With the sad news coming out of Boston yesterday and ensuing the activity on social media, I couldn’t help thinking about OUR role as ‘consumers’ of media. I found two posts in social media sites, this one by Patton Oswald on Upworthy and this one by Erika Napoletano. Mr. Oswald’s short piece is a ‘love letter’ to the people of Boston and, in a broader sense, to all of us around the world. Ms. Napoletano has written a very well-crafted and heart-felt open letter to the media in the wake of the events in Boston, but which speaks to our our responsibilities as media consumers and to equalizing power differentials.
I reference both here as a reminder that social media – and in the broader sense, Media – can be an inspiring outlet. WE chose what we post, how we use the media available to us. Regarding the ‘Media’, they have no audience if we chose not to participate in exploitation and sensationalism Sure, it might take some time for Media to catch on, but I’d hazard a guess that it wouldn’t take that long if the bottom line were effected. It saddens me to read/see/hear hand-wringing, dire lamentations of “Oh, the media. They’re horrible!” or “Oh, look at how the Interent has changed society – such a shame!” We continue to refuse to see that WE are responsible for what we read or see or hear or listen to or write or post or share. If we don’t like what we see, and do nothing but shake our heads, tsk-tsking, are we not as culpable?
In the final analysis, I believe that we should finally admit that nothing is done TO us; that we have the power, collectively, to bring about what we desire if we have the courage and willingness to work for those outcomes. We are and remain sheep, until we realize that we are not.