Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Facebook Statuses Will Not Change the World

Facebook, ah Facebook.  What a thing it has become.

Today I had it out with a friend after commenting on her FB status that I got quite offended with.  Normally I do not take bother of the silly things people post as their status, but this one hit close to home with me because I was actually in that situation and so I took offense.  My friend (a good friend I might add and here's hoping we're still friends after this), has not been in the situation she commented so strongly on. 

And it wasn't like I felt her statement was entirely false, there is a lot of truth into it.  But I feel it was made inappropriately without considering that perhaps some situations do not fit into the category she was criticizing.

I'm not one to make a big point about things.  I have a small voice that doesn't like to be heard.  But this time I want to be heard.

Content of offending status aside, it got me thinking a lot about FB statuses in general.  I'm sure I have reposted a few of the stupid ones that go around on occasion, though not for a long time and you won't catch me reposting any strong statements even if I feel strongly about them.  Sure, it makes it known to the world how you feel about that topic, but it doesn't accomplish anything.

If you feel so strongly about something, don't talk about it, do something about it.

"Be the change you want to see in the world"

I am constantly seeing statuses about cancer awareness, other illnesses, child abuse, animal abuse, and just about any other topic in between, urging others to repost and usually with some sort of line that makes you feel guilty if you don't.  Please know that I agree with almost all of these kinds of causes.  But I feel as though my support is better off somewhere else and not pasted on my FB page.

There are ways you can put your words into action.  Volunteer at or donate to organizations who support your cause.  If you want to use your words, write to a newspaper or magazine.  Even blog.  You will reach an audience who cares that way.  Because I can assure you most of the people who read your FB status either don't care or won't take you seriously.  And you just might go offending some friends in the process.

I will confess, I have never been much of a doer.  I preferred to live in my bubble and think that whatever was going on in the outside world was not my problem.  I always used to think "Why should I donate money, I have none as it is!" or "I have no time to volunteer, I'm a busy person you know".  Well I have money to spend on coffee and time to blog and waste on FB don't I?

Then I had kids.  And the world is a much bigger place.  I have more compassion.  I want to do good, even if it is small.  I want to support families, and mothers, and people struggling with illness, and abused animals and children...somehow.  I don't always know how, but everyone has to start somewhere.  When I make a purchase I drop all my change in the box at the register now.  When I am offered to make a donation of a dollar at a store, I say yes instead of no.  I have offered to volunteer with an organization supporting cesarean awareness and VBAC support, something that is important to me.  These are small things in the long run.  I hope they will become bigger things in time.

A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer this year at only 30 years old.  A young mother with young children.  I said I was going to walk to raise money, but I didn't.  I did make several donations towards cancer research which I had never done before.  So I did fail this time when it came to walking, but I didn't forget.  I will make a difference, for her, and for every other person I have loved who has or is battling cancer.  You will not catch me posting one of those cancer statuses on my FB, but you will see me walking for a cure.  I didn't make it this year, but I will make it happen.

FB statuses allow people to feel like they are making a difference when maybe they are not (maybe they are, I don't know what they do when they're not on FB, but I'm sure most of them aren't doing a damn thing since they are always on FB, like me).

If you believe in cancer awareness get out and walk.
If you believe in the humane treatment of animals, get out and volunteer.
If you believe that every child deserves food, clean water, and an education, sponsor a child or donate.
If you believe the environment is worth saving, start living green.
If you believe in any cause at all, then educate others, don't point fingers.

I have a long way to go before I would consider myself a 'good person'.  But I feel like a better person now than I was.  I feel more enlightened.  I feel some things are worth fighting for.

But you won't find me posting any of it on FB.

To my friend, if you get to read this.  You know I love you.  You know I consider you a kind hearted person who always means well.  You know I know you didn't mean to offend me or anyone else.  You have always had strong opinions and I love you for it.  And if anything, your status today was thought provoking and got me thinking about something that has bothered me for some time.  So thank you.

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