Sunday, October 24, 2010

To my fellow slacktivists:

Articles like this make me love Saturdays more and more--as if that's possible. This article came out today (October 23 2010) on Supreme, The Philippine Star's lifestyle fold that comes out every Saturdays, and upon reading, it made me go "Aha!" 

Though I'm guilty of being part of Generation Me, and of doing some of the things mentioned in this article (like the Color thing, and more recently, the Bag thing on Facebook), I realize the shallowness, if not outright ineptness, of the means our generation adopt to bring the much-talked about (much romanticized, too, I think) "change." But this thing is, like what John Mayer said in his song Waiting on the World to Change"Me and all my friends We're all misunderstood They say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could. Now we see everything that's going wrong with the world and those who lead it. We just feel like we don't have the means to rise above and beat it." But then again, with all the technology, and the freedom our generation is given (and maybe the money, too) we can do something and we should be pro-active, rather than just stay at home--or wherever it is we are comfortable--and do the "slackactivism" we have mastered. 

Supreme Address
Generation Me is Dead

Early this year, Facebook walls were barraged with seemingly random proclamations of color from our female contacts. There was "White!" and "Mmm red." There was "Sea green" and "Rainbow." But then it got weirder, with patterns and even textures. There were stripes and polka dots, ribbed and even leather. 

As it turned out, the Facebook community wasn't playing Taboo or some kind of communal guessing game. Our friends, as I later found out, were proclaiming the colors or designs of their bras. Yes, bras as in brassiere. 

Apparently it was the Facebook community's way of raising awareness for breast cancer, as bizarre as that might sound. It obviously has to do with breasts. What this public display has to do with breast cancer though, is beyond me. When it comes down to it, it was ineffective, borderline lewd, and downright stupid movement. 

But what else is new? Welcome to Generation Me, where "twibbons" indicate your values and memes mean being connected to the world. My generation is a generation of entitlement--arrogant brats who think our mere presence, the mere attachment of our name to a cause (even on Facebook), and our mere desire for change, are enough to change the world. 

We are so into ourselves, in fact, that we fancy ourselves as Internet celebrities, opening Formspring accounts and allowing our pretend fans to ask us anything they want to--from our love lives to career plans. 

This is the offshoot of growing up blogging. After years of having a ready audience for our thoughts--from teenage dirtbag crushes to hormonal woe-is-me rants--we assume that it all takes to make a connection and make a change is posting an entry on Facebook. It's slacktivism and we're slacktivists. We assume that making a change is as simple as wanting it. We want change but not the work we have to put into making that happen. This is particularly perplexing because it lets a lot of people believe they're making a positive social impact without really doing anything worth anything.  

Just consider the millions who didn't register for the elections. After posting twibbons and joining Facebook groups, they think they've done their part in solving national issues. What about registering for elections? We say it's an archaic concept and that it won't help things anyway. We proclaim wanting change in the government, but we don't even have the time to help this change happen. We talk the talk but can't walk the walk. 

A couple of months ago, I went on my school's immersion program, in my case, a post-Ondoy relief operation. Apparently after the hysteria around Ondoy died down, volunteers dispersed as well. The office's team was left to do the operation themselves. I was surprised there weren't more people who wanted to go. Where were the socially-aware Facebook posters with their twibbons and memes? Where were the Twitter activists? Online, of course, tweeting about Haiti in between rounds of Cafe World. 

A little over a year after Ondoy left us reeling, Juan just flew in and left this country in a flurry. We are obviously concerned. We tweet, reminding everyone to stay safe. We post weather announcements on our Facebooks. We have never been more aware, more connected, and supposedly more emphatic. 

And when the tweet dust settles, we realize that all this just challenged us to be more. Whatever we want to do--be it a lawyer, doctor, astronaut, or, if you'd like, a fortune-teller--be more. Be more for your family. Be more for the country. Be more for yourself. There is a whole world outside our Twitter feeds and Facebook pages. It's time we get our heads out of our asses and untie our Twibbons. 

Generation Me is dead. 


Generation Me should be dead. 

Let's get off our lazy asses and do something worthwhile rather than updating the world with our mundane and not-so important tweets (which frankly the world can definitely do without), answering silly questions thrown at us at Formspring (which in reality answer nothing important/relevant), and making virtual connections that really don't matter when it needs to, if you know what I mean. Let us use technology to our advantage, and not to our detriment. Let's make it an asset not a liability. And frankly, you should be motivated by now because I'm running out catchphrases. 

Let me end this post by saying, and I revise a well-known adage, those who can, do; those can't, talk

Which one are you?

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