Social Media Activism: An Epidemic

The world is moving. Communication is stronger than ever, with smartphones, social media, and the Internet. It’s a wonderful thing, to be sure, but as always, with the good comes the bad. Many would say wasting time on the Internet surfing Youtube for funny trending videos and clicking through countless hysterical memes are a waste of time and technology. After all, we should use technology for the greater good of mankind, right?

These are the same people whose Facebook timelines are cluttered with posts supporting every little environmental, political, and animal rights cause (to name a few) they come across.

These are the people who I refuse to allow to pollute my newsfeed.

Now, before you call me a bitter sociopath—even if I am one—I’m not saying I’m against people supporting good causes. I love seeing my friends dedicating time and (virtual) space to the things they are passionate about. I just also know some of my friends well enough to look at something they’ve posted and think, “Who are you trying to kid?”

Anyone else already sick of seeing this as everyone’s profile picture?

The foremost problem, in my mind, of supporting too many causes on social media is the lack of doing anything else about it. So, you want better treatment for animals on farms? Let’s just post this informative video up showing the horrific conditions farm animals are subjected to. After that: McDonald’s!

If you feel strongly enough about something to share it with everyone you know (and probably hundreds you’ve never met), make sure you’re not stopping at useless Facebook posts. Remember Kony 2012? How many people posted about it? How many did anything beyond infecting Facebook like a plague with impotent posts? For probably 99% of those, the answer is, “Nothing,” and the entire campaign was dead as quick as it started.

One thing we can all agree on? This was the most ineffective Internet campaign ever…even if it was well-intentioned.

Another problem is that posting for every little cause results in the most ridiculous posts ever. The other day one of my friends on Facebook shared a post of a picture that said something along the lines of, “I’m against child abuse. Repost if you are.” Dude, EVERYONE’S against child abuse! That’s like saying, “Share if you live on planet Earth.” What’s the point? It’s just pointless noise on the Internet; it’s not comical, informative, or unique, and it makes absolutely no difference to anything in the world. Period.

So that I don’t end this alienating the masses with my cynicism, I will say that if there’s a cause you are passionate about, post all you want—just don’t stop there. Donate money or time, and if you have neither, at least encourage others to do what they can, and maybe pray (if you do that; if not, send out happy thoughts?). And for goodness sake, realize you don’t have time to support every little cause out there. Devote your energy toward a handful of causes you can give a lot for rather than innocuous posts about every little cause you come across. Except PETA. Never, ever support PETA.

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7 Comments

  1. I completely agree. And people should know exactly what it is they are supporting, and what those organizations believe. PETA is the best example, really. Like you, I despise them. They come to dog shows and let dogs out of their crates. Terrified dogs get hit by cars. Pretty ethical, right?

    Reply
    • I didn’t touch on people knowing what they’re supporting, but that is incredibly important, too. As for PETA, they’re hypocrites and they do the most outrageous things for attention.

      Reply
  2. I agree with what you are talking about. I become so tired of seeing so many advertisements in my news-feed that were posted by my friends. It is good that they support a cause, but a lot of them don’t actually support it. They repost it because it sounds good, and is something that another friend has previously posted. I also get sick of seeing the most idiotic and incorrect posts ever. People should be careful of what they post because it can end up making them sound ignorant and insensitive.

    Reply
    • I personally think a lot of people are guilted into it. The picture shows something horrific like starving children in Haiti, and people think, “I’d be a monster not to share this.” The problem is sharing a picture of starving children only urges others to do the same and nothing actually gets done, yet it alleviates the guilt because the person thinks he or she is contributing something.

      Reply
  3. Great thoughts. I’ve hidden about half of my friends’ newsfeeds for the very same reason. Over saturation – instead of making me want to support a cause, it was making me bitter. I just want to see kittens when I log into Facebook!

    Reply
  4. Wonderful point. The mind can go in a thousand directions during this sweet, short existence. May all be well.

    Reply
  5. Reblogged this on Time for Action.

    Reply

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