Facebook Avatar Activism: What's the Point?

BlogHer Original Post

Overall, a lot of interesting things happened with the red equality sign meme. The HRC symbol wasn't simply shared as a post. People in most places replaced their very faces with the sign, which is always a cool identity experiment -- and it was interesting to see who was resistant to living without their mugs for even a day. It sparked dialogues about whether one's affiliations needed to be lived out loud, which were fascinating to listen to as an out gay person. We experimented with wide-scale visual symbolic communication.

The red avatar movement was a huge celebration of a changing culture in more ways than one, and I wonder if this kind of inclusion -- which is a natural byproduct of knowing each other through social media -- is what the Grumpy Cats are really pushing back against. Change is hard.

And now, as people decide when to switch back to their own photo avatars, we see smiling face after smiling face. Okay, with some duck faces and puppies and even Grumpy Cats mixed in. We see our friends again, expressing a different version of themselves, knowing they were willing to step out in favor of same-sex marriage. How in the world can any of this be seen as ineffective?


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