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Social Media Activism & You!

posted Apr 17, 2012, 6:08 PM by Kaya Savas

Social media may be one of the greatest tools of modern times. However, when more people are using it then the more its effectiveness is lost. Social media has changed the way we receive news, the way we advertise, publish ideas and connect with those around us. Itʼs also chock full of morons who post first and ask questions later. Iʼm talking to all the social “activists” on Twitter and Facebook. If you changed your profile picture in support of a cause, posted a “please repost” support claim, liked a picture of a sick person for support, shared a photo with an attached story or reposted Kony 2012 then this applies to you. While social media is a great way of spreading a message itʼs also a great way to spread lies. It also exposes a scary laziness and gullibility amongst social media users. I wanted to write this article in the midst of the Kony craze, but now that everyone has already stopped caring maybe we can all be a bit self-reflexive.

We live in a world where over 7 billion people are trying to survive and stay one step ahead of the competition. As much as people see cynicism as a flaw I do think a healthy amount of it is needed to survive in this world. I believe in co-existing with my fellow humans and the “live together or die alone” mentality, but if someone offered me $100 on the street I would still be cautious. For some reason that cautious mentality goes straight out the window online. When I read a post of a professor and student arguing about god that claims it was Einstein as a student I donʼt immediately hit “Share”. I ask questions. I ask questions because it seems unlikely anyone would have a transcript of Einstein talking to his professor in class. Plus to have Einstein disproving science with religion is a red flag too. Yet tens of thousands of people have reposted it. A picture of a monkey saving a dog said to be taken at a Chinese plant explosion was in reality just a picture of a monkey carrying a puppy traced back to the mid 90ʼs. A man sitting alone at a restaurant is magically a story about a man spending valentineʼs day alone after his wife passed away. The list goes on, and while Iʼm not saying all are fabricated the majority are. Are people that gullible? Kony was the biggest proof at how easily manipulated we are. Iʼm not talking about the cause or the charity (which are both real), but just the sheer act of reposting that video within a few days to tens of millions of viewers. No questions asked, just repost. If someone gave you 100 Kony fliers on the street and asked you to hand them out, would you? I doubt it. The fact that people didn't know that child soldiers in Africa was a huge problem in the 80's and 90's and now all of a sudden care is the tipping point.

The laziness associated with social activism is astounding. It also irks me that people think theyʼre making a difference with it; that they are indeed helping a cause. Itʼs that behavior that irritates me. The sense of pride people post with as if itʼs their idea or their cause. Just recently a species of Rhino was declared extinct from poaching. How many times did you see that story on Facebook? The point of this isnʼt to put down the people who excessively share these anonymous Facebook picture stories and bite into fads. Itʼs to hopefully urge you to ask questions. We must always ask questions and not just accept whatʼs given to us. Like it or not the majority of people looking to succeed in any fashion on this planet will do so by exploiting others. Facebook and Twitter are not trustworthy sources of information mostly because itʼs meant for folks like you and me to post personal thoughts and biased expressions. Just like this article; itʼs not news but only an opinion. Most of those stories are expressions and opinions being passed as fact only to be slurped by the mass public. So, please question the truth and use your google bar to do some research. Donʼt automatically repost a chain thread because it tugged on your emotions for a split second. You will not only de-clutter your Facebook from fabricated lies but help stop this zombie method of posting. Also a link from CNN or another news source that checks their facts will seem a bit more credible to your followers and readers. Will people ever stop? No. Is it hurting anybody? No. It's just irritating when I see a fake story with a stock photo and 45,046 likes and 567 comments. Please research before reposting.

*Note: Sharing this article on Facebook will not save a starving child; food will.