Throwaway ideals

Guy Burstein

(April 5, 2012) — Technology allows information to spread increasingly faster. A fad can be formed, spread and forgotten in only a matter of days. Unfortunately, this has also begun to happen with charitable causes. What used to be a personal decision on what you would support has become a public show with each ideal replaced by another. An example of this is the Kony 2012 campaign that swept the Internet several weeks ago. People shared videos, liked comments, and talked about getting rid of Ugandese leader Joseph Kony. The only problem was that Joseph Kony wasn’t in Uganda for the past six years. And just as quickly as it became a topic of conversation, it was gone. This shows an increasing problem of people who cling to causes simply because it is popular at that moment. People don’t actually want to be involved. They just want to jump into the latest bandwagon to make it seem as if they are informed. That’s why people barely remember who Kony is today and in a month they won’t know where Uganda is. The cause is not what they care about. It’s just the participation. It’s part of a growing culture that revolves around on-off activism. People feel as if they are expected to be involved, care about current events, and feel strongly about every injustice which they come across. However, they don’t. At best they pretend. Because of this you will see hundreds of teenagers caring about a cause one week only to forget about it the next. This type of behavior is a shame because it causes people to waste energy that could otherwise be used to create real change. If all this time that people spent worrying about throwaway causes was instead spent learning and promoting worthy ideals, maybe they would be able to spread awareness of more pressing issues. Of course it’s not that social media being used to raise awareness is necessarily bad. All it does is provide an easier way to communicate. However, just because it is easier to share information doesn’t mean we should treat it with less skepticism. If anything we should treat it with more. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t get involved. Neither am I saying that even small involvements, such as liking a page or sharing a video can’t help spread the word. However, people need to be educated when doing it. Otherwise they are just going along with an uninformed crowd.