What we see through social media is a generation of ignorant social activists. Young men and women all too willing to care about and defend something they don’t truly understand and refuse to educate themselves further on because they assume the limited information they receive has been vetted by someone more knowledgeable than themselves. This happens on both sides of the fence, with both conservatives and liberals.
I’ve seen arguably intelligent young men and women stand up at banquets and rallies, demanding answers about things like healthcare, DOMA, federal military actions. Asking questions about things they’ve seen on Facebook, on twitter, things that they’ve taken little to no time to research for themselves, and they look like fools. No matter their age, they paint themselves with a red mark that announces ‘I’m not mature enough to be here, to discuss these issues’.
But even so, it isn’t truly about age. It’s about social awareness. You are not discounted until you make a mistake. Say the wrong thing or quote the wrong statistic. Until then, your legitimacy remains intact.
Tumblr is like this.
I’ve seen people furious over gay rights legislation that doesn’t actually exist. Wars that haven’t happened. Most recently text posts with tens of thousands of notes alleging that China and Russia are going to go to war with the US over Syria.
Blogs relaying damaging misinformation written by individuals who can’t seem to be bothered to read a newspaper or use google properly. This is a crippling trend, and no one sees it.
These people get untold attention and affirmation until one person with a large enough follower count points out the flaw in their argument. Corrects the mistake, and shifts the tide. But this doesn’t fix the thousands of people who liked and reblogged the original post. The damage is done.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from working on political campaigns, very little is more damaging than an activist who argues only one side of the story without recognizing the existence of the other; because your opinion, no matter how solid and seemingly factually based, is invalid the second your audience realizes they know more than you.
And the result of all of this is a generation of young activists who don’t understand why they aren’t being taken seriously.
a recent conversation with a colleague regarding social media (via onawingandaswear)
It’s like being back in 1998 when people got chain emails full of hoaxes and you’d hear everyone talking about it in class the next day.
Some users are so very quick to just accept everything they read at face value without question. That’s why we have kids microwaving their iPhone trying to recharge it.(via retrogradeworks)