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The Freedoms and Risks of Social Media

Photo of ESPN’s Jemele Hill tweet that generated huge sparks in both Politics and Sports.

Everywhere you look you are bound to see someone swiping up on their smart phones conscientiously, maybe even you. Whether you’re looking for that funny tweet you saw earlier or reliving last night’s party on from your Snapchat, you start to realize social media is slowly becoming an ideal thing in everyone’s lives.

Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, just to name a few are all billion dollar companies due to the ever-growing popularity of social media. It may be fun to people, giving you the freedom to do as you please, but some people don’t realize what social media can do and the power it holds. How powerful? Enough power to spark a huge controversy in the sports and political worlds.

On September 11, 2017, ESPN’s The Six anchor Jemele Hill posted a tweet directed at President Donald Trump, labeling him a “white supremacist.” A person in her position with that big of a platform sparked of bunch of outrages including, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee saying Hill “should be fired” for her tweet.

But along with outrage came support, as many athletes and fellow sports commentators/writers came to Hill’s defense. Not because of the content of her, but she has that right to do as she did.

Social media is essentially an extension of your voice and opinions, now more than ever you start to see social media grow in that department.

“I grew up in the pre-internet era with typewriters and fax machines.” Dr. Keith Strudler said, Montclair State’s new director of the School of Communications and Media.

“Social media is new landscape of communication,” Strudler continued “It gives everyone an immediate voice, not everyone is heard but some are.”

The some that are heard most likely have a platform in which Hill’s platform is being a very popular sports personality. With that platform, arguments were brought up debating if that was the smartest thing to do for a woman in her position.

“Just remember your role, you’re a representation of one of the biggest sports networks,” Strudler said. Continuing to say it’s about how you say things that others interpret it as she used to him “a hammer,” in the tweet that caught fire.

“Now a-days it’s all about social media, it’s a distribution of digital media.” Montclair State Journalism professor Tara George said. George is an advisor for the Montclairion social media accounts. She said a lot of journalist often look to see how their stories will do on social media and try to tailor to that.

George also said that social media is also used to “push opinions out to the public,” which turns out to be scary waters to anyone in the media.

“Journalist have to walk very careful on a line,” George said regarding saying their personal opinions while still being a representation of their job. How did Hill fair against that hypothetical line?

Hill has since then apologized for the tweet via another tweet, but since then things have only continued in the battle between politics and sports. This past weekend President Trump had aim some harsh comments towards NFL players about kneeling during the national anthem, calling them “SOBs” and saying they should be fired.

Of course, this event spread like wildfire again due to the power of social media. This whole episode has resulted in more NFL players kneeling during the anthem and speaking out more with even a bigger chain of events are taking place now.

With every tweet, argument and opinion shared on these wealthy company’s apps, the more social media becomes more involved in not just in our lives but, the many problems of the world.


The Freedoms and Risks of Social Media was originally published in Hawk Talk @MontclairState on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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