When it comes to other kinds of social media, I'm just as bad. I'm really great about "retweeting" things or posting about this "campaign" or that one. But, (confession time), sometimes I'm horrible at doing my research. I get so caught up in the emotions of the moment that I do whatever is asked of me. Social media is a powerful thing. It can get the word out super quick about all sorts of issues. This is a good thing. Take the whole "KONY 2012" example from Twitter. Things like "Kony 2012", "Stop Kony", "Make Kony Famous", and "Uganda" have been trending since yesterday. Invisible Children has done an amazing job getting the word out about the horrible crimes this man named Kony has committed. I mean, I had never heard of him until yesterday (and I count myself as an informed citizen that reads the news). Social media is amazing. It can help a small campaign become a large movement. It can raise awareness. But, social media has one big problem: it's just not personal.
It's easy to click "RT" and forget about it. It's easy to go along about your day and forget about the children that are suffering in the LRA. Social media makes "getting involved" seem *too* easy. It doesn't require anything. Just move on and forget about the issue. I was talking (well, tweeting) with my friend Kayla today about this. She said something that really stuck with me. She said, "my pet peeve is that pressing retweet or posting a video won't solve this. Hoping for international awareness for the cause of human rights will stay w/ ppl!!" We must stay aware of the issue, if we want ANYTHING to change. This reminds me of last Monday at PCC when Louie said that the thing that the traffickers want the most is for the movement against human trafficking to die out. They want you to forget what you're fighting for and they don't want you to have a passion with staying power. They want a quick burst, then the movement to disappear. Something that I wrote a week ago really still resonates with me today:
We can't stop with learning about the issue. We can't let this be a temporary thing. The traffickers' biggest hope is that we will lose our passion for this issue. They want it to be a phase we go through. They don't want us to become emotionally invested in the issue. They want to have more passion for trafficking people and making money than we have to stop them. That's their only hope. If we work together, we CAN do something. We can change lives.We can't stop here. It's not all about social media, retweeting, and how many hits a video gets. These are real people. These are real lives. There has to be a lasting passion for justice. It's gotta have staying power, and we cannot let this issue fade into the background.
Okay, now I'm going to get on to the "get educated" part of the post. I don't know where I stand about Invisible Children. I love some of the stuff that they do. They produce amazing documentaries that get the word out about the problem in Uganda with child soldiers. I've read many conflicting articles over the course of the day, because I'm desperately trying to understand. I've read articles that say IC is great, and some that say IC is horrible. With all the conflicting data, it's hard to see the truth. One website that I really have found useful is Charity Navigator. While I know that it can be hard to check every charity out (and you'd go crazy trying- sometimes you just have to trust that God will take care of things), I've found it to be a pretty good, non-biased source. It concentrates primarily in how the different charities deal with their finances. I also encourage you to check out a charity's website before you give. Do your beliefs line up with theirs? Are their interests your interests? I mean, you are giving them your money, so you have a right to know what/who you are giving to. Be smart. Do your research. Don't just trust what you read on the internet. Don't just trust my word. When I talk about an organization, I try to do my research before I talk about it- to make sure that things add up. But, I'm human! I mess up! Don't take my word for things. Do your own research- make the issue personal. For example, maybe you feel really called to do something with human trafficking because of my One Dress Project. But, maybe you don't feel right about As Our Own. That's okay! I won't take it personally. As Our Own is an organization that aligns with *my beliefs*. I like how they do what they do. You don't have to agree with me on the organization- I just want you to do something. Find a cause. Find an organization. Do SOMETHING. Find your passion. Make things personal. But, please don't take my word as gospel. Don't treat it in that high of a regard, I'm only 21 for goodness sake! Do your research and get informed. Do something bigger, and don't forget about your passions. Don't let them lie dormant. Don't let the traffickers and "bad guys" win. Don't forget.