By: CHRISTINA CLARK
Everyone wants to feel relevant. On social media, in social scenes, having a name and a cause is what we do. We are all campaigning for our own causes with our own flags to fly. That’s noble. Even corporations are joining conversations – opening up the can of worms once again: are corporations actually people?
Starbucks wants in on the action with their controversial #RaceTogether campaign to continue to keep the race relations conversation in the mainstream.
When the cause hits home, when you’re in the heat of the moment protesting or waving your flag on social media, it’s easy. It’s easy when you hang out with similarly minded people on a regular basis. It’s easy; it’s hip; it’s cool. Raising your voice and standing up for what you believe is empowering, but is it the right thing to have your cause trend quickly and leave the social sphere just as fast?
In recent months, local “scenes” have suffered both large and small blows to their integrity. Those blows have come in the form of personal matters smeared across the community, business competitions becoming disrespectful and friendly rivalries turning ugly. Yes, these come with “the scene,” but every time they pop up social media dusts off its wings, the trending supporters pop their heads up and share, tweet or post their support or disdain.
Social media is a great sounding board and way to share information, but it also shares a lot of misinformation and after seeing so many emotionally charged posts, it can backfire and leave those in the audience feeling jaded.
When a group cares about something, there is generally a call to action: support this person, don’t support that group, let’s rally for or against this. This is how the embers of change are stoked. Social movements and the spreading of messages can be incredibly positive. It can also be incredibly damaging when a friend on the fringe sees so much support rallying behind a cause that they have been personally affected by, seeing no such personal support themselves.
Let’s address issues and not trends. When the issue turns into a trend, let’s not forget those who are affected everyday by it. Let’s not blow it out of proportion and forget that those involved are human. It’s just business, and if it is personal then all that matters is that people are safe and that they are getting the help that they need.
The “scene” shows the wonderful attributes and the glaring flaws of the South Bend/Michiana community. Every community has them and works through them. We are only human after all. Remembering that humans and community are really at the heart of the “scene” will work to improve going out and supporting local friends, artists, bartenders, baristas, small business owners, musicians, et cetera.