For the last couple of days all of my social media news feed has been filled with Eiffel towers, red, white, and blue profile pictures, and thoughtful Facebook statuses. Most of them I feel are genuine and emotional, especially for those who have spent a lot of time there, but some I feel took this as an opportunity to post their fabulous photos and talk about their amazing trip once; and that is frustrating. One news photographer said that while he was taking photos he saw countless people taking selfies in front of shooting sites and blood spots. I know in my heart that intentions are well and people are strongly effected by what has happened but what are we doing?
In the last few days I have had to bite my tongue while over hearing conversations about Paris that are uneducated and naïve. I have heard everything from “Why don’t we start worrying about our own country?” to “I am so annoyed with my Facebook feed being filled with Paris stuff.” and my favorite “If you don’t change your profile picture I’m going to assume your not supportive or the recent events.” First of all there are a million other ways to show your care and support. Second, what about all of the other countries? Suicide bombings in Baghdad, an earthquake in Japan and Mexico, Greece is bankrupt, ISIS has basically taken over the middle east, etc. These comments validate all of my fears about the homeostasis of our society. I’ll be honest and say that I have not read every article about what has happened, but I have read the latest updates from trusted sites and feel like I have a solid understanding of current events.
In one of my recent posts I challenged everyone to think about what their values were and to consider their values before getting invested in a topic or decision. I also have been thinking about my own values and how I want my values to be prominent in my life and my choices. A few values come to my mind (leadership, integrity, service, faith) and I feel like I can’t be satisfied with only changing my profile picture. I need to take action and feel like I have fully contributed as much as I can to something I feel is actually important to me.
I have never been to Paris or Japan or Baghdad or Mexico. I have no personal connection with any of these places and I know many people may not either. So why do we care so much? I thought about this a lot when I first started seeing the photos and posts on social media because I did not want to say I cared if I really didn’t. But I do. I may not be able to fully comprehend what is happening and I can’t relate to someone who has been through such a traumatic experience but I can understand. I don’t really know where I am going with this but I am tired of people being all talk and no action.
I am also tired of my profile picture defining me. If I don’t change it to show red, white, and blue for Paris does that mean I am selfish? What about unsupportive? Maybe even a terrorist as one post suggested. Last time I checked I’m neither of those things. I am the type of person to get strongly invested in something I care about and I get proud; ask my husband he’ll tell you. I would much rather go donate blood or supplies or money than simply change my profile picture. It just goes to show that we are still concerned about our public appearance.
I could go on and on about my thoughts about social media and desensitization but I’ll save it for later. For now please take the time to think about what you care about and how involved you want to be. Be honest in your doings and don’t be judgmental towards others. Understand that these events can unite the world and help with racial bias if we allow it to but that it can also tear us apart and make the years to come worse. You can only control yourself but you can lead by example.
Lets start putting action to our words! Let’s stop worrying so much about the details and blaming someone and just focus on what we can control. If you care about Paris, donate blood. If you care about Japan, donate supplies. If you care about who the next President will be, vote. If you care about Starbucks red cup, read this. If you would like check out the links below for more information on recent events or to donate.
Paris | http://www.ibtimes.com/how-can-you-help-victims-paris-attacks-volunteer-donate-give-blood-provide-shelter-2185001
Japan | http://donate-japan.com/
Mexico | http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/mexico-earthquake/
Red Cross | http://www.redcross.org
Doctors without Borders | http://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/onetime.cfm