Everything I am about to say, of course, is from my own personal perspective and observation living in the land known as the United States of America.
That being said, I feel social media has become a reality show and people are tuned in for the majority of their day and the majority of their week.
I say this because just like some of our favorite reality shows like “Love and Hip Hop”
“Teen Mom”, “Basketball Wives”, “Marriage Boot Camp” and etc., there is some truth to what we share and view on social media, but it is also being edited, cropped, cut and pasted, and only certain information is being shared to fit whatever the theme or storyline is for that particular time. Those reality shows have some effects on how their viewers start to perceive reality and they only air once a week. Imagine the affect that a daily, hourly, or “minute-ly” (ha-ha made up my own word), dose of an altered reality can have on an individual!
What theme or storyline for social media have I observed? Well, I found a name to fit the reality show that I feel that social media is right now and I came up with:
Race and Hip Hop…
I know it is not very original, but it fits. See, there are a lot of conversations being had, in the United States at least, about racial issues and racial tensions. It has gotten to the point that many are leaving or wanting to leave this country in order to have PEACE and not feel victimized.The platforms I frequent the most are Instagram and Youtube. I do not have a Facebook. Now, it could be just based on the people I follow, but what I encounter mostly are videos, memes, and pictures about racial topics and viral hip hop dance challenges. I mean, of course you have those that are just people sharing their personal stories and things that are just comedy or education based, but lately there is ALWAYS a new dance challenge and there is ALWAYS a new issue coming up involving race and racial injustice and their are videos, pictures, and memes to illustrate it all.
I notice that there are some things that get suppressed, deleted, and blocked, while other things are allowed to go viral. Some individuals say that their videos, pictures, and memes are constantly flagged and their accounts suspended, while others feel the freedom to push the limits of censorship without much action being taken against them. Kinda like in these reality shows where there is a storyline that they are trying to fit everything into, so you really never get all the details of the story because of editing and the re-shooting of certain scenes.
I also notice that there are a lot of what are called “trolls” that flood to certain social topics, but are fairly absent on others. Is it just a coincidence? I read a story about how some people pay professional trolls to flood certain websites and counteract talking points and ideas that don’t benefit a particular agenda. But, I will leave that for you to research and come to your own conclusion.
Now, when I compare the world around me outside of social media I notice that it is very different than what I encounter on social media. Racial injustice in “the real world” has managed to maintain a quiet, but impactful, existence. While “social media racism” is VERY LOUD and pretty hardcore. This makes it easy for us to forget about whats going on around us and instead divert our attention to issues that are sometimes hundreds of miles away from us that we would otherwise not even know existed if not for mainstream and social media. I feel that there are issues that are going on right in front of me that directly affect me in my community that deserve direct attention, but the majority of us are concentrated on whatever stories are popularized on social media. Most of the time, there is nothing we can really do about situations that are happening hundreds of miles away, but we could make a tremendous impact on what’s happening in our own back yard.
I believe that when we are distracted on issues that we CAN’T directly change, the issues that we CAN change and HAVE DIRECT ACCESS TO are severely neglected.
My opinion is that, if you want to make real change, you have to start with those things right in front of you first. And although social media does keep us connected with people and issues all over the planet, please do not lose sight of the people and issues going on right in front of you, in your REAL REALITY, that desperately need your time and attention.
Thanks for reading!