A Place to Challenge the Status Quo
Between the blasphemous Starbucks cups and the debate over Syrian refugees, social media hasn’t been a very friendly place in recent days.
The fires of debate have been stoked and the flames have been fanned. We’ve sworn we wouldn’t get involved but then that one friend from high school posted some sort of racist article and our blood boiled and we couldn’t keep quiet anymore. Maybe you posted a link to an article that you sincerely thought would be helpful and yet somehow, someway, someone managed to make it controversial.
We’ve all gotten annoyed. We’ve all become frustrated when we’ve read things on the internet. We wonder how in the world people can hold the opinions that they do, nonetheless voice them for all to see. I know I have purposefully avoided Facebook and Twitter because I don’t know that I can stand to read one more thing that pits us against one another.
The other day as I sat contemplating so many things that I had read and wondering why I am still friends with certain people, I realized something.
People really, really care about things.
People care so much about the red cups that they spend hours typing blog post after blog post to express their views and sway people’s opinions. Others care so deeply for Syrian refugees that they spend days tweeting scriptures and ideas to impact a social change. Americans care so much for the safety of their country that they passionately plead with others through statistics and facts in hopes that another person might see things from their side.
They do all of these things despite the fact that they probably won’t change anyone’s minds and someone will probably get angry or offended because they care enough to do it.
We live in a time where we have the opportunity to share our thoughts and speak our minds with hundreds, maybe thousands, of people everyday. We can say whatever we want with only limited exception. And, especially in America, we have the right to do that.
People say that the millennial generation is one that doesn’t care about things beyond themselves. They say that we are the most self-centered and entitled generation to date. And we’ve all seen examples where that is true beyond a doubt.
But what I see when I scroll through my news feed is a generation of people who want to make things better or different and desire to challenge the status quo.
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of people out there with misguided opinions that probably don’t need to be shared. And there are plenty of people who always share a little too much. But for every poorly stated and offensive post I come across, I see five that are reasonable and encouraging. For every angry and heated debate, I see two positive and civil exchanges of ideas. The internet can be a frustrating place where people argue and throw harsh words at one another. But it’s also where inspirational blog posts are shared, prayer requests are spread, important projects are funded, and stories about good samaritans go viral.
So yeah, the internet can be the worst. But most of the time, it can be the best. When I get frustrated with what I’m reading on Facebook and I am seconds away from swearing off all social media, I remind myself how cool it is that people care so much. I remember how lucky we are to live in a time where we can let people know what we’re thinking in a simple post, and they value our opinions enough to read it.
Our internet homes are what we make them. We can choose to be frustrated and annoyed by the posts that divide us, or we can choose to be thankful for the space we’ve been given, where more often than not, great things will happen.