Link of the Day: People for Good

Lately, you may have seen ads for People for Good scattered throughout the city. Their mission is “to make the world a better place, one good deed at a time. It may sound ambitious but it’s easier than you’d think.”

The site asks for no donations, and simply exists to advance the idea of doing good deeds in daily life. They provide their own ideas, of course, and they invite visitors to submit their own. You can also connect to the group’s community through Facebook and keep the conversation going.

Posted in Link of the Day

4 Responses to “Link of the Day: People for Good”

  1. Mike says:

    There’s something very wrong with this campaign.

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks for the link, Mike. Respectfully, I don’t think you’ve really made the case that there’s anything “very wrong” with this campaign. At best, you’ve argued that there’s something “not good enough” about it, and that case is based on your own personal assumptions of what the campaign ought to be about instead.

    I was frustrated by the lack of contact information on the site, and I appreciate the digging you’ve done, but it’s got to be said that the involvement of corporate sponsors in this project isn’t grounds to write it off as some kind of grand capitalist conspiracy. Indeed, to anyone who’s ever been involved in a project of this scale, it shouldn’t even come as a surprise that corporate backing was involved.

    Similarly, when a bunch of corporate media conglomerates come together to back a campaign like this, which uses their billboards and their advertising space, that’s not necessarily a campaign to control public opinion. It’s far more likely to be a sweet tax write-off – and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

    Either way, your central claim that the “rejection of any suggestion bearing the potential for political progress is nothing less than censorship” is a major leap in logic. You can argue that ideas like “reduce oil consumption” and “free Iraq” were rejected in order to keep the people down, but I think it’s far more likely that they were rejected because they’re not what this campaign is about.

    How is one person, in the course of their daily life, supposed to just “free Iraq?”

    These are definitely light ideas, and they shouldn’t be confused with genuine activism. That doesn’t mean that the campaign is somehow an instrument against progress; it only means that its operating on a different, lesser level than you’d like it to operate.

    Nonetheless, I think we can all appreciate your reminder that we can do more with our lives than simply treat each other with common courtesy. So again, thanks for the link.

  3. Mike says:

    Well, “Free Iraq” is sort of a joke – an extreme (and cryptic) possibility of “good” which could be enacted. But your right – this could not easily be accomplished in our day to day interactions (unless our investment advisors or bankers happen to put our money in Lockheed Martin, or Haliburton, etc).

    That said, we could very easily “reduce oil consumption” to help spur real world change, making life easier for the people of Iraq and Athabasca (for instance), and avoiding enormous environmental disasters. We could make an effort to buy local products, to drive less, to use less plastic, and (as consumers) to reduce the demands we place on the Oil industry. My suggestions as innocuous as “Drive less” were rejected as well.

    I think a lot of people attracted to this campaign are open to new ideas, and while I have no problem with reminders of benevolence peppered throughout the public sphere, I see this campaign a lost opportunity to connect people with methods that might do a great deal to improve our society. If the world is to become “a better place”, it’ll take more than smiles – we need to do our best to make and spend each dollar ethically.

    And, although I prefer corporate ads for courtesy than for cars, I took offense to the campaign presenting itself as a “social movement” with a “manifesto” – it makes the campaign seem eager to substitute itself for any real public action. You are correct to say “These are definitely light ideas, and they shouldn’t be confused with genuine activism” but I think the campaign’s language has the effect (intentional or otherwise) of selling these light ideas as activism.

    But, your critique is fair – “very wrong” was applied a little hastily. I see this as misdirected energy, not malevolence.

    Thanks for the thoughtful response!

  4. Matt says:

    And thank you for yours, Mike! You’re right to say that the campaign’s presentation of itself is at best a bit of misdirection, and you’re right to say that there’s a great opportunity to do a lot more than the simple courtesies listed on this site.

    I just thought it was a leap to suggest they were part of the problem, just because they were reluctant to be part of your proposed solutions. Certainly there are a great many other campaigns out there that are taking action on these issues, and I think the more of those we highlight, the better.

    Again, thanks for introducing me to your site! I look forward to reading more.