For all of my peers who participated in the national school walkout today, I want to thank you for standing up for what you believe in and being catalysts for the change that our country so desperately needs. We know what kind of world we deserve to live in, and we are making it a reality.
Growing up in an age of technology, social media and internet access can be a double-edged sword of sorts. We can use our technology as a platform for positive things, like spreading awareness and voicing our opinions on all sorts of matters. But, that can also result in a nearly obsessive need to receive validation for our experiences. This validation comes from documenting and posting about almost anything that occurs and is worthy of being noticed.
This dichotomy poses a question: If you don’t post about it does it even really matter?
I’m not trying to be cynical, I’m just genuinely curious if that is a justifiable way of life. I’m not saying I am immune to it, but I would also like to think that I’m not dependent on my social media, nor do I find validation solely through it.
Something I noticed throughout the protesting that took place today is a lot of people seemed to have no idea why they were a part of it. Sure, they knew that it was in honor of the seventeen victims of the Parkland shooting, but they were mostly participating just to follow along with everyone else.
I received several messages, posts, etc. talking about the protests and ways to be involved, which I appreciate, but in lots of ways they all seemed so disingenuous. I am fully supportive of young people’s activism. But when you send me snapchats of yourself wearing an orange t-shirt to “show ur support!” I can’t help but think that you really have no idea what you care about, you just want me to know that you “protested.”
When asked what you believe, you can give a coherent reply. But when asked why you believe it, you have no idea.
It’s almost as if you don’t even care about the victims of all of the past shootings, you don’t even know why people are fighting for stricter gun control/laws. You only care about how many likes you got or how many people viewed your story.
Being a part of a protest itself (actually being an active activist) should be validation enough, it shouldn’t need to be found on instagram. But maybe that’s just the way I look at it.
So, yes, I understand and agree with the fact that social media can be used to spread awareness and to generate change. I also realize that these walkouts were fueled by social media, and that without it we wouldn’t have accomplished such a large-scale and widespread protest. But when half of the people I see posting have no idea what the significance of it is, it just makes them seem ignorant and it takes away from the importance of today’s events.
It is inspiring to see so many young people who already have such strong opinions. But if you have no idea why you have certain beliefs, if your beliefs don’t have a purpose or a foundation, then you might as well not believe in anything.
In order to be effective you must first be informed.