Citizen Journalism

“Everyone knows what audience participation means, but when does that translate into journalism?” –J.D. Lasica

At the start of the 21st century, technology was rapidly advancing. For the first time in human history people could connect with each other easily through a machine. Before the industrial revolution, the passing of information would takes days or sometimes weeks. By the new millennium, information could be transmitted all around the world within seconds. These developments made way for a new phenomenon called citizen journalism.

Citizen journalism is a fairly simple concept; all it takes is a wifi connection and a small device that can be used to record or write about an event. It is not to be mistaken with civic journalism, in which locals communicate with their neighbors and discuss topics that interest them. Citizen Journalism is when a group of citizens take an active role in collecting and interpreting news stories. It is a more global process because citizens share these stories through social media, which reaches almost every corner of the world. Many professional journalists do not agree with this new type of information sharing. They assert that because it is a professional discipline, journalists must follow certain rules when reporting. Others maintain that citizen journalism is helpful because citizens are less biased than news outlets and they often witness events firsthand, before anyone can attempt to change the facts. I believe that citizen journalism is a great way to spread news quickly, but we must also be careful because it has caused problems in the past.

The main problem with citizen journalists is that it is not their profession. They report news for free and without fear of consequence if those reports aren’t completely factual. Nowadays, people immediately reach for their phones when a tragic or shocking event is taking place. Rather than alert professionals, we often become bystanders who compete to get the best video. This was evident after the April 15, 2013 bombing of the Boston marathon. The days following the horrific event were completely chaotic. No one knew who the perpetrator(s) was, so citizens who were there tried to figure it out on their own. People from all over began posting pictures with arrows pointing at the people they thought were guilty. The issue was that real news outlets began using these pictures and speculating who the bomber was. At the time I was in my hometown of Medford, which is 10 minutes away from where the bombing occurred. When authorities discovered that the Tsarnaev brothers were responsible, the manhunt began. A shootout in a neighboring town led to the death of the older brother, but the younger of the two, Dzhokhar, had gotten away. Citizen journalists from all over Massachusetts were talking about the search, some claiming that they saw where he was hidden. Some towns, mine included, were even on lockdown. The rampant fear in those days was only worsened by peoples’ need to be the first to catch the bad guy. Thankfully, Tsarnaev was apprehended only a few days after the bombing. The lack of fact-checking caused a lot of unnecessary stress, and it is a prime example of how sometimes citizen journalism is not efficient.

New York Post headline showing two suspects who were not involved in the attacks

My thoughts on citizen journalism are not completely negative. While I believe that sometimes people record events that should not be captured, I also think that it can be extremely helpful. In the United States, police brutality has gotten increasingly worse in the last few years. With the emergence of smartphones, we can move away from the “he said, she said” narrative and have concrete evidence of what actually occurred. The death of Eric Garner was one that angered many and helped spark the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. Garner was going to be arrested on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes. When officers approached him, Garner claimed that he was not selling cigarettes and that he was tired of being harassed. Officer Daniel Pantaleo immediately put Garner in a chokehold and proceeded to press his chest down onto the ground. When Garner kept repeating “I can’t breathe” the officers did nothing to help ease his pain. Garner’s cause of death was an unfortunate result of the police’s compression on his chest and neck. Did I mention the NYPD prohibits the use of chokeholds? For the first time, there was solid proof that this was an unjustified and inhumane death. Most people in the United States have seen the video of Garner’s arrest, but I have to warn anyone reading this blog that it is difficult to watch.

While watching someone get choked to death is not something I would normally choose to do, I appreciate the fact that there is finally some evidence of the rampant systemic racism in the United States. I’ve dealt with the prejudices of my classmates my entire life and while that always made me feel alienated, it is nothing compared to what African-Americans have to endure at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them. An NYPD officer I worked with over the summer actually told me that he thought Black Lives Matter is stupid. I hope that one day officers, and regular citizens, are held responsible for their actions against minorities. I believe that citizen journalism can aid in creating social change, but only if it is taken seriously and used for good rather than just for views.

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Guest Speaker

If we were to go back in time and tell someone about the technology we have today, they would never believe it. It has become so advanced, that machines are being created with the explicit purpose of thinking for themselves. This may seem intimidating, but it also gives us opportunities that we would have never had without these inventions. Whether it is used in entertainment or for scientific research, technology has opened our minds to a world of different perspectives.

A company that is taking full advantage of the technology industry is Everywoah. Though it began as a startup in 2016, Everywoah is now partnered with one of the biggest companies in the world. As of 2017, they have partnered with Facebook in order to create Augmented Reality Camera Effects. Everywoah also partners with journalists using mojo, among their other ventures. Mojo is the shorthand term for mobile journalism. The use of cell phones to report ongoing stories has completely altered the world of journalism. Everywoah customizes 360 video tools with enhanced features in order to make switching to mojo not only easier, but enjoyable.

Facebook 2018 Augmented Reality Effects:

 

In class, we were lucky enough to be able to discuss the work done by Everywoah with one of their employees, Alberto Linares. He works for the augmented/virtual reality and bot operations branch. Alberto’s job seemed very intriguing as he has many different responsibilities. His love for music allows him to integrate that into his work; he is currently working on AR effects for the American band Mumford & Sons. Because of companies like Everywoah, content creators now have multiple options so that they can bring their vision to life.

