Let’s face it: when you tweet, does anyone really give a shit? Social media has long been touted as the great equalizer of opinion, but like all things on the internet — your various notes, celebrity gossip or months-long investigative reports — they’re all compressed via algorithms into equivalent blips on our social feeds.
It’s rendered us all mute.
Instead of relying on front page headline announcements at the newsstand, now, no one can distinguish between a tweet from some guy named Scott O’Connor or The New York Times: they both have the same standing on our feeds.
On this note, Saturday Night Live hit the zeitgeist yet again this weekend — not with Alec Baldwin’s cartoonish, overpraised portrayal of Donald Trump (or Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly) — but with a digital short titled “Thank You, Scott.”
In the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it SNL short, a passive couch potato named Scott O’Connor (played by host Louis C.K.) gets serenaded by a trio of singers:
He turned on the TV
What did he see?
Blood being spilled
War in the middle east
Refugees seek safety across the sea
But hundreds are drowning
Yearning to be free
Then the punchline:
He couldn’t sit by and do nothing
He had to act before it was too late
He shared an article on Facebook
And everything changed
Thank you, Scott!
You solved the problem
You brought the struggle to an end
By sharing that article
With 84 Facebook friends
Like this short’s main message, I’ve long been frustrated by people’s satisfaction with voicing their opinions on social media as if it were some great act of democracy.
The always-connected age hasn’t left us closer to loved ones, leisurely and more informed — instead we’re all distracted, perpetually busy and tethered to our employers.
As we vape away our leisure time on websites that track our habits to sell goods back to us, we’re not writing letters to politicians, forming collectives or wholly interacting with our friends and families (let alone considering and advocating policies that will benefit our children or futures).
On this note, the SNL short continues:
You know why I love this dude, the most?
He tells me how to feel on top of his posts
Story about government stripping your rights got him pissed
And he cares, so he shares
And above writes, “Resist”
Stop pretending that you’re socially active because you post on Facebook, tweet or send anthropomorphized pictures of your friends on Snapchat.
You’re asleep and you don’t even know it.
Whose interests is that serving?