Well, I last posted an article and video about Attawapiskat that had caught my attention recently, and Cecilia just blogged about the same issues and ideas (available here). So now instead of being like, “I’m not sure what to say about this situation,” I feel compelled to say something.
We’ve talked a lot in this class about how amazing the internet is. How social networking, connecting, collaborating, and sharing has changed the world and will continue to change the world. And I, for one, have learned a lot. I had heard the idea of the internet being filled with hundreds of predators, but I had never thought of the idea that we could think of others online as hundreds of teachers. We all have unique stories and we all have something to share. We each bring something very different to the table. We can all be teachers.
The social media and networking tools at our fingertips are truly incredible. We are more connected than we have ever been. And, these tools literally have the power to shape and changes our lives, societies, and politics. I was actually reading a friend’s paper the other day and in his paper he mentioned Obama’s rise to presidency. He quoted a news article that was titled, “Obama Election Ushering in First Internet Presidency,” that comments on Obama’s election:
“Obama used a combination of television, the Internet, and social media to recruit volunteers and supporters, and cement relationships with them. He asked supporters to supply their cell phone numbers, and sent out regular text-message blasts, even announcing his selection for vice president over text message. Using a custom social networking site, created with the help of a Facebook co-founder, Obama supporters were able to log in and find lists of people they could call, or whose doors they could knock on, to try to persuade others to vote for their candidate.”
Isn’t that incredible? I’m not endorsing a certain party or political standpoint, but the medium through which these things took place. This is our world.
Now, there are things in this world that are ugly. There is poverty, racism, oppression, and injustice everywhere. Cecilia made a really amazing point. She wrote: “I don’t feel like it’s enough anymore to just be outraged and sad for the terrible things happening in the world; I need to start to do something about it.” That really struck me. Because lately, I’ve been really bothered, outraged or sad. That’s all. I don’t think things like the Attawapiskat situation are fair, I think they are awful, but I don’t know what to do about it. I feel helpless.
In fact, I posted an article and video that, if nothing else, called for a response. And I simply said, “I just wanted to share with you what I’ve stumbled upon. I don’t have answers for questions like these.” Wow, Kailee, thank you for that insightful contribution.
I want to make a difference. I want to change the world. Is it crazy that I think we can do that? Is it crazy to believe that when people connect good things can happen? Is it crazy to think that if we continue to call attention to these issues through social media that something might change?
Obviously these things don’t change overnight. There will also always be injustice in this world. And, a lot of these injustices take place because of systems that have been established. A system that benefits me, a white, middle class individual. I can be angry and sad about the injustice that the system causes and I can even be resentful that because of the system I benefit while others don’t. Or, I recognize my privilege and then use what resources and power I have available to me to bring about change. To become a voice for the voiceless. To see past race and sex and religion, and see the human face that is not so different from our own.
We are connected. We have every opportunity to share and provoke and change. If Obama can become the president because of social media, why can’t we also use that medium to bring about change where we see the greatest need? To stop injustices? To bring relief? To challenge the systems? We can.
Maybe I’m just crazy.
Or maybe, we will change the world.