A heavy paralysis has taken over this country. Injustices are not being tended to and instead Americans are divided and sparring over whose side will win. The youth of this nation have witnessed this and have been forced to take in everything silently. They are the ones that have had to endure the pressure. With America in disarray, it has become clear: the fate of the country relies on its youth. Interestingly, Generation Z, or “Gen-Z,” has turned to TikTok and Twitter as their main tools to bring injustices to light. This collective shift in how people create discourse about politics and social issues has changed the way politics work today.
Before social media exploded in popularity, major events would be brought to the public’s attention if it found its way to a news outlet. With TikTok and Twitter, it has become easier for people to share information. Gen-Z has taken advantage of the popularity of social media and are using it as an opportunity to speak out about social injustices. While it is radical that a whole generation is dependent on one tool for their voice to get out, it also demonstrates that the use of social media is effective.
Triumphantly, Twitter has brought attention and led to the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Since the beginning of the year, Twitter has been used to bring awareness towards the murders of multiple Black Americans. The campaign #IRUNWITHMAUD was used to demand that the the Brunswik, Georgia district attorney prosecute the murder case of Ahmaud Arbery. The campaign managed to have Arbery’s case be a constant presence in the public’s mind which helped force the eventual prosecution. Similarly, Twitter has also been used to keep Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman murdered by the police, in the public’s consciousness. While her case still has not been acknowledged, since her death has not been ruled as a murder, the success of such campaigns insinuates that police will only investigate if there is pressure from the public, making Gen-Z cling to social media in order to bring justice to those harmed.
Most recently, President Trump has threatened to remove TikTok in an executive order claiming China, where the app is based, is using it to gather information. Most people, though, connect Trump’s order to his failed Tulsa rally caused by TikTok users. Theoretically the ban would potentially stop Gen-Z’s involvement in politics, yet it would not stop their political activism. Many young people have commented that, with or without TikTok, they will still be active in politics and vote in November. This sentiment must be followed. Activism is still possible without social media. For many months this year, in person protests occurred, helping bring justice to the murder of George Floyd and bring to light the racism that is still prevalent in America. The protests were historical and demonstrated how addressing injustices during this time is no longer focused on only one particular event, but rather a movement.
Gen-Z must not become complacent. Change is possible when younger people speakout. While social media has only been the manner in which communication has been achieved, with or without it, young Americans still have the ability to influence politics.