Recently social media went berserk because one loudmouth Christian complained about Startbucks and the color of their holiday cups. You all know what I’m talking about, so there’s no need — or desire on my part — to rehash the gory details (I’m not even gonna add a link). It seemed as though everyone, whether left or right on the political spectrum, felt compelled to weigh in.
I missed the viral sensation when it first happened, because I was — ironically — at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for the day (stay tuned for that post). Frankly, I’m glad I missed it!
Then Paris happened. In a coordinated series of attacks, more than 100 people were killed and many more injured, some critically. In a show of solidarity, many people altered their Facebook profiles with the colors of the French flag.
I have no issue with this. It’s a nice gesture. The problem is, our brains trick us into thinking we’re doing something…and people are getting blasted if they don’t change their profile. Others are belittled for reminding us that there have been other attacks in other cities this year.
It’s all noise. Personal attacks on social media, sometimes destroying relationships between families and friends. Pundits shouting at each other on television. Arguments and name-calling in comments that follow news articles. Finger pointing everywhere…and we cannot seem to turn away.
Writer friends, shortly after the attacks, announced they were having trouble writing because of all the pain in the world.
Yet from the beginning of time, the world has been a messy place. Nowhere in human history have we lived without war, poverty, disease, and more. Classism, sexism, and racism are nothing new.
The problem with technology is, we see all the world’s ills 24/7. Social media, in particular, keeps us in a heightened state of anxiety…which solves nothing.
We need to figure out how to limit our time on it. I’m all for learning what’s going on in the world, but wringing our hands over someone’s latest Facebook post doesn’t help anyone.
Put the pain, the anguish, the fear into your stories. This is the time to write more, not less.
I’m tired of rants about coffee cups. There are better things to do with our time. Read a book — or write one. Get outside. Have a face-to-face conversation with a friend. Make a contribution to a worthy aid organization. Let’s find a way to liberate ourselves from the noise.