Tuesday 21 June 2011
Yes, I’m preparing for the inevitable onslaught of angry readers who will want me to be hanged, drawn, and quartered for this post. Potentially, I’m about to lose some friends . . . and if you’re one of those people, I’m sure your life will go on without my self-righteous-humanitarian-hoping-I-can-legitimately-make-a-difference-in-the-world opinions. And I’m pretty sure I’ll get over your decision to unfriend, unfollow, or unsubscribe me.
We all have them: those Social Media friends who drive you mad. You know the ones I’m talking about. They constantly update you on everything in their day, and I mean everything. Or they post updates that, well, I’m pretty sure no one is actually interested in, but they hit the ‘like’ button anyway, in the hope of shutting the person up. (Hint: this never works. It only serves to encourage them . . . so stop hitting ‘like’!). In short, they post and update about dumb-ass things.
Don’t misunderstand me here: we’re all guilty of posting those inane, dumb-ass, uninteresting things. That is a given in the world of Social Media. And I totally put both of my hands in the air to acknowledge that I too, post inane rubbish that no one gives a rat’s bum about. However, the people I’m ranting about are the ones who do it all the time. Well, today I’m taking a stand. Today, I say, enough, dumb-ass updaters, give us a break. Yeah, I know that it’s hypocritical of me to take this stand. I’m a #TwitFacePimp. Even I irritate the hell out of myself sometimes. So, let me explain why I’m taking a stand today.
It’s been bugging me for the last few weeks. A few people in my Twitter timeline have taken up a cause that’s clearly close to their hearts, despite the fact that I’m left scratching my head and saying ‘huh?’ to their idea of a worthy cause to fight for. You see, they’re fighting to . . . save the soaps on US TV that are, well, I’m not really sure what’s happening with them. I guess they’re being axed. They’ve embarked on email, Social Media, snail mail, and telephone campaigns to get the studios, or TV stations to keep the soaps. Yep, they’re going all out to keep their television shows. *Scratching my head* That’s right, I said they’re fighting to keep their favourite television shows.
*Deep breath* ‘Cause it’s not like there are any other worthwhile causes to embark on a campaign of such magnitude for. *Cue the plug for a worthwhile cause* Yep, saving TV shows, and protecting the incomes of overpaid actors (apologies to all of my actor friends), is a far more noble cause to stand behind than say, oooooh, raising awareness of, and trying to rectify the problem of children going hungry in the US, with the #NoKidHungry tweetathon campaign. Or trying to put an end to the sex slave trade, or child slavery. Or raising awareness to prevent the inhumane treatment of animals. Making sure that victims of abuse are never forgotten, and have a voice. Or even the plight of the victims of floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. Yes, all of those clearly pale in comparison to saving TV soaps. I must have had my priorities wrong for all these years. Stupid, Danielle, stupid.
This, of course, is the inevitable part where someone brings up the point that soaps are the only lifeline to the ‘real’ world that some people have . . . But kids, really, they’re about fictional characters that lead ridiculously melodramatic lives filled with trauma. There’s nothing life altering about them. Your life won’t end because you miss an episode of ‘General Hospital’ or ‘The Days Of Our Lives’ is replaced by new episodes of some other equally mundane drivel.
Please, someone explain to me how a campaign to save television shows is more worthy than one to raise awareness to and help stamp out hunger? Come on, I’m a Drama teacher. I teach, and have taught, actors. I get the point of television being a form of escapism, really, I do. But please, consider what would happen if you turned your email, phone, Social Media, and snail mail campaign enthusiasm towards something more . . . important. You could set about really changing the world.
The other campaign of late that has ticked me off immensely, and here again I imagine I’ll get caned and lose a few friends, is the one that involves telling everyone on Twitter how useless all sides of US politics are. So you hate Obama or Palin. We get that. You don’t need to spam our timelines, saying it and repeating it every effin’ tweet, all effin’ day, every week of every month! Your propaganda is just as bad, and just as annoying as the propaganda put out by the folks you’re bashing heads with.
You know what, in Australia, for those of you who are unaware, we’re required by law to vote. That’s something that I believe is not a requirement of our American friends. You know where I’m going here, right? If you don’t vote, you really have no right to bitch like lil girls about the state of US government. And if you do vote, you’ve got a while to go before your next elections, instead of spamming the hell out of out Twitter timelines, do something pro-active. Join up with you favourite local politician and campaign for them: just stop whining about the state of everything and do something sensible about it. Why can’t you see that by bitching like lil girls, you’re as bad as the politicians you’re bitching about? (Yes, I know I’m bitching like a lil girl now.)
I’m sorry, I just have very lil tolerance for people who harp on and on about things that piss them off, and don’t do anything about it. And yes, again, I know I’m whining like the people I’m ranting about. It’s a vicious circle – they bitch and whine; I bitch and whine. And yes, I know it would be easy to unfriend and unfollow these people, and they can do the very same thing to me. I don’t have a problem with that. The thing is, for those of us who aren’t managing business accounts through our Social Media, it’s all about fun for us. It’s about meeting new people, likeminded people, having fun conversations, making potential new connections with people we think are worth our time and friendship effort. And for some of us, Social Media is also a great place to, borrowing the term my good friend Rami coined, use Social Media For Social Good.
Look, I know that everyone has their ‘thing’; the reason they use Social Media. And a lot of my friends and connections use SoMe to promote and pimp out their work. Hell, we all know that I #TwitFacePimp with the best of them. I don’t hide from that. I also know, as I’ve previously stated, I’m sure it really pisses some people off. So be it. However, I also use my Social Media platforms to engage my friends in conversation, and to promote humanitarian causes. The people I’m talking about here are the ones whose Twitter timelines you read and there are absolute days of the same bitchy tweets about what they don’t like, how so-and-so is destroying the economy, which new TV executive they’re going to email spam – it’s endless, and it’s irritating.
I will not apologise to anyone over my views of how Social Media can be best utilised. I will not apologise for finding a campaign to save television shows ridiculous and demeaning to my intelligence, when there are far more pressing and important humanitarian causes people could be helping to promote. When did saving TV shows become more important than feeding hungry children, or raising awareness of environmental concerns? I must have missed that memo.
Yes, I believe in what many people hold so dear: the freedom of speech. I think it’s incredible that some of us are able to live in countries where this is a right and not a privilege. Imagine living in a country where you’re not allowed to express your political opinions. Doesn’t that make you consider those bitchy political tweets in a different manner now? And imagine not being able to tell people around the world about things, good and terrible, that are happening in your country because you don’t have the right to freedom of speech. Kinda makes tweets and Facey posts about TV soaps getting axed irrelevant now, doesn’t it?
I honestly believe that those of us who do have that right owe it to the millions of people around the world who are oppressed, and who don’t enjoy the same freedoms as we do, to at least use some of our right to highlight plights and causes, where people other than ourselves benefit from our freedom of speech. It’s not that hard to produce a selfless tweet or Facey update, or to write an update that draws your friends’ attention to an issue that we could all help solve. By the same token, it’s not that hard to ignore those things either – that’s your choice, that’s your right. That’s the freedom that we enjoy that many others around the world don’t, and never will. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of my rant. 😉