A World of Social Change

Cartoon by Derek Zimmermann

Take a look at your Tumblr dashboard. Visit your favorite blog. Or, dare we say it, read a newspaper. In all of these places, you will likely find powerful, iconic images of Egyptian protesters, voicing their dissatisfaction with their leader of nearly 30 years. You will see people standing for a cause on a large scale level. You will see history in the making.

Was Mubarak an Americam ally? Is he still? What is actually happening in Egypt? What news outlets can we trust? These questions have been debated for weeks on end. However, there is one significant detail of that has emerged in the coverage of the Egyptian protests that young people around the world should take note of: a cause was promoted on a large-scale level through Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media.

It’s all well and good to update your Facebook status when your classes are canceled because of snow, or tweet about how sick you were all week. But think about who is reading these updates: your best friends, that girl you saw in high school once and, if your profile is public, even people you don’t know.

Why not use this lightning-fast form of communication to promote something you believe in?

Social media outlets allow for  members of the global community to become connected to create a group, invite your virtual friends, who can invite their friends, who may invite theirs…chain reactions,  made possible by a few clicks of a mouse.

This almost frightening, fairly new power we have to reach one another can be used for something we believe in. We should admire our Egyptian peers for their persistence and spirit to organize.  But, let us recognize that it can all
start  simply.

Maybe we young Americans don’t want to call for an overthrow of our government (but, maybe some of us do). But maybe we do have problems with the management of our national debt, or Gov. Cuomo’s proposed cuts to the SUNY system or the possible eliminations of programs here at our own college. If we do, let’s speak out – even if it is online. If our words are powerful enough, we can’t predict who will read them and if they will take action.