What is a celebrity without adoring fans and an audience? Even random bystanders will do as an audience. An audience is not on stage participating, acting. Rather, an audience is looking
participating by cheering or jeering, but not exercise agency to create or solve something. It can participate in a zombie like state. That could be a problem.
What do you need in an iReporter world? iReporters. Regardless of where the concept originated, many traditional media outlets now want to hear your story. “Were you there when . . . ? Tell us. Send your report.” Not that an ireporter needs a regular media outlet. There’s social media. That could be a problem.
That’s where the celebrity and iReporting worlds collide. If you report and you get enough hits, if your stuff goes viral, you may have your celebrity moment in the sun.
Who doesn’t want to be a celebrity? While many are not interested and will take a pass on being the next celebrity, many others are interested.
Some seek their moment in the sun through being the ones who record and post, record and post each moment of their lives and others’ lives. Coupled with wanting something to go viral is the sense of saying, “Look at me, I’m in the middle of where the action is.” A boosting of the ego. That could become a problem. How? (And this is not about sharing with friends. There are people who genuinely do so.)
Could this be the problem?
Between being the audience and seeking your moment in the sun, and other impulses you’re being trained to step back. Step back and applaud or jeer but not change what happens on stage. Step back and let others act while you observe. Step back and be preoccupied with what you’ll share and how you’ll tell it rather than getting into the middle of the action and making a difference. That is a problem.
Then we ask the question, why didn’t anyone in the crowd act when the young lady was gang raped? Well, there was the audience and there were the “reporters.” It was videotaped.
There seems to be an increase in incidents of people standing by and doing nothing while violent acts are being committed against another. That’s a big problem. (Kudos to those who do act.) Many of the onlookers seem to be in a zombie like state. Even worse, some in the audience are engaged with themselves and their reporting. Then there are those who just have a sadistic fascination with what is happening. Unfortunately, many have forgotten how to act, how to have agency.
So here are the questions for us in youth ministry and/or interested in youth:
- What culture are you fostering in your youth ministry. Have you reduced your youth to being an audience that applauds and/or jeers and can write the lesson complete with answers in a zombie like state because no thinking is required on their part?
- In seeking to be relevant, do you now have your youth busily reporting to their friends on social media what is happening in youth group without serious engagement in what is happening in youth group?
- When you plan your major events, do your youth need to be actors or do they just need to show up in their zombie-like state and applaud or jeer when the switch is turned on?
Are you part of the solution in an increasingly distant world of physical and emotional disconnection from each other or are you part of the problem?
Living fully. Living faithfully. Following Christ.
Photo courtesy of SplitShire, pixabay.com