social media 300OWENSBORO, Ky. (9/12/13) - What do you see when you scroll through your Facebook timeline?
 
I’ll tell you what I see.
 
I see a high school classmate’s wedding pictures. I’m realizing that I’m at the age everyone is getting married. It’s everywhere on social media. It’s also forcing me to have a mild anxiety disorder.120 likes.
 
I see a side-by-side “Throwback Thursday”, picture of a girl that most definitely grew up in the 90’s. She’s clad in snapper tracksuit bottoms and has a Tamagotchi hanging off her bubble backpack, for God’s sake.15 likes.
 
I see a picture of a friend of a friend posing on a rooftop with the New York City skyline illuminating the night behind her. I’ve been following her journey of fashion internships since the beginning. I mumble to myself “whatever” out of admitted jealousy. 25 likes.
 
I see my mom’s daily post dedicated to me: usually a completely embarrassing picture of me from back in the day that I specifically told her NOT TO SHOW ANYONE EVER. 4 likes.
 
I’m sure everyone has a variation of these things on their newsfeed, as well. Lately, though, what has gotten my attention the most on the social media sites are the number of people giving their take on President Barack Obama’s decision on the situation in Syria.
 
I am all about giving your opinions publicly. It’s our given right as Americans. My problem with Facebook and other social media are the individuals posting uninformed opinions. These people are what I call “fakers.” They are faking their interest in politics and world news, because of the popularity of the subject at hand.
 
It’s really easy to analyze how much you know about current events, but it’s also very easy to change what you know and to be informed. Here are a couple questions you can ask yourself:
 
1. What do you watch on television? Did you know that E! News and the nationally broadcasted nightly news programs are on at separate times? You can watch both! I, for one, am a living and breathing example of how you can have many interests, I could tell you every winner of American Idol since Kelly Clarkson or my favorite designer from this year’s New York City Fashion Week, but I also watch the news every morning and every night. Watching the news keeps you informed about what is going on in your community, nation, and abroad.
 
2. Do you read? If so, what do you read? I’m all about reading. Read whatever makes you happy; you’re learning and even expanding your vocabulary. But, my suggestion is to open a newspaper or read online news once a day. It’s amazing the topics that could open up for you in daily conversation.
 
3. What do you believe in and why? This is the problem with Facebook. Most people post their opinions based on others’ opinions. If you aren’t truly informed about a subject, you can only go so deeply in believing in it. Knowing all the elements of the argument can only make your argument stronger.
 
4. Are you registered to vote? If you aren’t registered to vote, what makes you so sure that your opinion really matters anyway?
 
5. Do you know who your local and national representatives are? This is really important because these people are the ones representing your opinions. You have the right as an American citizen to vote for the people representing you and you also have the right to express your opinion on these representatives.
 
At my age, people often get caught up in the sensationalized Miley Cyrus headlines and not in what really matters--what is affecting us all. My hope is that the Facebook generation stays informed about important national issues. Before you post your next political argument, know why you feel that way and be able to back up your opinion with legitimate facts. You won’t be considered a “faker” based on your sudden interest on a topic, if you actually know what you’re talking about. This way, not only is your opinion heard, but you can intelligently inform others on the subject.
 
Malcolm X said it best: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
 
Taylor Riley
SurfKY News

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