How about the internet? On the one hand it’s super awesome, connecting us to each other in ways we’d never dreamed of and giving us access to information with a few keystrokes and a deft return. On the other hand it connects us to other people and gives us access to information with the click of a mouse. Double-edged sword and all.
Over the past few weeks there’s been an outpouring of terrible news online, hasn’t there? Related to terrible things people are experiencing in their real lives, worldwide. Just logging into Facebook or Twitter might mean we’re faced with images of atrocities in Gaza or debris in the Ukraine or the loss of someone beloved. I wonder if when the gang invented Twitter they realised it would be used to disseminate really disturbing images of war crimes or hard-core p*rn or propaganda. I bet they didn’t. They must hate that.
It couldn’t be said that a platform like Twitter isn’t really useful and interesting though, because it is. It can be super entertaining and friendly, for sure. On a broader level though it’s often super unfiltered with hashtag hijackers forcing users to toughen up (and learn to unsee some things we wish we hadn’t) as a result of extremist tweets.
Facebook is a bit the same, right, perhaps on a less graphic level? The domino-effect of liking and sharing and sharing again means lots of images are pushed into our newsfeed via people we may not even be connected to directly. Surrounding yourself with like-minded souls on there provides no relief as FB serves us related stories and content, often based on what our friends and their friends are doing – not just related to our own behaviour online. It’s enough to make you unfriend the newspapers, quit FB and go back to writing letters and ringing pals up, I swear.
Still. You can’t pretend this stuff isn’t happening either. A lot of it needs to be seen, despite our often vocal complaints. It’s not enough to say ‘I refuse to look at the news’ or ‘I don’t read any media sites’, I don’t reckon.
Many of us live a pretty privileged existence. Censoring our view of the world for our own peace of mind is a bit unfair to those who are living in less comfy circumstance. For sure, don’t look at the stuff that would never have made it to the media 10 years ago (why are we served such graphic content now? Are we so addicted to ‘reality’? Is it just fuelled by the dollar and the more awful the image, the more clicks, the more bucks?) But don’t pretend it’s not happening or doesn’t concern our cosy corner of the world either. Stay on top of the issues and care.
I am sure you agree we need to educate ourselves about what is going on and why. It’s our responsibility as peeps of the world to find ways to help (even if we are clicking away from the images and headlines at the same time – click away and help!) If we can just divert our alarm/grief/terror/sadness into something good, maybe we can funnel the crapness into something that will impact positively in some way?
Hm. Or something. I don’t know really. I just think we need to keep this stuff at the forefront and not hide behind ‘media fatigue’ or ‘I’m very sensitive’ type excuses. Please let’s keep our eyes open to this and do anything we can to help.
PS: And don’t get so caught up in explaining your own connection/feelings about tragedy that you forget about how the people actually involved might be feeling. SO MUCH of that on Facebook. I don’t like it. It’s often not all about us, right?!