I admit it. I have reached saturation on world events. Especially those involving heinous acts that harm innocent people. I’m de-sensitized. I’ve shut down because the endless cycle is exhausting.
Please don’t interpret this as not caring. I care as for other human beings everywhere as much as the next person. We all feel anger, resentment, and shame at the seemingly ever-escalating violence that humans are capable of. In the name of… what?
We talk a lot about community. I submit that we all have associations with insular communities in social media. We gather with those that we feel kinship with, right? And we talk about things that are important. To us.
Then the world explodes with more news about hatred, bitterness, strife, even murder. As individuals, we are pulled out of our comfortable places to display our shock, dismay, fear, and compassion.
Where does it get us? Technology enables instantaneous mass communication. We react in turn. Can the cycle be broken? Must it be? Those that evoke our reactions are getting exactly what they want out of the transaction, no?
So we #PrayForParis, #PrayForDallas and #PrayForNice, (and Brussels, and San Bernardino, and Baton Rouge…) and then what? We move on. Our emotions and thoughts hijacked for the moment.
Well I submit that we each have a choice to make. We play into the hands of terror when we create the exact result they are expecting. That is at the core of terror – that it consumes our rational world, replacing it with fear, anger, hate and revenge. And sorrow. Often that.
With all this connected-ness, there is something more we can do. We can take back our emotions and dignity. Because all this cowering and fear is very undignified. At not like us, as humans, at all.
Q1: Do you think the heightened awareness that social media creates benefits society, on balance?
Q2: Does an outpouring of sympathy and support have real value for the victims and families affected by violence? What is it?
Q3: Given: Mass sympathy supports victims. What does it do for the perpetrators of the acts?
Q4: If global outrage is a solution, what can social media communities do, tangibly, to help thwart violence?
Q5: Communication enables understanding. How can social media communities promote understanding to quell violence?