Facebook Live in the midst of conflict

By Matt Payne

@PatteMaper

As I sat on a bleacher mid-assignment Saturday during congressman Michael Burgess’ first town hall meeting at Marcus High School since President Donald Trump’s election, my arms and fingers ached from holding my phone up for a Facebook Live stream to the Denton Record-Chronicle audience.

I remember several instances when Burgess would address me and fellow reporters a part of other media outlets, saying, “You know, I wish we could’ve gotten FOX News to show up, but we got these guys instead.”

Before me was a firsthand experience of the current political climate intermingled with the media.

This is a phenomenon that has swept the nation since Trump began spewing his hateful rhetoric a part of his campaign. It’s trickled down to other legislators like Burgess who’ve seized onto the trend of making buffoons and liars of reporters just trying to meet a deadline.

Yet, mediums like Facebook Live require composure and mindfulness from journalists more than ever. As The Media Online suggests, live feeds are a new and developing facet of journalism, one that projects citizen journalism into the limelight. Now, arguably more than ever, reporters find themselves having to cling onto the seemingly dwindling First Amendment right of free speech before brazen insults celebrated by several hive mind diplomats.

This isn’t my first time Facebook Living. However, it was my first time Facebook Living for one of my assignments as an intern for the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Something so fundamentally simple as typing, then tapping a button to go on air turned into a turbid, contested action quickly. Yet, at the same time, I felt invigorated to be one of the soldiers in journalism facing actual, tangible hate toward the industry I’ve chosen to invest in.

Featured image: A headshot of congressman Michael Burgess

A Day Without Immigrants

By TingHsuan(Rose) Kuo

On this Thursday February 16, has become nationally known the day without immigrants.

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Photo Credit: CNN

As a legal immigrant, I found myself questioning where I stand on this day. My current status is F1 visa which granted me an entry to the United State for studying purpose. In order to obtain a F1 student visa for me, I have to get in to an American college who is willing to sponsor me. The sponsorship form from the school is called I-20, I have to renew it almost every year and bring it with me along with my visa every time I leave the States and needs to return back the country. I also have to pay twice as much of in-state tuition plus international student fee and required health insurance that’s offered by the school. I can’t work outside of campus, I am only limited to work on campus no longer than 20 hours a week. We are required to take at least 4 classes each semester and have to maintain a good GPA for us to retain the visa. Each review for all these different documents usually take up at least 2 to 3 months, and each application cost at least $200 and up.

When you have to carry all of that, go through all that process and paying all these ridiculous fees, would you still want to be a legal immigrant? And side note, none of the applications are guaranteed an approval. Illegal immigrant technically is not limited to any rules as long as they don’t get caught. International students can only apply to limited scholarship while undocumented students are offered many scholarship opportunities. I don’t support illegal immigrants but at the same time I understand why they did what they did. I was fortunate enough that my parents can support my decision to come here, but there are people who can’t and are trying to do something to get “the better life”. And this is where my dilemma come in. I was monitoring everyone’s comment on twitter on this day. Different sides of opinion flowed in within seconds, and became the trending subject on twitter’s feed. It was interesting to see everyone’s opinion on the topic of immigration, though I didn’t feel comfortable to post any of my thoughts. Some comments made me see various reasons for whichever side they stood for and some comments were just ignorant and idiotic.

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Photo Credit: abc NEWS

Social media helps us to express our opinions freely, especially twitter. These comments we make, other people choose to like it (agree) or share it. However, people are so obsessed with the amount of “likes” and “shares”, we started to make comments that we think our followers will agree with. The social media platforms become manipulated by the popular and not all posts are truthful anymore. There were many users making post on the #daywithoutimmigrants without actually knowing the facts and data. It seemed like they were making statements and supporting the event to get likes. Those thoughtless comments made me mad from just reading through them. The opinion is not honest anymore and no one seems to care to spend the time to understand the issue. The news information we get from media sometime are twisted and one sided. It is crazy that some of us believe the one-sided story is the whole story.

Reference:

  1. Gardels, N. (2016, October 29). Wael Ghonim: We Have A Duty To Use Our Social Media Power To Speak The Truth. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/wael-ghonim-social-media_us_580e364ae4b000d0b157b53a
  2. Pandolfo, C. (2017, February 16). These LEGAL immigrants have a problem with the #DayWithoutImmigrants protests. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2017/02/these-legal-immigrants-have-a-problem-with-the-daywithoutimmigrants-protests

When government dives into your smartphone

Matt Payne

@PatteMaper

U.S. border patrol has the right to seize your cell phone and scour every one of your personal channels before granting you access to the country.

