Why social media can’t change the world

On April 20, 2012, the entire world changed forever. Inspired by Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign, millions stormed the streets in protest of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group. These die hard activists stormed the streets armed with posters, t-shirts, and novelty buttons. Overnight, decades old conflicts were solved, Kony was arrested, and justice was served.

The only unfortunate downside to April 20 was that the world didn’t change forever. The millions of protestors turned out to be only a few hundred. The novelty items turned out to be ineffective weapons against the harsh realities of the African continent.

In 3 days, the video garnered 21 million views, and today, the total view count sits at over 90 million. Yet unbeknownst to many Youtube viewers, watching a video is not equivalent to engaging in social advocacy. This had led some to accuse Invisible Children of promoting slacktivism.

They argue that the oversimplification of complex situations into easily digestible social media bites undermines legitimate activism.

However, others reply that awareness campaigns are beneficial, and provide a social outpouring of support that is used to enact real, lasting change.

What do you think? Is Kony 2012 simply a bad example? Can social media really change the world?

Apple users are smarter, more attractive, and make more money

According to a report from Nielsen/NetRatings, Mac users are better educated and make more money than PC-users. If you disagree, you’re likely unintelligent and unattractive (according to a report from me).

In fact, certain cultural commentators (aka this random guy from my online Poli-Sci course) such as Ryan Rivera have even claimed that possession of an Apple product increases one’s sexual desirability:

However, why exactly do we buy Apple? Is it because Apple makes us smart and sexy? Or is it simply because Apple has become a status symbol in today’s culture?

Examples like ‘phone on the table’ students and wannabe iPhone users (see cartoon) are two examples of how Apple has obtained a cult-like following.

In fact, the cultural phenomenon is to the point where people can’t even justify their own rationale behind buying new Apple products. See Neil Katz’s response to the iPhone 5.

Katz is a longtime Apple supporter who has “bought just about everything Apple’s made since the Apple II Plus came out in 1979.”

He announced to the world that he would “probably be standing on line [sic] with millions of other Americans buying an iPhone 5. Only this time, I won’t really know why.”

Given that buying Apple seems to be the default option when it comes to getting a new phone or a new laptop, have we been culturally conditioned into preferring Apple?

What are your thoughts? Is Apple a status symbol? Is it perhaps something more? Or perhaps this dialogue is overblown and you’d simply prefer a good laugh. Look no further than “Sh*t Apple Fans Say”: