In light of recent events–well, hell, all of 2016 has been a disaster–I felt the need to to impart some opinions on social media, freedom of speech, and social impact.
I went to Cabo this past week for a friend’s wedding and as we were chillin’ in the infinity pool (I know, life is rough, huh?) a conversation about the recent elections came up. A lot of comments were thrown around (luckily most of us had relatively similar political views), but one in particular really got me thinking… someone said something along the lines of, “Yeah, I’m just so tired of social media man. Like I almost deleted my accounts because I’m so tired of people posting political shit and all of their social agendas. Like it’s Facebook, you’re not gonna start a movement that way. Plus, no one wants to hear your shit half the time anyway.” Now, I get it… it can get annoying all the time looking at obnoxious Facebook posts, instagram pictures, and looking at all of the chaotic arguing in the comments section.
But… social media does have social impact.
Movements have been started with social media. Take the Egyptian Revolution, for example. Even through blackouts, social media played a major role in connecting protestors, garnering support from outside countries, and supporting a movement that changed the country forever. Social media helped them stay organized, fostered communication, and pushed the movement farther than it probably would’ve gone otherwise. More locally, we’ve seen social movements pop up and gain traction–now, they haven’t been as organized as we’ve seen our international counterparts, but it is still happening. So, although maybe you don’t want to hear your friends and acquaintances personal ramblings, but those ramblings might just spark something. The truth is, you never know. Social media provides a community some of us might otherwise have never had or experienced. Lucky for me, most of my friends feel the same way I do about social issues, justice, and impact, so I enjoy most of the posts and collections of intelligent, thought-provoking, and stimulating conversation.
We live in a country where free speech is possible. Social media has opened up a whole new wave that has left the possibilities for free speech limitless. Just let it ride. Free speech makes this blog post possible. Some more ramblings, I guess. Yeah, you also have the freedom to call my endless social justice posts annoying, but your freedom does not impede mine. I still have the right to write those posts, no matter how annoying you might think they are.
Now, comes the other argument: “Well, yeah. People have free speech and should be able to post whatever they want, but they don’t have to be annoying about it. They post too much sometimes.” How is a political post, or a post about a social injustice any different than someone obnoxiously posting pictures of their hubby or baby? It’s the same difference.
You post because you’re passionate about something, it is just that our passions are very different. I’m at that age where all of my friends, and I mean ALL, are either getting married or having kids. My feed has an endless amount of engagement rings, baby videos, and the like streaming all over it. Do I find it annoying? As a single, crazy dog mom no where near that phase in my life…abso-fucking-lutely. But, that’s their prerogative. They love their man, woman, baby, or whoever so let them share that love and passion. If my love or passion is about the Dakota Access Pipeline, sexual assault, or mental health, then let me post about that.
I’ve been told on too many occasions my feed is too grim because all I post about are the “dark topics of the world.” Well guess what, it’s the dark topics that I care most about. I strive for a life where I educate, illuminate, and motivate. So let me do me and I’ll let you do you. You post your shiny engagement ring and bald baby, and I’ll continue to post my tirades about how sexual assault affects the lives of every 1 in 5 women in America (and that’s based on statistics where women actually admitted to being sexually assaulted, that number is most definitely higher). We’ll both be happy sharing our passions and I’ll keep hoping that social media continues to foster, drive, and inspire change.