Last weekend, the world received horrible news. The most romantic place on earth became the most feared one for a couple of hours. By now, we should all have heard how Paris was attacked by terrorists resulting to over a hundred forty casualties.
As always, people brought it to social media, which is superb because then the internet was actually used to spread news that the whole world should know. It’s instances like this that make Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs and other websites very helpful in spreading awareness and helping us know what to do next.
A few days after, Facebook came up with a great way to spread more awareness, which was to give people the option to change their profile picture into one with a filter that embedded the colors of the French flag to a photo of choice.
However, after all of that. I didn’t change my profile picture. Here’s why I opted not to:
1. I Can Do More
Sharing a post and changing a profile picture to one with a filter to show support is great, but I hope it never becomes a lid to offering more help. We can still pray, give, educate, learn from and participate in fighting for local peace. I’m sure we can always offer more help than actively spreading awareness on social media, though it’s very important that we do take part, thus this blog post.
But so many have been active in Social Media for the wrong reasons. Others will just do it to ride a trend. Just like when we kids today wearing t-shirts with verses on them, thouth it gives us hope to see that culture is bringing in more of Jesus into society. But when I see a couple of teenagers with Christian tees in a bar drunk and rowdy, or cutting a cash register line, I think otherwise. Let’s do more, if we can (but I’m sure there is always more to do).
2. It’s Not Wrong to Deny the Invitation
Some people think ‘if I don’t share this photo of poor people in Africa, people might think I’m selfish’. By all means share the photo if it really compels you, but isn’t sharing it to make your image look good more prone to be selfish than not sharing it at all and giving to the poor anyways?
There’s nothing wrong with choosing to be neutral, quiet and dormant on social media, as long as you are not dormant offline either. I know many socially responsible, generous and caring people who are quiet about their acts of heroism online, but continue to hustle in other means.
3. My Life is Not on Social Media
When I was pooling together some people to pray for Paris, when I was out ministering to some students about how important it is to pray and submit their concerns to God, when I was at home spending time with my family after a long day of doing all of that, I was offline.
You don’t have to post everything you do online. Although on some occasions I do post things online to express my thoughts (thus this post) and to encourage others, but not everything I do is online- including the times I prayed.
And a very important disclaimer: If you shared posts and changed your profile picture, then good job! I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with doing that.The point I am trying to drive is that there is also nothing wrong with choosing not to, but taking other forms of action.
I hope no one gets me the wrong way and thinks I am against all of these things. I believe that social media served as a great tool to spread the news, get calls to action and move people, but had I posted anything online, I would have just been riding a trend, and not hustling to do something about it. But there are many other people out there actually posting prayers, sharing posts, changing their profile pictures and actually praying, actually giving and actually helping.
At the end of the day, the bottomline is to let your actions go beyond just a click, share or like. The world needs action, and those three don’t amount to much.