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How Social Media Has Affected Politics in Our Generation

It is without a doubt that social media has a huge effect on politics in our generation. But is it casting a positive or negative effect? Well, I’m here to tell you that I believe the answer swings both ways. Politics in the United States — more than ever in recent years — have been extremely polarizing. As social media becomes increasingly prominent due to the advancement of technology, young voters are finding their political information on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and more. Here are some positive and negative effects I believe social media has on politics.

Positives:

  1. Information: This is an obvious one, but I just have to say it. Sometimes it can be hard for people of this generation to become active in politics because a lot of people simply do not know where to start. Being able to access resources and information via platforms that we already use is a crucial way for young people to get involved with politics without the stress of googling terms 24/7!

  2. Registering to Vote: Lately, I have noticed that many social media platforms feature links that take you to your state’s homepage where you can register to vote. This is a great way to get younger generations who are now eligible to vote to be more active in the political scene, and it makes it so easy for them to do so!

  3. Spreading Awareness: With links in Instagram bios and Tweets full of resources on political issues, there are so many ways to spread awareness on social media regarding all sorts of different political topics. Educating yourself and then trying to educate your followers is a great way to take advantage of your social media platform.


Photo by Janine Robinson on Unsplash

Negatives:

  1. False Information: Social media can do a lot of good when it comes to spreading quality information about upcoming elections and more, but there is also always the risk that false information out there exists. It is always important to fact-check things you see on social media pertaining to politics. Just because it was posted on a platform does not mean it is always going to be factually correct.

  2. Candidates only Putting Out What They Want to Be Seen: When running for office, candidates know exactly who to target and how to target them. Someone running for any sort of office will try to appeal to older generations through emails, phone calls, letters to their home, or maybe even in-person speeches or rallies — COVID-19 permitting. Candidates are also aware that younger generations will be more likely to be active on social media. They could put out information about themselves and their belief system on social media that they wish to be seen to appeal to a younger crowd.

  3. Spreading Hate: Social media is a place where cyberbullying still unfortunately exists. Say, for example, you are posting about your favorite presidential candidate for 2024 and trying to educate your followers. Sadly, this does not stop anyone from attacking you on social media and putting you down simply because they do not agree with you. In no way is this right, and hopefully these accounts will get blocked, but people like this do exist in the world.


Woman looks at a photo on Instagram on her phone.
Photo by Kate Torline from Unsplash

So please, be active in politics, but also be careful of how social media can affect you. Register to vote, educate yourself, and most importantly: spread awareness!

Victoria Tustin

U Mass Amherst '22

Tory is a senior here at UMass Amherst. She is currently a Journalism major with a Spanish minor, and has a passion for writing just about anything!
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