Many of my friends have Tumblr, and proclaim that it’s excellent. As a blogging platform, it’s nice to see what they have to write. What gives me a slightly repulsed and itchy feeling about it is the morality of it. Some of the things said on there definitely deserve publicity and people to be aware, but how aware do the majority of people become from something on Tumblr? A very small proportion of the internet use Tumblr, and it is a social *media* platform. Not a social change one. So slating people who were brought up in a different time, or attacking countries and organisations on the internet does, in reality, very little to help those it should. Sometimes the reasons are justified, sometimes it is an overreaction.
For example, there was much talk about a boycott of the Olympics. I believe this would be a silly idea, it would not send a clear message about any laws in place, it would allow the Russian government to segregate further from the West that is demonising their country, an image that many Russians have already. And the Western media does kind of pillory them over anything, but anyway… But we can all agree that the laws there are unacceptable, as are the laws in Uganda and Iran and other countries, and there have been suggestions that the companies such as Google and the Guardian should start sending money to them to counter the money their governments are using to persecute LGBT+ people. While the persecution is terrible, this idea is almost breathtakingly daft. These organisations are companies, businesses, not charities. It is not their role to aid those in peril, and they would have no way of going about it. Also, where do you stop? Is it practical to suggest that all companies should use their profits to counter all inequality in the world, to stop prejudice and help every starving child, every women not allowed to drive or leave the house? These companies are Western companies, they are nothing to do with the countries in question. When Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other countries intervene, they are doing it with a vast knowledge of the situation on the ground, how to act and react and how best to help those that need it. Tumblr and Google are neither of these, with none of the associated abilities. This would, again, allow the political uproar from the governments in question and the closing of international borders, leading the situation for those inside to be worse, and the world simply not to know.
Although the authors of such posts protest for equality so vehemently, they show a startling lack of practising what they preach. Many of the posts there are satire, and although many know this, a worrying number do not realise it’s just not true. Did they not research before posting? For example, the story that suggested that the person in charge of the rings opening at the Winter Olympics in Sochi was found murdered was satire, as most people know, and could be discovered with a quick Google. But many people believed it. And after Nelson Mandela died, a poster was posted saying David Cameron was a ‘top member’ a student organisation that wore ‘Hang Mandela’ T-shirts and went on an anti-sanctions fact finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid group. Actually, as could also be found with a quick Google, there was no evidence that Cameron was ever connected to the T-shirts, conservative university groups at the time did wear them, but there is no evidence Cameron was involved, and he said at the time that the mission was wrong. Also, although one of the greatest men there has ever been, Mandela came to the conclusion that the ANC ‘had no alternative to armed and violent resistance’ and advised others to request weaponry from the People’s Republic of China. The atrocities associated with illegal gun running notwithstanding, or that I mean to use this as a negative slur to his character, hardly Gandhi. And was this mentioned? No, it was not. Cameron was betrayed as a nasty liar. Whatever you believe of the situation, I hardly think that’s fair. Many other things have also been twisted out of proportion. The Manning case, for instance. Manning is portrayed as a ‘political prisoner, relegated to the rubbish heap of US history’, and says Manning ‘spoke up’ against people who remain free. Certainly they do, unless you wish to arrest the Department of Defence and almost every military organisation on the planet. Manning is treated as a guiltless target. What about the servicemen and women whose positions and identities were revealed by this, risking or potentially losing their lives? What about those nationals who worked with the military, now identified for their families and themselves to be in danger? Are they of no consequence? Or do they not matter to the posters, because they simply have not thought of them, caught up in the drama on their screen? Again, hardly fair.
Tumblr is an ‘ain’t it awful, someone should do something’ idea. But who? Are they doing anything? The view presented is not balanced; while the perfect world may be the ideal, it will not come overnight without removal of freedom or individuality, and even then it would not work. Our perfect world will probably never happen; we cannot stop pain, suffering and disaster, it’s a part of existence. So while you strive to your dream, which no-one should abandon, who will protect the world we have?
I am aware it’s slightly ‘keyboard warrior’ writing this, but I am not trying to change anything, neither am I saying anything should be done. I am not trying to impress my opinion upon others, I am simply putting it down. But it is not the same as those on Tumblr. Does that make it wrong?