It’s incredible to see my Facebook news feed transform with filtered profile photos when a major social initiative is underway (marriage equality), or when people across the world need support. The use of filters and symbols can be powerful — expression when there aren’t enough words to explain.
Yet I wish we could do more than just express our support.
Currently the people in Paris are going through so much pain and fear, and to be frank, there are hundreds of individuals who need help. Many people now have unexpected medical and funeral bills to pay, and business and building owners need to rebuild their livelihoods. They need more than emotional strength and support, they also need tangible aid.
My generation is extremely passionate about helping those who are in need, and I’m sure that the majority wish they could make a difference in this situation. Yet many of us don’t have the resources to send sizable monetary support, and those who can are likely unsure where to send funds.
Facebook has made it easy for users to temporarily update profile photos with a template that represents the French flag, symbolizing our world-wide support. This display of connected strength is very influential and empowering, I just wish we could do more with it…
The Facebook platform clearly has the infrastructure to support purchases, gifts and payments. So why not charge $1 for use of the profile photo filter, or provide a means for donations?
We can all afford $1, and by providing, we could make a difference in the situation overseas. Aesthetically the filters can still show that we stand together solid and strong, but Facebook could be the means by which we make a larger impact.
I can foresee potential arguments against this effort — we don’t want to monetize a catastrophe, we don’t want to pressure/require people to pay to show their support — but with careful execution and oversight, I believe that Facebook could prevent those issues. Donations could be totally optional, never required, and the presence of that choice could be carefully gated. Just like Facebook now chooses when a filter is appropriate, they can choose whether or not facilitating a donation is appropriate too.
Would you be willing to pay $1 for the use of template filters? Do you think it would make a difference?