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Every day when I come home from school, I start up my computer and log in to Facebook. Yesterday was no different. I logged into Facebook and began reading through the latest updates. Most of the updates were meaningless nonsense, like pictures of cute cats, funny videos or text about what my friends think about the latest apple operating system. Then I saw one update that caught my eye and begin to think about social media’s role in our society. One of my friends had liked Unicef’s Facebook page.
Therefore I began to wonder whether he liked Unicef to make himself feel better, or maybe it was a part of showing off the perfect facade to his friends, because perhaps social media has become an online exhibition where we want to show off the perfect side of ourselves. We care more about how the food looks on pictures than how it really tastes.
I remember a few years ago, when a video from a journalist about some Ugandan military leader was released. His name was Joseph Kony and the video was about the living conditions of the population in Uganda. According to the film the Uganda population were all victims of violence due to Joseph Kony. The video was shared over hundred of thousands times just in a few days. The viral sucess was a fact. However was it someone who had been critical before they shared the video? No. Some days after the video was uploaded and had millions of views, the critics came forward. Joseph Kony did not live in Uganda and had not lived there for the past few years. I think we should take it as a warning message regarding our accuracy and accountability on social media.
Of course I know social media can have very positive affects on people. Like the Arab spring in Syria in fighting a dictator and the protection of human rights, where social media was the people’s weapon to share and show the world what was going on. In this case, the social media was perfect in the ability to spread the news.
Consequently, it can work as a tool to make political revolution. On the other hand it makes me a little bit scared when people think that pressing the like button on The Kony Video or Unicef’s Facebook page will change the world or even help the vulnerable. I really think the world is a little bit more complex and we need to do more if really wants to make a change – but do we really want that? Did we not only press the like button to make ourselves feel better?
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