Facebook is Mourning (And: We Could Make a Change)
Wesley Haaf '18
Last week, I felt an urge to always be checking Facebook. Something was telling me it had the answers, or that it had news I wouldn’t want to miss. I thought it would tell me the truth, in that the dream I was in was really just a nightmare and nothing else.
Facebook was very therapeutic, with its AJ+ and Now This videos. They’re so easy to see, and it’s so easy to share, but some of them are sad and make me mad. One day, I saw this post, a Buzzfeed video called “Trump vs. Obama: Dealing with Hecklers.” It mixed two kinds of clips: sweet things you’d expect Obama to say in response to hecklers, and Trump’s famous, early-2016 quotes. “…they would’ve been carried out on a stretcher…I’d like to have punched him right in the face…see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them...they started punching back; it was a beautiful thing…” Are the details important?
We can talk semantics, about the implications of face-punching, of knocking the crap out of protestors, etc. But it’s about how audiences feel when they hear this—two things: either fear (for anti-Trump Americans), or thrill (his audience).
But right below this Trump/Obama comparison, which really boiled down their rhetorical differences, was another video titled “If you're going to miss Pres. Obama, this video will bring you to bittersweet tears.” It compiled his best, most inspiring and affecting moments into three minutes with a nice acoustic-guitar song mixed high for maximum emotion.
I was terrified at the coincidence—this one anti-Trump video compiling public data, making us miss Obama before he’s left office, right next to a video ode to our great President.
At home, in Connecticut, people are circulating a video titled “KKK alive and well in Stafford Springs, Ct smh.” It’s of a Snapstory someone had seen—a girl named Jenna Eaton snapchatted her night at a KKK party, where robed Klansmen rode motorcycles around a bonfire, waving Trump flags. In the comments, the original poster revealed the girl’s full name, and hundreds of people who’d seen the video went searching for Jenna Eaton. They found out she was a dietary aid at a hospital, and then people contacted her employers, thus fostering justice.
I thought about the joy of those people at that bonfire, how they feel they’ve been unable to express their pride and aggression for too long, and what they think of Buzzfeed videos.
There are so many people talking about the election. There’s so much melancholy on the News Feed. It’s very intense, the output of agenda-ed content. We are readying our resources, sharpening our sticks, pulling out the facts, setting things straight in preparation for the wars to come. It seems, now more than ever, that to click share and spread truths is to lay the foundation for revolution. For the first time on Facebook, the trends on the sidebar are as follows:
1M people talking about this
53K people talking about this
200K people talking about this
I’m surprised more people aren’t shouting, “Hail the neoliberal networks!”