Let’s face it. Not a day goes by that we don’t check-in. When I say “check-in,” I mean consume some form of social media one way or another. All of us young folks of Generation-Y (you were born after 1980, right?) are either updating our Facebook statuses, taking a cute selfie to post on IG, or reading the latest celebrity gossip on our Twitter feeds. We’re attached to our iPhones and Androids because they matter. Because they make us feel like we’re a part of the conversation. They connect us to everything that’s important in our lives and so much more that isn’t.
I mean, my Fridays aren’t complete unless I watch some random hood prank video on World Star Hip Hop or the Vine Comp Of The Week. Am I the only one? I’m going out on a limb and say probably not. Yet just because people like me absorb this sort of mindless entertainment on a daily basis doesn’t mean we aren’t paying attention as well.
I think back to early July of this year when a photo of a homeless Filipino boy went viral. The boy’s name was Daniel Cabrera; he was captured doing his homework late at night outside of a McDonald’s. Joyce Torrefranca, the student who uploaded the photo on her Facebook wall, never expected the photo to make it to the front page of BuzzFeed or to be mentioned in the Daily News. When the story blew up and everyone and their momma were talking about it, Joyce ended up writing a follow up post stating “I didn’t think that a simple photo can make a huge difference.” The boy and his mother ended up receiving thousands of dollars in donations and once the government caught wind of this, they decided to cover the cost of young Daniel’s education.
That’s the immense power behind social media. Sure, there are cats dancing on YouTube with a million views and an endless supply of booties twerking on our MacBooks, but every once in a while we all tune in to support an idea that pushes our culture forward.
There are so many serious issues which started off as mere hashtags on social media: #BlackLivesMatter, #SandraBland, #LoveWins, and even the #YesAllWomen of last summer really did spark a national debate and force traditional media to pay attention to us. To all of us. To the “lost generation.” The content consumers AND the content creators. You see, this addiction of ours that is social media, the very notion of us turning our deepest and most intimate moments into content for Snapchat is not as crazy as you may think.
We all want to feel. We all want to trust that someone is watching, paying attention and liking our pictures, or thoughts, or opinions. And if laughing at the same six-second clip is how it gets done, if that’s how we connect, should we honestly rid ourselves of this addiction? Fact. Trending topics are more important than CNN. Fact. We as individuals are a lot closer now than we’ve ever been before. I may not talk to you when we cross paths in real life, but I will share a video with you of Elijah Cook, a deaf baby boy who after being fitted with hearing aids heard his mother’s voice for the very first time. I will do that…
…after I binge-watch Orange is the New Black and check my Facebook messages, of course. Hey, a boy’s still gotta get his fix.