Facebook should be seen as valid means of exposure to issues
January 31, 2017
At its inception, Facebook was strictly a collegiate venture. It was originally created with a malicious intent in mind when people were asked to compare two photos and choose which one was more attractive.
These days, Facebook is used primarily as a social networking tool, but it now has an even bigger job than just connecting friends and family online. Facebook is now being used as a mobilizing tool used to start and maintain movements and resistances and as a medium through which people can advocate for change to a wide audience.
This particular social media site, I believe, has moved past being a place to post vacation pictures or badly-lit photos of your homemade dinner. Facebook is no longer another place you flood with your memories, your special events and your day-to-day life. Who you are as a person is reflected by who you are online and is there for everyone to see. And these days, what everyone is seeing online is a lot a people who are livid at what is happening to the people of our world.
Facebook is increasingly filled with politics and news content, which is easily shared and viewed online since people are not relying on television and traditional newspapers as their main source for information. The recent and unsettling events in our government have turned Facebook into an endless scroll of politics.
My news feed is bursting with firsthand accounts of protests, emotional posts written by senators calling people to action and comments of support to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. I will not hide the fact that I am delighted that Facebook is being used as a tool to spread messages, posts and information that have helped connect and mobilize people to fight for what they believe. What I am not delighted by, however, is people who are complaining about this evolution of Facebook.
It is more important than ever to not close our eyes and ignore that there is a big problem with the United States today. It is more important than ever to not be annoyed by seeing one too many political posts because you are tired of it all. It is more important than ever to see all of these political posts, add to them and actually do something to help. Complacency and thinking that issues do not matter to us personally is the kind of attitude that has been the nation’s undoing.
In the grand scheme of things, being a prolific, political poster may not have the same kind of effect as being on the front line of a march or volunteering for a cause. I agree, but I also say that changing the attitudes of people can best be done with continuous exposure to real information and to real people impacted by the recent deterioration of our society.
Facebook is a needed component in continuing that kind of constant exposure. To those complaining who want the old Facebook atmosphere back, so does everyone else! The problem is, no one will get old Facebook back if there are still people who continue to bury their heads in the sand and ignore that Facebook is an effective method to communicate that problems exist and that a solution requires everyone to be involved, even if it is just one post at a time.
Lauren Simenson is a student at UW-River Falls.