Your Mind

Dear Social Media Socialites…

By December 23, 2015 0

I’ll say it: social media is a curse.

It gives every Bob, Joe, and Betty a voice–a FREE┬ávoice, that they can use any time they’d like, in any means that they’d wish. I’m a prime example: here I am, writing a blog — who the hell wants to listen to me? What do I know?

Nothing. I know nothing! At least I’m admitting it.

The idea for this post started with the stupid Starbucks cup debacle. As I casually strolled through my Facebook feed, iffy, unreliable online news agencies posted articles relaying the fact that Christians were taking to Twitter to complain about the ombre red Starbucks cup.

I didn’t even justify it with a click and a view. If some Bible belt housewife has nothing better to do than complain about the choice holiday decor of an international coffee chain, then more power to her. I was more angry that the news outlets were even giving her argument a voice. Why do I need to know about this? Why is this so important? Am I supposed to jump on the bandwagon? Get angry and defend my own position on the matter? What reaction, exactly, were they looking for by covering this “story?”

It was a matter of hours before the same news agencies posted articles with titles like “I’m A Christian, And The Starbucks Cup Doesn’t Bother Me At All.” Here we go. We popped out of the woodwork to defend our case. Don’t label me along with other crazies! I’m a Christian, AND a Starbucks lover, AND I don’t care what holiday theme decorates my coffee cup as long as I get caffeine into my bloodstream!

Well, thank goodness we got all that straight. I was really beginning to worry that all Christians everywhere would demand crosses and rosaries illuminating every consumable this holiday season. Thank you, news agencies, for ensuring we came to this happy conclusion. Thanks, Social Media Socialites, for vocalizing about such a pressing issue.

Those articles thankfully dwindled, finally, and then we were rocked with a real international tragedy.

Paris is ridden with anguish, sadness, and despair. Hearts ache all over the world for the innocent lives lost in a horrible, condemnable, and worst of all, planned act as unspeakable as any. And there goes the Facebook feeds, posting, posting, posting. Flags over profile pictures. Homages and memorials to those lost in the senseless finality of gunfire and explosions.

I perused my Facebook feed Saturday like a polite witness to a funeral, like someone who knew the guy but just wanted to pay my respects, didn’t want to rock any boats or draw any attention. I read headlines but didn’t click. I peeked at some pictures but already knew the horror, the terror, the senselessness; I didn’t need all the gritty details. My heart was mourning all the same, and it sent rays of endless prayers and love and hope across the big wide Atlantic Ocean and straight to France, all weekend long.

And: boom. There I am, still idling around the situation in general, still tip-toeing around the facts, like I wasn’t worthy of knowing the whole story yet, and there they come. Suddenly posts and status updates and news articles flash, “Attacks Happened In Beirut And No One Cared.” “This Guy Saved Hundreds And You Never Knew.” All over the place. Now we’re all to blame, now we’re all at fault, because horrible acts happen all over the world every day and since we care so much about this one, it must invariably mean we don’t care about those, and we are horrible for it.

I was angry at the world for their free voice this weekend. I was angry for how small the corners of the Earth have become, how close everything suddenly is. Everyone has internet and a camera and 140 characters to say something about it. It’s an amazing blessing but an immense curse. How dare you tell me I “didn’t care” about the other tragedies in the world. How dare you blame someone else for what they do or do not “know.”

Social_media_fear

I read this article today, posted by an apparently intelligent Facebook friend on my Newsfeed, via Quartz by Emma Kelly, and it made me feel better. Oh, so much better. Please read it — stop reading this and read that instead. I was so glad someone had the voice to say and affirm what I cannot, because as I said before, I know nothing (#jonsnowlives). To quote the article — not even the article, but just its title: “The Media Did Cover The Attacks In Beirut And Kenya, You Just Weren’t Paying Attention.” And neither was I. There, now we’re all guilty.

I have a message for you, Social Media Socialites. It’s not Wednesday, and we don’t wear pink. If you aim to freely share your opinion, please be honest with yourself and the world first. Please realize that you are no better than the person reading your blast of characters into the WiFi airwaves. Please realize that we are human beings, and we are often wrong, and we are often mistaken, and that in that fact lies the true beauty of our nature; that we are flawed, and messy, and cruel, but that we manage to produce the most resplendent, most delicate, most stunning pieces of love, words, art, and beauty that the world has ever known. Spend your time spreading and sharing your love. Spend your time reading articles that make you happy, that inspire you, that make you want to do more and say less. Educate yourself. Watch from the sidelines. Share and enjoy but do not hate and berate; the world has enough of that. It’s what we battle every day. You can’t win the battle you continue to rage yourself. Learn from this big, wide world of information we have at our fingertips. Hate breads hate. Whether you’re bitching about a Starbucks cup or about news coverage you’re convinced you “didn’t” have access to or about the all-day breakfast menu at McDonald’s, be informed, and consider being a polite observer; take a breath, regain your composure, and follow your mama’s advice: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

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