Haisam Elsharkawi, an American citizen who was on the way to visiting Saudi Arabia, had that experience right before his eyes. Were he to keep arguing with a Homeland Security agent, he risked losing his property of the cell phone entirely – 15 minutes of searching his contacts, social media, pictures and more by some unknown agent ensued.

This incident raises the concern of how much reach do government entities have in placing their hands on your property without warrant. Border patrol workers have recently been granted extended access to search through virtually anything they desire, which includes smartphones and other internet devices.

One key stipulation of this power is an appropriate trigger for such applications, so as to limit unnecessary scouring to some extent. However, as we approach a new immigration restriction this week as President Donald Trump has promised, it’s important to note that this is happening at the individual discretion of one worker. It’s also not just toward immigrants, since Elsharkawi was already a citizen here.

Incidents like these, especially in this divided political climate, illustrate the tangible, polarizing effects that social media can have in our real lives and futures.

Thoughts on Immigration

Hey JOUR 4270!

** DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional on the subject of immigration and its current laws in the US, I would simply like to reflect on my own thoughts over the subject and how I feel. I do not mean to offend anyone.

Since the last election, it feels like the nation is divided in two. While there are many reasons for this division, the main one always seems to focus on race and nationality and where you are from. The color of your skin, and what you look like. The texture of your hair and the languages you speak. In a country founded on diversity and equality, it seems the more diverse you are, the worse it may get.

In more recent events, President Trump has issued a travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority countries, as well as has promised America a wall between Mexico and the United States. While these promises may seem far fetched, these acts have been enough to cause real panic nationwide. Because although many immigrants have gone through the painstakingly long process of applying to become a US citizen, he is also beginning to implement these rules on immigrants who have earned it.

As and American and someone who has many friends with immigrant parents and family who have rightfully earned their life in this country, it hurts to see such hard work, sacrifice, and dedication living in the shadow of uncertainty.

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Donald Trump’s actions have also caused nationwide protests, riots, and boycotts, hoping to bring justice and equality for all.

While most of these efforts make no change for the politicians who make the most important decisions, they are starting to open the eyes of fellow Americans, helping them see the pain being caused and how to make it better for everyone in the nation.

Social Media & Groupthink

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By: Lauren Oliver

@laurennoli

The introduction of the internet has drastically changed the lives of humans across the globe. The rate at which we’re able to consume and share information via technology is unrivaled in history. Because of the drastic changes in communication, community, and interaction due to the internet, problems have arisen that look differently than they have historically. The creation of echo chambers, the ability to choose who you interact with online, and the ease of manipulating information from the media has created a situation that mimics groupthink at times.

While ideological echo chambers are certainly nothing new, the internet and specifically social media provide the path to live in a ideological bubble. As Political Polarization & Media Habits states the 20% of people who fall into the far right or far left political categories have a greater impact on the political process than their middle of the line counterparts. In part this could be from the echo chambers platforms such as Facebook creates. Because users are most likely to interact with like minded individuals on social media the ability to spread information through that space is easier. Along with the ability to choose which news outlets or sources you follow on social media, the tendency to interact with only certain people also makes polarization easy. Without a voice from the middle or other side of an issue, it’s easy to loose sight of what’s real and what’s over-zealous.

Because of the presence of echo chambers and the lax regulations pertaining to who can consider themselves an expert or reputable news source, manipulation of the media is accessible and easy. Not only is it easy to find reputable looking but factually incorrect news, but social media platform algorithms are also rigged specifically to encourage an echo chamber as discussed in The Reason Your Feed Became an Echo Chamber.

What can we do to encourage interacting with people who think differently from ourselves and be to coexist with others?  Consuming media analytically and ensuring news comes from multiple sources with different biases and maintaining an open mind when talking to people who think differently than ourselves. Groupthink is a dangerous mind set that prevents people from seeing situations clearly and leads to bad decision on the behalf of the group, and preventing this mindset is vital to an open mind.

