The world is dying, but we are already dead (inside).
On April 15, 2019, the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris, France rooftop burned down causing it to collapse. Onlookers immediately screamed in gut-wrenching agony for 15 hours. Many went to social media to share their fake prayers and capitalized on the moment by sharing their own picture taken at the famous cathedral.
Even I was guilty of this humblebrag. I posted my picture of Notre-Dame de Paris on Instagram to maintain my social ranking and attention-seeking like factor. Who needs a soul anymore? They are overrated in our present social climate.
Currently, there’s a colossal fire that has been going on for five weeks. The Amazon Rainforest in South America is burning down. It’s kind of a big deal, the Amazon Rainforest is responsible for 20% of our oxygen and is labeled as “the lungs of our planet”. It’s the lifeblood to our survival on Earth.
Commonly held belief among scientists is that the rainforest helps stabilize the world’s climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So do we care to share this heartbreaking information on social media? The answer is no.
The way a majority of society gets their news is from social media sites, 43% from Facebook alone. A study conducted last year found about two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) get news from social media, according to the Pew Research Center.
Credit: Pew Research Data/Nik Richie
We are in a culture that shares information virtually. Society digests current events based off an internet polling algorithm, the more “likes”, the more reach a certain story receives.
Intern the more vapid validity the sharer receives. If the content isn’t sexy or doesn’t have implications of murder, preferably a digital death toll count, then it’s not worthy of our R.I.P. hashtag- to show sympathy, empathy and/or conversation rate.
“Some people, I believe, do use social media as self-fulfillment because it is there, available, and easy to connect to and maybe less challenging and more immediate – people and video and entertainment at one’s fingertips,” said Jim French, an associate professor of sociology at Saddleback College. “It is only natural to gravitate toward that which we find to be the path of least resistance and return to that which provides almost instant gratification. More “likes” is satisfying, more positive responses to posts may release certain feel-good chemicals in the brain. It can bring us a certain feeling of power and acceptance.”
The New York Times in cooperation with Customer Insight Group and Latitude Research published a study on the psychology of sharing. They found one of the top 5 factors of user motivation to share online is for self-fulfillment. People want to be credited by others for what they share.
Makes sense considering social media is kind of like an everlasting high school. Popularity or die.
So sharing a picture of the Amazon Rainforest burning to the ground which has a significant impact on our lives will never be sensational enough. It’s just not cool. We are a social society numb to real issues unless they benefit us personally. It’s despairing as the fire rages on, only to make headline news a month later based on the fact nobody cares on social media.