I had never heard of #GivingTuesday until late in the day.
Keep in mind that my day job is helping people give money to charity. I enable giving. I encourage it. I spend a large portion of the professional me figuring out how to ask people to give. And, by most measures, I'm pretty good at it. (That is, if you consider raising $60 million, recording 1.5 million volunteer hours, and being ranked #1 in the country three years in a row a decent set of metrics.)
So hearing about #GivingTuesday for the first time after it was almost over was a little surprising.
And to be honest, I've had a very hard time getting revved up about it.
Maybe I'm just too cynical about Black Friday and Cyber Monday to give a flying meme about #GivingTuesday.
Or maybe Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just so oozy with the septic puss of unbridled consumerism that #GivingTuesday feels like an overreaction. Like naming the Saturday after Thanksgiving "Fitness Saturday"... the day you try to make up for the fourteen pounds of pumpkin pie you ate two days before. You feel guilty about your overindulgence.
Or perhaps the whole thing feels just a little too self-righteous. Like those parents who don't let their kids watch TV or play video games and only let them listen to NPR. "It's wonderful you let your four-year-old son play Call of Duty," they say. "Here, I'm not using this Beethoven for Toddlers CD any more. Maybe share it with your son," they say. They are disgusted by your overindulgence.
You need to give to charity on Tuesday because you just gorged yourself on consumerism, presumably maxing out your credit cards in the process. This is healthy... how?
Mostly, though, it just feels irrelevant. Or desperate. Like that forgettable guy you had your first date with last night who leaves nineteen messages on your machine the next day before noon, every one of which ends with, "Yeah, okay, so maybe give me a call some time. You know. If you want to. You don't have to. Just if you want to. Okay? So okay. Um, bye."
Browsing the Twitter feed for #GivingTuesday did not inspire me. It did not educate me. It did not make me want to continue reading the Twitter feed for #GivingTuesday. It did get me to click over to the web site once due to professional curiosity. The feed seemed to be filled with three types of tweets (my very unscientific vague impressions):
- "Hey, I'm participating in #GivingTuesday!"
Translation: I am tweeting but may or may not be giving any actual money. I am (a) appeasing my inner slactivist, (b) trying to look cool, or (c) hoping someone else will also give to my favorite charity.
- "Hey, we're a charity! It's #GivingTuesday! Give us something!"
Translation: Hey! We're a charity! We are desperate! We will take anything, even slightly used tweets!
- "Top story of the day: #GivingTuesday!"
Translation: I work in a charity-related job and all my colleagues will think that I'm well informed for tweeting this hashtag.