Social Media capturing world figures and world events for the general public – instantly.
This weekend, Pope Francis knelt down to kiss the feet of South Sudan’s rival leaders in effort to encourage peace in the country. The video went viral and this iconic moment in time was captured instantly and shared with everyone around the world.
This moment captured in a 49 second clip does not give a lot of context. For those not familiar with the event, The Vatican hosted a 24-hour peace retreat with South Sudan’s leaders. The two opposing leaders signed a peace treaty to end a civil war that has killed and displaced many if its citizens.
Pope Francis to Sudan leaders, April 2019.
“I’m asking you with my heart, stay in peace.”
It is humbling to see a World Figure comport themselves in such a manner. It allows the world to see the humanistic side of Pope Francis. But, social media has a tendency to open this moment to those who are less inclined to view it as such.
A powerful moment of peace is then criticized. Steve Bannon said, “Pope Francis is the enemy.” Living in the US, it is sometimes very easy to think that the divide is just within our country. But the divide is not just in the US. Words as such can make quite an impact on people all over the world. Should we consider this a violent verbal attack against Pope Francis? Is he inciting in his words harm? In the past few weeks, social media has received numerous questions about censorship, government interventions, and free speech. What is the answer?
I think that World Figures portrayed in social media allows for the rest of us to see them as a whole person. Is that essential? Does the public need to know everything about their World Leaders/Figures? I think that it is important to document such an iconic moment because it puts the important issues to the forefront – like peace. But when does it become obsessive? When does it become irrelevant? Should advice (whether negative or positive) given through social media have a disclaimer – My opinion is my own. Follow at your own risk.