Magazine News Volume 70, Issue 1

It Starts With Social Media

by Katelyn To

Graphic by Jennifer Notman

For the past few months, millions of people all around the world have taken to the streets in protest for Black Lives Matter. However, just as many people have also taken to their Instagram feeds and Twitter timelines. Many people have been sharing videos of protests, reposting informational Instagram posts and more. Social media is also the very place where the video that helped spark the reemergence of this movement was posted. Sophomore Clara Jensen explained why social media has been so important during a time like this, “Since social media is so accessible and widespread, it allows me to speak and learn from other people as well as educate them…I’ve been able to access news and information about important issues in ways that make sense to me and give me the power to help.”

Current events in 2020 have made social media as a source of information more important than ever. In addition to keeping in touch with people in a time where meeting face-to-face isn’t always ideal, social media has proven to be a common place for receiving and sharing information. Junior Shealyn Hyde said, “With the aid of social media I think that the BLM movement has reached a lot more people and outlets that it wouldn’t have if no one had social media.” Senior Dina Mirmotalebisohi also said, “It has encouraged tough discussions and conversations that may not have been had before because students were afraid of judgement.”

Like many things, some argue that there are good and bad aspects of social media’s large role. “I think that it has done some damage to the purpose of the movement,” said Hyde. “Like lots of information in the media, things can get misconstrued and changed…The same goes for the BLM movement; people have changed the purpose of it to be more political or to fit their own needs, and I feel that the movement has lost momentum because of it.”

Jensen argued the former: “[Social media] gives you the ability to share resources to donate or sign petitions…ultimately the way I’ve been able to advocate the most during these times is through posting on social media about my views and being able to have meaningful conversations about the things I post with the people who follow me. I think that in the end, it has been a good thing.”

The conversation of social media regarding the Black Lives Matter movement also brings into question: should everyone utilize their platform, and in what situations is it acceptable or unacceptable for someone not to do so? Mirmotalebisohi pointed out, “I think the best way that I can respond to this question is that at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter how many posts you make on social media. I promise you, no one is sitting in high power and saying, ‘Oh my god, look at all these teenagers posting the black squares. It’s time to focus on racial equity.’ No one’s doing that. So I think at the end of the day, it’s important to focus on action.”