How to be a Good Samaritan in the 21st century
A parable in the Bible details a young traveller who was beaten, robbed and left for dead alongside the road. Whilst others ignored this injured being, the ‘Good Samaritan’ stopped to help – a man who saw a victim in need, and out of sheer kindness donated time and assistance to a needy cause. In the 21st century technological revolution, the dusty Jericho roads have been replaced by fancy PCs and slightly-more-pretentious glimmering iMacs. But fear not – this presents new possibilities and scenarios where you, dear reader, can make a kind-hearted gesture or two in the social media world.
#1: The Charity Liker.
You’ve been rehearsing your Facebook status in your head for the past twenty minutes. It’s been reworded, reordered and rewritten over and over, each time with a new layer of insightful witty prose carefully structured to produce raucous laughter and widespread amusement. The intense quest for momentary social power reaches its climax, and sweating apprehensively, you press ‘Submit.’
Half an hour later, your wonderful status is naught but an awkward silence. No ‘Like’s. No comments. Not even a glimmer of acknowledgment. Just wasted space universally ignored despite its awkwardly high-reaching tone. And then, as you tearstrainedly contemplate your very existence – an existence as worthless as your failure of a status – the Good Samaritan ‘Like’s it, leaves a reassuring “HAHAHA! You always crack me up!” and leaves you sighing contentedly, relieved over your hard work’s acknowledgment and praise.
#2: The Alerter.
You’ve had a wild night out. Hung over but content, you casually slot in your SD card, skim through your crazy photos and upload them onto everybody’s News Feed. Little did you realise: your bum crack is out in Photo 13, there are vomit flecks in your hair in Photo 28, and that sneaky shot of you making out with your best friend’s ex in Photo 45 should not be visible to the public, especially considering how unattractive you look when there’s a camera flash.
Good Samaritan to the rescue! After mere minutes, a kindly message is inboxed to you, gently and ungloatingly recommending you crop your leering camel toe out of Photo 62. You rush to the ‘Delete’ button in a horrified frenzy, eradicate the disasters before some smartass can comment, and all is well.
#3: The Endorser.
Your life officially has purpose, direction and meaning: you’re going to be the next Justin Bieber. For the past several months, you’ve been recording amazingly creative demos and covers, practising them to perfection and have finally uploaded the immaculate result to Youtube in the hopes that Usher will abruptly spot you and offer a multi-million dollar record deal. Trouble is you have no subscriptions, no views, and in reality you just made this account to watch the 18+ restricted videos.
The Good Samaritan is more than happy to get you noticed, often without being asked. A couple of generous Facebook posts and a retweet later, his friends are checking you out and encouragingly convincing you that you are set for stardom, despite the fact that there are twelve million other Youtubers doing the exact same thing. And Justin Bieber is still a much better soprano than all of them.
#4: The Drama Diffuser.
You’re drawn to drama by nature. Years of The OC, Gossip Girl, Skins and Home & Away (insert snigger here) have instilled in you this desire for entertainment in the form of other people’s pain and suffering. Thank heavens for social media! We all enjoy watching a good keyboard catfight break out (the more ridiculous and worse the punctuation the better) and are occasionally guilty of adding a sly comment or two to raise the fires even further.
Not the Good Samaritan. It’s none of his business, therefore he won’t get involved. If someone is annoying or offending him, he will hide or Unfriend them in a simple and non-passive-aggressive manner. But, taking his ‘goodness’ to a second dimension, there is nothing in his actions that will restrict you from having full access to the Battle of the Keyboard Warriors. A true hero of our time.
#5: The Saviour.
You’ve possibly witnessed, silently but viciously judged, and mentally assaulted all the detestable social media users: the bleating, whining girl who posts a status per second about how tragically in love she is; the severely underdeveloped tweens posting album after album of pictures that make you feel like an internet predator; da ppl whu tiink b@d Gr@//m@r izz tr3nDy; the self-deprecating attention seekers.
The Good Samaritan will not be afraid to put them in their place with a quick, sharp and witty response to their posts, shutting them up and allowing the rest of the social media world to breathe a collective sigh of relief – at least for the next sixty seconds. A universal saviour for all those that have had enough.
Whether you choose to acknowledge or conveniently ignore them, such situations are presented to you every day, right there on your computer screen. There are people suffering horribly, metaphorically bleeding to death right before your eyes. So do the right thing, be an upstanding citizen and help a brother out. The problems facing the tech-savvy first-world are simply all too dire to ignore.