Recently I’ve been getting increasingly bored of social media, as my feeds seem full of bleating goat videos, political rants and, worst of all, those ‘motivational’ pictures that try to make people feel better about being a failure.
I like to read other people’s opinions — after all, I give mine often enough — but sometimes it just gets a bit tiresome and I start thinking that it’s all a giant waste of time.
I suspect that I will be watching goat videos, sighing over political rants and ignoring those motivational pictures for quite a while yet
And then something happens to reignite my love for all things Facebook and Twitter.
That’s what happened last week, when the Twitter hashtag #FindAzam started trending (which means lots of people are talking about it all over the world).
It followed a BBC Panorama programme which told Azam’s story — a little five-year-old boy whose jaw was broken after he was run over by a truck.
Horrible yes, but what makes it even more distressing is that this little boy, a Syrian refugee, was asleep by the side of a road in Macedonia when it happened.
In the care of a man purporting to be his dad, Azam eventually made it to hospital in Belgrade. But when Panorama reporter John Sweeney enquired about his progress, he was told Azam had disappeared before he could be treated – taken, presumably, by his ‘father’ to continue the journey to Europe.
The war in Syria has cost 250,000 lives so far and, as we know, many of those are children.
The sceptic in me thinks that sharing #FindAzam on Twitter, or posting on Facebook, won’t do any good, especially if it’s all written in English or Arabic.
But one thing I have found out is that Syrian refugees desperate for news on missing friends and relatives have been successfully tracking them down on Facebook, using collective people power to find them.
Social media will always be changing — the Facebook of today is vastly different to the Facebook I first joined in 2007.
But as long as it has a social, cultural, and perhaps even lifesaving use, I suspect that I will be watching goat videos, sighing over political rants and ignoring those motivational pictures for quite a while yet.