We live in a time where people are more aware of the things that are going wrong all over the world. Honestly, it is not even my opinion here, people are more aware. Thanks to social media and the spread of internet access, people are more connected than ever. News travels fast. Millions of people can know about an event, good or bad, in a matter of minutes.
Our screens are filled with hashtags and special profile-picture filters every day. These catchy hashtag sayings soon fade away, but the problem they represent does not go away. Some will say, oh well, at least I’m raising awareness about a particular cause or problem. While you are raising awareness, if you only post about it one time on one day out of the 365 days we are given each year, your “raised awareness” is as fleeting as my wi-fi signal in the middle of Africa.
It’s not our words that make a difference, it’s our action. And not even our action, but our actions. It is the continuous actions that make a difference. You cannot cut down a tree with one push of a saw. You cannot run a mile with one step. You’re not going to stop world hunger with a hashtag. You’re not going to save women and children from sex trafficking with one heartfelt post on Instagram with a picture of your hand.
It completely blows my mind that we live in an age where people seem so open to helping and giving, but our helping and giving is so limited. Go to any college campus and ask any student what fundraisers or service projects they were a part of in the past year. You will probably get one or two different events in which the student took part. I bet they even have a nice filtered picture to prove it, too (I’m not bashing on the filters; filters are amazing). But here’s the thing: They did that service once, probably for less than three or four hours. Our service is limited to what we can post about on Facebook and what we can take a picture of and post on Instagram. Are we really so close-minded and self-centered that we think our one “good deed” makes a difference?
Hashtags don’t save people. Hashtags don’t change situations or circumstances. Supporting a good cause for a few hours one day out of the year doesn’t help in any way. Liking a Facebook page or retweeting a tweet doesn’t make you a supporter of anything. In fact, the only thing you’re supporting is the number of hypocrites and fake people we have all around us.
Only people can help people. Only our actions can make things change for the better. The old saying is true: Actions speak louder than words. Even if those words are literally all over the world on a social media post, they really won’t make any difference unless someone puts those words into actions. Even as I am writing these words, I pray that they go farther than the screen. I pray my words do not stay words, but rather turn into actions.