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Social Media Activism – It Works

November 29, 2012

There seems to be a lot of flack these days about so-called “slacktivism.” Crotchety adults love love love saying “Kids today don’t do anything, they just stare at their phones and tweet their twits.” Don’t get me wrong: that is true. I Love Twitter. A lot. But like most of my friends, I use Twitter for my activism. And the new activism is working.

World AIDS Day is this Saturday, December 1st. This new campaign from Durex pledges to donate one condom for every HIV/AIDS Fact shared with the hashtag #1share1condom. I saw these tweets all over my feed yesterday – enough of them that I clicked the link and checked it out for myself: and then shared it on twitter and facebook. I tend to be skeptical of these campaigns, especially when they’re fostered by large corporations: How do we know they made the donation? Why don’t they just donate the 2.5million condoms instead of waiting to reach their goal? But this time, I’m looking at it from a different angle.

Social media works. A study just came out that showed that students who followed a facebook group that posted about sex ed and sexual health topics self-reported slightly better rates of condom use in the short term. The study is not exhaustive, and the findings weren’t as striking in the long-term, as the students lost interest in the facebook group. But it’s encouraging – regularly seeing the messages affected the behaviors. What more evidence do you need?

Durex could’ve just donated 2.5 million condoms to charities worldwide (I honestly hope they do that all the time anyway), but this campaign does more than that: it shares information. Condom use is so important and anything we could do to encourage it is laudable. So hey, why not go over to 1share1condom and send a tweet? It can’t hurt.

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