For most of us, when we open our Facebook pages, we are immediately bombarded with awkward status updates, photos from “5 years ago today,” advertisements for something googled yesterday, and posts from Facebook friends sharing various forms of media with lengthy captions detailing their personal thought on the matter at hand.
Welcome to the world of Facebook hypocrisy.
It isn’t a surprise that our culture has become so susceptible to the control of social media. In our generation it has become a trend that many individuals are self-centered and pleasure seeking individuals who use social media as a way to fuel desires for self-worth. Social media platforms have also become some of the main platforms of communication. Even the President’s main communication gateway to the public is via Twitter.
Facebook and other social media platforms have become avenues for expression, inquiry, relief, and more. With just a click of a button we can go from watching tasty videos of easy at-home recipes to live footage of the August White Supremacist Rallies in Charlottesville; Facebook has our culture eating from its hand.
Facebook is so dynamic and progressive for the very same reasons it is so unproductive and ineffective. We tend to look on the bright side of things because life seems to be easier that way, but for the sake of offering a new perspective on how Facebook is framing our generation, let’s consider a more cynical approach.
Our culture prides Facebook for the ease to which it establishes connections, fosters relationships, offers the latest news and entertainment, and gives anyone with a computer a voice. Without a doubt, there are many advantages to our culture’s near obsession with the social networking site and there is no reason to discredit those advantages. The main problem with Facebook involves the cluttered newsfeed filled with paragraph-long responses regarding social and political issues that hold real, tangible importance. It is quite phenomenal to see a political issue gain so much attention through social media platforms like Facebook.
The lengthy status updates, geared towards breaking down highly controversial issues and bringing up important current events, are hopeful in terms of getting information out to the public quickly. Although the topics from these online posts are often debated, the motives behind those posts are promising. It is to our benefit that there exists a platform where people from different areas, backgrounds, beliefs, and so on, can have conversations about social and political issues when needed. As much as our culture craves being right at all costs, it is so beneficial that this platform to which we express ourselves meets us with opposition and challenge.
But how much change are our posts really making? Some users may overestimate the power of a mere Facebook status update or lengthy interpretation of an article offers any tangible change or “good” to the world. Sharing a voice is promising, but inciting change and taking action from that voice is more powerful. Too often do our expressions of good faith in the media wind up in the dead ends where the Facebook hypocrisy is born. When a politically fueled post finally disappears from the most-recent newsfeed, what is really being done to further the voice? In this way our culture embodies the man behind the curtain from the Wizard of Oz.
The only way to make a tangible difference in something is to “be the change you wish to see in the world,” according to Gandhi. When he said this, Gandhi used the verb “be” to describe the concrete existence of something. If all we do is just say something or make a post on Facebook expressing the need for reform, no change is actually going to happen.
Our culture does not lack the intelligence, capability, or tools to palpably persist in our Facebook pursuits. With a little fire under us, a lot can be accomplished in tangible actions of social and political change, first inspired from the thoughtful expressions of good faith we share on Facebook.