Every day, we are practically programmed to look at our screens. Everywhere I go, I see people’s faces illuminated by the light that radiates from their phones, eyes fixated on the digital universe that they caress from the palm of their hand. Social media has granted us a gift that no previous generation has had before, which is the power to so easily access the entire world and have our voices heard. With a few gentle, yet swift taps of our screens, we can send our most personal, political, and powerful thoughts into space for the world to see.
Around this election season, though, it is almost impossible to glance at your phone without seeing an opinion completely derived from almost utter nonsense. People get their facts from poorly crafted memes instead of opening a book. Users share links that take us to worlds of unimaginable bias, hate, and misogyny. What I think the most important and detrimental problem in all of this mess, though, is the fact that many people are quick to take action on the keyboard, but not in the real world.
If you believe in something that ignites a fierce passion in you, don’t just hide behind the mask that is your screen. In a world crammed with superficiality, its more than difficult to find something of real substance. Of course people can share their thoughts and feelings on a particular subject through social media platforms, but is that going to enact real change? At the Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama made a powerful statement after the audience hollered and hissed at the mention of Donald Trump. Instead of encouraging the reaction, President Obama had three simple words: “Don’t boo. Vote.”
I think we can all learn from his short, yet wise statement. I know that I have been no different than those “Facebook activists” in the past. Instead of simply typing my status up in a rage or changing my profile picture for a cause like I would do in the past, I am actively trying to find ways to get involved. Human rights is an issue that I hold close to my heart, so I found ways to get myself into the work. I recently joined organizations that offer volunteer opportunities to help women and other minorities. I even was able to grab a leadership position in my university’s Women’s Studies Honor Society. Most importantly, I decided to get educated. I added a women’s studies minor to my educational journey. I have dedicated hours on end to study issues that are important to me so that I can be a more effective citizen and activist. Also, as an English major, I’ve learned how to open a book and find some answers to my biggest questions. By doing so, literature has helped formulate my strongest opinions and beliefs.
It’s not enough to sit at your desk and type up a list of the ways you wish the world was different. Be that change and affect the world around you, for it is not as difficult as you think. It’s easy to type a tweet or share a meme. I’m not perfect myself, but I’m trying. Do something worthwhile and prove that you truly care because that is what is going to make some changes. So, don’t boo. Act.