Instagram is popularly known as a place where we post our most congratulatory moments, our recent events and most particularly, our best looks. Tools like Photoshop, Facetune and other apps that can beautify ourselves are trending, and we all have to remind each other to not believe what we see — that this was not all there is to each person.
Where did that mentality go? It seems we’ve lost the drive to continue the search for the truth and have been blinded by big headlines when we see news.
Like many other teenagers and young adults in the United States, I spend an unfortunate amount of time on my phone, scrolling through various social media apps. Though most of it is for entertainment and to see what other people are up to, for platforms like Instagram and Twitter, a new niche has found its way onto our screens: news and politics.
As information of any kind is accessible to us now more than ever, we are able to learn more about the world and what people are saying to expand our horizons of knowledge. This is increasingly possible on social media apps, as we have the liberty to share any and all of our thoughts, ideas and knowledge. Yet this freedom to post whatever we want is a double-edged sword — people believe anything they read, especially if it sounds legitimate.
Many people have utilized their social media platforms to share pieces of the news or to express their own stances on social issues, and it has been successful in some cases. The spreading of awareness of climate change and environmental issues is one example. Another is the Black Lives Matter movement, as the prominence of social media allowed the issues to be presented and to reach an incredible population.
Now, one of our most pressing matters is the election, which presents the opportunity for a heightened amount of misinformation to be spread. This is made possible when we are mindlessly scrolling through our social media feeds, subtly retaining information that we saw for half of a second.
But this is not the time to have our thoughts escape our minds. This is the time when we must make use of our best judgement to differentiate between what is real and fake, and what is true and false.
We have become so comfortable with accepting what we see and too quickly joining a bandwagon of supporters if the numbers seem significant enough. It’s too easy to twist the smallest bit of misinformation and facts to deceive ourselves with what’s truly going on.
At the same time, the saturation of certain ideas or news sways our thoughts and we lose touch with the reality when social media only offers us what can be seen at first glance. It is our job to look past the beautification tools and flashy headlines.
As we read about current events on news platforms and read threads posted on social media, the temptation to prematurely assume the truth of this piece of information will constantly be a great threat. It is that trap that makes the older generations associate us with being too naive and unaccommodating of ideas apart from our own.
Now, more than ever, we are presented with the challenge and duty of formulating our own opinions based on facts and beliefs. This cannot be done without seeking real, reputable sources (of which there are multiple), and to continue the search for the truth.