Tweet All About It

At the conclusion of Wednesday’s second Kaleidoscope All-School Meeting, Head of School John Palfrey asked students to read and share their opinions on the perspectives offered in the Kaleidoscope series by Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Florida, and Dee Dee Meyers, Former White House Press Secretary. Palfrey’s request was aimed to spur students’ political involvement and to push students to form their own opinions and to start campus-wide discourse.

?In the haze of Andover life, it can be difficult but is not impossible for students to absorb different political viewpoints with the goal of forming their own opinions. Andover students need to spend most of each day in classes, at sports practices and club meetings and in dorm rooms doing homework. Time to read a newspaper or magazine or to discuss politics with peers is at best scant and at worst non-existent. Even in the more ideal of the two situations, opportunities for thoughtful consideration arrive at fleeting and irregular intervals.

?For the Andover student, social media presents an ideal solution to the precious cost of dedicating time to the world outside of Andover Hill.

?Social media accounts from established news sources like “Reuters” and “The New York Times” on such sites as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr allow students to “follow” the daily ebb and flow of the political world in feeds of condensed, rapidly available articles. In a matter of minutes, a student can scan his or her feed and get a sense of the day’s political events and opinions.

Thus, despite students’ most vocal complaints, the schedule here does not free them of their societal responsibility as a future voter to stay informed. Gaining and maintaining an awareness of the political world just requires a bit of creativity.

The “social” in social media offers students fun and easy communal access to this sphere of discussion. Andover students are naturally inclined to taking part in communities; that’s what brings students here, and that’s what makes Andover a great place to learn. Social media offers an extension of this community into the digital sphere. Liking and sharing makes the news fun and informs readers, all at the same time.?

Designing and maintaining a Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr feed doesn’t take much effort, and these feeds, once built, offer broad benefits. Established information from the Associated Press mingles fluidly with the independent viewpoints of political bloggers. In fact, perhaps the most difficult aspect of social media is selecting from the wide range of available viewpoints and opinions to create a diverse cross-section of thought. ?

Once a student sets up a feed, the information is available every day at any time. Students can take advantage of a few seconds at the lunch table, a few minutes in passing on the way to class, or, if they find the time, an hour to explore the limitless perspectives in more detail. Weeding sensationalist articles out from quality writing will be the task of the student.

?Students quite simply no longer have the excuse of being too busy to stay informed. Social media makes reading and sharing fast and easy. Creating a political opinion is now as easy as click, like and share.

This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXV.