Changing the World, One Monday at a Time (Part 4)
Okay, I admit it. I can be a horrible blogger. I don't blog much and then bam! Three blog back to back before I disappear. I like to keep a little mystery about myself. And, last week was pretty busy... as was the week before. I'll be updating you on those things soon. I would say tomorrow but it's really pretty outside.
So here are my thoughts about changing the world. Brace yourself, because I am about to go after social media.
On its surface, social media is an amazing thing. It can reunite friends from long ago. It can keep family members updated when they live far away. It can connect us with strangers facing the same crisis or heartbreak or obstacle. It can bring us together as we stand against bad things in the world. It can force change in a matter of days rather than months or even years. It is a powerful weapon.
Let me repeat. It is a weapon. And I don't think we even realize how powerful it is. It can topple regimes and it can decimate souls. It can shine a spotlight on a cause and it can cause the spotlight to shine on someone whether they like it or not. It can create beauty and unleash ugliness.
Anyone who has skipped through my blog knows that I love TED Talks. (And you probably know that I have a dream to one day do a TED Talk, but again... another blog post... man, I have got to write these down.) This afternoon, I (finally) got around to watching on entitled The Price of Shame by Monica Lewinsky. Now, I was 21 at the time everyone was talking about this woman. I remember the comments, the disdain, the vulgar things that were said about her. And as I'm listening to her, all I kept thinking is, "Thank goodness she didn't have to go through THAT with the social media reach we have now."
If you haven't seen it, take a look.
We live in a time when we can fire off a response to something that we don't agree with in seconds. But how long do we stop to think how the words will impact someone. Two weeks ago, the Indiana Legislature and Governor pushed through a bill known as the Religious Freedom Reformation Act. or RFRA. Now, while I tend to keep my views on politics off the blog, but let's just say that I am firmly on the side of those who oppose even the perception of discrimination in my adopted home state. During the days that followed, I read how Hoosiers were haters, bible thumping morons, that we should be standing up against the law (which we were, by the way) and what horrible people we were as a general rule. And even though I knew the words weren't meant for me, I found myself feeling attacked. In fact, Dear Husband came into the room and asked if everything was okay because I looked so sad.
So, I started thinking that, if I, a (presumably) fully cognitively developed adult struggled from generalized insults that weren't actually directed at me, how can a child or young adult hope to escape the weight of being outted or ridiculed because of their race or weight or how much money their parent's make or don't.
The online social community can be wonderful. It can also be a living nightmare. We, all of us, have an obligation to think before we type. To put ourselves in someone else's place and think what we would feel like if we we're in their shoes. To revive compassion and empathy. Sometimes making a DIFFERENCE means NOT doing something. To "speak up with intention, not for attention."