Social media, where generations of people from Baby Boomers to Gen Z are communicating with each other through various forms of technology instantly. According to Statista, in 2019, there will be an estimated 2.77 billion social media users in the world.
Since social media programs like MySpace and LinkedIn made their debut, more programs have been created leading generation after generation to continue using them. Many people debate over the use of the platforms because although it was made to generate an overall positive environment, there are some downfalls of social media.
Jaden Gray, a junior at Da Vinci Communications High School stated, “Yes, I’m definitely a user of social media because it helps me to promote myself as an artist.” He then said, ”It is an easy way of getting more people to listen to the projects I work on, and they can easily share with their friends and followers.”
Social media is a big part of the millennial lifestyle. With the influence of social media, there have been plenty of events and stories made popular by retweets and reposts of social media users. Recently, this was witnessed at DVC, when multiple students participated in the #ENOUGH National School Walkout, which began with people simply reposting the flyer throughout the media.
The National School Walkout, was an event trying to encourage students to stand up for what they believe in, ultimately the goal was to leave a positive example on how social media can be used to their advantage. But that is definitely not always the case.
On March 24th, 2018, March for Our Lives, an organization created by different students of different ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations, gathered over 200,000 students together to protest the NRA (National Rifle Association) and gun laws in America.
With this march came a mass of media coverage and attention from political figures and celebrities. The #NeverAgain movement almost automatically received adoration for its message of ending gun violence and restricting the sale of assault weapons. Many public figures began to post about the movement but when certain celebrities started to speak out about this, social media began an uproar.
Selena Gomez, a music artist and former Disney channel star, stated on her instagram page after attending March For Our Lives, ¨I don’t want this to be an Instagram post anymore. PLEASE. ENOUGH. These people, families, and CHILDREN have suffered enough. Today we march for our lives. I’m going to continue to trust God with the future and all play my part in bringing change. #marchforourlives #notjustahashtag.¨
Many people were very upset about this tweet because two years prior to this event when questioned about not being vocal about the Black Lives Matter Movement, a group made to bring awareness to the injustices of black people in America, she stated in a post on Twitter, “Oh lol so that means if I hashtag something I save lives? No- I could give two f**ks about ’sides’. You do not know what I do.”
These two tweets caused many to slander Gomez, calling her a hypocrite. The anger came about because they felt as if she was supporting one movement over the other, when ultimately both movements were created for the same reason: stopping gun violence. This also led to many questioning whether she went to the March because she truly is against gun violence or to gain more supporters.
Gray also stated, “Well I know that some celebrities really are passionate about certain social issues but for some, it’s one of the easiest ways to get people to notice you.” He then added “If you have a huge following then more and more people are going to see your post. “
At DVC, most of the student population are also social media users. The independence of having a social media account, also comes with respecting both yourself and others.
Domonique Stewart, a junior at Da Vinci Communications and consistent social media user communicated, ¨I feel as if people don’t realize half of the things they post because there has been plenty of times where different celebrities and people I personally know have gotten caught up because of the things they’ve said on their social accounts.¨
There have been many controversies that have stirred conversations about old posts and how they can catch up to people in the future.
Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, was fatally shot in the back 8 times by two Sacramento officers. The Black Lives Matter Movement instantly went into protest, most fighting for the families and friends of Clark to get justice for his murder.
A few weeks after his death, tweets from a couple of years earlier showing Clark degrading black women and disregarding Black Lives Matter were exposed. In the tweet Stephon stated, ¨My son is Vietnamese and Indian, his life don’t matter?¨” and he then added, ¨I’m worried about my son #YoungLivesMatter.”
In these controversial tweets, Clark expressed his true feelings towards the movement and black women. When these tweets resurfaced on the Internet after his death, people were outraged. The same groups of people that he disregarded in his earlier tweets, were the same people who were protesting his death.
Being caught up in the moment can happen to anyone, especially with social media being a factor. Just remember social media is not only a place of expression but it can rapidly turn into a place of regret.