Twitter and Tear Gas Response

One of the primary focuses of this article was to discuss how we stay connected online. This is explained in terms of “weak ties” and “strong ties”. People we have strong ties to are usually our close friends and family, and we have weak ties to our coworkers, classmates, acquaintances, etc. While it is relatively easy to maintain a relationship with our strong ties because we see them face-to-face more often, social media has created a way for us to still keep in touch with our weak ties. It is interesting to think about how we have the potential to know anything and everything about our best friend from preschool that moved away when we were four years old, when in a world with no social media we might forget them entirely.

An interesting thing to point out is how the article mentions that, as hard as this is to believe, only a small population of the world uses new and current communication technologies. However, the population of the world that does not use these technologies is still significantly impacted by them because they are close to others who use them. They have their friends to keep them in the loop and inform them on how the world is changing via new communication technologies.

This article was very articulate in explaining how different social media platforms are allowing us to become more politically active and aware. I like to think of myself as a politically involved person, but reading this article made me realize how much of my political interest was sparked from the internet. While I think that it is great that social media is encouraging people like me to become more politically aware, the article also brings up a good point about “slacktivism”, which occurs when an individual shares or posts political opinions online, but doesn’t actually do anything to help the issues they are talking about. Reading this made me realize that I seem to have fallen into that category, but it is good that I have become aware of this so now I can work on improving myself.  While it is great that social media is informing people on important issues, it is still important and necessary for people to go out and make a difference based upon what they have learned.

In class on Thursday, we discussed the role politics play on Facebook. Something that was mentioned was how it seems like Facebook knows what side of the political spectrum we are on, and it shows us more of the content we would agree with than content we would not agree with. I think this contributes to why we are more inclined to share about our own views. Since Facebook seems to be telling us that our opinion is the right opinion, it justifies our actions when we post our opinions. Even though many would agree that this shows how we are influenced by biases, I think there is good in this too because Facebook is giving us the confidence to speak our mind.

In conclusion, this article was very articulate in discussing the role politics plays in the virtual world and how that also impacts who we are as people. As long as we are aware of slacktivism and how different social platforms like Facebook target messages to us, we have the potential of using social media to the best of its ability by becoming politically active citizens.

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