Photo Credit: theconversation.com

Citations:

“Political Polarization & Media Habits” Amy Mitchell-Jeffrey Gottfried-Jocelyn Kiley-Katerina Matsa – http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/
“The Reason Your Feed Became An Echo Chamber – And What To Do About It” NPR Staff – http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/07/24/486941582/the-reason-your-feed-became-an-echo-chamber-and-what-to-do-about-it

Elizabeth Warren garners support using Twitter

(Image Credited to Huffington Post)

By Marc Frias:

Social media is an ever-changing landscape. One day it focuses on corporations while the next day it focuses on celebrities. However, recently social media has been dominated by political news. President Trump plays a huge factor into that, but he also garners attention to the Republicans. As a result, they are able to share the spotlight with him. Any of their actions can go viral at any time. This week, Elizabeth Warren claimed the spotlight from them.

Tuesday afternoon, Senator Warren, an outspoken senator from Massachusetts, was discussing whether Jeff Sessions was fit for the role of attorney general of the United States. The controversy started when she began to read a letter written in 1986 by Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. It contained Ms. King’s reasons for why Jeff Sessions should not be qualified to become a federal judge. In the middle of her reading, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell silenced her under the provisions of rule 19. In short, the provision says a senator cannot upstand another senator. Senator Warren was silenced on the floor and following the discussion she went to Twitter to read the letter in a video. Within 12 hours Senator Warren received $250,000 from donations and was trending at #LetLizSpeak. Within two days she was being talked about on the Daily Show and on the Late Show.

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(Image Credited to Comedy Central)

 

 

Elizabeth Warren used social media to her advantage to rally followers and gain a larger voice in the Senate. If politicians begin using social media like this, then they are sure to have a higher impact in voters’ lives. Every politician should consider these tactics and use them to the best of their ability. Social media is a powerful tool. I suggest both Republicans and Democrats learn how to use it.

 

Citations:

Bradner, Eric (Feb. 8, 2017) “Silencing Elizabeth Warren backfires on Senate GOP” CNN Politics. Retrieved Feb. 8, 2017. Website.http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/07/politics/elizabeth-warren-silenced/index.html

Smith, David (Feb. 7, 2017) “Senate Republicans silence Elizabeth Warren over letter on Jeff Sessions” The Guardian. Retrieved Feb. 8, 2017. Website.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/08/elizabeth-warren-mitch-mcconnell-silence-senate-debate-jeff-sessions-nomination

 

Is Social Media Helping or Hurting the American Political Climate?

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Ian Melo

Nearly two-thirds of American adults are active on today’s social media platforms, according to the Pew Research Center. These are citizens that share the collective concern that their fellow citizens have for the state of politics in this country and do not want to see it slip into the hands of the side they disagree with, and social media is a way for them to air their opinions to the world and hopefully influence things to move their direction. Of course, political discourse has not only existed in these digital forms, every decision made before 1980 is proof enough of that. There have always been places for people to go to and discuss the state of things with their fellow man. But to see discourse today is to see it moving on such a massive scale that it is nearly impossible to keep up with. Is this huge exchange of information a good way to guide American politics?

At first glance, it seems to be a great way to witness democracy at work. Everyone is allowed to express their opinions fairly and engage others in their views. Organization of ideas and movements have consistently been proven to take off from Twitter in unprecedented ways. These graphs pulled from the Economist show how a powerful message can attract the attention of mass amounts of people over social media like Twitter.

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This idea of organization and mobilization of a movement is a cornerstone of free speech and the democratic political system. It allows for the will of the people to be a guiding light for discourse. On that same token, our new president owes a lot to the way he garnered an impressive following on Twitter to propel him through the primaries and eventually to win the general election. His supporters had a place to rally behind him without fear and his tweets were seen by millions around the world, whether they supported him or not. The impact social had on the election last year is incalculable, but not insignificant in the least.

The Pew Research Center released a study last year that delved into how people thought about seeing politics on social media, and some of the data can be seen in the graphic below.

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Over a third of people studied were “worn out” by political discussions on social media sites, which is no insignificant percentage. It could easily be seen as a reason that voter turnout was at a 20-year low in the 2016 election. People have been turned off to politics and that is a dangerous thing to be turned off from in a country where its stability depends on the participation of its people in its politics.

There are positive and negative impacts of social media on America’s political climate, to be sure, but the full scale of its impact has yet to be seen and accurately measured. These next four years will only see it become more and more intense.

References: