Just about exactly one year ago from today, it seemed like the whole world shut down. In reality, at this point, as the virus spread countries were going on full lockdown and eventually the east coast began doing the same. Two weeks shut down was a breeze, a time to kick back with my, then, college roommates. We were drinking cheap fruity-wine that gave me headaches the next morning, I was focusing on finishing a 1000-piece Kinkade puzzle, and my semester work didn’t seem all that important.
After two weeks, more states shut down and soon… it was no longer just “14 days.” We were all imagining our own versions of unknowns. Where would money come from for rent, how will school work now that we are online, will I actually get to finish my thesis that I kept requesting extensions for? With being cut off from the outside world… it felt like no one was ever going to be able to interact again. But, what we took most for granted then is something we use as a tool today: Social media.
And, yes, it is super super important to take breaks and maintain a healthy relationship with social media. There’s this horrifying concept called social media burnout which can cause underlying mental health issues and most importantly waste precious time in your life. While Twitter was a driving force in getting an entire nation (and the world seemingly) to connect through Tiger King memes, or showing off their latest bread recipe, the early months of quarantine were the most important politically.
I’ll make this clear right now. Human rights should not be political. But, because of how the U.S. functions, often times a lot of these things are extremely politicized. I think it helps people simplify harder to talk about subjects, but the sad truth is that it is hurting causes and making it a lot harder for compassion. It just seems so easy to say “that’s a liberal thing, I don’t care about it.”
In early April-May, we saw a huge uptick in Black Lives Matter protests, which took a major turn as it gained momentum through social media platforms. The whole world was watching as George Floyd was struggling to breathe as a white police officer kneeled on his neck. And the whole world continued to watch as global protests took to the streets. This, then followed by more police brutality being recorded by protestors and posted to social media platforms. Soon, it wasn’t just hearsay but rather physical evidence. We saw the discrepancies and hypocrisy between police handling protestors chanting “I can’t breathe” for George Floyd and gun-toting “protestors” saying they can’t breathe because of masks.
Millions tuned out for the primaries, tuned into (and cared about) the VP debate, and made a history with the largest voter turnout in American history turning the house, senate, and President blue. This was a pivotal moment in our history. But, that doesn’t stop there.
Social media showed us the adverse effects of COVID, testimonials that we would never see on television. It’s uprooting the entire news as we know it because both Fox AND CNN, among other biased news stations, have grown into competitive channels that are seeking to be as opposite, and jaw-dropping, as they can be relating their “take” on events. And, just because one party won control does not mean that it is over. The fight has still continued. Policies that Biden and other elected officials had promised are still being demanded that have been breached. Bombs were set off in Syria, immigrant children are still in overcrowded conditions, and white men who are sexual assaulters still hold influential positions. Social media has broken through those two-party sides because there shouldn’t be any hypocrisy. While a tweet may not seem like all that big a deal, what it can do it help bring awareness and attention to lawmakers who cn make that change for us.
Let’s change the world.