From the minute details recounted on our Facebook pages to our Instagram “stories,” 240-character laments, and Pinterest-inspired DIY needlepoints, for younger generations, the digital narrative has existed for much of our lifetime.
Social media is woven into the social fabric of our lives. We created it, grew it, and [in]advertently developed a culture around it. And, as it has grown and morphed into a daily fixation, we have also adapted it to fit our needs, sharing mundane, thrilling, and sometimes profoundly personal experiences in a much more public way than the generations before us.
The accessibility of these digital megaphones has allowed for grass-roots campaigns to soar, for younger generations to take an interest in the political system and become more informed, and for movements like the Women’s March and #metoo to become a household conversation, thereby galvanizing vast contingents of the country [and the world], who have historically had neither a voice or a platform.
When we talk about the partisan division and rhetoric that has been building to a zenith in the United States (and abroad), I cannot wholly blame our inflammatory president, a seemingly inflexible Republican party, or the out of touch Democrats who can’t seem to find party unity; I cannot completely fault the ambulance-chasing talking heads that populate our 24-hour news media, or an aging electorate, many of whom seem willfully opposed to progressive values. Rather, this maelstrom of political partition is as much a product of the platforms we use to share the photos from our friends’ weddings and the foamy tulips embellishing our morning cappuccinos as the conversations they inspire.
We have been told with near unrelenting regularity that our social media is an echo chamber, propped up and reaffirmed by friends and followers with like-minded ideas. But what this assertion, in isolation, fails to consider is the viral structure of social media. How many times have you read a post shared and re-shared by many of your friends, despite having zero…