Lloyd wrote this today:
If only a fraction of the energy and indignation that tens of thousands of college students are now expending on the Facebook fracas be applied elsewhere… to, say, indignation and action over the de facto torture policy of the Bush Administration… then maybe things will get…
…never mind. It’ll never happen. ;p
It’s quite easy to voice your indignation when all you have to do is click “Join this group.” I expended just about as much energy as it takes to turn the TV on. If we applied the same energy elsewhere, well, we’d get just about as much done as we have now.
If we could change Bush’s policy by getting thousands of people to click a button, it could happen… maybe, but keep this in mind: We weren’t going to march on facebook. We weren’t going to hold our ground. If Mark Zuckerberg had held his ground for a month (or perhaps two weeks!), Generation Y would’ve acquiesced quite easily. Bush is a million times more obstinate.
As someone from the inside of this “revolution,” I can say that it was no revolution. We were merely consumers extremely who clicked a button to say that we were dissatisfied with a product, stirred up by a few trouble-makers who took an extremely short amount of time to invent a group.
I think it’d be easier to first get all the people who voted for American Idol to vote for a president. ;P
But do delve even further into the psychology of this generation, it was rather interesting how this was a decentralized phenomenon. Sure, there was one guy who wrote a spiel for the Facebook group, but it easily could have been another person from any of the other Facebook groups against News-feed. It easily could’ve been someone else. To put it in plain English: This outcry had no leader.
If Gen Y is really going to get anything done, it needs leaders. Yet, our current choice of role models is lacking. Celebrities? An incompetent president? The morally bankrupt former president? The stilted former vice president? The current vice president who shot someone in the face?
Can we really say that without Abraham Lincoln, the Union would’ve been as great? Can we really say that without Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement would’ve gone as far?
With political discourse poisoned by hacks like Coulter, who can we look to for inspiration? Who can we look to for wisdom?
I’m not saying that the leader is the end-all, be-all. That would be anti-democratic to say that all we need is a great leader, but it sure helps to have a good leader — to have a catalyst for action by the masses.
Like I said earlier, if Zuckerberg had held out for a month, he surely would’ve been victorious. We need people in positions of power to make a difference. Luckily, democracy provides the means to put these people in power.
Yet, the adolescent hearts and minds of this generation were forged in the fires of 9/11. All those who are in college right now, who are on facebook, they are the ones whose lives are shaped by that one day. Perhaps with the world in disarray right now, we can look back on that one day to find courage and integrity in the midst of a previously unimagined act of despicable evil. Even then, there was hope, so too now, there may be hope.
Of course, I’ve gone a long way from Facebook, but I felt it would be wrong to have stopped writing. All I can say is that I will do my small part and maybe one day become a leader, as I hope to be. I can tell Lloyd that he has a right to be cranky now. On the surface, we look like misfits, but with the right catalyst, something great may still yet happen. Although it looks like courage and integrity are in short supply, we have a powerful example in our past of what these values mean. I just hope it’s enough.
To bring this full circle, I must say that no, this Facebook fracas isn’t a sign of things to come. We expended very little effort to bring this about, and I’ll say it one more time, that if Zuckerberg had held out longer, we would’ve given up quite easily. This isn’t a victory by any means. Zuckerberg was very understanding. We didn’t fight anything. There was an outcry, but there was no battle. Thus, by logical extension, there was no victory. I will disagree vehemently with anyone who says differently. This was no demonstration of will or action. There was no test of our wills. There is no inspiration in this event. If we expended the same energy elsewhere, we’d get stomped down, just like we would’ve rolled over had this (non-)battle gone on longer.