During the class in which Alberto Linares came to speak to us, we had discussions about various topics in the world of technological advances. There was so much I was unaware of before that day, and I was eager to learn about the world that Linares’ company is so invested in. To me, the most interesting topic was that of a start-up company in the U.S. called Magic Leap. Their prized possession is a head-mounted virtual retinal display called Magic Leap One. On their website, Magic Leap talks about how this technology utilizes natural light waves with small layers of synthetic light fields. The natural and synthetic lights then combine so that neural signals pass from the retina to the visual part of the brain. This creates very believable experiences. Magic Leap One comes with cameras, sensors, and speakers so that the user experience is a completely immersive one. This innovative technology is different than previous VR machines, because it comes with a control. With this control, the user can create their own world with its ‘six degrees of freedom,’ or 6DoF. You can see a video on how this Magic Leap control works here, and read more about the company’s work.

Alberto Linares was a great guest speaker because he showed us examples of his, and other companies’ work, so that we could really understand what he was talking about. I could tell that he was passionate about what he does, and I don’t blame him. His line of work is one that is fairly new, but that only means that there are endless possibilities for what they could do with augmented reality. I look forward to seeing what other immersive technologies will be available to the public in the future.

Spanish Adventures

As a young girl I had always traveled, but I did not necessarily enjoy it. Of course going to my parents’ hometowns in Rio de Janeiro every year is amazing, but having to do everything your family wants to do can be exhausting. In high school I travelled with friends to Florida, and later Canada, and I finally got a taste for what traveling can be. I became enamored with the idea of finding out what the world had to offer. Not long after, I decided that when I went to college, I had to seriously consider studying abroad.  From the ages of 5 to 18, I was lucky enough to travel to 5 different countries between North, Central, and South America. Because of those experiences, I thought that Europe would be a great option. If I were to study in a foreign country for an extended period of time, I wanted it to be in one of the most diverse continents. The most intriguing options were England, Portugal, and Spain because I feared having a language barrier. At the beginning of my third year of college, I told myself that it was now or never. If I did not sign up for a program abroad before the end of the year, it was never going to happen. At that point, there was no question that I wanted to study somewhere in Spain. Spanish is similar to my first language, Portuguese, so it always came fairly easy to me. I always admired the Spanish language, so I set my mind on becoming as close to fluent as I could during my time away. With the option between Madrid and Barcelona, I chose Barcelona because of the diverse culture and geography it offers. Mountains, beach, and a vibrant city. With its unique place in the Mediterranean, I knew that this city would allow me to easily travel to other parts of Europe. Two months ago, my adventure began and it has been the adventure of a lifetime thus far.

Since arriving in Barcelona, I have mainly traveled within the country. Tossa de Mar, Montserrat, and Aigüestortes National Park in the Pyreenes are some of the most unique places I have ever seen in my life. Before I take multiple trips outside of Spain in the final  weeks of my time abroad, I wanted to experience a different Comunidad Autónoma. Over this past weekend, my friends and I went to San Sebastían, located in País Vasco (Basque Country). I am grateful I got to acquaint myself with this unexpected but wonderful place. Known for its unique culture, San Sebastían is a beautiful oceanside city. There is more than one region in Spain that maintains its own separate language, which sometimes take precedence over Spanish. What sets País Vasco apart is that it speaks one of the oldest languages in Europe. The local language, Euskera, is spoken in parts of the Spanish and French Western Pyrenees. Euskera is interesting because it does not belong to any known language family. This is one of the reasons that the Basque Country has always felt somewhat distant from the rest of Spain. As the capital of Basque country, San Sebastían has the most native Euskera speakers.1 However, to locals it is known as Donostia, which also means Saint Sebastian. Located in the Northern Coast of Spain by the Atlantic Ocean, it is often noted for its beautiful beaches and surf culture. Though it was a little too cold for a swim, we still had to opportunity to witness dozens of  expert and amateur surfers. I was able to see every facet of the Basque capital, and managed to do so in only two days.

My first day in San Sebastían was a very wet one. The rain was so sporadic that we decided to take refuge in one of the local museums, which was in a 16th century building. The building itself had many uses throughout the years, but it became a museum in the 20th century. The San Telmo Museum, located in the old town, gives an overview of Basque history and culture. I knew very little about San Sebastían before going. Now I can say that I at least have a basic understanding of the region, such as how they once had a successful whaling industry. Some of those men even went on to travel to the Americas and hunt in Canada. In the museum, I was also able to watch a video where locals talked about their traditions. The Basque view death differently than Spaniards in other regions. They have a great respect for the dead and believe that those who have passed are still with the land.2 In País Vasco, there is no fear of death. Rather, there is a fear of a ‘difficult journey beyond.’ (Katarzyna Mirgos, 74). I found this relationship with death so interesting. In the United States, death is somewhat taboo. We take the dying to a hospital because if they die in our home, our home is now too somber to live in. I appreciate the fact that the Basque want their loved ones to die and be buried at home, because they are still a part of the family and the property. The San Telmo Museum includes more recent history as well, and it has a charming collection of art and fashion throughout its 4 floors.

