Saturday, January 31, 2015

It Can't Be News if it's Old

Re-post from Facebook

12 white people die in France and North American media freaks out with half hour segments (every hour) under the "Free Speech" banner. Facebook follows suit.

132 students were killed in Pakistan on Dec. 16. Without formatting on Facebook, that probably didn't sink in. 132 students. An estimated 500-2000 people died in Nigeria Jan. 3. In both cases, North America briefly mentions it. Facebook doesn't flinch. Why would we? We're back to our selfies. Besides, it happens all the time in those countries. It can't be "news" if it's old.

What happened to any of them was wrong, obviously - and go ahead, freak out. It's scary. Just don't post something because everyone is doing it. Don't post like you've always been passionate about the world - you aren't. You're passionate about what the media chooses to focus on. Don't post about people dying, homophobia, and other real topics with the same urgency and as little emotion (hashtagging implies you don't have time to write out a full sentence. ‪#‎notime‬) as a celebrity getting married or what you had for lunch. Most of all, don't forget that 12 people dying isn't the worst thing that happened this year, this month, or even today, probably.

I'm not saying all this from a high horse. I'm the same as the rest of Facebook - I hear about what the media talks about, and I don't go out of my way to seek out the rest. I freak out. And posts like this one happen. But most of the time, I keep it to real, person-to-person conversations - I don't broadcast to the world that I know about Charlie Hebdo.