‘LIKE’ this to end Social Network Activism

John Sims is one of my favorite people in the world. Katie Donaldson would argue that this means nothing coming from me, because I saw it to her all the time (but she is too.) But in all seriousness, John is one of the smartest and funniest people you will ever meet; he’s also more reasonable than I could ever hope to be. That is why I’d like to introduce you to this concept with a story about John.

On October 20, students all across America wore purple in remembrance of those who took their own life as a result of the bullying and intolerance they had experienced at school and to “take a stand” against the negative environment school had become for so many. Facebook blew up. Everyone was ‘liking’ and ‘attending’ and ‘what’s on your minding’ to let all their friends know that they were social conscience and tolerant. Everyone liked pages that said GET TO 1,000,000 LIKES T END BULLYING. Later, people changed their profile pictures to cartoons to increase awareness for victims of domestic violence. Everyone posted what color their bra was for breast cancer awareness. Everyone shared links about awful things happening all around the world. Everyone sat in front of their computers keeping up appearances and building themselves up. And all that I continue to think about is John Sim’s facebook status on October 20:

If Facebook didn’t free Weezy or get rid of homework, what makes you people think it is going to end bullying???

Well, what makes us think that? Recently, tweeters and Facebookers and Stumblers have tried to take credit for political movement in Egypt (and across the world) because they helped to get the word out and reassured the Egyptians that they were not alone. (To which Foreign Policy gave a resounding “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA….you’re cute, but NO!”) This being said, i used to think this Internet Activism was okay– harmless even though not helpful. But the more I see the effects of it, the more I feel the need to say something (even though, ironically enough, saying it on the internet). If everyone looked at their facebook page and lived within the boundaries they provide for others, we’d all be better off. And so, I have a challenge for you.

Go to your twitters, your facebook, all your pages.

Look at what you’ve been saying and do something about it.

I challenge you to go to school tomorrow, find a kid you’ve never talked to (or even better, one you’ve been mean to) and just ask them how their doing. If you want to end bullying and make school a better place, then make your part of the school better. One relationship improved is doing a lot more in that direction than liking anything or wearing purple everyday.

I challenge you to hold back next time you want to say something hurtful about a girl going through a hard time. I challenge you to try to maybe even get those around you leave her alone, too. If your facebook rants about the people talking about you, wouldn’t it be nice to be more mature than that?

I challenge you learn something about the political struggles around the world and to pray for those fighting for a voice in their government and for those that haven’t gotten there. I challenge you to find out where these countries are before claiming part in their movement.

I challenge you to take your words and make them something.

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