Real recognizes real
Unless you've been liv- ing under a rock, or are a Notre Dame fan still hiding from public ridicule after their performance in the national title game, you've heard about Heisman runner-up Manti Te'o's girlfriend hoax. After not playing in the national championship game, a story broke that his girl- friend, who died earlier in the season, never actually existed. It seems that the star linebacker's next ap- pearance could easily be on MTV's show Catfish.I'm not debating the legitimacy of Te'o's claim or how risky online dat- ing is, but rather how social media has been an- nointed by our generation as the ultimate source of factual information. Of all the people on this campus, I'm probably one of the least qualified people to state this claim.
I have over ten thousand tweets (@PeteXU if you're curious) and very few of them add any value to society. Checking Twitter is usually the first thing I do in the morning. It's replaced reading the news- paper and watching the news. Any time an im- portant tele- vised event is happening I'm glued to the computer screen check- ing Twitter. That be- ing said, there are some conse- quences to this reliance upon social media. You pick and choose what you want to
hear. You can easily shelter your- self from opinions contrary to your own. However, there's no block or un- follow but- ton in life. The Westboro B a p t i s t "Church" proves that in life you are never sheltered from opinions, no matter how crazy. Additionally, the amount and quality of information required for something to be true is much lower online than in real life. Information that in person would be deemed nothing more than heresy is regarded as truth as im- mediately as it is seen. I've been "catfished" many times because of my reliance upon social media. I didn't fall in love with a girl on- line, date her for three years, never meet here, find out that she died and not go to her funeral, but I have been duped into believing that Justin Bieber Died. With information so readily available to the public, more importance is placed on reporting a story first than reporting the facts correctly. Finally, technology has changed the way people communicate. I'm not going to go in-depth on this topic at the risk of sounding like your seventy-year-old grandfa- ther, but it has become harder for people to actually hold a legiti- mate conversation with another person. So with all of these negatives, why am I periodically checking Twitter while writing this article? Because the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. It has never been easier to connect with other people, find out what's happening across the world and research any topic you could imagine. Plus, there are ways to combat the negatives. Read articles or follow someone who has a dif- ferent opinion than you, be skep- tical of what you hear and instead of racing to the internet when major news breaks, have a discus- sion with your friends about what it means and what they think. Hopefully, these simple steps will lead to you being a more in- formed social media citizen, or at least prevent you from being in a relationship with a person that never actually existed.
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