The Power Within Our Hands

Sebastian Arreola

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    As our eyes are fixed on the screen in our hands, the world around us is slowly being demolished. Horrific events have taken place, claiming the lives of innocent people. Mother Nature has expressed her frustration through natural disasters and yet the headline of the day is “New Phone Coming This Fall.” The world of technology has been advancing and improving rapidly since the first smartphone was welcomed into society. It’s become a common thread in our everyday lives that has a huge impact on our surroundings and the people we encounter. As technology continues to advance, the human population begins to rely more heavily on a device than their own knowledge and experiences. We’ve become imprisoned within the pixels of our screens and have allowed them to shape our lives through images, texts, notes, phone calls, and even the weather. These factors come to have a magnetic force upon our fingers, which touch a glass screen for hours each day. Our surroundings become idealistic and a screen becomes our reality. As we continue to allow the advancement of technology, the world around us will slowly become a virtual environment and our lives will be shaped through pixels.

    Social media contributes to people focusing on trivial aspects of the world, yet ignoring many vital events taking place. The platforms constructed within social media have built relationships. People share common interests with others around the globe and can easily connect with one another. Instagram, for example, is a place where people allow themselves to be seen by others in distinctive ways. Some share photographs of their true identity, while a majority of users post images of themselves that are unrealistic and hide behind a screen, posing as a glorified version of themselves. Entering the world of Instagram allows anyone around the globe to get a glimpse into someone’s life. It’s a place where people can relate with others through common interests such as photography, art, sports, film, music, and politics. But as this has become a social norm in today’s society, tragic events such as shootings, murders, and foreign attacks are also shared within these platforms, but often ignored after a few hours. The world of social media tends to pivot the significant news to irrelevant topics that are shaping society. Twitter, for example, has a “Trending Hashtag” column in the search section. It ranks the top hashtags trending at the moment and allows users to connect through this source. Though this may sound useful in promoting conversation regarding opinions about the government or how guns should not be given to teachers, these topics tend to have a brief moment of fame and have little to no chance of breaching the number one trending story.

    During the 2016 elections, the Republican National Convention was being held in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18 to July 21. As Donald Trump accepted his nomination, there was another story in the air that seemed to be the center of attention for news nation wide to be covering. Bad blood between Taylor Swift and Kanye West sparked during this time, shifting people’s attention to a Hollywood feud that eventually had people choosing sides as to who was right in the situation. Celebrity gossip shaped the summer of 2016 and contaminated all social media and most news platforms. As we look back at this foolish controversy, people were interested in the story and wanted to seek more information from both sides. Even though it was irrelevant and idiotic for it to grasp so much popularity, the public was hypnotized to view this battle as significant. This comes to portray the world of social media to use “propaganda” in a way to focus people’s attention on the scandalous lives of celebrities. Maybe we’re just so used to seeing these types of stories in our news that it’s become a social norm to not question why we’re so interested in what is inconsequential.

    As the world of social media gains popularity each day through the scandals and rumors of celebrities, social media platforms are raising awareness about the crucial events surrounding us. From the Taylor Swift and Kanye West feud of 2016 to today, some things have improved. Due to the lack of action by our government and president, people are rising up and using their voices to bring change for the nation. I’ve noticed that social media has been placing movements such as ‘Time’s Up’, ‘Women’s March’, ‘Black Lives Matter’, and many others on a pedestal for people to become aware of reality. This has also allowed celebrities to voice what they believe in and unite with their fans to speak up. Social media contributes multiple stories and perspectives to the world. At times it may reveal the irrelevant, but also voice the unheard. It is up to us how we want to perceive our surroundings and how much of it we want to be aware of. It’s not technology’s fault for building an empire, it’s our fault for allowing it to dominate our existence.