By Brittanie Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
Online trends on social media regarding social issues and topics have become more about provoking shallow interests and attention rather than creating social awareness.
In my opinion, the misuse of social media in aimlessly popularizing trends can result in self-absorption, which leads to lack of awareness.
“A lot of people do it for attention,” said student Jaynene Moreno.
People notice hashtags and use them but pay little to no attention to the issue or topic associated with the hashtag because it is more important to fit in than to actually voice their opinions.
“They use it to be cool,” said student Martha Medina, referring to hashtags.
Now this is not to say that every social media user abuses hashtags and trends.
There are people out there who use them because they actually go out and help a cause they are passionate and well-informed about.
There was the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) Ice Bucket Challenge: a challenge where you would nominate friends and family to pour a bucket of ice over their heads so they can experience what a person with ALS goes through to raise awareness and funding.
I participated, and challenged friends, but that was after I did research on what ALS was.
“I did it because I wanted to bring awareness and help out,” said student Arthur Roman, referring to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
Others I know did not.
They simply participated in the challenge because it was either socially trendy, broadcasted by media outlets, or consistently mentioned on their social media feeds.
Take for instance the “Black Lives Matter,” and “All Lives Matter” movement trends on social media regarding recent police brutality cases involving African-American males and other people of color.
Some people do not pay attention or are not aware of the recent deadly use of police aggression; they just use #blacklivesmatter or #alllivesmatter to be part of the talk and feel included.
Recently, the “Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge” trend involved people placing a shot glass cup to their lips and making a sucking motion to imitate lip injections and Kylie Jenner’s big, “natural” lips.
“They want to look like her,” student Arthur Roman said.
People are so focused on looks and becoming more obsessed with looking like celebrities that they forget that their actions have consequences.
Participants are physically left with bruises and scars and mentally, young women and men are left with low self-esteem issues believing they cannot achieve glamorized celebrity-like “perfection.”
Creating and using trends on social media does have positives though, as social issues trend online, people begin to wonder what the trend is and do research thus becoming informed.
They begin to partake in public conversation regarding important issues.
Use it but do not abuse it; know what’s trending because it has more meaning than you think.