Over the past year, I’ve found myself reading articles, watching videos, and sharing photos (as well as said articles and videos) on my Facebook and twitter pages. I’ve posted on things I’m passionate about: employment, social equality and justice, social support programs and assistance, mental health, poverty, human rights, etc. All I really wanted to do was share the stories. I wanted other people to know about what was going on with the world. Maybe start a dialogue.
However, the world exists not without it’s critics, and some of the comments I received were “well, what are you REALLY doing about it. Posting on social media is nothing more than clicking the “share/retweet” button. That’s not changing the world”.
The mentality of who they think does this: the consumer driven spoiled middle class citizen who sits comfortably behind their computer screen posting articles about human trafficking and homelessness just to give the world the impression that they “care”, but not really doing anything beyond that, essentially contributing nothing to the betterment of society. I think that mentality stems from another negative view, that there really is nothing you CAN do to make a difference to those that suffer from social injustice. That those who are corrupt hold too much power, that the “system” is too complicated to maneuver therefore impossible to change. That initiatives put in place to help others are just band-aid solutions at best, wastes of time at the worst. That criticism bothered me, but not because people misjudged me as a coward behind a computer screen. It bothered me because it raised the question of “what can I REALLY do to truly make a difference? What other actions can I take beyond just sharing these stories?” At the end of the day, I knew it wasn’t enough.
I took those questions as a challenge. And honestly, I hope to be asking myself those same questions for the rest of my life. Because the most important thing is that I am seriously asking myself that question. Many people don’t.
So let’s tackle this question: what am I already doing? You see, I’m not some spoiled middle class pretender. I, just like a big chunk of the population (if you interpret all the graphs and statistics correctly), live below the poverty line. I also post about social issues because I chose to centre my whole career around them. I work at a non-profit, a community health centre that services the disadvantaged members of our society with not just basic but overall health care. I went to college and studied Career and Work Counselling, because I wanted to help people find work, the proverbial “teach a man to fish”. I read books and articles and watch videos not just to keep up with current news, ideas, and information in my field, I also do it because I am passionate about social services and helping people overcome their obstacles. I just couldn’t see myself doing anything else as a career and not be Happy.
So in a way, I’m not just sharing articles, I’m dedicating my life to the improvement of the lives of others, and that’s not just a 9-5 job, that’s something I take home with me too. And I feel a responsibility to not only learn as much as I possibly can about social issues, but to share what I learn with others. Even if I’m judged or criticized for it.
As for what more I can do, well that’s a topic for another day, another blog.
Like I said, I am seriously thinking about that one.