The Shorty Awards. I almost thought they were a joke when I first came upon them. Anyone can tweet in a nominee for any of the 6,067 categories, including “Keep Good Going” and “Weird”. Although I do not dismiss the impact social media can have, these awards exemplify many of the reasons why true activism and revolutions cannot purely happen through social media.
First off, the number of categories is mind-boggling and anyone can create another one. There are so many that the “awards” begin to lose their meaning. This is representative of the number of pages dedicated to so many causes. Many of them could be grouped together and have a more united front, but instead everyone wants recognition.
Recognition. Everyone wants an award. Social media is a wonderful platform for people who want to constantly be acknowledged for their “activism”. Activism isn’t always about making a statement to a huge crowd, but it’s also about the small decisions in everyday life. The Internet is connecting people to the trendy, global issues but the close-to-home issues often get left behind. After all, there’s not enough people in your community to reach 50 million likes.
Social media can be a great tool to connect activists and to raise awareness, but it should not be used as a cop out to take physical action. We need to stop worrying about the world hearing every cause we like or every issue we want to share. We are losing connections with the issues and the people that surround us everyday, because we are constantly bombarded by bigger and badder problems somewhere else.
And don’t feel like you need to win an award, because it’s not that special when there are 6,000+ out there.