I, like many others, have noticed a type of "herd mentality" that exists on Facebook before the Paris attacks. However, I write this post now as this herd mentality is extremely pronounced.
I do not need to say that the attacks on Paris were sickening to me. I have been following and speaking out to people against ISIS for quite a while (mostly on deaf ears. While others were busy posting about Kim Davis and the Clock Boy, I was baffled by why people were not saying anything about ISIS, focusing their lives on largely pointless issues. Now that ISIS has attacked France, I am told that Facebook is awash in people's profile picture being changed to a French tricolor. It is great that people are supporting the French people in this (but they need real support). However, I can not help but wonder where this support was when other attacks happened, most notably the very recent airline crash that took place in Egypt. Yet, the Egypt crash that killed over two hundred Russians was totally ignored by most on Facebook. Why is this?
One user retorted:
"The French supported us during our 9/11 terrorist attack by hundreds standing around a us flag. This was a terrorist attack by the group we are at war with, and so those are the main two reasons I changed mine....plus facebook had it as an option on my timeline. I think it's great for everyone in Paris to get on and see all of the support of their flag standing everywhere, all over the world. We stand together through this."I wonder, is this why we started calling French fries "freedom fries" after 9/11? Yes, there was a lot of French hate in the media after 9/11, but many do not want to recall that now. The truth is, that people on Facebook seem to act in tandem. Facebook has a way of making people think as one big and sometimes dumb group. Certain news stories get the spotlight (clock boy) and other bigger, more important stories (such as the attacks in Beirut) get ignored. Conspiracy theories regarding Obama or Donald Trump are more important to many than anything that is going on in the world that tear lives and people apart.
I do not want to seem unsympathetic to France or the French, and I hope that you do not think I am. I think that there are better ways to show that you care about humanity or stand with those who have been attacked than changing your picture on Facebook. Such an act of self-aggrandizing does nothing for the world at all. In fact, you might as well just reach your hand around and pat yourself on the back for being so culturally aware on your profile before going off your all-important political views on Islam or sharing pictures of your latest meal.
One interesting tidbit about the France attacks was that, at first, it seemed that there was a lot of unity on Facebook. Now, Facebook is full of arguments over what should be done regarding ISIS, refugees, and other points that armchair political strategists feel the need to debate behind their phones and computers. You may have that tricolor as your Facebook image, but behind that glow, you are still wasting your time on one of the biggest time suckers in existence. Facebook wants you to think that you are doing something in support of the terror that happened in France, but the truth is, if you were to log off Facebook and never show yourself on that site again, France (or the world) would not be any worse off. If you want to show real support on the war against ISIS, start caring about every human, no matter where they are from, who are hurt by this vile organization. Mourn not just for the French, but for all those who have died by the hands of these people. Don't let Facebook tell you who you should be in solidarity with. It's time you move away from the herd mentality that exists on Facebook and start thinking for yourself.