Sometimes you read something so relatable that it feels like you’ve spoken the words yourself. Today, there’s this idea that social media could demonstrate real social change. But, as Essena O’Neill recently reminded us, social media isn’t real life. It is, at most, a version of ourselves that we want the world to see.
After the Paris attacks, a letter emerged that asked a very wise question, ‘why do we change our photos really? To show solidarity?’ Moreover, how is the Hashtag #PrayforParis going to make any difference?
I guess I’m in the minority, with a small sum of Facebook friends. But the reality is, they are the only people who will be seeing my stance. My feelings on the matter are irrelevant, what is truly important is the well-being of the French people at this time. Changing my profile picture sadly cannot help them. So here’s what I propose; spend less time selecting an Instagram filter (#needless), and consider ways to proactively engage in this tragedy (#necessary). For instance, these Parisians queued up one day after the attacks to donate blood to the victims still battling for their lives.
Please don’t be fooled by geography, just because this happened on the other side of the world, doesn’t mean we can’t help! After the briefest Google search of my life, I found that the Red Cross is the ideal site to donate. I am not trivialising your change of display picture, please keep it up. Showing our unity is important. But, also remember that a social media trend won’t solve anything. We need to start thinking more about solutions, rather than photo captions.