Events like the protests in Egypt allow me to have faith in the utility and value of social media. It’s telling that in order to stay updated, I’m checking tumblr, twitter, and news sites in that order. There is something troubling, though, as I “participate” in this historical moment that is unraveling. While the ability to upload a video to YouTube or tweet out what’s going on in real time are incredible exercises of activism and initiative on the part of people on the ground, I can’t help but wonder what is exactly happening on this end as I play that video or read that tweet. Am I a concerned global citizen seeking to stay informed? Or am I part of a big audience that is turned on by the fact that I get such intimate access to sensational events simply by opening up my web browser? The people of Egypt most definitely should broadcast what’s happening and the world most definitely should watch; however, I can’t help but feel something crude is happening when matters of life and liberty are placed within the confines of a monitor to be commented on by people who will, within 30 seconds, move on to a video of someone lip syncing to the latest Top 40 hit.
The cruelty of comfort.