Social Media is very popular among millennials and young people. They use it in their day-to-day lives for many reasons, such as connecting with friends and sharing the highlights of their lives.
One use for social media, which has become very popular in the age of Trump, is for activism. On numerous occasions, young people use this hashtag to share their protest: #NEVERAGAIN, which is in reference to post-Parkland mass school shootings, and #BoycottTheNRA.
They often see videos online of people protesting, and it inspires them to rally and protest in marches — such as the Women’s March and March For Our Lives — in nearby cities.
Although social media encourages people to get involved, there is a drawback: Millennials start to believe that all they have to do is retweet hashtags, sign online petitions, and show up to rallies and protest on school days in order to solve the world’s problems. This has caused a great wave of false hope among millennials, imposed through social media.
Slacktivism is an urban term referring to the sense of participating in a cause just to feel good with no actual actions taken to fight the problems. This is occurring among millennials. They see a hashtag trending on social media about a social issue, they use it in a tweet that gets a lot of attention, and they feel like their work is done; they never seek out actions to solve the problem.
In other cases, they take their slacktivism a step forward and actually get out and protest. Even then, they still don’t have follow-ups after the rallies and protest, they go back home with no actual idea on what to do, believing that they’ve done enough.
This has happened a lot recently with the March For Our Lives, The Enough! National School Walkout and the other National School Walk Out. Young people’s activism stops at the rallies. They shout loudly and angrily but put no effort in actions.
Parkland student Emma Gonzalez claimed the Majorie Stoneman Douglas massacre would be the last mass school shooting. A lot of young people heard her words and believed them to be true, yet none of them thought about the steps to make the words come true. They really believed that just because she said it, no more mass shootings would happen. Shortly afterward, a mass shooting took place at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.
Of course, there are a few who actually engage in discussions with politicians and NRA members such as at the Town Hall, but most of their supporters aren’t that involved. Most of them just follow along with the tweeting, and hashtagging for their way of “fighting.”
This phenomenon isn’t just a problem with activism, however. This happens in a lot of other fields.
Millennials see something on social media they like, and think “Hey, if they can do, so can I.” For example, a student got himself a year’s worth’s supply of Wendy’s nuggets after getting over a million retweets on one post. He caught the attention of the news, celebrities, and appeared on Ellen. After that, many more young people started trying to get things accomplished through retweets.
I’ve personally seen people ask others, “How many retweets does it take for you to go to prom with me?” rather than just asking the person.
It’s so sad to see this generation become so obsessed with social media that they have based their expectations on what they see on it. The reality is action solves action, and young people should spend less time tweeting, and more time doing actions that bring actual change to their lives.
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