A Reflection on Students and Social Media

Being a person under the age of thirty, I know that there are a few things assumed of me. For example, people assume that I’m probably still in college, they assume that I probably don’t vote, and they assume that I’m probably an eager user of social media and use my time to post status updates on Facebook and Tweets to Twitter.
After working on a story about the ways in which college students at the University of San Francisco use social media to engage politics, I realized that those assumptions people have about me and my peers are not entirely accurate.
After doing some research I learned that through a study of social media users in the United States, nearly 40 percent of the total population, over 60 percent of them engage political messages through social media.
And through an interview with USF political professor Corey Cooke, I learned that the logic behind politicians sending out these messages into the Twitter or Facebook sphere is to convince users to share them with friends. Thinking, voters are more likely to trust or believe a message that comes from a friends or family member over a politician.
What I concluded however, is voters, young voters that is, are reluctant to trust any political message they receive period. They tend to think messages straight from a politicians social media account is contrived and phony, and they tend to think messages they get from friends and family are overblown and skewed.
However, my findings were consistent with a study done at the Washington State University which found that college students who engage politics through social media are more likely to vote. Everybody I spoke to said they both engage politics through social media and planned on voting.
It seemed to me the assumptions of young people were wrong. They do not take thinks online as gospel, they don’t spend as much of their time as is thought writing mundane messages on social media, and they are, in fact, politically engaged.
So what is the best way to get this story out there, digitally?
I really found Storify to be a great tool. With so many elements, it can really allow the author of a story to have a lot of fun putting it together, which translates to the reader, making for a more enjoyable reading experience.
Plus, Storify allows the author to use the medium of the internet to his or her advantage when shaping a story, the way a glass blower has to use the science of heat and chemistry when crafting a vase or a bottle.
What results is something like an interactive postmodern pastiche, full of text, Tweets, audio, video, and photos, anything that can be found on the web really.


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