Earth Day: Social Media Activist Retweets WWF Tweet, Unsure If Also Sharing an Article On Facebook Is “Too Much Activism for A Day”

by SONALI BEHER
Published: April 28, 2018
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Created by Isabel Campisteguy, Courtesy of Pixabay.com

SEATTLE – In honor of Earth Day, Seattleite Connor White expressed his support for environmental protection by retweeting a post from the World Wildlife Fund’s official twitter account on April 21, yet decided against sharing another article on the same topic on Facebook, calling it an “overload of activism.”

The NGO’s tweet depicted a bleeding elephant near Nairobi with a rusty spear popping out of its neck. Above it, the caption read: “Hit Like if You Feel Sorry. Retweet to Save Its Life.”

Hoping that his retweet will appear on the feed of a Kenyan veterinarian who happens to pass by the wounded animal, White didn’t need long to decide: “What cold-hearted creature would hit Like, if they could hit Retweet?”

However, a New York Times article illustrating the average person’s contribution to the decimation of endangered species did not fit into the timeline of the self-proclaimed social media activist:

“Social media activism is like any other activism: you need to make people aware of political issues,” the UW student of Comparative Japanese Poetry explains, “And, as with any activism, you need to ask yourself: When does my activism make people uncomfortable? That’s when you need to stop.”

White calls himself a “veteran” of political intervention, tackling issues from civil rights to child poverty: “When I was a teenager, I regularly linked to UNICEF articles on my MySpace profile.”

Upon hearing about Starbucks’s recent racism scandal, White immediately changed his screen saver to the Black Lives Matter logo (“not a profile pic though, since I’m friends with my boss on Facebook”) and unfollowed the brand’s Instagram page: “I took action because this is bigger than me. I took action even though this means I will miss my monthly coupon for a free mocha latte.”

For White, who is friends with two African Americans and knows a “very friendly black bus driver,” this incident hit close to home.

“I try to be as woke as possible,” says the 22-year-old, who has stricken the word “awake” from his vocabulary to show his commitment to the cause.

White’s latest act of activism is the posting of a 9gag thread that bashes non-voters—a group the student particularly dislikes.

“I simply cannot understand people like them. How can they go to sleep without making an effort to improve our world?” the social media activist says. “These people are in a privileged position. But, instead of taking action, they remain passive. They don’t do anything; they just complain.”