The first social media was invented in 1997 starting with a site called Six Degrees, allowing people to make friends and chat with each other. However, since 1997, much has changed in the social media game, as we now have Facebook and Instagram, where almost all millennials and Gen Z are active Instagram users.
Instagram was originally used to share photos of highlights in your life with friends. However, since the quarantine started, I have noticed a hasty change in the use of social media. During the time of COVID-19, there have been many pressing issues going on the world ranging from Black Lives Matters, Abortion Rights, ICE, Antisemitism, to LGBTQ+. What has become more prevalent on Instagram, instead of photos of our friends, has been repositioning of facts about these movements and posts about taboo issues. Almost every story on Instagram during these times has been about one of these ongoing issues. Some people may say that our generation is now becoming aware of the conflicts going on in the United States and in other countries. However, what I would like to bring to everyone’s attention, is that we have been focusing on talking the talk, instead of walking the walk.
Human rights issues have turned into trends, where people post these disturbing videos and facts to gain popularity or seem as if they are knowledgeable about the issues. There was an article in The Economist which talks about how BLM is receiving the most attention it has received since it was started. I agree that attention to these issues is important, but I would say that actually attending protests and raising money for the families that have been impacted through the flaws in our society has a much larger paramount importance rather, than us sharing facts about sad stories and doing nothing.
What we need to do in addition to just talking about these issues is actually making change. Some may say that it is impossible to go out and make real change in the world during this time of COVID-19. However, we should not be ignorant of the facts that are staring at us, which are that most of us have technology at home and it is very feasible to raise money for a good cause from the comfort of your own home.
There is no easy solution to what social media and our generation have done to ourselves, making human rights issues trends, and pretending that we are fighting an issue when we subconsciously know we are just being bystanders. However, after reading this article and understanding that sharing information is not enough, I would urge you to take action about something you truly care about.
I urge you to take a stand for whatever you believe in, whether it is BLM or climate change. I wish that our generation would not follow under this new wave of following trending issues, and instead fight for what we truly believe in. We have our whole lives in front of us, and it would be hypocritical of us to criticize the past generations for not fixing these issues when we are clearly doing the same. Our generation needs to be the generation that actually causes change and it is indeed pragmatic since we have so much time on our hands. Our generation is curious, smart, diverse, and understanding, but we need to actually help each other and do something to make a difference. We can not allow our generation to be yet another bystander of this ongoing catastrophe, and we will not allow our generation to be a continuation of the very thing we despise.
I will end this letter with a quote from Dr. Denis Waitley: “There are two choices in life: To accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” Do not allow our generation to become yet another generation that does not fight back for what is truly wrong. We must walk forward together.
Das is a sophomore at High School South.