Social media helps tyrants proceed with their atrocities

By Limor Shiponi

How many graphic images have you seen this week? on how many of them did you click ‘like’, quickly commenting that ‘like’ or ‘favorite’ might not be the accurate words to express your feelings, but that’s what there is to click? in any case, your clicks, comments and shares are registered as ‘engagement’ and in most cases – that’s that. The parallel universe labeled ‘social media’ gives you the tools to share and engage with what’s going on – within itself. It keeps the energy you have reserved for social involvement within the system.

Does that help the people in the graphic images or those next to them still alive? no. Ask people subjected to vicious crimes anywhere in the world and they’ll tell you – you’re not helping a bit. On the contrary – if they get the chance to observe all this social media prattle, it’s frustrating you don’t see the connection; the connection between their situation and what needs to be done in reality, keeping them alive and well in the most basic ways.

The ‘media wash’ is overwhelming. It makes one want to shut down the noise and chill-out. It numbs the senses. It exposes children to visuals of a level of violence they cannot digest. All they can do is pass on to another picture and another until it becomes boring. Get it? the human condition is boring, especially if it doesn’t look that great. Let’s go watch the latest tidbits about a celebrity instead.

Social media was supposed to help circulate critical information arriving from people, bypassing tyrants held infrastructures so we will know what’s really going on and act upon this knowledge. But from what we can see, the minute the information hits the media, it is quickly labeled by media outlets “unofficial” or “unverifiable”, thus degrading it’s reliability, as if media outlets are more reliable. The more we see under this label, the number to it we get, the less we demand action from our leaders or act ourselves. Did we actually have to wait for the latest “smoking gun” pictures from Syria to know that the Assad regime is performing war-crimes against Syrians? what is really going to happen now that these pictures have appeared? if something worthwhile is going to happen, why didn’t it happen before, saving many lives?

All this happy-go-lucky facebook page opening for social change and justice, is worth nothing. Change happens on the ground with actions performed on the ground. The message social media is currently broadcasting to tyrants is – pass on with what you’re doing, just make sure to release some graphic images once in a while to keep us busy with social (media) activism.

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