A wise man once said that if you don’t write, you don’t have a voice. Our generation is defined by information, mainly the proliferation of social media, where everyone appears to have a voice. But is that really the case? And if so, shouldn’t we see progression like never before?
My take on social media is to liken it to a mindless rabble. Endless, purposeless debating, meaningless expression, a place where thoughts that should often remain private are voiced. It makes everyone feel important, but everyone isn’t important, at least not in this context. Many people need to keep their opinions to themselves. Why? Because much of what people express is utter nonsense. I don’t want to know what you had for dinner and no I don’t care about your social engagements or your pets. The safety of sitting behind ‘the screen’ has created a false sense of entitlement. But isn’t expression important? Of course meaningful expression and creativity are important, but for every interesting titbit of information one has to sift through the ever increasing idiotic diatribe and dribble.
But why is this important, shouldn’t people be left to their own devices, glued, face down, absorbed? We’ve become a society of expert procrastinators. Our collective creative output has fizzled away into the dull glow of ‘the screen’. We no longer recognise creative brilliance; the vast majority do not read anything worthwhile and are not interested in learning beyond the academic environment. The evidence for this is the abundant opinions of the rabble, expressed without deeper (sometimes even basic) knowledge of most topics.
For the first time we are witnessing a generation growing up with social media. What will their conversations be like; “look at this mac and cheese I made yesterday, do you like it?” “LOL that’s funny”.
What if social media was about activism and collective learning? A place where the discussion centres around innovation and social issues, a space to express and share ideas; where the people control the flow of information, not the corporate controlled propaganda machine that is the media.
We are a generation without limits, we possess the accumulated knowledge of mankind at our finger tips. I once read how the Assyrian civilisation spent a generation building one of the most ingenious aqueducts ever conceived by humans, an engineering masterpiece. They didn’t have an app for that. They crafted it out of their collective knowledge, using creativity to bridge the gap between the limits of their science and their dream.
Look around you; be honest, how many of your peers are achieving actual success? Not success measured in material possessions, social popularity, or conformity to the overwhelming Orwellian reality of society, but real success. Success measured by creative brilliance and social impact, you know those crazy few, the Patrice Lamumba, Arundhati Roy, Che Guvera, the Emory Douglas and the Salvador Allende – the ‘Nanak’ amongst you. To say they are few and far between is the understatement of the century. No. They are more like a solitary oasis, a beacon of hope and rejuvenation in the barren cultural desert. They are the shining stars of their generation, unrecognised except by an equally rare few. I wonder who is today’s Van Gogh, dying in poverty, or Bhai Vir Singh, who is dead to most of us now. I want to hear their voice. Try and keep the noise down so we can.