Becky

Social media impacts perception of issues

Sep 16 • Becky Hilker, Opinion • 1408

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It is my senior year. The final year to cram as much information into my head to prepare for the real world that awaits across the stage after graduation.

With my senior year I am required to complete a senior research thesis class. It is the capstone to my journalism program.

I think the hardest part of writing a thesis is coming up with the actual topic. There are a lot of things you could do a research thesis on. I could have done my thesis on how underground hip hop cures anxiety – literally anything.

But, I wanted to keep my thesis relevant to the actual reason behind why I have to take this class. So, my thesis topic is going to be on how social media are affecting the news and in turn affecting our society.

I myself am a victim of social media’s addictive habits. Sometimes scrolling through Facebook or Instagram is the only way to pass the time in an embarrassing socially conforming manner.

It’s not necessarily the fact that I am sitting there just browsing through Facebook’s newsfeed that is embarrassing; it’s the content that keeps me going. Articles after articles on pointless Top 10s or the hundreds of funny memes of unfortunate school pictures catch my attention and keep it.

There are, however, a few relevant pieces of information that fill my newsfeed but, it is still overwhelmed with posts about Kylie Jenner or on how to live a vegan lifestyle.

My thesis is giving me a reason to do research into the affects of what social media are doing to society. They are changing how we see world issues.

It is almost as if we are scared to know the truth about what is happening around the world so it is overshadowed by mundane topics and celebrity gossip to soften the blow.

Facebook and Twitter blow up controversial events because everyone holds an opinion on it – which is fine – but only if the controversial events are of any significant importance. I want to know what is happening with Malala Yousafzai – not Kylie Jenner.

It may be sad to know that there are girls in the world who don’t receive an education because they are females, but it doesn’t mean it should just be ignored. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away – it’s not a shadow lurking in your room at night.

I think as a society we need to take a step back and look at what the real issues are and focus on them. If we put half the effort into social media as we did toward real world issues, there could be a significant change in the direction we are sadly heading.

The truth is always the hardest to hear, but it’s even harder to bear when you don’t hear it.

 

BECKY HILKER

hilker001@knights.gannon.edu

 

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