Activism for Animal Rights

I chose to focus on PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for my blog post this week.  Aesthetically, the two sites look similar on grounds of color choice and raw layout, providing blurbs for highlighted articles and pieces of information over a predominantly white and blue background.  A key difference that struck me, however, was how much more modern the PETA website was over the MoveOn site.  Peta utilized embedded video, a scrolling catalog of products, and an updating Facebook panel right on their homepage.  Additionally, the top banner touted many more sections and subsections than the MoveOn homepage.  The last key difference was a heavy presence of celebrity on the PETA website that seemed to be absent from MoveOn.  Pictures of actors’ faces were posted front and center so that visitors may see a sampling of famous figures that are in support of the movement.  Also, articles were highlighted promoting the latest vegan footwear and polling to see who was the hottest vegetarian, as well as who has the cutest vegetarian baby.  Whether or not this trivializes the cause in the eyes of visitors could not be determined without more in depth research, but it does seem to bring a sense of community to the site.

I think that the PETA website, in terms of being a facilitator of activism, is likely to be very effective for members of that community.  All the highlights of the MoveOn site mentioned in the Rohlinger & Brown article (anonymity, comment areas, information for locally based action, etc.) are all found at the PETA website.  What struck me the most was the panel on the right side of the homepage that had alerts for different issues to get involved with.  Clicking on the Action section at the top brought me to a page with information on how to write letters to the head of the Coach handbag company to stop using fur, sign petitions for causes, and find where you can locally gather for a “rather be naked than wear fur” event.  Community solidarity seemed like it was enhanced with links to follow them on twitter and Facebook.  I fear, however, that the latter social networking tool may get in the way of some of the benefits of anonymity in activist participation.  Other sections included print and video media, interactive games, and articles on how to live an animal friendly lifestyle.  Overall, I would have to say that if one were to utilize all the tools available on the PETA website, aside from Facebook functionality, they would be more involved in their cause than users of the MoveOn site would be in their cause.

7 Responses to “Activism for Animal Rights”
  1. tinamomo says:

    I agree with you that PETA’s webpage is more fun to explore and it made smart use of celebrities to promote its image. But I also like MoveOn’s webpage for its conciseness and the clarity of its campaigns. I think unlike other activist groups, PETA has already built its brand. I found on that the organization is selling all kinds of interesting stuffs. I don’t really have a problem with its incorporating Facebook on its webpage since PETA is not a political activist group. Actually, some people maybe proud of their vegetarian identity.

  2. clocke22 says:

    I think the celebrity difference you point out is notable. It kind of goes back to the issue we discussed in class about whether celebrity news is news or whether The Daily Show as a news source is valid. I think alot of it is in the packaging — dead animals aren’t sexy but naked celebrities are. If the celebrities draw in the people who then take activist steps, does it matter? Or is the whole thing kind of cheapened? I don’t really know, but I think if you are watching news and forming opinions about something that it is good, even if the news is from The Daily Show and the PETA sympathizing only comes after trying to look at famous people naked. Plus there will always be people to turn their noses up at popular culture, so I don’t think for now there is a risk of us all turning into Idiocracy. At least I hope not.

  3. ltn0913 says:

    I’ve never seen PETA’s website before, and it is very pleasant to look at, the colors, pictures, and the font etc., and I think it’s very smart of PETA to use celebrity pictures because they are more influential than common people, it would help to gather more support or members. It’s totally true that PETA is more modern than, and probably MoveOn could work on their modernity.

  4. fanninchen says:

    You brought up an interesting idea that follow those political’s Facebook might damage the anonymous of the benefit of the internet, but there are still 102,761 People Like on Facebook, though it’s a lot lesser then the 5,000,000 members on their website. However, on the other hand, I think it’s much safer then join an animal rights activism organization than an political one. Because we might not loss our jobs if we stop eating meat.

  5. morganyang says:

    You really did a detailed difference analysis of both two sites. I think the more interesting and modern looking the site are, the greater possibility the organization will attract members. Like you mentioned that you worrt about the anonymity online. I found that bothe sites have sign up click. It the the thing I fear that once you sign up to the website as a member, your information is easily leak out by the attack of some cybercrime. So, I am afraid that I can’t agree with the two authors in the article that the benefit of “Anonymity”.

  6. I am so happy you and at least one other student mentioned the design of these websites. I would expect that as savvy Web users, you all notice outdated designs, but not many students said much about design choices — except there was a lot of notice given to the preeminence of red, white and blue color palettes.

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