This last week I had one day in particular full of spontaneous fun with a good friend, and that day began with an inspiring visit to the Nobel Peace Center. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo every year, as it has been since it’s conception in 1901, and thus downtown there is a Nobel Peace Center, to commemorate some of the amazing things done by laureates. In addition to the inspiring exhibitions about what current laureates are doing and what past ones have done, there was one exhibition in particular which really hit home: Be Democracy.
Be Democracy is the current feature exhibition at the Peace Center, and it centers around the idea that as more and more of us are using social media in the word, democracy is for once at our fingertips. The question it poses is: does having democracy so available to us make us more involved, or more apathetic?
The exhibition was extensive, with sections on which countries in the world have the most freedom/democracy, which countries use the most censorship online, stories of individuals who have made a difference through social media, an art area where everyone is asked to make what they believe democracy means in pipe cleaners and hang it up, and in the center of it all, a large sphere. When you stepped inside of the sphere, tweets would show up in front of you, and if you moved your hand over them you would add a like to them. This was the part that disappointed me most.
The tweets were chosen because they were sent either on the exhibitions website, to @BeDemocracy, or posted with one of four hashtags from the exhibition: #BeYouth, #BePublic, #BeGlobal, and #BeScanned. Now I liked the idea liking which messages were meaningful to me, but when I got in there I found only a couple were. Most of the messages were about how boring they thought the exhibition was, or just nonsensical phrases and messages that didn’t show any thought or new-found understanding of the power they possess each time they click send.
Well, they may not have thought about it, but I have. I don’t post political messages on Facebook, because that’s a place I prefer to remain about friends and family, and some of my family posts some very radical political statements on a daily basis. I hardly use Twitter and I don’t have an instagram. The two social media sites I use besides Facebook are Tumblr, and this blog right here. Now on Tumblr I reblog the political and social justice posts I see that I agree with. Most of that is about feminism and equality and things I am very much about, but how much is just hitting the reblog button really going to do for those issues? Yes, it will raise awareness a little, but only within those confines.
And that brings me to this blog, something I started because I want to be a journalist, and yet I have never posted about new/politics on it once. I’ve never posted here about feminism, Ferguson, gun control, homophobia or anything else of the sort, and for most of my followers that’s probably not what you want to hear out of me anyway. But I think it’s important to do research on these things and share said facts with others.
So no, my blog will not become completely overridden with social activism posts, but from time to time when I think things are important, I am going to post about it. Maybe if I post about an issue, one person will read it who wouldn’t have before, and they will understand that much more of what’s going on. Maybe it can help. If nothing else, it will help me strive to be better informed, because I promise you I will never post something political that is not factual and unbiased.
What do you think? As social media becomes increasingly involved in our lives, should it be used as a platform to spread truth and raise awareness for global issues, or should it be used for fun and entertainment? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and if there’s anything in particular you want to hear my stance on, please let me know!
From here I shall leave you with a quote of one Nobel Peace Prize laureate:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” – Desmond Tutu