4:30 p.m. March 9, 2022
There aren’t many times when, as someone dedicated to putting pen to paper, I don’t know what else to add.
In light of the past two weeks, I, like many others, have been subjected to a whirlwind of confusing and very new emotions. These came mostly in response to not just TV and newspaper news, but a new twist on news via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
For much of the western world, the past 10 years has been a continuous dig into the myriad evils of the social media age. Recently, Netflix has, with shows like Don’t F**K With Cats, The Tinder Swindler and Inventing Anna, satisfied our anxiety around a new world of criminal and macabre opportunism that social media has created.
When we open our history books (more likely an online equivalent) a hundred years from now, the first 20 years of social media will be devoted to misinformation, privacy breaches and scandals. At least that’s until two weeks ago.
On the day of writing, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posts a video, himself reacting to another wave of unprovoked Russian attacks on Ukraine. His daily uploads are viewed and shared millions of times, so much so that social media, in a Darth Vader twist, plays an unforeseen role in an inexplicable war.
In the first example of a full-scale European war in the age of social media, every user has taken on a role in this conflict. Every share, every like, every follow of barbarism happening right now contributes to the demise of a tyranny known only to us before in textbooks and archives.
Perhaps unexpectedly, photos, videos, and every other narrative of scenes on the ground have become a vehicle to capture the hearts and minds of the global online presence. A resulting wave of contempt for Russia and adoration for the many brave Ukrainians is putting increasing pressure on a leader who thought the job would have already been done.
Hopefully, when we open this handbook a hundred years from now, this chapter will read, “It was the unpredictable rise of once-derided social media platforms that helped win the war for good.”
Oliver Shasha is the bass player of the band FEET.