictures with photos of their favorite cartoon characters, supposedly to boost awareness of violence against children. But where did it come from?

The most common form of the meme spreading on Facebook contains the following message, which has been reported at least since December 1:

"Change your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday (December 6), there should be no human faces on Facebook, but a stash of memories. This is for eliminating violence against children."

However, a cursory search reveals that there are no large-scale events or anniversaries related to violence against children within that time frame.

According to meme tracking site KnowYourMeme, a strikingly similar meme went viral just a week before, carrying the message:

"From the 16th to the 20th of November, we shall change our profile pictures to our favourite cartoon characters. The purpose of this game is to remove all photos of humans for a few days from Facebook"

There was no civic cause linked to the original meme.

KnowYourMeme reported that the meme was written originally in Greek, but the original source is still unknown. The original meme was also picked up by the news website The Huffington Post and social media metrics company AllFacebook.com.

It is still unclear who "hijacked" or appropriated the meme to denounce violence against children, or why that particular cause was chosen in the first place.

"Maybe the person who started to include 'elimination of violence against children' on this status Facebook game had a hard time convincing his/her friends to change their profile pictures and so added something that would probably encourage them to support a good cause so as to continue the game," opined Filipina blogger Rio Encarnado.

"One blogger noted this is driven mainly by Facebook, while others pointed to the direction of the United Nations Children’s Fund or Unicef," noted Erwin Oliva, country editor for Yahoo! Philippines.

In any case, the meme has been accepted positively by Filipino netizens.

"Not everyone knows the origin of this campaign, but a lot have participated not only because it's fun but because they want to show their support that they are against child abuse," Encarnado concluded on her blog.

"It is clear that the situation [of] violence against children and child labor will not be reversed by putting cartoon pictures on Facebook, [but it] is a way of promoting social awareness to take further actions to change the situation," added blogger Adrian Rosales.

"It doesn't actually help. Naisip ko din yun nun una. (That's also what I thought at first). But I realized that the cartoon thing is just a campaign to raise awareness of the things that are happening. It only shows that we don't live in apathy. When we become aware, we can think of ways to help," Judith Clemente noted on Facebook.

Similar memes-for-a-cause spread earlier this year on Facebook: the "What color is your bra?" meme in January focused on breast cancer awareness, while the "I like it x" meme was supposedly for women's empowerment. — RSJ/HS, GMANews.TV

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