The Social Media Mentality

I feel like every time I go out of town, the news world blows up. Awful things happen. #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #Dallas Weird new trends pop up. #PokemonGo And I’m off in La La Land with little attention paid to my social media feed and even less attention to traditional news sources. Which is how I end up looking like one of those completely out-of-touch basic white girls.

That’s not something I enjoy looking like or people assuming that I am because I’m posting vacation photos while people are dying.

The sad part is that people are dying everyday, and social media has made it nearly mandatory to make some kind of statement on every event that trends widely. You have to pick a side (#BlackLivesMatter or #AllLivesMatter), pick a truth (he resisted, he didn’t, he was justified, he wasn’t), and pick a worldview (Conservative or Liberal). Shades of grey or indecision start to look like insults to an entire people group instead of simple lack of information and/or understanding.

Which is why, when I get back from vacationing, I feel like I can’t make a statement. Like it isn’t my place. Like I don’t want to comment because even though I feel the effects of these events whether good or bad on my life, I feel inauthentic by making a public statement. It goes back to the traditional (and over used) “thoughts and prayers” that politicians and celebrities throw out after any and every tragedy.

Honestly, I’m tired of being part of the social media mentality that lacks authentic connection and is more about making a good appearance of concern or outrage or broken heartedness than actually taking any action in response to those emotions. But at the same time, I feel a kind of powerlessness to propel any kind of action into the world beyond social media—a world of images and emotionally charged words. So I end up stuck in the middle—exactly the place that feels condemned as a whole by the black and white of today’s online community.

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