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A Mark in Political Discussion Made by Social Media

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

By Samantha Simmons

John Yuyi, a taiwanese-born, NY-based artist, emphasizes our addiction to and obsession with social media by affixing digital symbols to the human body.

Political conversation has evolved far from ludicrous discussions on the divide between conservative and liberal views at the family dinner table, thanks to the development of social media platforms. Online media has allowed access to resources and outreach for young voices, helping many change their same-sided generational outlook on politics. 

What does same-sided generational political discussion mean for citizens in countries like the U.S., desperate for a shift in governmental ideals? 

Without social media, young people around the United States are far more likely to imitate their parents’ views on government, similar to their parents absorbing their pertinent adult figures’ ideals before them. Without voices of change being provided via social media, the U.S. would continue to believe in older morals, leaving no space for a future including equality, a better quality of life for all citizens, and in actuality, the United States would furthermore be out of touch to the future of ideas in politics and moral issues, compared to other countries in the present. The 1961 Bobo Doll Experiment, conducted by Stanford professor Albert Bandura, concluded that children learn social behavior through observational learning, that is, watching the behavior of another person. This experiment justifies the assumption that children develop primary opinions on governmental issues from the adults around them through observing their behaviors on that matter.

Image via VofZ Graphic Designer Ana Contreras

TikTok is a creative application, which allows users to create 15 to 60-second videos about whatever they desire to voice out onto the app itself. While scrolling on the For You page of TikTok, young people are exposed to political debates between republican and liberal Tik-Tokers over the concepts of abortion, gun control, human trafficking, as well as laws that are put in place discussing equality of LGBTQ+ citizens. Before setting up a TikTok account, many Generation Z citizens in the United States never took the time to research political issues themselves, in search of their own personal political opinion.  A young teen known as, nickvideos, to his Youtube and TikTok fans, hosts debates between republican and liberal users.  Once these debates are hosted and set into TikTok, mass amounts of young viewers hear from both sides of each issue, allowing them to depict their own opinion on each matter.

Young citizens take a look into their Instagram to find posts revolving around the Black Lives Matter movement. Mass stories on the app itself show pictures of victims of police brutality, urging the public to "say their names." Petition signings and donation centers towards the movement can be seen in individual posts on Instagram, increasing the longevity of the movement, due to the overflow of support from social media.

Due to Twitter, American citizens find their president’s true opinions based on how often he “tweets” his mind. On the fifth of June in 2014, Trump Tweets to the public that “Obama is, without question, the WORST EVER president. I predict he will now do something really bad and totally stupid to show manhood!”

Our eyes are slowly opened to the harsh world and its need for love, political understanding, and a lesser divide in opinions. Slowly, communities are born and voices are heard within the quietest of teens and children.

In addition to causing a shift in ideals, access to information regarding political events and candidates is more accessible than ever, allowing one to simply research the pros and cons of each U.S. presidential candidate and make their decision on whom to vote on as their nation's leader.

Social media has shaped and molded the political conversations of the future generation. Today, citizens have easy access to tools and resources towards the right and wrongs in politics today, ultimately changing the discussions and debates being held between us, as well as changing how we consciously vote for our leaders.

Written by writer Samantha Simmons

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