Last Saturday I attended the Auburn vs. LSU football game at Auburn University. The passion of the 88,000 fans from both teams could be heard and felt throughout the entire stadium. It was the 4th quarter and 0.01 second on the clock. It was 4th down and LSU had one more chance to throw the ball for a touchdown. Every single fan was quietly holding their breath, and the edge of their seats. While we are waiting for the team to set, the jumbotron lit up with its “GET LOUD” slogan flashing for all the Auburn fans to scream. That was all it took, and the crowd went WILD. I had already lost my voice from screaming in the first half of the game, but buddy I reached down deep to get whatever was left of my voice so that I made sure that I was heard. I violently shook my pom pom high in the air and kept screaming until the vein on my forehead was about to explode.
….Then it struck me, this is the power of media. The entire crowd was nervous and silent until the video board told us to get loud. And the crowd did. I did. But there’s no way this is the same as the chaotic mess that is going on in the realm of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
But it is. Because I jumped without thinking.
Now I love the Auburn Tigers. When I was born I had an Auburn baby blanket in my crib. My family buys football season tickets every year, and we make it a priority to come and support our team. We’re passionate about our school. And if the Auburn stadium jumbotron displays their “GET LOUD” slogan then 9 times out of 10 I am going to scream at the top of my lungs. And the other 1 out of 10 I am probably in line at the concession stand. But I will have to admit, I probably would not have screamed at the top of my lungs if the “GET LOUD” directions were NOT displayed for me to see.
We all know that the media creates bias in their posts. And I am sure that a lot of people catch themselves reading comments of people going back and forth arguing. Let’s be honest, it’s good stuff. Sometimes even movie theatre popcorn worthy Facebook arguing stuff. But let us go back to recent news that has been publicly displayed for the world to see. The Colin Kaepernick protest for instance. A very public figure took a stand (or lack thereof) against the national anthem. And because of that, it is everywhere on social media. Now other sports figures, colleges, parents, and high school students are sitting during the national anthem. It has created a movement. But let me ask you this. Did Colin create this or did the movement start because it was seen on a media site? Would you have known this protest was taking place if it had not been posted at all? And what were you doing to help the cause before Colin decided to kneel?
But this goes beyond the Colin Kaepernick protest. Let’s talk politics. We gripe and complain that the two worst people in the United States are running to lead our nation. We have someone who sounds good on paper, but lies with every word she speaks. And then we have the other who looks terrible on paper, but is way too honest when he speaks. They both sit on opposite ends of the spectrum, and although we hate it America, we helped get them there. Because while Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson are politically equipped to run for presidency, we chose to still talk of the people that we would hate to win. We tweeted it, we shared it, we commented on it. And because we paid so much attention to it, the media kept giving us more. They give us news that they know will bring forth that passionate opinion we all possess inside. Until that is all that we see.
Although it is vital to have an opinion, it is also vital that we know exactly what we are standing for beyond what is flashed for us in a quick 2-3 minute video that pops up on our timelines. And the sad part is, we keep falling for it. Time and time again. We have got to do better. BE BETTER than what we see on Facebook. Do better by stepping out from behind our computer screens and actually make a difference in the community. Be the change we all want to see.
I refuse to jump without thinking. I will educate myself before forming an opinion. I will not react in the way social media wants me to react. Instead I will educate myself, and listen to others opinions that differ from mine without judgment. Because it is always better to walk alone, than to walk with a crowd that is going in the wrong direction.