Making Your Facebook Page Purple Won’t Help Gays

spirit dayNotice anything different about Facebook today? See any strange -- purple -- profile pictures? Can't figure out why? Allow me ...

In honor of the second annual Spirit Day, a day dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth as well as fighting bullying and harassment, Facebook is partnering with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to incite users and employees to post purple profile pictures. Two of Facebook's Pages, Facebook Diversity and Facebook Safety, are showing their support for the day by using purple profile photos, as well. GLAAD also encourages folks to wear purple, so if you feel like you've been seeing an unusual amount of purple people today, there's your answer.

I think it's great that Facebook has joined GLAAD to support this cause. But I'm not so sure changing your profile picture to a purple box is necessarily going to do anything.


That is, unless you do something in addition to posting a purple profile picture.

It seems like once a week mass status updates sweep my newsfeed with messages about breast cancer, starving children, politics, etc. They often are accompanied by messages that say, "Please make this your status update for one hour to show your support, blah, blah, blah." Sure, these messages may raise some awareness -- I.E., people stop playing FarmVille for a moment to read said update -- but do they really make a difference?

We all know the Internet and social media are a very powerful thing. And sometimes they really are used for good, for calls to action, as opposed to just the mindless click-clacking of buttons. It's been know to arrange mass cleanups after riots, organize topless rallies, and raise boatloads of money for various causes. But the changing of a profile picture, or the cutting and pasting of a status update -- I just don't think it does much. Sorry if I sound like a pessimist.

Hopefully, a few people who see purple photos today -- or those who have made their status update a message about breast cancer or starving children -- will be inspired to do something more than just that. Otherwise, it sort of is like mindless click-clacking.

Do you think the people who put purple in their profile picture today will do something more for the cause?


Image via JunkByBo/Flickr

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