- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 12 October 2016
- Written by KAITLYN MCGUIRE | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Social media is more prevalent than ever, with apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook being refreshed constantly on everyone’s phones. These apps offer breaking news and a quick way to skim through what’s going on in the world— and also a huge focus on celebrities, which gives them a vessel for them to voice their opinions. We’re seeing a lot of this now with the upcoming elections; celebrities are voicing their opinions in hopes to influence their audiences to vote for one candidate or another. Just because someone is famous, does that give them the right to influence people, especially Monmouth students? This is a question many students have trouble answering. Fame puts someone in the spotlight, but not because of their insights on politics or social issues. Just because they have a platform and a widespread audience, they are not necessarily the most informed source. The control and power they have over people can be either positive or negative; it is up to the individuals to decide how they perceive what they hear.
When a celebrity talks about their views on a certain topic or situation, their fans can be biased, and follow their favorite singer, athlete, or actor blindly. Shannon Newby, a senior sociology student, said, “I think when celebrities voice their opinion and promote specific things it persuades us more to either buy what they’re trying to sell, or believe what they say, rather than coming from someone who isn’t very well known.”
Newby continued, “Someone who is more famous I feel like we assume they have lots of experience that has clearly made them very successful making them influential on us.” Because these public figures are in magazines, get paid millions, and have huge fan followings, people tend to think celebrities, actors, and actresses are reliable sources.
Angelo Sceppaguercio, a senior finance and real estate student, said, “Celebrities are icons, and the way they are portraying themselves has a lot to do with what students say and believe. They influence the minds of young adults who listen to social media and not the truth. Half of the student population can’t even name what parties are fighting for what.”
Sceppaguercio continued, “Celebrities, such as someone like Colin Kapernick, have started this issue and trend that was never an issue until media became a huge role in our lives. Personally, they are causing more harm than help due to the close-mindedness of students. People will follow what Kim Kardashian says or does because of who she is. Yet, neither she nor students know what interest rates can do to this economy. as well as inflation. They don’t understand the debts and threats we are in right now. Media is the power of the people now and I hate it.”
Social media wields a lot of power over our society and minds. Individuals need to become educated on their own about issues, and then base their opinion off of what a celebrity thinks. There is more to a situation then what an Instagram post says.
On the other hand, celebrities having so much power on social media can have a positive effect. They can shed light on topics and situations that may need more care and support from the public.
Marina Vujnovic, an associate professor of communication, said, “Celebrities have a tremendous impact on our perception of social and political issues. In fact, they have an ability to draw our attention to issues that sometimes escape social and political agenda, or aren't socially or politically acceptable things to talk about. Celebrities have a huge power to do good and bring political, social, and economic issues to the center of our public discussion. For that reason they can have a huge negative affect on public discourse as well.”
Celebrities have the power of swaying people’s opinions at the touch of their fingertips. They have the right to write and say whatever they feel, but it has to be up to the individual on the other end to disagree or agree. Everyone is allowed an opinion, but it is best to make sure it is an educated one.
IMAGE TAKEN from CNN.com