When I was doing my undergraduate degree, I got a name for myself in some circles of friends as the one involved in community action, the one who ‘cares about the world’ or ‘karma collector’, to reproduce some interesting terms used by friends and acquaintances. In most of my current circles of friends I’m hardly the most involved or most dedicated to social causes. In the former circles, my contribution was the long rants and discussions and information sharing about social justice issues, or pointing out ways in which we participate in injustice without realising it. I know my nagging nature inspired/harassed some of my otherwise disinterested friends to take action on their own or help me in my causes. They inspire me to continue believing in the ability of all of us to be more responsible, be more conscious, take more action, refuse to collaborate in injustice, and so on. However, the process of convincing others, continued apathy, and my own identity in these circles of friends made me wonder what it really takes to get people motivated to take action for community.
It was this that motivated me to post this message asking my cyber networks of friends to take action on social causes instead of simply wishing me well or giving me material gifts on my birthday. I wanted to find out three major things. Firstly, what motivates people to take action, think deeply, or be touched by an issue? Secondly, I wanted to see the variety of issues that affected people I knew. Finally, I wanted to know what kind of action people took. Of course, I also wanted to test how many people simply thought ‘what a wonderful idea’ vs. how many actually followed through with it 🙂