Maybe it’s something in the water. Over the last few days, I’ve been reading some pretty good rants on several blogs I follow. There’s nothing wrong with a good rant every now and then. I enjoy having a rant from time to time. This is gonna be one of them.
This rant is inspired by the content of a post I read yesterday over at saneteachers about Barb’s pet peeves regarding the Facebook. She and I actually got into something of a conversation via her comment section and she suggested I turn my comments into a legit blog post. And since I’m always open to ideas and suggestions for new posts, I’m gonna run with it.
For starters, I really think you should navigate over to her blog and read her original post. I’m not going to rehash everything she said here because that’s blatant plagiarism. Not that I’m above plagiarizing things. But everyone enjoys getting some extra blog traffic. So, seriously, go read what she wrote. I’ll still be here when you get back.
Anyway, after reading her thoughts on Facebook statuses that
demand encourage people to like or share or copy and paste their words, I couldn’t help but think about my own frustrations with that particular phenomenon in social media. And I do have some thoughts. And frustrations.
First of all, if I come across a status about the social injustice of the month that says, “Like or share if you agree,” I’m guaranteed to not do either of those things. In fact, I’m more likely to add that person to my unfollowed list.
For the record, I won’t just unfriend someone on Facebook for the simple fact that I know my status updates are hilarious and I don’t want to deprive anyone of those special moments. Insert winky face here.
Also, if I see a status that begins with some variation of the phrase, “I know most people won’t read this,” I take that as a cue to skip it all together. Kids, at no point in history did we ever reach a point where one can make a difference in the world by clicking like on someone’s Facebook post.
There are a lot of people that I’m friends with on Facebook or follow on Twitter that I know are guilty of this phenomenon. In recent months, I know I’ve unfollowed a lot of people. If you’re reading this and you happen to be one of them, I apologize. It’s not personal.* Some of those people are even blood relatives. Do I feel guilty about unfollowing these people? Nope.
When I made a comment on Barb’s post about making a difference by clicking like, she went on to respond by asking, “Do you think people really think they’ll make a difference? Or does it just make them feel better?”
My guess is it just makes them feel better. Because they click a button or type a hashtag and they can feel a small sense of accomplishment without ever leaving the safety of their sofa. The fact of the matter is, someone who’s just clicking the like button isn’t taking ownership of the issue and they’re not taking it upon themselves to step out into the world to take a stand for anything.
As for the status posters, I really think most of those are copied and pasted from someone else’s status. Who knows from where it originated? Thing is, that’s the kind of thing that gets you unfollowed in my book. And, you know what? Those people I’ve unfollowed won’t actually know that I’ve unfollowed them or that I’m no longer seeing their statuses. Because I’m able to passive-aggressively take a stand from the safety of my sofa.
Sharing a status or retweeting a hashtag is our millennial way of lying to ourselves about the difference we make in the world.
I’ve been guilty of it, too. Remember the ice bucket challenge? How many of us filmed ourselves dumping ice water over our heads without donating a cent to ALS research? I know I didn’t. I don’t think that makes me a horrible person. But I also can’t fool myself into believing that I made a difference in modern medicine’s ability to fight that horrible disease. I caught myself on camera experiencing momentary discomfort. I patted myself on the back and moved on.
And that’s the thing. We, as a society, like to come up with causes. We have groups and issues that we like to support by posting things on social media. But until we’re able to close our laptops or put down our tablets and actually get our hands dirty, none of those causes or groups or issues will be changed by anything we do.
I almost decided to end this post by telling you to keep on liking and sharing those statuses and tweets. But I’m not gonna do that. If you want to make a difference in the world, then get out there and do something that’s gonna make a difference in the world. No one ever changed the world by sitting on their butts and pointing the cursor to the like button. Save your likes for adorable pictures of your friends’ babies and videos of cats doing cat things and my status updates which are, more often than not, hilarious and not at all copied and pasted from other uncited sources.
*It’s totally personal. Your Facebook status updates have been obnoxious and/or incredibly negative and life is too short for me to waste time on your misspelled or grammatically incorrect attempt to change the world from the safety of your sofa.
6 thoughts on “A Social Media Rant”
Thank you for the compliment of sending people my way (the door is always open). And I’m very glad to continue our conversation here. You bring up an interesting point about the fact that by clicking we aren’t changing anything. We are acting as if we are affecting change. That implies a step beyond just agreeing. It implies conning ourselves. I grew up in the ’60s/’70s. We were all about social justice. I think I still am. But forget even clicking. Forget even talking about. As you said, let’s get off our butts and get into action. Thanks, Aaron, for reminding me that it is in the doing, that we affect change. Personal and societal. One person at a time.
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I’ve always had a problem with those “Like and share if you agree”. What’s even worse are those posts saying “Like and share if you care at all. I know you won’t.” Rather than the last one making me feel like garbage, I actually just want to punch the person in the throat. This was definitely one of the main reasons I left Facebook. I couldn’t escape these statuses even if I tried with all my might.
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Yes! Throat punch!
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Yes to all of this. I think people who share those chain messages just do it as a way to say, “Hey look at me, I’m making a difference!” I hate those post that are to “raise awareness” for a cause and start of as saying, “Leave this as your status for an hour…”. Like what is an hour going to do? Remember #Kony2012? People were enraged for all of two weeks. I don’t think anything came of that.
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I think two weeks on the Kony thing is being generous.
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