We Are Thinkers, Not Haters

 April 28, 2010
Posted by Jane

A battle is raging on twitter and in the blogosphere between aid workers and social media darlings. If you are curious just search the hash tag #1MillionShirts. Yesterday @mashable- a wildly popular tweeter/ blogger with almost 2 million followers- put up a link and a post about the 1 Million Shirts campaign. The last I checked it was tweeted 635 times and facebooked 300 times (as tracked on @mashable) with lots of RT’s and the occasional pledge to send a shirt. Basically Jason from @iwearyourshirt is going to collect 1,000,000 of your old t-shirts to clothe the people of Africa.

The thing is @mashable moves fast and the story has been quickly buried. If you checked twitter yesterday there was a good balance between support and disapproval. But the aid workers are maintaining momentum and today there are far more people actively tweeting that disapprove of this idea than approve.

The 1 Million Shirts people claim they won’t drink the “hatorade” and they are just trying to do good. Maybe in the aid/ development world people are too quick to crush someone’s “do good” ideas, but doing good can very quick cause problems. Why crush someone’s good intentions? Because aid and community development are about helping people, not making yourself feel good. We need to evaluate every good intention and decide whether or not it is the right thing to do. This does not make you a hater, it makes you a thinker.

Update: It seems Jason is becoming a thinker folks… There is a wonderful interaction between Jason and Siena (@sanstis) on her blog. How can Jason leverage his social media skill set to really do good? It seems he is off to a great start- @iwearyourshirt has almost 22,000 followers and perhaps all eyes are on this battle. The big question is how will it end…

Thinkers research ideas before forming an opinion. For more information check out the following blogs:

Tales From the Hood: 1,000,000 Shirts

Good Intentions Are Not Enough: What Aid Workers Think of the 1 Million Shirts Campaign

Aid Thoughts: The Return of Expert Analysis

Texas In Africa: Some Alternative Ideas to Donating T-Shirts

Aid Watch William Easterly: Nobody Wants Your Old T-Shirts

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