I found this discussion on TechCrunch about a particularly brow-raising Twitter account. The account user is a 'StarvingAfricanChild' (!) and the Tweets are a whole bunch of "I'm hungry"s. Only two or three tweets mention anything about the surrounding. The post I mentioned also has some really insightful (and some truly shocking) comments from regular readers. I found the Twitter account and the pictures an unnecessary gimmick, as it seems to cheapen the suffering of the child, seeing as it is obviously not the real experience of the child in question but the random rantings of some person who has unlimited (and maybe free) Internet access (which in itself would be unheard of in a famine-ridden region of Africa, I presume!) An even worse example of online inappropriateness and crassness is this Twitter account of 'Hellen Keller'. It's a shame that people are so unfeeling, disrespectful, and evil. Even more sad is that they are so proud of their nature that they want to exhibit it online!
Anyway, coming back to the post - first of all, I personally wish to express my appreciation to MG at TechCrunch for feeling the need to address such issues on his otherwise techie blog. It shows that he is humane and also cares about global issues as much as the latest iPod application... or whatever he writes about. Tech is good, but empathy is necessary. Atleast, I think so.
Secondly, the comments to the post were absolutely shocking, with people more bothered about a small typo MG made on the number of followers that the account had. The issue at hand was completely thrown out the window. What's worse, some people griped that the blogger should just stick to techie news and not lose focus. Oh for God's sake! Why do people have such an aversion to being faced with anything unpleasant. One person claims that there are other people who will bring such problems to the forefront and TechCrunch should simply stick to techie stuff. Contrary to this, I believe it is the duty of every person who enjoys such a wide online visibility and credibility to talk about such global issues, since they have more people paying attention to what they say. Same reason (although on a much more wider reach) as why the American President is asked to comment on everything that happens in the world. You can't tell him it's not his business, can you?!
Thirdly, one reader brought this comment that should jolt any sane person out of their social lethargy:
"Know what is in poor taste? The hours and hours of media and dialogue dedicated to Michael Jackson’s death while 3.2 Million people die each year from water related illness. That’s not even getting into hunger issues.
In fact, it’s not just poor taste. It’s downright tragic and disgusting.
It’s nice to see someone trying to remind people where their priorities should be."
So, when the world is seeing the highest levels of pollution of every kind; a spread of more diseases than we can account for; the death of more people due to war and terrorism, more of the human population caving in to famines, droughts, fires, and other natural disasters, shouldn't we sit up and try to be real and look at what's really important in life.
Shouldn't we try to appreciate what and whom we have in our lives right now; shouldn't we learn to respect the other person; shouldn't we set out priorities right; shouldn't we finally try to make a difference in the world around us?