Megan Garber, “When Empathy Becomes a Meme”

Read Megan Garber’s piece here:

I dunno, Ms. Garber. Once you commercialize empathy, especially if it replaces the actual good that people could be doing, is it even really still empathy? And if you are going to cash in on a trend, as Facebook is doing, even if you’re not aware of it, why not at least tie this filter feature to a relief-fund donation window, in which the filter *could* be applied for free, or require a $1 minimum donation, but at the very least get people thinking about having to put a little bit of money where their French-flag-colored mouth is?

I hate to be a cynic. I hate to see the world through Rurik Bradbury’s eyes, without being able to consider that this is actually an act of “mass compassion.” I’d like to think that for Millenials, a hashtag and meme might actually have a lasting impact in their nascent political thoughts. Instead, I worry that it’s a fad, a way to react without thinking, whereas, after 9/11, most of us did not think about how to react, or how to express that. ‪#‎NeverForget‬ came later, from the marketers. In all of this noise, in all of this chatter, it’s as if we forgot to be stunned, or as if we appropriated someone else’s feelings for our own and called that “empathy.”

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