Social media has applied enormous pressure on people to become political activists without taking due time to research the details. Politics is now viewed as something everyone needs to do publicly. People should educate themselves, but how did it become reasonable to expect political takes from 16 year old Tik Tokers? Social media is the root of this new expectation.
We have allowed social media to hold society captive. A phone addiction is plaguing our younger generations and people pushing political agendas are capitalizing on this. Young and impressionable children are now turning to social media to educate themselves on complex political issues. Newspapers have gone out of style, unless they're online or presented in an Instagram post, and watching the news is out of the question.
In the past people below the voting age were not very involved in politics. In modern times, more and more people under the age of 18 are speaking on politics and identifying with political parties.
This would be a positive change if it were natural but instead of natural interest building, kids are now being pressured to post.
For example, a big trend is posting flashy infographics on Instagram that pull apart issues in pink neon lettering clearly marketed towards younger people. Perhaps some of the people posting are legitimately interested, but I have noticed a lot of "groupthink" driving these posts. Peers of mine who have never expressed interest in world affairs are now posting multiple times a day about the Palestine conflict with Israel.
This unfortunately is due to pressures being put on young people by politicians and peers leaning on superiority complexes who encourage people to speak out without giving them time to learn about these issues. The same pressures are being placed on celebrities to post majority left leaning takes on topics that do not have any substance or actual effect. It leaves a very shallow and insincere impression to some but the majority applauds this "activism."
Celebs are shamed for being silent and are often forced to publicly apologize for not being vocal enough on topics they don't understand.
This is a scary change in how our country views politics. No matter how you identify politically, a monthly instagram story will keep you safe from public beratement. Social media has introduced an easy way to establish moral superiority among people. If you don't post as much as me you just don't care as much as me. Social media has also allowed for people to oversimplify issues making one side seem obviously in the right.
Tik Tok is at the front of this social media takeover.
A lot of popular Tik Tokers have risen to fame by speaking on political issues on what used to be marketed as a kid's app. Many of these debates cannot be tackled in a 60 second video so these people are stripping them to the most basic form and leaving out important details that lead to misinformation. Using flashy wording and passionate tone, these videos can be very convincing.
We need to stop looking at influencers as mouthpieces for current events. More and more we are inclined to listen to "famous" people we admire who simply regurgitate statements written for them by their team. It is important to stay up to date on what's happening in the world but social media is not the way to do it.
It has become corrupted by performative activism and prepackaged stories lacking critical detail.
Social media has given a voice to everyone but people who have a following are going to be louder. Political posting has been reduced to a way to feel good about yourself without ever risking anything or truly putting yourself out there. If this continues, nothing will ever change and independent opinions will continue to be crushed by the influx of empty words on Instagram stories.