I have been thinking about social media and how it has made us lazy. Yes, social media allows us to sit on our backsides, click a few cat pictures (potentially cats in distress) and makes us feel like we have ‘saved the world’. Or if you are a bit more gifted, perhaps you’ll write about something – like I am attempting – post it on your blog, share it on twitter and Face Book and think you’ve done your part.
But have you? Really? Have you ‘changed the world’, one tweet at a time?
Do hash tag campaigns really do much, apart from bring people’s short-attention spans to focus on one thing, even if it is for a few hours? What happens after this? Did #bringbackkourgirls do much? In this case, as this Guardian article argues, this campaign only solidified America’s military involvement, and intervention – an unintended consequence of a well-intentioned campaign.
As this journalist, writing about racists in Britain points out, “Hell, in a world where the video of a man singing in Korean and doing that strangely iconic horse-riding dance can get 2.5 billion views on YouTube, 1.3 million becomes a bit of an empty number, doesn’t it? Pressing like on a Facebook page requires less thought, less commitment and less accountability than signing up to a political party.” Her point is that real political change takes time, effort and actual on-the-ground mobilization. And not just social media activism.
If the mere spectacle of social change is what we are after, then perhaps social media helps us get there – but real change, lasting change takes time. And effort. Real effort.
If you’ve been trying to lose 20 pounds of fat on your body, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about.