By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
“Having a bad day. Washed my car and now it’s raining.”
“I can’t find the right balance between my fan and my electric blanket.”
Those are what are called First World Problems. Silly, mindless, no-where-near-a-real-problem problems that only the privileged living in a developed nation could possibly have. Go to www.first-world-problems.com or check out #firstworldproblems on Twitter and to read some of them for yourself.
At first, I wasn’t sure how to take what I was reading. Are these people actually serious? They must be joking, right? After all, some of the posts did make me laugh. And then I starting thinking about the perception these ‘problems’ were creating about people living in the U.S. Are others going to think that we are all like this? That we all overreact to little inconveniences that bother us from day to day? I have to admit, it left an unsettling feeling in my stomach.
As you can imagine, there have been many critics of First World Problems, saying that it is terrible to publicly voice insignificant problems when there are children starving and living in unthinkable conditions elsewhere in the world. But some service organizations are now actually using First World Problem posts to their advantage. These organizations have produced public service announcements that have children and adults living in third world countries recite people’s actual First World Problems as a way to bring attention to real world problems like not having clean drinking water.
Here is one such video: http://youtu.be/fxyhfiCO_XQ
I’d like to think the intent of First World Problems is for people to basically make fun of themselves over issues that they know are insignificant. But, unfortunately, what I believe is the intent of the site and Twitter feed may not be what others think. I believe that there could very well be a person who posts their problem thinking that it really is one. And that makes me shake my head.
So what do you think? Is First World Problems just something fun or is it sending the wrong message out to people in different parts of the world?