The Power of the Social Media Superstar

Is the youth of America threatened by the whim of YouTubers?

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Have you ever felt compelled to do something because of a post you have seen online? Have you ever been quick to judge based on another user’s post or account? With the power that social media has, both the good and the bad come with it.

Most of the time people will see more of the “bad” news is reported, but there is enough of both in the world. For example, a more recent “bad” event that took place online was an incident involving an influencer named Logan Paul. Paul publishes videos on the video sharing platform, YouTube. Paul and a group of his friends filmed their visit at the Aokigahara Forest in Japan. In the video, the group discovered a body and proceeded to go up to and film the deceased individual. As a result of this incident Paul has lost a majority of his following and has received a vast amount of backlash.

However, there is still lots of “good” attention being brought online. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought massive amounts of awareness to the nervous system disorder back in the summer of 2014. The participants challenged three other individuals to do the challenge or donate to the ALS Association, then proceeded to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads.

“Social media has both good and bad qualities to it, but at the end of the day, you have your values and opinions,” said sophomore Evan Torpy.

“When using the example of Logan Paul, the question that should be asked is ‘Do the people who view that content choose to base their actions around the posts they see?” said Principal Meaghan Brill. “Ultimately, that should be the area of focus when it comes to this conversation.”

Some people have differing opinions on how social media influences people’s daily life. Those opinions range from seeing a positive influence or a negative one.

“To say that I haven’t been influenced by social media would be a lie,” said junior Harper Crater. “But social media has never made me act on something I was unsure was true. Yes, students spend time on social media. Yes, it is possible to be misinformed by it, but no, I don’t think students’ lives are driven by Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever else…at least mine isn’t.”

“I think that although a lot of negativity comes from social media, it also has the power to do a lot of good and spread awareness for really important causes,” said junior Carly Herbert.

“I think the only power that social media has is the power that you guys, as viewers, give theses social media stars,” said Registrar Katrinna Tapscott. “At the end of the day, those influencers are just normal people, but sometimes the age group here doesn’t always remember that.”

Psychology teacher Jessica Murphy wants students to know they are not seeing the full story on social media.

“For example, this Tide Pod ‘challenge’, adolescents are seeing people getting more and more followers, likes and shares and ultimately it spikes the attention to the ‘challenge,’” said Murphy. “When people online post these videos we, as viewers, really only see the parts that they want us to see, not the aftermath of these challenges.”

“Forming your own opinion is better than going with the following’s opinion. Being yourself and sticking to your ideals is always the best option.” said Tapscott.

At the end of the day, it is up to the online user to deem how much of the media influences them and their opinions and values. People should always remain cautious, and look for the facts and form their own opinions for themselves, and no one else.