Public Source: Activism beyond trends — How I went from a teenage reposter to a real world advocate

This first-person essay was written by Connor Dalgaard, a senior at West Allegheny High School, who took his activism from social media to the real world. (Photo by Kaycee Orwig/PublicSource).

As a 17-year-old, I spend a great deal of time on apps like Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. I consume endless content ranging from cute cat videos to curated news graphics sharing information about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

Social media has transformed the lives of teens today. There is a newly presented need to manage your digital appearance, sometimes even more so than your physical one. To take care of this appearance, teens tend to put acronyms in their bios like “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) or “ALM” (All Lives Matter) to show their stance on social justice, repost content that displays their political affiliations and have discussions —  more like arguments — in comment sections.

With the pandemic keeping us apart from those who we typically saw in work or school, we resorted to sharing our newfound selves through social media.

It may be difficult to understand now, but if teens fail to separate the online political content from real-world politics, I fear that we will face a lack of activism in the future.

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