Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Societal Issues on Social Media

Posted on November 12, 2016 in News
By USM Free Press

By Katie Harris, Free Press staff

Social media has been the place where college students express their feelings on issues that have happened or are still happening today. Lately, social media has been the main platform where societal issues have been discussed, such as abortion, political standings, abuse and racism. Students have mixed reactions on some issues such as racism and politics.  Most can inspire  a positive or negative response from others.

The problem with posting on social media is it’s never private. As a society, we question if social media is a healthy way to discuss specific issues such as these, and if it makes us safer than having a discussion face to face.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the most widely used sites for social interaction. USM students are seen using these platforms on their phones, tablets or computers. They are either updating their statuses or posting a photo that can be seen by millions of people across the world. Lately, all Facebook users see trending societal issues that either have to do with political views or racism. That’s something that many students do not want to see when they log onto their accounts.

USM Global Communications Professor John Muthyala, however, said that when students communicate and discuss societal issues, they create more awareness and public attention on social media platforms.

“It takes learning how to communicate and how to be more open,”  Muthyala said.

He also said that the emergence of social media allows students and younger generations to make themselves heard. Muthyala knows that when students have these discussions online, they have the option to say whatever they want on a platform such as Facebook. Once a student makes a post about an issue they feel strongly about, it can be seen by other users, who will then have the option to react to it or make a comment.

College students have different views on societal issues and how to express them on social media. One of the topics that is most talked about by college students on social media is the ongoing issue of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, which was started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick. The action caused major outcry across the United States, as many people disagreed with his action. Other players from the NFL took notice and followed in his footsteps to send a message against systemic racism.

Connor Clement, a senior communications major, said he understands where Kaepernick is coming from. “He’s trying to make a point about social injustice, which is what makes America great,” Clement said. “You can have your own opinions, you can voice your concerns, you can stick to your own beliefs.”

As a communications major, Clement said it’s important for him to immerse himself in social media, because with this particular field of study, it’s always a great idea to be in the know about  what’s going on in the world of social media.

Some students try to avoid some discussion of societal issues.  But since our current culture relies on social media, it gives both young and older adults a voice to express their opinions and concerns despite the risks they are making when posting a comment on an issue that means a lot to them.

On the rise of social media, Clement said, “I think that’s the culture we live in now, it’s more behind the computer screen typing away than it is face to face.”

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