Yesterday was the official “day without shoes” to create awareness for people who have no shoes. All good and well(ish), I guess, but in retrospect it was a moment of proper “slacktivism”.
I walked around barefoot yesterday. I saw the initiative on Facebook and it sounded like a good idea; one that was not difficult to follow and, if loads of people did it, a nice way to create awareness and get people to donate shoes. But, the reality was that it was a complete waste of time and here are some of the reasons why. Firstly, lots of people choose to go shoeless in Cape Town. It’s a hippy thing. Secondly, there was no collection point in Cape Town where you could drop off a pair of shoes. (I have a donated pair of real Crocs in the boot of my car, waiting for shoeless feet). Thirdly, unless you told people why you had no shoes on they just thought you were being dof, or Capetonian, or both. And then we had a sold out TheatreSports show last night and Brett and I played barefoot, but of course the audience had no idea why. Big flop, if you ask me.
So what is interesting to take away from the experience is that good intentions need proper support, good direction, good execution and real action to have an impact. Big Friendly warned me this morning that if it was No Underwear Day today he wasn’t going to play with. He has a nose for Slacktivism; where clicking a link to support a cause only has the effect of making the clicker feel better for two seconds.
So much for not walking around in someone else’s shoes for a day.