Twitter's Role in Politics
By Kerry McGillicuddy
In today’s society, technology plays a critical role in our everyday lives. We have easy access to such a wide range of information that virtually the entire world is at our fingertips. Social media websites like Twitter make it possible for us to connect with both friends and family and share our personal lives with the outside world via pictures, videos, and tweets. In addition to the sharing of personal information, Twitter also provides a way to articulate our opinions and ideas regarding the 2016 Presidential Election. Twitter has turned the realm of political journalism and media upside down as users now have the freedom to express their personal political views with not only their followers, but everyone around the world in up to 140 characters.
Smear campaigning is taken to a whole new level when suddenly average American citizens (and people from other countries as well) are given the chance to post whatever they want without being held accountable for the accuracy of their sources. Oftentimes the information being tweeted on Twitter can be false and misleading. This is especially true in regard to posts about the presidential race because users are inevitably biased in their tweets depending on where they fall on the political spectrum. Users are given the chance to publicize their strong hatred or support for a particular presidential candidate and in turn potentially sway the views of others with inaccurate information.
I personally have witnessed the effects that Twitter has had on today’s youth and their political views. Since teenagers spend so much time online, consuming hours worth of social media each day, we are often exposed to information that is completely false. To make matters worse, most teenagers do not even watch the news on TV, relying solely on the inaccuracy of the internet/social media as their source of news. This, in turn, leads today’s youth to become misinformed of major issues going on throughout our nation and the world.
Teenagers absorb the misinformation being displayed on the internet, believe it to be accurate (because in the eyes of a teenager, everything online must be true!), and then spread the false news through “retweets” and “shares”. This constant cycle of becoming misinformed on important issues like the presidential race and its candidates has definitely changed the way politics works in this country. The generation that will soon be responsible for running our nation is relying solely on the things they see on Twitter to determine who the best candidate for president would be.
Twitter is an appropriate place for entertainment and the advancement of your social life, not for choosing who is going to lead our country.