On Monday, English funnyman Ricky Gervais repeatedly offered up a counter-intuitive contest to his followers on Twitter: If nobody retweets this post, I will donate one thousand pounds to charity. Here are his failing results:
The absurdly rich co-creator of The Office then upped his ante to five, then a thousand pounds, and still failed to be ignored by retweeters, favoriters, and repliers:
Ricky Gervais loves calling people out, and this call-to-inaction was all too easy. We would all have to read more carefully to get that British tender donated to good will, or just do something else. For some, those options are a known impossibility. As if more money to the needy could stop the social media world from mindlessly clicking. To hammer the point home, Gervais added this bit of sarcasm:
Perhaps the response to this mean-spirited experiment is most evocative of the meme known as “Upvote Obama.”
This object of humorous sloganeering was created for Reddit, but it applies to any social media, because of the apathetic people who like, retweet, upvote, regram, or whatever have you. “Somebody did something? ... Fuck it, have an upvote.”
What can you do to change this helplessly lazy culture on the web? Nothing on a grand scale, but you can be the change you want in the world always. Make every “like” a discerning one, and the people who take note will know you to be a tastemaker, rather than a indiscriminate hamster, pressing a green paddle in your cage for the whip-it length rush of spreading kudos. Or maybe you’ll just be a snob, and that is okay, because there really is no place for the middle ground on social media.