"If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one around to hear it,
does it still make a sound?"
If you are angry about something but don’t announce it on social media, does that mean you are not really angry?
Last week (and this) Twitter and Facebook have been justifiably angry about the killing of a lion called Cecil by an American dentist called Walter J Palmer.
The understandable anger regarding these Trophy Hunter Killers has been floating around on social media for some time; the main celebrity protagonist in this has been Ricky Gervais.
It is heart-breaking and vile that these ‘people’ can get away with killing these beautiful, and in most cases completely harmless, creatures for sport.
It is, however, also vile that children are dying every day in war-torn (yes, war-torn, not that cosy “conflicted” word that’s bandied about in the media to make it more palatable) and famine struck countries.
It is vile that thousands of children in the UK live below the poverty line.
It is vile that gays are being persecuted daily in Russia.
It’s vile that people daily kill each other in the name of their “loving caring gods”.
It is vile that thousands of innocent people are killed in the states by firearms every year while the NRA defend their right to bear arms in the face of statistics and dead children.
It is vile that people are trying to escape persecution in their homeland with no guaranteed safe place to go to.
It is vile that paedophiles continue to go uncaptured and unpunished.
So many things for us to get angry about.
I got caught up in a conversation on twitter last week that implied people were “more outraged by the death of a lion that those deaths of children in [Israel]”.
The human heart has such capacity for love. We do not love our first child less once we have a second or third.
Equally we are capable of being outraged and saddened by more than one thing at the same time. It just so happened that this week’s story was Cecil. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t still angry about the other things.
What it does mean is that we don’t have the energy to be angry about everything all at the time. That way lies madness. Not so many years ago, when social media was a figment of some nerd’s imagination, our traditional newspaper and TV media told us who to get mad at. Now we are bombarded with information from everywhere and it only takes one tweet or status update for people to reach for their pitchforks and flame someone (I know, mixed metaphor) before the full facts have been revealed.
But we shouldn’t be sheep. We should not rant and rave because someone has decided that’s what we’re ranting and raving about today. Consider your own moral code. Decide what to be angry about.
And then ... and here’s the thing… don’t just shout about it on Social Media, get up and do something. Don't get caught up in the "I'm more worried about this than you are, look at me tweeting about it" competition.
Social media is an amazing tool for raising awareness and amassing support, but just getting people angry about something won’t lead to change. The more people rant and rave about things the more immune we will become to it. We will just roll our eyes and say “Oh, X is ranting about something else today”. DO something. Join a political party, sign up to help a charity, if not in cash then in your time.
Don’t just shout about it on Social Media then go and make a cuppa.