Twitter gives everyone easy access to what’s going on in the country and around the world. It can open up so many opportunities for discussion and debate among millions of people. It allows people who possibly think of the world in a certain way to see first through Twitter some of the injustices occurring. Today’s […]
Twitter gives everyone easy access to what’s going on in the country and around the world. It can open up so many opportunities for discussion and debate among millions of people. It allows people who possibly think of the world in a certain way to see first through Twitter some of the injustices occurring. Today’s teenagers are heavily involved in political discussions online as it is a way to share their thoughts about different issues.
Donya Airola (’17) is a liberal who started becoming interested in politics at a young age. She shared what kind of stance Twitter takes on political issues.
“Twitter is primarily liberal,” she explained. “I feel like the popular accounts on Twitter all lean more toward the liberal side and everyone follows the popular accounts so when they show up on your feed and they’re, for example, praising Obama or something — it influences people.”
Matt Desimone (’17), who identifies himself as a conservative, agreed with Donya.
“Twitter is definitely liberal,” he said. “Most of the trending topics on Twitter promote liberal causes. Especially Twitter moments which is like Twitter’s own little form of news.”
“I live in California, so most of the people I follow are liberal. So my Twitter experience is going to be a lot more liberal than someone who only follows people from say Kentucky or something.”
Twitter is an outlet that so many young people in this generation use to tweet about their opinions or retweet other’s opinions.
“I definitely will share my opinions when it comes to politics as well as retweet other tweets that I agree with,” Donya shared. “For example, before the presidential debate last week, I retweeted tweets from the Official Democrat’s page. I feel like it is a good way to voice your opinion and I think I do it in a pretty respectful way.”
Brenna Patterson (’17) also added how she uses Twitter in order to promote her beliefs and tweet about political issues.
“If there is an event that happens or a debate, I will tweet about it or retweet other tweets that I find relatable to my political views,” she said. “I don’t try to hide my political views. If people disagree with it then that’s fine they can unfollow me.”
Chase Davis (’17) leans more toward the conservative side and tends not to tweet about politics a lot, but he still uses it as a source of learning about other people’s opinions.
“I actually don’t really tweet a lot about politics because there aren’t a lot of other conservative people in my generation to back me up, but I like to read the different articles on Twitter like Fox News and Huffington Post and I like to see the other side’s opinions,” Chase shared.
Twitter has the power to influence so much of our youth today and what we are all exposed to.
“Twitter is a huge news source for millennials and people of our generation. It is where all the news first breaks really. It’s not broken on television, it’s not broken in newspaper, it breaks first on Twitter,” Matt says. “You’ll see an issue trending on Twitter way before you see it anywhere else. Of course those initial impressions are going to affect how you really see the issue as a whole.”
Eric Hintz (’17) identifies himself as a libertarian.
“My social views are very liberal but my economic views are probably more conservative,” he says.
Eric advises people to look further into issues instead of solely relying on Twitter for news.
“Everything on Twitter could influence people,” he admitted. “If you’re not educated about how Twitter works, or understand how easy it is to make things look real when they’re not, you are definitely likely to be heavily influenced.”
The dangers of people relying on Twitter as their only news source can definitely be a problem when it comes to learning about politics. Of course not everything on Twitter is going to be real or reliable so it is important to be careful and look to see where the source is coming from.
“A lot of people can fake things on Twitter, so I hope people aren’t getting their news sources from Twitter,” Eric says.
“Twitter is definitely not a reliable source for learning about political issues. For discussing them, yes, but if you’re learning about politics solely through Twitter, I would say absolutely not,” Matt admitted. “There is no regulation, nobody is being held to any standard. I suppose certain journalists are but most of the time you’re not reading the actual article you are just reading headlines on Twitter.”
“Also a lot of people just read tweets from the big popular accounts who most of the time are pretty biased. So I would advise you to look at a lot of different professional media outlets from both the right and the left side. to get a more well rounded source.”
Mo MoGovern (’17) is a liberal who also added why we have to be careful when reading tweets that might be sensationalized, biased, or untrue.
“As kids, we don’t really watch the news, so Twitter is kind of our own news source, but there are definitely a lot of times when things can be fake because it’s not coming from a reliable news source,” Mo shared. “People can tweet whatever they want and if it gets popular enough, then people are going to assume it’s true.”
Mo continued by sharing why it is a good and a bad thing that so many people express their political beliefs via Twitter.
