I like looking at Facebook to see silly photos of my friends and my friends’ kids, to find out about food trucks coming to my neighborhood, and to remember people I don’t see very often.
I like looking at Instagram to see beautiful photos of beautiful places where people I may or may not know go on beautiful adventures.
I like looking at Twitter to hear different perspectives about political topics, and other random subjects.
I like watching YouTube to find recipes for cooking delicious things on the grill, and to watch music performances.
That’s what I want from social media. Right now, though, every one of the outlets I pay attention to is riddled with posts related to the murder of George Floyd. A similar thing happened with countless other black people who’ve been killed by our society. Social Media erupted. And rightly so. People have a right to be angry, and to express their anger and frustration through the means by which we communicate these days.
I want my social media feeds to go back to the way they were. And also I’m glad that they’re being disrupted right now. Because from where I sit (white, male, middle-aged, cis-gender, employed, part of a healthy family, and with access to resources … the very definition of a position of great privilege in this society), I need to be disrupted. We all need to be disrupted right now. Because there’s pain and brokenness and suffering and struggle and turmoil and sorrow in our society today … and if we’re not disturbed about that, all we’ll do is perpetuate the problem.
I want my social media feed to go back to the way I like it. But I hope that doesn’t happen right away. Because if things go back to the way they were before right away, then nothing will have changed. And we need change in our world, in our society, in our nation.
I really do still want to see silly photos of children, and beautiful photos of outdoor adventure spaces. And at the same time, I want to see our world become more equitable. It's not gonna be easy, though.
The way I see it, this is what my role should be. 1) Shut up, listen to people who have been marginalized by society for centuries, and believe what they say. 2) Call out other white people when they perpetuate racism and hatred, because 400 years of our national history have taught us that white people don't listen to anyone who's not also white.
It’s not gonna be easy. And it’ll be worth it.