I thought that having friends, family and companion animals that love me meant something. Or having PETA name a sanctuary ("Simone's Place") after me in India meant that I had finally arrived. But no… it's only now I KNOW I have really made it because Rosie O'Donnell blocked me on Twitter... publicly.
Okay, yes…I kid - I mean about it giving my life meaning - but Ms. O’Donnell really did block me (see photo below for proof) and it IS a good thing, maybe even a notch on my belt. Why? Because this means that as an activist, I'm doing my job. I'm being a mirror. And just like waking up to a big zit on your nose makes you want to crawl back into bed, essentially blocking that mirror's reflection, so does having someone call you out on something that by the conscious of your heart you know is wrong. I think that’s what happened to Rosie. And yes, I have read in the news that she recently suffered a heart attack recently and I do hope for her health to get back on track. This is so not about Rosie personally its a much bigger picture.
That said, in my opinion, Rosie doesn’t want to get into a meaningful dialogue with people who disagree with her because there is a voice in all of us that taps us on the shoulder and questions everything we have long believed to be true - like killing defenseless fish for sport - begging us to be SURE, and the voice in her head doesn’t want to deal with hearing it. Typical.
In this particular incidence, the mirror (provided by moi) was reflecting back a photograph taken by one of Rosie's kids of an eel caught in the Hudson River. My 140 character tweet to Rosie was a RT of her photo and caption with the simple message "Unfollowing @Rosie because she is teaching her kids indifference to suffering". Not a minute later, her rapid response was "Blocking @SimoneReyes because she doesn't understand some kids like to fish." Well, Ro, you got that right. I don't understand. Or I do... too well.
Kids mimic what we do. If we show them how to enjoy nature without committing violence towards those that inhabit it, they learn how to appreciate and co-exist non-violently. This is a good thing. If instead we show them that it okay to yank fish from the water and watch as they begin to suffocate, their gills often collapsing and their swim bladders rupturing because of the sudden change in pressure, they learn to be okay with suffering. This is bad. In my opinion, indifference to suffering is certainly not something I am okay with on any level. I want the children of the world to understand that in suffering, we are all equal.
I could care less if Rosie follows me or blocks me. What I LIKE is it got people on Twitter discussing fishing and how the fish feel. People on both sides of our Twitter feeds were asking questions such as “Do fish feel pain?” (YES) “Is Catch and Release humane?" (NO) and some in my vegan mafia, as I like to call them, tweeted Rosie alternative ways for her kids to enjoy nature while leaving the fish in peace. Sure, I got some hate tweets too, but that’s okay, because the point is to use social media to expand the mind, promote dialogue and get people thinking outside of their comfort zone. This is how real change comes about. That’s why I love social media. This wasn't about Rosie and me in a Twitter war. It’s about getting all our followers (a nice number combined) talking about the issue of animal rights, my personal passion. What is YOUR passion? Look inside and really think about what turns on your waterworks or what makes you hot under the collar. Then take to the internet and become an activist.
So, to my dear virgin activists who are reading my blogs because you want to step up to my original challenge to join me in saving the world, I implore you get as many followers as you can on the information superhighway and SPEAK out on the issues that move you!
Don’t know where to start? Well, if you are still living in the dark ages, join Twitter and start following organizations that are already established entities fighting for whatever cause you care about. Then jump over to the nonprofit organization Social Actions who are so cool because they offer opportunities to make a difference from over 50 online platforms through its unique API. This is how revolutions are started in this century, baby.
Do you think that the Occupy movement communicates where actions are going to take place on the news? Heck no! We find out where to occupy and where to show up by following posts on Twitter and on Occupy websites. It's all about connectivity. Use hash tags and you will find others chiming in when you tweet about #globalwarming or #equality or whatever. And always remember to link back to a petition site or website that gives people actual ways to help change whatever you feel needs fixing. I imagine you are already on Facebook, but are you signed up to groups that give back? Do you “like” and subscribe to pages that provide you with updates on how you can save the rainforest? Start a community garden? Be a mentor to a kid in need? Volunteer at your local food co-op? Mail wish list items to animal shelters? Learn how to turn your office green? The possibilities are endless! You will find groups on Facebook for everything from Indonesia for Gender Equality to Tibet Human Rights to Support For Single Moms - you name it. Join one of the groups that cater to the cause you support or better yet, start your own!
Most of our biggest obstacles in our lives often involves the government and laws that govern our future. Social media is evolution of democracy by way of technology, so this is an exciting time to get on the bandwagon and become an active participant in your future and the future of the world. Social media has moved with lighting fast speed in the Obama years to include everyday folk like us into the White House giving us access to get our questions/views/concerns voiced to the Prez himself. The President’s virtual town hall meeting used WhiteHouse.gov to crowd source questions from his 300 million constituents, complete with voting to determine which questions got answered. Kinda love that.
Use your camera as an instrument of truth. Document injustices around you. Use your keypad as weapon. People all around the globe are doing just that. Remember the Egyptian uprising?– its quite obvious to me that Facebook was an invaluable tool to mobilize and organize groups of protestors and demonstrators before authorities could stop them. Wherever there is injustice, social media has kept news and images coming out in real time usually straight from our Smartphones. So the revolution may not be televised just yet but it sure has heck will be on the Internets!
Another way to heal the world and create change is through blogging. Personally I like www.wordpress.com, but shop around. Most are free and as most bloggers will attest its better than therapy! I don't care WHAT gets your goat take to social media and let her rip! Activists are all around us. Most importantly there is an activist inside of you. Sacrifice some of the time you waste looking at your Facebook friends’ photos of their favorite meal or Re-tweeting your daily horoscope to using these social media outlets as tools for change. Get active. Get going. The world is calling and it’s calling on YOU..right from your Smartphone. ANSWER IT.
xoxo Simone Reyes