If I asked you to jeopardize your own life for a social media app or site, would you? Regardless of you may have answered, somewhere in this nation, an American youth is doing just that. In the 21st century, social media apps such as Twitter, Instagram, and Vine have been one of the most innovative creations to have capitalized on the growing use of smart phones and technology. Compatible with Iphone and Android phones, these apps are very common amongst teens and youth in America. As a user of all three of these apps, it is very easy to see how one can become addicted to these social media apps. Moreover, because of their popularity, one’s peers, friends, and family members are all probably familiarized with social media in some form of fashion. Excluding Twitter, “likes” are the term deemed by most social media apps. “Likes” can be found on Vine and Instagram to show one’s appreciation of someone who uploads a picture or video. For example, a picture in one’s camera can be uploaded to Instagram and users, who are able to view one’s profile, can “like” that picture. If 15 people “like” your picture, the number (15) will be displayed underneath your respective picture.
The “like” feature is similar to that of Vine as well. If one uploads a video and 100 people “like” the uploaded Vine video, the number (100) will be displayed underneath that respective video and etc. So how does one get more “likes”? Though it isn’t necessary, there are many ways one can gain more followers. For example, one can gain followers by: placing #hashtags underneath a picture/video, following other users in hopes that they follow you back, or simply being creative by finding interesting ways of getting other users to generate more “likes”. Unfortunately, however, these “likes” are becoming a way users identify their popularity among the social app world. As a result, these social media sites have been nothing but mayhem for growing the mind of burgeoning young adults. Furthermore, the creative ways our youth are portraying photos and videos are inevitably setting a trend of ignorance and criminal mischief.
Below is a video of a user who thought it was funny to go around scaring innocent people via a pellet gun. The more surprising fact, however, is that this user did these so called “pranks” to upload them to his Instagram account. The results of his uploads have found this man and the recorder arrested and detained.
Upon watching the pure ignorance of this male going around to scare people with a gun, I had to ponder about how or why this young man felt that his actions were “so funny” that it needed to be uploaded via Instagram.
After a few minutes of thinking, it finally it hit me!
In 2005, the birth of Youtube and Worldstarhiphop created an internet phenomena where users could upload videos. Literally, over night one’s video could go viral because of video platforms like Youtube and Worldstarhiphop. Thanks to the society we live in, infamy has drawn viewers to these sights to watch the various fights, ignorance, and foolery that are being uploaded to these video platforms. Moreover, the more viewers a video gets, the more times that video has the potential to be shared with other people via the internet. In fact, sites such as Facebook and Twitter are key breeding grounds in which an infamous video has the potential to continue to spread amongst the masses via the internet. As a result of this, society now has an over-saturation of infamous videos just waiting to go viral. Especially when viewing a shock site like Worldstarhiphop; it is pretty evident that many people in society would rather promote ignorance and infamy rather than substantial videos.
This ignorance has played an imperative roll for the behavior of most of our youth today. Especially during an age where their maturity has not fully developed; many youth are following the in-crowd. Furthermore, our youth see these videos being uploaded, and possessing the immature minds that they have, some youth inevitably begin to replicate the popular infamous videos.
Social media videos are not limited to a particular sex or race. In 2014, I have witnessed youth of all races promoting ignorance in some variation. However, because I am a black male, I will speak on how it is affecting males like myself.
In the past few months, Americans have voiced their opinions about the recent “Stand Your Ground” cases in Florida. Zimmeran’s verdict was deemed “not guilty”. Michael Dunn’s verdict was found guilty on 3 counts of attempted murder. Much of “Black America” went to social media sites to express their anger about both verdicts. Much of my concern, however, was geared toward the stereotypes one must possess to kill another human being. Moreover, how could a person, like Zimmerman or Dunn, become more disposed to a particular stereotype. Let’s reiterate about social media and it’s daily promotion of ignorance. First, one must agree that social media sites have the capability to land on anyone’s desktop or computer; social media sites have allowed a great platform for ignorant promotion. Second, one must understand that a viewer watching a particular video may subconsciously build or promote a certain stereotype pertaining to that respective video. Meaning, is it possible, since the existence of Youtube and Worldstarhiphop, that Michael Dunn or George Zimmerman could have been a viewer of a video that promoted ignorance. Also, is it possible that both Dunn and Zimmerman saw a video that promoted ignorance from a black male? Obviously that answer is YES! Which leads me to wonder how many videos of ignorance, promoted by black males, could both Dunn and Zimmerman seen since 2005. Is it one? Is it ten? Is it 1000?! You see, because the internet literally has no boundaries, something so visual over time can subconsciously make a viewer predisposed to a certain way of thinking because of how graphical a video is. Likewise, in an over-saturated market of ignorance, there is honestly no telling of how many ignorant videos the average internet viewer is seeing when he/she goes on a computer or internet accessible device. By no means, am I justifying any of the “Stand Your Ground” killings that took place in Florida last year. However, I would like to know how the same people who promote these ignorant videos, especially by black people, want to question why these senseless killings of black males are taking place. If you are a person who promotes these acts of foolery, via uploading, recording or even linking these videos, you are hurting this nation just as much as people like Zimmerman and Michael Dunn. Similar to Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, there is no in-between when it comes to helping or hurting our society; so choose one! It’s not only insulting to people like me, it is hypocritical! No I do not want to see a Facebook status update or tweet about an injustice if you are a person who is subconsciously feeding these stereotypical notions back into society. Stop playing both sides of the fence and make a change for once. Let me guess, you won’t seem cool, huh? Your “likes” won’t increase if you aren’t promoting ignorance. No one will consider you funny unless it makes it to WorldStarhiphop, huh? The irony of individuals who think like the aforementioned sentences; you want to increase your “likes” by increasing your followers, yet you’re still “fol-low-ing”.
So the next time you want to get riled up about an injustice ask yourself, “how have I helped counter the stereotypical notions that might have lead to this injustice?” If you can’t answer that question, then please take a seat. Society has enough people like you, I call them posers. Coincidentally, you can find a lot of these people still posing for Instagram pics, still trying to get more followers on Vine, and promoting ignorance of sites like WorldStarhiphop.
You want to end up like everyone else, keep “following” everyone else, just don’t get mad when your number of “likes” are sadly larger than your overall net worth. Now wouldn’t that be tragic? Who knows, maybe that will be sufficient enough to end up on a shock site like WorldStarhiphop.