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  • Reverend James Squire

A Tiktok and Snapchat Culture

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

I didn’t know what Tiktok and Snapchat were so I asked my sons. Most of you know that they are 15 to 30 second sound bites of personal experiences. Hugh Evans, Co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen wrote that “the nature of consumption has changed. You are not going to sit and watch a Saturday night movie. You are going to consume content all day long.”

It sounds as though, back in the day, that Andy Warhol may have been onto something when he said that “everybody gets 15 minutes of fame.” We have become a culture of small bites of experience whether it be visual or experiential. We know that TV commercials are brief with a catchy point and that political campaign propaganda adhere to this central truth. The developmental psychologists argue that this is why students can’t receive information that is not given in small pieces. They can’t focus for long. People don’t read books. They purchase summaries usually online. This is our world now, and it no longer requires patience.

Along comes the culture’s nightmare, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Pandemic both requiring us to deal with the paradox of patience. Patience in receiving justice is not tolerable nor should it be and patience with using the guidelines to rid us of the pandemic don’t do things that quickly. We are relegated to our homes and our phones. You do not become fluent in the art of conversation, and it is an art, if you are always checking your phone for TikTok, Snapchat, and what you need to know quickly online.

You don’t have to have ever used one of the social media platforms to see how it has shaped us as part of our culture. It is a tacit influence. It is hidden in our daily lives. If you don’t use a muscle, it will weaken. If you don’t use conversation and tasks that require patience then that will not be available to you when you need it. If you don’t get off your phones, you will never be able to be alone with yourself. The Black Lives Matter Movement has a paradoxical relationship with patience. They are part of our 30 second or15 second culture so it is difficult to do when you realize that you have been patient long enough. John Lewis captured the dilemma of patience working for and against us when he said in his March on Washington Address that “to those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait. We must say that it is a dirty and nasty word.” Patience will only come when it is married to action to overcome institutional racism. It will come when words on placards become words in our hearts.

If Evans is correct that “you are not going to sit and watch a Saturday night movie. You are going to consume content all day long”, then that mindset creates impatience within us. How are we expected to achieve living free of disease and get justice from enduring the disease of racisim? The culture has a long overdue shift needed!

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