It is very easy to click Like or Share on Facebook. It requires no more effort than moving the mouse to the desired location and setting you finger down for a split second — though in the case of Share it requires do the same to click the button to create the post.

Going out and doing something requires effort.

It is one of the reasons I get extremely frustrated when I see images like this:

10342448_685740681503939_2673944626941795340_nLet me fill in a little of my history here and hopefully it’ll be clear as to why this image pisses me off. First, open Google and search the phrase “Fairfield cat killers”.

Back in 1997 I lived in Fairfield, Iowa. I was a junior at Fairfield High School when three guys, also students at Fairfield High, allegedly drunk at the time, decided to go to the Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter and wreak havoc, swinging a baseball bat at anything that moved. In the end they killed 16 cats and severely injured 7 more.

Now back in 1997 the Internet wasn’t nearly as widespread as it was today. I couldn’t just write a quick blip on a blog, or create a cute little image like the one above on Facebook, or tweet my support for the animal shelter and how I’m against animal cruelty. Instead actions were required. You had to actually get out and do something.

And I did. I volunteered at Noah’s Ark.

I also had a cat at the time, and he definitely made sure to tell me how much of a mistake I had made, so unfortunately it was only for a day that I volunteered. Now I was in high school, and most high schools require community service as a condition for graduating. Except I never reported the time to my school. Instead I worked for a couple days at the local library for the community service time that I actually reported.

And though I only worked a day at Noah’s Ark, I’ve still done more with regard to animal cruelty than anyone who merely clicks “Like” or “Share” on any picture like the above one, or tweets or reblogs or upvotes, or whatever word happens to apply to the social network of your choice.

If you want to do something to actually bring animal cruelty to an end, you need to be active outside your home. Donate your time — even if it’s just a day — or your money to a shelter or the ASPCA. Then you’re actually doing something, and you can truly say you are against animal cruelty.

Actions always speak louder than words, and getting out and doing something will always mean more than merely “sharing” something online.