There is no doubt that since it burst on the scene, Social Media has taken the world by storm, changing the very nature of communication, heralding in a hitherto unseen golden age of instantaneous transmission and reception of process.
From the seeds of Orkut and MySpace sprung the massive behemoth of social media that is Facebook, followed by Twitter, and later, Google Plus. These have in turn given way to instant messaging and pictorial messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat to name a few. With all of this, communication is possible on a global scale, the likes of which has never been possible in all known history of mankind.
Everyone is keen to put their views about current events on these sites. Indeed, even if it is something personal, people do not feel content with their activities until they have been recorded and displayed on social media. Everyone considers themselves an expert on world affairs, sports, global events and the like as they follow the news on news sites and post their ‘findings’ and ‘deductions’ on their Facebook and Twitter feeds. Everyone’s an armchair expert.
This trend was soon followed by the trend of armchair activism. Doesn’t ring a bell? Well, have you ever signed a Change.org petition online to support some or the other cause? Of course you have. You sign a petition which needs x amount of signatures and then you feel content that you have done something for the cause, that you have helped someone in trouble, perhaps even championed their case and brought it into the limelight, all without leaving the comfort of your chair. This is just one example among many.
Of course, your signature was important to bring the issue to light, the more the signees the more traction that petition will get and have a chance at resolution, but at the end of the day those who actually created it and brought it to fulfilment were the real leaders and change-makers. Not you, no. All you did was sign and show your support for the cause without truly taking efforts to bring about some change. The question is – did you do it to truly help someone or did you just do it to feel good about yourselves?
Real change does not just happen from the cushiony comfort of our couches and homes. No, if you truly feel about a cause then read and research about it, check up with NGO’s who may be doing work in that sector and see if you can help in some tangible way. It can be by volunteering and helping out, by teaching and educating others about it, it doesn’t necessarily have to involve you donating money to the cause. There are many ways in which you can help and bring about change and become a flagbearer for the cause, but it is not going to happen through social media activism as you chomp on chips and sign and share a few petitions and statuses. Sure, that will help the cause get visibility, but true change has to happen in the real world, and not stay restricted to the virtual world.
The ball is in your court. Make it happen.
Be the champions of the downtrodden, help those who are hurting. Let your humanity burn like a kindling fire against the darkness trying to drown the world in despair.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.