Social Media Has Changed Our Divided Nation, And Not In A Positive Way

Social Media Has Changed Our Divided Nation, And Not In A Positive Way

The connection between our digital and political lives.

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As many may know, the 21st century is known as the Digital Age, or the Computer Age. Our everyday lives are surrounded by the spread of technology and its advancements that are inevitably being incorporated into every step we take.

And with technology, comes social media, the uninvited dinner guest of the modern age.

No one asked for them, no one really knew what to do when they arrived, and they definitely didn't pick up on the hints that they have overstayed their welcome. Because they have made the conscious decision to stay through the meal, they have the privilege of taking part in the uncomfortable, yet extremely entertaining, political conversations that occur between opinionated relatives.

This idea of social media integrating into politics is exactly what "National Review" writer, David French, discusses in his article "Social-Media Idealism Collides with Human Nature," and it is more relevant than we may realize.

Not only does social media provide a platform to voice one's opinions, but it also provides a space for unwanted accusations and views that you may not agree with.

So, is it possible to find a happy medium?

That is precisely the dilemma that many media networks are facing today. With a nation more divided than ever, social media has given the people a chance to express their beliefs, often in a deconstructive way.

"When you empower people, you find that they have their own will. When you seek to control that will, you find that they'll rebel. The idealism of tech is dead. Human nature killed it. Nobody can have it all," French explains.

But how has this issue come to be, and is there a solution?

The idea of freedom of speech has been engraved in the civil rights of America for centuries. Cordial debates are a part of this country's political process, but social media enables political advocates to present their views while they hide behind the anonymity of a screen name.

When there is a space for Americans to share their opinions, especially when regarding politics, there isn't always much that can be done to prevent the flood of words and statements being spat across the web.

Often times, people online have a goal of proving that their views are true, and they can't bear being corrected.

"... when you place even idealistic progressive icons in the crosshairs of a public-relations nightmare that threatens their life's work, they will react defensively. They'll seek first to preserve their corporation and their reputation," states French.

I don't believe that there will ever be a form of social media that won't be tainted or overcome by political disputes. I do, however, believe that it is possible to hold a civil conversation online without completely being overpowered by the defensive habits that most of us have.

As the world's knowledge of technology advances, it won't be very likely that government affairs and politics will never arise on our screens again, which means it is up to the divided nation to decide how we utilize the media of this generation and generations beyond.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Are The People You Follow On Social Media Actually Good For You?

Are you being influenced in the right way?

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Your friends and family help define you most of the time right? They influence the way we think, how we act, dress, eat. They are the people we identify with deeply and associate ourselves with. Influencers can have the same effect. You constantly see their posts, you trust their recommendations, but the clothes they wear, style your hair the same way. This can be an amazing thing when used in the right way. It can be a way for someone to broaden their fashion, beauty, and lifestyle horizons. It can inspire people to be more productive, or go outside of their shell more. But, it can also be not as helpful.

Do the people you follow on social media actually expand the way you think and teach you new things? Do they have your best interest at heart? Inspire you? Or do you just aimlessly scroll through feeling bad for yourself that you aren't in Paris or look a certain way? Sometimes it takes a minute of self-reflection to actually realize what you are feeling from the people you follow.

Social media has become something negative for most people now, and that isn't what it should be. It could be really taking a toll on your life if you are feeling negative about the people you follow and how you are living your life because of it. You should narrow your feed down to people who only really make you laugh, inspire you, educate you, and that you care about. Don't follow people because you think you need to or because they're famous. Following only those who will impact your life in a positive way will really help you mentally and change the way you feel every day.

Side note: don't be afraid to unfollow family and friends if their content is making you unhappy. I know that it as seen as the ultimate sign of betrayal in today's world, but I promise, you will be fine. They will be fine. Do what you need to be inspired and happy. You've got this.

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