I hate injustice. I have taught my students about the genocide in Rwanda & wept. After sifting through endless hours of information on the Holocaust, I have been awoken by nightmares, the content so deeply etched in my psyche. I passionately expound the atrocities of modern-day slavery and the HIV pandemic that is decimating Africa. These things need to be changed.
And yet, somehow, I’m also able to by an 8 dollar t-shirt, and not realize until much, much later that the majority of the cost for that purchase was not paid by me, but by some poor garment worker in China, India, or Malaysia. Disappointing.
My students are disappointed. Disappointed in the world they are inheriting. Disappointed that there are so many promises, so little being done. Disappointed that the problems seem so large, and the options so few. Many of them want to change the world; they hate injustice too.
And yet, social media allows for the possibility of change. It allows, in ways not possible before, for the voices of my students to be heard, for like-minded people to band together to make a difference. As Michael Wesch observes, correctly, the voices of the “heard” have been few, until now; their interests dominated by economics, not altruism. It’s time for this to change.
Social media, allows for a plethora of voices to be heard, to make a difference. This is something I’d like to teach my students how to do. As Howard Rheingold states, “What forms of suffering could be alleviated if we knew more about cooperation?”
If you know people or organizations using social media to do social good, I’d love to hear about it.