Editorial – Dr. Snyder

Editorial Board

Our community was very fortunate to be able to invite Dr. Timothy Snyder, an esteemed professor of European History from Yale University, to our school to discuss his thoughts on the current political scene. The board would like to highlight one of his points in particular: the role of social media in generating our opinions.

As teenagers, social media use is not only common for a lot of us – it’s the norm. And while for most of us, it seems like social media is simply light-hearted and only amounts to posting pictures on instagram or viewing amusing youtube videos, the reality is that social media can impact the very way we think about the important political and social controversies of today.

Too many of us look to social media to inform ourselves of the news purely out of convenience, where information is often biased and unreliable Furthermore, we support the information we find with conviction, often claiming that because “I read it online somewhere” it must be true.

This thought process can easily become dangerous, especially when using it to justify opinions over issues that require genuine critical thought. As Dr. Snyder explained on Tuesday, no matter how intelligent, well-learned, and inquisitive we are as Horace Mann students, we are not smarter than the manipulative algorithms of sites such as Facebook and Google, which, among many other things, are designed to only show us content that we agree with and like.

How are we expected to have a meaningful discussion when we simply surround ourselves with what we agree with, rather than the whole picture? By refusing to even entertain another perspective, we fall into a toxic hive-mind like culture and only divide the community further.

In light of Dr. Snyder’s intriguing speech on our civil responsibilities as teenagers, The Record wants to remind the community about the impact of social media in formulating our thoughts and opinions. We know firsthand the importance of objective journalism and how distorted things can become when viewed from a skewed perspective – and thus, we encourage you all to strive to use credible and well-informed sources to think critically. It can be upsetting and challenging to break out of our original perspectives, but it is impossible to have a productive conversation otherwise. During this tumultuous time in history, it is more important than ever to be careful and precise in developing our opinions over certain issues. It’s not just about being a good Horace Mann student; it’s about being a good citizen.