“It can go both ways because in one way, political opinions are a very touchy subject so it could cause arguments and maybe start drama, but I also think it’s good because by stating your own opinion, you’re also opening it up to other people,” Mo explained. “Others can look at your opinion and decide if they agree or disagree and form their own opinions too.”
Donya added that she thinks it is a positive thing to be able to express opinions on Twitter as it is a good way to make your ideas public and discuss world issues.
“I think it is a really good that people express their political beliefs on Twitter!” She shared. “Twitter is a good place to express your opinions and I think honestly if you get offended by other people’s opinions, you’re too sensitive. If you’re being respectful, then there is absolutely no problem with sharing what you feel.”
“When I see conservative tweets, sure I get a little heated but that’s their opinion and at least they are using Twitter for good by expressing their feelings,” Donya explained.
Having easy access to so many people’s opinions around the world can definitely affect our own opinions as we look at all different kinds of perspectives we might not otherwise have thought of.
Brenna expanded on this idea as she explained why it’s important to look at other people’s opinions and beliefs.
“Being able to see other peoples’ perspectives, especially people from other countries, is really eye opening because we are a first world country and we’re very privileged,” Brenna said. “We have to kind of look at issues that affect the entire world from standpoints that we might not be able to relate to otherwise and other people’s opinions will help us to see that.”
Eric says reading other people’s opinions on Twitter have affected and changed his own,
“Twitter has definitely changed my opinions,” he admitted. “I think in the beginning I used to be more conservative in most of my social views, but then when I started to realize other peoples’ situations it really helped me understand people better and it change my views socially.”
With the presidential debates among us, Twitter plays a significant role in the the current election. Any slip up by either of the candidates is going to immediately go viral. This time around is definitely very different from any other election as social media could affect people’s opinions and how they vote.
Chase shared how Twitter affects the current political election by stating how each of the candidates use Twitter to benefit their campaign.
“This is the first presidential election that social media has really played a huge part in. Trump and Clinton have done a lot of their campaigning through Twitter, so it’s cool that they can kind of have a connection with their supporters and see what they are saying about them,” Chase explained.
“Everyone knows that Trump and Hillary are using Twitter to try to benefit their campaigns and reach out to people,” Donya added. Especially Hillary, she is trying to reach out to the youth through Twitter. It is interesting seeing them Twitter fight… like I forgot we were seventh grade.”
“Since they came out with the nominees, I have never been on Twitter without seeing tweets about the election. Honestly, it’s kind of like you’re forced to get into politics if you have Twitter because it’s just all over your feed.”
Many people on Twitter often times go on political rants about issues they are very passionate about. Is this considered harmful?
“I wouldn’t say it’s harmful, no. Unless they are just intentionally being abusive,” Matt explained. “But a lot of times when people go on those big rants and make those long threads, you see their opinion and then you can see exactly where you might disagree with them and then you can counteract it”
“It’s a nice way to debate because you can put all your thoughts out there because you’re not talking so you don’t really have to forget anything. All those points can be challenged and you have a big audience because who doesn’t like a Twitter debate?” he added with a laugh.
Brenna says it might be harmful, but overall, it is a way for us to express our freedom of speech and discuss issues in our world.
“It might be harmful to their relationship with certain people who disagree with them,” She explained. “Honestly though, politics is a very small part of a person. And sure I don’t agree with a lot of some of my friends’ political opinions but that doesn’t define who they are and if they want to go on a political rant then I just won’t read it. Or I might read it and disagree but it’s not going to change my opinion of them,” She shared.
“I have a different opinion than them so they probably look at mine and say the same thing so it’s fine.”
Chase added by sharing how it is important to be mature and respectful if you are going to go on these political rants.
“It really depends on how they approach it,” he said. “Some people will just attack others or be disrespectful, but a lot of people handle it pretty maturely and they will actually have a good argument. If you approach it the wrong way, it could be a form of bullying so you have to be mature about it.”
Donya concluded by saying that it is our right to be able to express our opinions on social media, and that if you disagree with someone else’s opinion, that’s okay too.
“I don’t think it’s harmful when people go on political rants. If you don’t want to see someone’s political opinions, then don’t read it,” she advised. “I might not personally agree with someone’s opinions but if I don’t want to see it then I can just exit the app. It’s their right to be able to express themselves and write what they want and I respect that.”
Twitter is something that is changing the world as we know it and is affecting how young people perceive politics. Political issues are brought up everyday online as this generation gathers information, discusses different opinions, and shares their beliefs. As Twitter and other social media outlets continue to grow, it is important to recognize how much politics is affected by social media in our world today and how it will continue to affect the youth for generations to come.