Today when I went on my computer I was overwhelmed with information about the Kony 2012 initiative by an organization called Invisible Children. I’m not going to get into the details of the cause because that’s not what this post is about. What was interesting about my first interaction with all the information today was my initial response… I was angry.
I wasn’t angry that my facebook page was full of “Kony 2012” or that a cause was being brought to light. I was angry because I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach that a bunch of people who have been fortunate enough to live in the first world, felt like they’ve “joined a movement” by clicking share and sitting through a 30 min video. I got the distinct feeling that people felt they’d actually done something significant by pressing a button and watching… and now they had something novel to add to the usual rhetoric they spew around the water cooler or campus cafeteria. That is until something newer comes along and their lives get changed… all over again… and they’d just have to share it.
Rewind five to six months ago and we saw the exact same type of “armchair activist” doing their part during the peak of the Occupy Wall St. movement. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people took the streets for the Occupy movement and a lot of people are donating time and money to make sure the Kony 2012 and a million other causes are seen through to the end. And I’m not naive, I understand that making things easy is the best way to get a large group of people involved. My issue is the sense of accomplishment people on social sites seem to feel for doing very little.
As I write this, I find it odd that I tend to be fascinated more with the populous’s reaction and interaction with a particular cause than the actual cause itself. Although the reason I write this is because I feel there’s more people willing to give themselves a pat on the back for recycling a video on a social network site, than people who inconvenience themselves to take part in a change.
The rub is that real change never comes easy.
Have we become a culture that is so fixated on instant gratification and instant fixes that we can’t maintain focus on one cause till the end? Or maybe our problem is we think that clicking share and watching a video… is real action.