In today’s day and age, the internet and social media are a part of a lot of people’s everyday lives. It’s hard to go a day without having to either use or bring up either of those things. There are multiple opinions that surround how social media/the internet should be used. The difference in opinions causes many different debates to pop up. Most commonly, the two different sides tend to be a split between the generations (young vs old) although in some cases people from both generations may be on the a-typical side of the argument.
Often enough, I have heard many incorrect arguments that the typically “older” generation uses in order to undermine the “younger” generation’s level of internet/social media usage. These arguments include; it causes a block in communication, is a waste of time, exposes people to things at an early age, etc. All of these arguments can easily be shown to be wrong. Such as, the internet/social media has actually helped me with communication. It has enabled me to be able to connect to hundreds of people online and become acquaintances and even really good friends with a lot of them. It has also enabled me to be able to communicate with people from all over the world about feminism, etc. This has been to a level to where I have been interviewed over Skype about feminism. Would I have been able to have that experience if it weren’t for social media? Probably not. Also, I even got the opportunity to write for this website and magazine because of social media! None of the things I have above caused a hindrance to my communication, they only furthered my communication level.
On this train of thought, I would like to also bring up how inaccurately some of the “older” generation views young people and their opinions. Many times I have heard an adult say “You are too young for your opinions to matter!” or “You don’t understand! This is an adult topic!” Both of those quotes among many others put down youths and try to make sure youths aren’t informed. Having this mindset and not putting any trust into the “younger” generation will cause problems to occur in the future if youths don’t take educating into their own hands. The people who have no “faith” in the youth of today are the same people who only get their news from once source (*cough cough* Fox News) and a very biased news source at that. Television and newspaper/magazine articles tend to be majorly biased in one direction. That is another reason that the internet/social media is important.
This leads me into the topic of explaining how this all links to the importance of “Twitter” activism. “Twitter” activism is activism of anything that is based on social media. This includes Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube as platforms for spreading activism. Not only will the “older” generation rag on “Twitter” activists, but lots of people in the “younger” generation will rag on it too. This can be because of multiple reasons. One of these reasons could be because a youth might have a differentiating opinion than the “Twitter” activist. The other reason is that people will attack “Twitter” activists for not “practicing what they preach” online in the “real” world. Using that line is not only wrong, but uneducated. Someone cannot say that without knowing the full story of the “Twitter” activist. The activist may not be in a scenario where they can easily access or do activism offline. It is important that we work together on all platforms for activism instead of pinning each other against each other.
“Twitter” activism is especially important to help educate people about the activism who do not have the resources to learn about it otherwise. It helps link people to websites and people who can help get them to the next step in the activism, offline or online! “Twitter” activism also helps link people to actual unbiased articles that they may not be able to get into contact with otherwise. It also helps people get actual news that they can check themselves. “Twitter” activism helps newcomers be able to gain their footing and understand themselves better and their opinions. I got my start as a “Twitter” activist, and not until recently (this past year) have I been able to take the next step and start speaking up in public too. Therefore, instead of taking down people who are so called “Twitter” activists, we should work together to help build up their confidence.
Watch my YouTube video on this topic at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH5VhF51RK0
Zoe Levine is 17 years old from Erie, Pennsylvania. She is currently a student in 11th grade at McDowell High School. Her main passions are intersectional feminism, writing, music, watching TV and movies, reading, and journalism. She is president of her synagogue’s youth group and president of a local volunteer organization. She is involved with her school’s performing arts program, Speech & Debate, Mock Trial, Model UN, Exposure (tolerance activity), and Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. Outside of school she has a job at a local farmer’s market and travels for Reform Jewish conferences. You can follow her multiple social media platforms including YouTube: sunflowerzoe15, Instagram: @xzoelevine, and Twitter: @xzoelevine