Invisible On Social Media, Invisible To The World
Social media is such an amazing tool that my generation has been blessed with. One of the powers of social media that my peers have yet to harness to its full capacity is the ability to dictate current issues. Yes, I will admit that I do enjoy seeing vacation posts or nice photos from a night on the town from time to time. But social media has the ability to be so much more than an online journal.
I started to reevaluate how I thought about the ways we use social media in mid-April. It has dawned on me that the 14th day of April 2017 marked 3 years since Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Of course, the Chibok schoolgirls have been brought back into the public eye with recent news that the Nigerian government has made a deal with Boko Haram to free 82 of the girls in exchange for 5 Boko Haram members. But before this incredible news, and it is truly incredible, those girls were almost completely forgotten about by the world. Their parents, their families, their school, the people of Nigeria did not forget because they are directly affected but the world in a greater sense had forgotten all about #BringOurGirlsBack. This just goes to show that once something becomes irrelevant on social media the world tends to forget that said thing is still an issue.
Another example would be the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Flint has not been in the news or mentioned on social media for a while so it is very easy to forget that there is still a crisis occurring. The citizens of Flint still lack access to clean water, everyone is testing positive for extremely high levels of lead which can have detrimental effects on their health and many homeowners are at risk of losing their homes because they are not paying their water bill. These things are no longer deemed relevant and therefore it seems like the rest of the United States has forgotten about this crisis at home.
Even with the asset of social media, it is impossible to know what is going on every moment, everywhere in the world. But it is also impossible to fight for change, hold governments accountable, etc. if we the people allow the issues we care about to become invisible.
So here is my challenge to millennials everywhere:
Find some issue in your community, in your state or in the world that you care about. This issue can be as big as the Flint Water Crisis, the political situation in Venezuela and the refugee crisis in Syria or as small as the lack of healthy food options in your local community. Once you have identified an issue you truly care about, use your social media outlets to keep people informed. Be the news source for that particular issue in order to maintain visibility.
I am not saying to never post a Tumblr inspired picture of your stationary ever again. All I am challenging you to do is to update yourself on whatever issue of your choosing once weekly or biweekly and inform your friends, family, and followers through social media.
Do not allow important humanitarian issues to become invisible because things will never change in the dark.