Thursday, June 9, 2011

Activism is more than clicking “Like” on Facebook

In 2009 opinion writer Stu Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a series of columns about bicyclists and bicycle lanes. You would have thought that bicyclists were the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and bicycle lanes were the road they traveled. One response was the creation of the Philadelphia Bicycle Insurrection on Facebook which garnered over 1600 people who followed the page. It can now be reported that page and the website have been shut down.

This was frustrating and tragic, 1600 people, including bicycle shop owners, advocacy groups, and cycling clubs made up this group and there was real potential. A group of bicyclists who could work outside of the system with the potential to engage the public in a manner not seen in Philadelphia. Unfortunately nothing came of it.

While the creator of the site may have had the best of intentions he made the same mistake that most advocates make, failure to follow through and failure to use your resources effectively, especially when it comes to volunteers. Anyone can create a page on Facebook and anyone can click “Like”, but what lacks is having inspired leadership who comes to the table with ideas, follows through with them, and follows through with the ideas of others.

This was a lost opportunity that may not be seen again for a long time.

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