Column: Being destructive on social media causes more harm than good

When you have an opinion you would like to share, keep it off of your social media.

Rachel Schnelle is a freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about student life for The Maneater.

Since the 2016 election, teenagers and young adults have become increasingly politically active. They’re turning to marches and social media to share their opinions. While this is perfectly OK, it can easily become destructive to your followers if you become careless.

In the 2016 election, millennials had a 50% voter turnout rate, a shocking difference from 41% in 2002, according to Brookings.

Over the past 24 years, both the Democratic and Republican parties have had shifts in the age of voters. The Republican Party has rapidly grown older, while the rate of aging for the Democratic Party has been smaller.

58% of voters in the Republican Party are 50 and older, whereas in the Democratic Party, 51% of voters are below 50, according to the People Press.

With the efficiency of social media, news has become even more readily available, encouraging citizens to become more up-to-date on current events. This then changes the makeup of the two parties based on age and being up-to-date on current events.

Now that news is being shared on multiple platforms, a bigger variety of people have shared their opinions on current events.

People from all ages are voicing their political opinions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. With this comes different types of discussions, and while some accounts are respectful and have done their research, others have not.

Twitter is known for the sharing of many different topics. From memes to current events, it has become sort of the melting pot of all social media platforms. Unfortunately, with this comes tweets from people sharing their controversial opinions on topics.

During the 2016 presidential election I constantly wanted to log off all of my social media. I would get on Facebook and see people supporting one side and get on Twitter and see the opposite.

While social media’s original intention was to share thoughts, this is different. When sharing opinions means tweeting something offensive and rude, this is when it becomes destructive.

In fact, some people are becoming famous on social media by being hostile.

Fox News commentator anchor Tomi Lahren has gained fame for her opinionated views on liberal politics.

Lahren originally became famous for her “final thoughts” video segments. In these videos she discussed far-right topics such as how she disagreed with Colin Kaepernick, the Women’s March on Washington and just about anything else controversial. However, what gave her the most fame was an erroneous tweet comparing the KKK to the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a since deleted tweet, Lahren said “Meet the new KKK, they call themselves “Black Lives Matter” but make no mistake their goals are far from equality.” As if comparing an activist movement to a white supremacist terrorist group was acceptable in any form.

Gun rights activist Kaitlin Bennett has gone viral several times for her outspoken posts on Twitter about the National Rifle Association, the red wave and her college, Kent State University, for taking away her guns.

She originally gained fame for tweeting a picture of her posing with an AR-15, demanding that Kent State University give her an open carry rally.

Both women have gained national fame for being outspoken and offensive, and while these two women are known for being very conservative, it is not just Republicans that are becoming ruinous — it’s everyone. Being destructive on social media doesn’t always mean being political. It means someone becoming viral because they bragged about driving drunk or commented rude things on people’s tweets because they look differently than them.

While Twitter is known for the spewing out of opinions, there is such a thing as being politically correct and knowing your facts. Society’s views on mental health, sexual preference and politics are constantly changing and becoming less stigmatized. People should realize that not all of their thoughts should be posted on social media. It’s time to accept that what they believed 10 years ago is not what is accepted now.

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