My name is Daniel Craig, and I am addicted to clips of SpongeBob on Youtube.
I hope to God my roommate isn’t reading this, because he has grown increasingly wearisome throughout the past couple of weeks after having to tolerate me and my buddy sharing hours of small clips from our favorite episodes and our hysterical cackling. At this point even a passing mention of a quote from SpongeBob enrages him but this doesn’t stop me and my friend from bombarding each other with our favorite clips on Facebook.
After reading the headline of this article, you’re probably wondering how this relates to advocacy, like the recent campaign for marriage equality. It doesn’t. That’s my point.
Let me make something very clear: You won’t find a bigger proponent for gay marriage than me. I could go in to the pure constitutionality of it and the sheer un-Americanism of using religion as reasoning for discrimination, but you have common sense. If you have gay friends, especially those who are in or have been in relationships, you know they damn well deserve equality.
And I also need to preface that I am just as guilty as anyone of what I’m about to condemn. On occasion, I’ve used my Facebook and Twitter to espouse my political stances.
It’s hard to imagine that you don’t know what I’m talking about at this point. You’ve seen the profile pictures of equal signs, the reposted editorials concerning marriage equality, the memes mocking those against gay marriage.
This is not a negative thing. However, it is important to note that it is far from positive. When this trend started taking off after the Supreme Court took the case, I asked myself two questions.
One: How many people that I was friends with on Facebook actually had a differing opinion on gay marriage? In other words, you pick your friends. Do you really associate yourself with a lot of people who feel differently about marriage equality? If not, what good is it bombarding their news feeds when they probably already agree with you?
Two: Even if someone did disagree with me, what shot in hell did my passive activism have on changing their minds? Have you ever read a Facebook argument that ended in anything other than petty name calling? Me neither. My answers to these questions were very few and a resounding no respectively, which is why in this instance I held back in my political activity on social media. I want gays to be allowed to get married, and I don’t see how telling everyone else using the same site I use to play Farmville helps that.
I read one – count ‘em, one – meaningful Facebook post on the subject. It was a friend of mine who shared a link to the website for Pennsylvania congressmen, stating that if you really supported the issue, then write your congressman a letter. Don’t just tell everyone how you feel.
I have to stress that I don’t think this form of activism is in any way a bad thing. Yet if you really want to make a difference, find a platform that might actually have an impact. Write to your congressman as my one Facebook friend suggests. Start an advocacy club here at Temple.
OK, so I only have two ideas, one of which isn’t mine originally. But if you don’t like those possibilities, think of a better one. That’s how people create change.
Because no matter how meaningful or well-articulated your social media opinion is, those sites are too cluttered and oversaturated and it will ultimately get lost in a sea of SpongeBob clips and other nonsense. It’s important to know – and I’m talking to myself here too – that social media has its pros and cons. Sure, I can share a clip of that time Patrick is Pinhead Larry without pissing off my roommate. But, unfortunately, my opinion on marriage equality is a grain of sand on a beach of useless content.
Daniel Craig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ohh_Danny_Boy.