Online petitions have been all the rage for the last few years.
Change.org is an online petition website that hosts petitions from organizations or individuals. Popular topics of Change.org petitions are economic and criminal justice, human rights, education, environmental protection, animals rights, health, and sustainable food.
Change.org is just one example of an online petition website. Other petition websites include: Avaaz.org and SumOfUs.org.
According to their site, “People on Change.org work with decision makers to find new solutions to the big and small issues that impact their lives.”
Many people express skepticism regarding online petitions, believing they have no real world impact. A lot of factors contribute to this belief, but one in particular stems from social media.
A recent example was the tragic shooting of innocent concert goers at a nightclub in France. After the tragedy, Facebook released a semi-translucent filter that users could place over their profile pictures to show support of, and solidarity with, France.
Sure, there is nothing wrong with showing support, but a filter will not change anything in reality. The same goes with any tragic or sad story circulating on social media. Users press “like” or they “retweet” a story in hopes of making a difference, when in reality (for the most part) it does nothing.
Most people, for whatever reason, be it work, family, or both, just don't have time or energy to form legitimate support for, something they believe, in hopes of creating a change. Online petition websites are a way around this, using the power of social media to spread the message, with real-world results; all by typing out your name and email address.
Change.org boasts 18,227 petitions won in 196 countries, according to their website, and these numbers are similar on other websites. A quick search yields some really big victories.
As stated on the Change.org site, 'On the morning of February 2, 2012, Stef Gray, a 23-year-old graduate in New York, held a news conference at the Washington offices of Sallie Mae where she presented the results of her Change.org petition, which had received about 77,000 signatures. That afternoon the company changed its forbearance fee policy.’
There are countless examples like the one above, highlighting the success some online petitions have.
So, next time you receive a notification asking for a signature, take a look at it. Decide whether or not it is important to you and just give it a sign. Who knows, maybe you could actually make a difference.
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