Hello faithful readers of five. Time for a new (hopefully weekly if I can stop being lazy) feature!
I know I said I would be more grateful in 2013. But when so much stupid exists in the world, in the interest of sanity, I really should allow myself at least one day to vent. Or drink. But venting doesn't kill the liver.
You know what really grinds my gears? Hashtag campaigns.
Hashtag campaigns (a.k.a. #insertcampaignhere) are campaigns that originate on Twitter. They are usually about political issues (like #occupywallstreet, #idlenomore #stopKony2012), but they can also include campaigns against corporations or other entities. My specific beef for the purpose of this post is about politically motivated campaigns.
The issue I have is not with raising awareness about important social issues. I think it is good and healthy to discuss topics that affect us directly or indirectly. I think it is important to highlight things that are broken in society.
My issue stems from the fact that, at least so far in my observance, if not done right, these campaigns are polarizing and pointless and stray so far from the issue that nothing actually happens.
Here is a list of everything that typically goes wrong with the campaigns:
- They are usually ideologically driven, and those who drive it are not interested in hearing other points of views but their own.
- Should you offer a different, valid point of view, you are labelled a _______. (Fill in the blank. Usually racist/sexist/elitists comes up, but by no means are the labels limited to just those).
- It brings out the nastiest comments from both the left and right, and ends up becoming a mud-slinging tweet-off.
- The "facts" or "proofs" are usually cherry-picked, ignoring all other documents, news or court decisions related to the topic. Especially if the word "charter-right" or "amendment-right" enters the fray.
- The issue itself is based on a ton of misinformation right off the bat (not that anyone cares). So the warlord we are supposed to stop is not even in the country or power anymore? Minor details. So the chief starving herself is in knee-deep in highly questionable conduct at her own reserve? Minor details.
- It creates a bunch of sheeple who know nothing about the topic, except for the 140 characters they read from other sheeples, and they all of a sudden become experts. That 40 year old housewife is all of a sudden a legal and constitutional expert. That 16 year old teenager, whose whole life revolves around Justin Bieber, cares so-o-o much about child labour (while everything she owns that her parents bought her is made via child labour).
- Journalists and newscasts fixate on all the wrong aspects of the topics, don't ask the right questions, portrays one side as victims and the other side (usually government) as villains. The only time they actually care to portray all the facts is when one side (usually the movement) does some grievance against a journalist. Oh the humanity of it all!