“Kony 2012.” “Ice Bucket Challenge.” “Find Our Girls.”
For anyone who spends a decent amount of time on the internet, I’m sure you’ve heard about these. Kony 2012 was pretty much raising awareness about an African child army. The ice bucket challenge was for ALS. Find our girls is bringing awareness to societal bias in addressing crime for POC. All of these causes are amazing, necessary, and important. To make something trend-worthy on social media is a genius way to create awareness and even bring in funds. It’s awesome how today we have access to so much information and are kept aware of the things going on in our world. It’s great to see people so moved by something they weren’t aware of. These are my positive thoughts.
Then, of course, come my negative thoughts. Posting on social media for attention is something we are all guilty of. I mean really, in the end, we’re sharing things to get reactions. We don’t post our wedding photos for archiving; we post them to get likes. And that’s fine. I shared the Kony 2012 video when it came out. But, in the fashion of social media, we often post things we want in order to portray the person we’d like to be seen as. When I see certain things trending, it’s not the content that’s being shared that leads me to negative thoughts. Often times, I can’t help but think about the person in real life versus the person they portray on the internet, and more often then not, it doesn’t quite seem to match up. I suppose it’s the lack of authenticity that makes me think “this person is posting this to try to act like they care about something.” To me, I can’t help but draw parallels between someone’s sudden passion for palm oil and a selfie of someone giving McDonalds to a homeless man; it’s the humble brag.
I suppose where I find my frustration with this is things like this are often accompanied with a somewhat argumentative tone, like a shared video of some cause captioned with “Do your research,” in which they themselves didn’t do their research until like 30 minutes ago. It’s the “holier than thou” arguments that often happen in the comment sections of videos like this that frustrate me. Like, recently, I’ve noticed a big trend with a lot of people growing out their body hair. That’s great and it’s important for people to know that women can do whatever the fuck they want. But if I’m being honest here, I’ve never been particularly moved by someone saying “See! Look at my leg hair, I’m empowered,” or “Look at how much money I’ve donated to charity!” It’s usually when someone I know and I think is cool lifts up their pants and unexpectedly has marvelously hairy legs, or the person who seems like a dick volunteers with kids on the weekends. I guess it’s the element of surprise that usually leaves a greater impact.
I know some people reading this are going to try to make the argument “Well, at least they’re bringing awareness to these causes and who are you to belittle and blah blah blah.” To that, I agree. I think the internet is a great way to bring awareness to causes and ultimately does more good than harm. I’m not saying everyone who posts something is doing it for attention. I’m just pointing out that I’ve seen a lot of these causes come and go and I can’t help but notice how people often become passionate about things as soon as others are becoming passionate about that same thing. It’s not the cause, nor the sharing I’m necessarily questioning; it’s the subconscious motive, which I often question of myself, and wonder if others do the same thing too.