Political and social views affected by social media

Sometime in 2015 I stumbled upon liberal activism. I was overjoyed. Shrines of Hillary Clinton, pro-choice diagrams, middle fingers directed at Donald Trump, and hate speech towards anyone with a contrasting opinions flooded my Instagram feed, which at the time, I supported.

Elizabeth Bodily

Zuleica Ramirez, Reporter

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Sometime in 2015 I stumbled upon liberal activism. I was overjoyed. Shrines of Hillary Clinton, pro-choice diagrams, middle fingers directed at Donald Trump, and hate speech towards anyone with a contrasting opinions flooded my Instagram feed, which at the time, I supported.

Between 2015 and 2016, I was a highly impressionable Latina amidst the upcoming elections. In 2015 and 2016 I was getting information from a one-sided perspective being crammed down my throat. A risky combination. As predicted, I ended up spending next year arguing with anyone who dared to use the words “Trump” and “not bad” in the same sentence and I was incapable of understanding the opposing side’s intolerance, while not acknowledging my own.

In the summer of 2018 I decided to deactivate my social media (for different reasons). I came to the realization that social media was my only source of news. Previously, a screenshot of an unreliable article uploaded by an angry, teenage Instagram blogger was enough for me to form a misjudged opinion on something. Social media shapes one’s views on politics and social issues without a doubt. It’s so easy to distort reality.

Nearly four years later, I still identify with the whole Democratic, egalitarian side of politics and social issues, but in a different way. By researching different perspectives, I’m able to formulate an opinion.

Junior Steph Espinoza said that on social media, there’s either a surplus of perspectives or a deficiency, making it difficult to form a view. They added that a lot of the people that use social media are fairly gullible.

Junior Vivian Walker (real name withheld)  said, “…what you see on social media could be one sided.” Adding that anyone is able to make semi false claims without any sources.

One classmate said, “I just look at what @theshaderoom [an Instagram page] says, and that’s that.” @theshaderoom mainly focuses on celebrity gossip and comedy that mainly appeals to the younger community of color.

Another said that it’s easy for people to just come across a post and just assume that it’s immediately a reliable source.

According to the article “How Does Social Media Shape Our Political Views?” by Chanelle Ignant, Juana Summers, an editor for CNN politics, suggests reading “…something you violently disagree with once a week…” and researching “…issues from multiple sides before taking a stand,.” to really form an authentic opinion.

The article “More and more people get their news via social media. Is that good or bad?” said, “…35 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 said that social media was ‘most helpful’ source of information about the presidential campaign.”

When social media is one’s only source of any type of “news”, it’s almost effortless to become a victim of propaganda.  With thousands and thousands of opinions and misinformation piling up on social media everyday, users are prone to receiving one-sided information, resulting in uncalculated opinions. When stumbling upon a topic, it’s best to research it from multiple perspectives.

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