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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Social Media - The Millennials Achilles Heel


 Social media is a fiery pit of chaos. Sometimes we, as the users, are warmed by the flames as they flicker and rage, but mostly we are savagely burnt by them. We only have ourselves to blame, for we are the ones who ignite that fire, and stoke it. Adding kindling in the form of 140 characters. As they say, if you play with fire, you will get burnt.

However, we are blissfully naive to the impact and devastation we are causing on a daily basis. The metaphorical smoke alarm is not sounding and we, humanity, are soon to succumb to the fumes. That was until, the heat emanating from the 2016 American presidential election roused our spirits.

Over this past year, society has slowly woken, sleepy and dazed, to the fact that they are causing their own demise on social media. A primary example occurred in June, when a majority of the British people were left shocked and appalled after the Brexit movement narrowly won. Why? Because social media seemed to predict that all was well. For nobody on Twitter had seemed to support the change. Facebook too seemed to be saturated with comments in support of the 'Better Together' campaign. Did this prompt the British people to become lazy voters? Confident that the result would reflect their Twitter timeline?

It is hard to comprehend that there are people out there with a differing view from your own, when all you read are snippets from those whose ideas and morals you agree with. It leads you to a false sense of security. In the case of Brexit, only 71.8% of the population turned out to vote. Which means that over 27% did not think it necessary to fight for what they believed in. Many may scoff at 27%, and think that to be a significantly low number, but those people only need be reminded that the Leave Campaign won, roughly, by a minimal 4%. Every vote counted. The nation was divided, and we were completely blindsided to this fact until the result was broadcast.

Similarly, America has experienced the same situation with the election of Donald Trump as president. From the outset, Twitter was awash with mockery for the businessman, many were dumbfounded that it wasn't all an elaborate joke. Even a video of President Obama chastising Trump went viral. So, how did he managed to win? Who on Earth voted for him?

Half the American population did. Half. Over 59 million people ticked Trump on their ballot. Where were these people hiding throughout the debates? Clearly not on social media. Did this make Americans lazy voters? Did they presume that nobody could possibly vote for the man who was ridiculed by the world? Again, America - like England, five months ago - was blinkered to the fact that their country was split, fairly equally. I say equally, for even though Hillary won the popular vote by just over 200,000, this isn't a victory. If social media were anything to go by, Hillary should have won by a landslide.

Is it a generational divide? For, it was established that had millennials alone voted, they would have turned America blue and England wouldn't be in a 'complicated relationship' with Europe. At the US election, it is calculated that under 20% of people aged between 18 and 29 fulfilled their constitutional right and voted, opposed to over 50% of the over 60's. Could this have been impacted by social media? Back in 2008, when Obama was first elected, approximately 50% of 18 to 29's turned out to vote. Could it possibly have been that they felt more threatened at that point? Or, quite simply, that in 2008, social media was only fledgling?

You cannot deny that the young people of this world have been brought up in a society entirely different to those of the elder. The queues to the polling stations were peppered with those born anywhere between the 1920's and 1990's. Two years which are the polar opposite of one another. This past century has been a whirlwind, meaning that the children of today have entirely different standards, morals and beliefs to those 80 years before them. The predominant cause of this is the rise in technology and the creation of fast news. News which is available within seconds, and now even live, which doesn't allow many people the chance to think for themselves before they are spoon feed information. But, that is a whole other rant story.

With the election and Brexit aside. Social media is controlling what we care about. We allow it to consume us. Ignorant to terrorist attacks across the globe in favor of a celebrity divorce. It is beginning to influence us in ways that we are subconscious to. It is helping to divide this fragile nation.

All we can now do, is hope that the future generations keep alight their burning desire to fight for equality across all ranges. Fight for their countries and fight for their hearts. We need to start canceling out the white noise of social media. We need to continue to discuss and create. We need to read the whole story, and not just the clipped version published in a tweet or status. We need to fight for our futures, opposed to waiting for those we follow to do it for us. Social media is powerful, maybe more so than we have even realised. But, finally, remember that with great power comes great responsibility!

See you on the other side, let's hope they have cocktails. Oh, and don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@WTGH_Blog)


2 comments:

  1. HOW DID HE WIN? I agree, social media is to blame for a lot more than we realise.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is too true, you have hit the nail on the head.xx

    ReplyDelete

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