Social media highlights growing political awareness in teens

By Michelle Pitcher

Amid the tweets about the rumored Free Burrito Day at Chipotle (Feb. 14 if you kiss someone in the restaurant), I saw something rather surprising on my twitter feed. Several of my peers were live-tweeting last night’s State of the Union Address, and, much to my surprise, they were not just commenting on the slip-ups and glazed-over eyes of the politicians onscreen.

For the first time, social media was serving as an outlet for political discussion and commentary. This differed greatly from the heckling and name-calling I saw in the days leading up to the 2012 election (don’t even get me started).

Twitter and Facebook are powerful tools. With one look, I can (at least somewhat) accurately determine someone’s interests, political views, religious beliefs and educational background. Far too often, I see my peers representing themselves inaccurately or inappropriately on these sites. Now, however, it seems more high school students are using these sites as media for expression of serious beliefs.

I would encourage everyone to not hold back. If you have something insightful to say, say it. Do not tweet only to get favorites; tweet because you want your ideas to be heard.