Opinion Uncategorized — 03 February 2017

Elisa Villanueva @BBELISACATS

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is grab my phone. I check all my social media for any posts that I missed while I was sleeping.
Does this make me a social media addict? Probably.

But I like to know what is going on with celebrities and other people I follow. I think of social media as a gossip source or a place to look at memes and funny videos.

But a trend I have been noticing the past few months on social media is that it’s no longer a place where I can go on to look for a laugh or to pass time.

Social media is becoming a so-called news outlet. It’s losing itself as a place where you can get a good laugh or pass the time with. It’s now becoming a place of seriousness and division.

More and more millennials are using social media as their only news outlet. What they don’t understand is that anything posted on Twitter or Instagram has a purpose: to get people’s attention.

When I post a selfie online I do it because I think I look good and I want my followers to know I look good. When I post a status update or a tweet, I do it because I want people to think I have a life, and I’m sure the same goes for many other social media users.

But since the recent election all I have seen plastered around social media is news and politics. Now, I understand that social media is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make something go viral. But what happened to it being a place to escape?

A problem with news and politics being the center of social media is that people are more prone to believing anything that is being posted.

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t very politically educated up until this time last year. Before that I would retweet and share anything I thought was important about politics because it looked real.

After I started getting into journalism, I realized that a lot of news and politically-informed tweets posted by accounts such as Buzzfeed, Daily Mail and Refinery 29 are only posted to get reader’s attention.

There were and still are other accounts besides these that try to disguise themselves as news sources. And they get thousands of retweets and shares from users who, I hate to say, are not very politically informed.

When I see posts on Twitter, for example, about Trump’s decision to build a wall I now take the time to go onto my news app where I have various news sources and read up to figure out if this is true information. Other users on Twitter are known to read a headline and take that as a valid news statement without reading further.

I’m not trying to say that social media users are dumb and uneducated in every aspect. Some are just becoming vulnerable to everything they see online which is how I was before. And it’s OK.

The media is trying to get us to believe in anything even if it means stretching the truth. And for what? So these writers can still get paid for turning in a deadline on time?

News takes research. It’s a journalist’s job to do research in order to inform readers with the right information. It is not fair to us as social media users who once thought of social media as fun turn into something we’re not sure is true or not.

I understand there are a lot of important things going on in our world, but we shouldn’t just listen to the first thing we hear. In controversial times like now, it is important for us all to research and find the truth.

It’s also important to take a break from politics and news and enjoy ourselves. Social media should be the place where we spam our favorite celebrities or harass our friends with cat memes.

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