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27

Jan

The problem with #firstworldproblems

In this article from the Atlantic, the author provides a brief analysis of a piece of media- compiled tweets- written by the activist and novelist Teju Cole.  Theres a bit of a quasi thing going on here since the tweets refer to another media fad that was making its way across Twitter; the #FirstWorldProblems meme.  This one, like most meme’s, is meant to provide comic relief.  However, Cole finds it problematic in its assumptions.  It is interesting to compare Cole’s sharp analysis with the media representations more commonly found of Africa in Western media: commercials of starving children, Kony 2012 videos, and people in tribal attire in National Geographic.  Clearly, the #firstworldproblems meme has some issues to work out, but on a larger scale, so does the world media when it comes to Africa.  If media is supposed to bring people closer, then why has the camera left so much out of the frame in its portrayals of the global south?  The fact that such a nuanced analysis could be released in a series of tweets is exciting.  Even more so is the fact that the Atlantic would find it newsworthy.  Teju Cole has established himself as a beacon of 140 character bites of wisdom.