You See Me, But Are You Hearing Me?
We live in a world where politics and social media intersect daily. In what can be considered a “facebook/twitter rant” epidemic, as person after person contributes lengthy paragraphs of their opinions to the Internet, what is the relationship between poster and viewer? Are Millennials being heard by their friends, followers, and peers, or are they being ignored? As the political landscape continues to evolve and millennials comes of age, it is important to consider the impact the generation is trying to make with their most prominent tool: social media. This photo essay is meant to symbolize the people behind the screen -- the posters, their audience, and how their words are being received.
How do you use social media to speak out as a millennial?
“Young people are often told that their political or societal views are not valid because of their age. It makes them feel like they don't have a voice in the traditional arena of political discussion. This makes social media, a platform used predominantly by younger generations, a way for those previously belittled opinions to be heard, discussed, and valued.” -- Aislinn Foltz-Colhour, 18.
Do people hide behind the screen? Would the conversation be different if it was verbal?
"You have every right to share your thoughts on any medium available to you. By posting on social media you express yourself to a larger number of people than you normally would, under the presumption that anyone could and should diplomatically confront you about your opinions and expect you to be able to engage in a mature and informed conversation about your post, comment, or share, if they want. Posting online is a form of verbalization, and people should be able to be held accountable to those thoughts. Generally, you put more time and effort into a social media post than an off-the-cuff public comment, so that post should inherently have more thought put into it, overall, and you should therefore generally be able to defend it just as much as an any public remark." -- Alex Rubenstein, 20.
How do political social media posts affect you?
"Political social media posts are a dangerous subject. On one hand, they can be rather effective in creating awareness, but on the other hand, how effective are they really if people are misinformed to begin with? That's the danger of it all, I guess. We have to be innately skeptical and innately curious to genuinely find the truth. Social media can be used to further activism, but one post does not make you an activist." -- Ruchika Sharma, 19.
Do you think social media is right for political opinion posts?
"Social media today is one of the most important places to express political opinions. The easiest thing you can do to make your voice heard is to project it on Facebook. To share that video. Many people would otherwise be uninformed, and if there's anything that the 2016 elections have taught us, it's that to be uninformed is to be vulnerable." -- Nate Muramatsu, 18.
Do you find yourself posting political opinions for yourself or for others? What is your purpose?
“When I post it’s my own opinions. I do it more so people see a different angle on things because a lot of people are really set in their opinions. That’s cool, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I feel like when I post mine, if it sparks a debate with someone, even in that you learn more about different candidates and different people’s opinions. That’s kind of a big reason why I post.” -- Erica Eckes, 18.
Do you think political social media posts lead to change?
“I believe these posts make a difference. I mean they may seem insignificant or annoying to some but if you think about how many people see those posts, eventually someone's bound to listen.” -- Elizabeth Idowu, 18.