When I turned 13 I didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah. I believed that if I wasn’t religious every day, it didn’t make a lot of sense for me to be religious one day.
Similarly, I’ve kept myself out of the national discussion about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. I don’t have much of a stance on these kinds of things regularly, and chose not to have one in this particular instance. I don’t want to have to play along the selective and time-sensitive cultural debates people have for causes-du-jour. Ones that our social networks make it impossible to ignore.
Ever since Kony 2012, I’ve closely watched how memes around social issues flare up and quickly dissipate with little that has changed afterwards. In fact, this is partially what led me to even start my own company.
Do you care about gun control every day? Or just when people on Facebook share their opposing political leanings?
Do you care about gay rights every day? Or just along the side-lines of a pride parade?
Do you care about child immunization every day? Or just when a pop-culture icon gets a role on a day-time talk show?
I’m not here to pass judgement. I’m probably just as guilty as you are. I am offering a reminder to myself and to you that it’s not ok to treat causes like digital fashion accessories.
We don’t have to spend every waking minute supporting issues we may potentially believe in, that’s impossible. We can create far more good for the world by focusing on 1 or 2 causes with tangible effort (volunteering, donating, voting) versus complaining or joking about hundreds of others. That does nothing but offer us catharsis and condition us to waste time waiting for “likes” of agreement or contrarian retorts that need to be responded to.
There’s a big difference between feeling outrage and sharing your opinion publicly. Social media has made it easy for us to express our outrage on a new topic every day. It’s as if a podium and microphone are shoved in front of us every time a piece of national news flares up, and we all feel required to comment.
We’re not. We can go about our lives and share things we actually have a daily interest in. Our outrage on Twitter or Facebook does nothing.
Let’s stop wasting our time preaching to choirs and yelling at deaf ears. Let’s go do something that actually matters, and do it often.
If you’d like to occasionally hear more of my thoughts via electronic mail, you can sign-up for them here: http://eepurl.com/CpfWP