Now that the 2012 election is over, many are left wondering what is in store for our country in the years to come with President Barack Obama’s re-election.
Personally, I’m not one to get caught up in politics. Rather than voicing concern over who won and who didn’t, I’m more concerned by the content floating around social media sites, like Facebook.
Many people, rather than sharing their educated and researched opinions, used these sites to maliciously attack one another’s ideas.
Friends attacked friends. Some Facebookers even said they were thinking of deleting people from their friends list because of such posts.
Social media sites shouldn’t be a place to attack someone else’s ideals. They should be a place to generate ideas and facilitate conversation. The sites should act as a think-tank.
And in order to work in this way, posts need to actually be educated. Voters need to know the issues at hand, not go along with what they hear from any old Joe on the street.
As college students, we need to be skeptical of what we hear and the source we hear it from.
Students should do their own research and explore different avenues. This means taking into consideration opinions from the opposing side.
Progress can never be made when everyone is already stuck in their ways. This seemed to be the issue that fueled such attacks, simply narrow-mindedness.
People often complain about the frivolous posts their friends make on Facebook. This election season was a time to move away from that, and indeed, in some ways we did.
According to an article from the New York Daily News, “Among people younger than 29, 64 percent say they have used social media to post their views about issues, link to political material, encourage others to take action, join a political group online, follow elected officials or promote political material posted by others.
“There’s evidence that some of this activity could well have boosted turnout by a point or two on Tuesday.
“In 2010, Facebook posted a single ‘I Voted’ button for its users to click on Election Day, and about 340,000 additional people came out to vote as a result of seeing their friends sharing the fact that they were voting, too.”
Even so, “compared with 2008, when voter-generated content altered the campaign’s course, social media didn’t shift the national dialogue in 2012 as much as mirror it.”
This increase in voter turnout could very well be attributed to social pressure from friends, rather than political persuasion from thoughtfully crafted posts.
In the future, rather than using hostility as a form of persuasion or to voice disappointment over one’s candidate losing, use the evidence you’ve come across that formed your opinion in the first place.
As one Linfield graduate eloquently put it: “If your candidate won, let it be enough to know yourself what this means for the future. By all means, be excited. Gloating or acting with hostility to those whose candidate lost only creates a greater barrier for us to overcome in the next four years. Be glad that fellow Americans have cared enough to be passionate about this election, even if their ideologies are wildly different from your own.
“Appreciate that most everyone bases these decisions on the same truth; they wish to make this country a better place.” – Paloma Dale, class of ’12.
Jessica Prokop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.