Recent events worldwide have brought many people to social media to reflect, share and be part of a virtual support network.
This in turn has drawn some to observe the futility of pressing “Like” or “Share” unless it is accompanied by action.
It can be tempting to wade in either in support or defence of the original posts, likers, sharers, cynics or realists. However, it is important to remember what I like to think of as Dan’s Uncle Keith.
So, I refrain from sharing broad-stroke stuff on Facebook or anywhere else unless I’m sure I can defend it to myself and if anyone who reads it meets me in public I’m comfortable talking it through. Of course I’m horrified by terrorist tactics, but I’m not going to go all out and berate one act when there are still very large ongoing conflicts and immense humanitarian crises which don’t make much impact in terms of column inches, air time or Facebook likes.
If I do change my avatar to rainbow for marriage equality, and the Tricolore for Paris, and so on, when is it acceptable to change back?
And in case you worry about my position, I object to it myself. There is a part of me that feels strongly I should speak out, even when it means that I ingore (by implied deliberate omission) everything else that’s wrong with the world.
But I also object to my own objection for being soppy and not being a real solution because all I’d be doing is adding one virtual voice to a cacophony raised around a single issue.
And I object to that objection…. and so on.
Keyboard Warriors of the Internet unite. You have nothing to fear but recursive loops of straw man cynicism.
So I don’t generally speak out at all. Although I do try to do something when I can.
If you want to do something, there are excellent pieces of work undertaken by many British and International organisations in dangerous and inhospitable places. They place an inherent value on life which I feel I don’t always appreciate on this side of the screen.
Get out there and join in. Or supply a bit of cash to keep them going. I’m hardly rolling in money, but a little bit to support the Royal British Legion eases the lives of ex-servicemen who need the care of the state they once served. It can support projects through Christian Aid to help provide local nurses and bring medical support to women who are at risk because they live in countries with very high levels of poverty and low levels of pregnancy care. It can generate resources to DEC or the Red Cross or any other organisation. You have Google? Go and find someone to help.
And prepare to be held up online as a bad example because you do this or don’t do that, but remember the words are meaningless. No amount of typing on a website can replace or undo the good you’re doing in the real world.
Image Credit: “Botón Me gusta” by Enoc vt – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bot%C3%B3n_Me_gusta.svg#/media/File:Bot%C3%B3n_Me_gusta.svg