As we only spent two full days in San Sebastían, we were lucky enough to experience beautiful weather on the second day. A distinct work of art, El Peine del Viento, is situated at the western end of La Concha Bay. The phrase means The Comb of the Wind in English, and it is made up of three steel sculptures embedded in natural rocks coming out of the Cantabrian Sea. It was a joint work by sculptor Eduardo Chillida and architect Luis Peña Ganchegui, who arranged the sculptures into the rocks.3 The art itself is amazing, but it is enhanced by the natural playground nearby. In front of the sculptures are a series of holes in the ground. If you stand on top of these holes, you can feel the strong winds come up from the ocean. It was exhilarating and made for a pleasant surprise when we went to see the art. After that, we decided to visit the small amusement park at Monte Igueldo. The view from the top is a must-see if you are to visit San Sebastían. Being the thrill-seeker I am, I convinced my friends to ride the small rollercoaster that has almost no barrier to protect you from the edge of the mountain. It is considered a children’s ride, but I have to admit I was a little scared when I realized how fast it went. Either way, a rollercoaster with that view is one that I cannot complain about.

My trip to San Sebastían was not planned out very well. We booked the tickets only a few days before, and did very little research about what to do there. The one thing we did know for sure was that the food there is highly praised, and for good reason. I tried several local dishes during my stay, and each was better than the last. A Basque specialty, pintxo, is a small snack that is typically eaten in bars while socializing with friends. They are similar to tapas, except they come with a toothpick and are served on bread. We stopped at a small bar that is known for its variety of anchovy pintxos. I had one with spider crab and one topped with olives, and they were well worth it. I also had some of the local sparkling white wine, txakoli. The entire meal was very budget friendly, which is the best way to have a delicious snack. For dinner, we decided to have the most authentic meal we could. Beef cheeks and risotto were the star dishes of the restaurant we found. I consider myself adventurous when it comes to food, so I was not surprised to find that I really enjoyed the soft and flavorful beef cheeks. I was more worried about the risotto, because I usually am not a fan of that dish. Ironically, the risotto was one of my favorite dishes of the entire trip. It is prepared with a local cheese called Idiazabal, made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk. Shortly after dinner, we found a small restaurant that is rumored to have exceptional cheesecake. I think it is safe to say that it was the best cheesecake I will ever have. It tasted similar to pudim, a Brazilian-style flan that was brought to almost every family party I went to growing up. The taste and texture were so perfect that I was immediately transported back to my childhood upon tasting it. This dessert can be found in the old town at La Viña. It pairs well with their Sherry wine, and for 5 euros you get a rather large piece of cheesecake.

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While the food was definitely a highlight of my trip, I enjoyed everything about San Sebastían. It is one of the more unique and lively cities I have visited outside of Barcelona. The residents often drink and eat pintxos while standing outside. In most of the restaurants I went to, I ate my meal standing up at a bar. The happiness and love felt by the people I saw on the streets was infectious. Before coming to Spain, I was mostly excited to visit the southern coast. I never expected that by traveling 8 hours north, I would see a part of the Atlantic Ocean that had nearly translucent water. I am grateful I got to experience this small part of the Basque Country, even if only for a short time.

 

A Barcelona Welcome

I arrived in Barcelona on September 3rd of this year. I was terrified, excited, and curious. Having never been to Spain, my knowledge on the country came from stories I heard from friends. They told me that the nightlife was great but they had only spent a few short days in Barcelona, and that wasn’t the reason I came here in the first place. I wanted to explore every part of the city and its culture. Thankfully, Barcelona is a city full of celebrations. Unbeknownst to me, there would be a huge festival on my third weekend here. La Mercè consists of four days in which locals celebrate centuries-old traditions throughout Barcelona. When I heard from a professor that this festival was going to take place, I decided to take full advantage and attend as many events as I could. After all, I would have probably regretted not going to a free weekend long festival.

La Mercè has been an official holiday in Barcelona since 1871. Every year, the local government organizes special activities to observe the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. The actual feast day is September 24th, but celebrations begin a few days before that. The religious origins date back to the Middle Ages. The Virgin of La Mercè is said to have saved the city on two occasions. The first time was in 1218 when the saint appeared to King Jaume I and ordered him to create a religious order, so that his countrymen in captivity would be freed. It is believed that centuries later in 1687, the saint appeared once more to save the city from a plague of locusts. However, it wasn’t until 1868 that Pope Pius IX declared the Virgin of La Mercè would be the patron saint of the city. Three years later, local authorities officially recognized the festival as a holiday. Since then it has grown into a exuberant cultural celebration that Catalonians look forward to.1

During the first full day of the festival I went to see what events were taking place in Parc de la Ciutadella. This beautiful park was a venue for various concerts where all types of genres were represented. As I walked through the park I came across a light show projected on a building by the water. The lights were set in time to the music, which created an engaging production. After spending a few hours in the park, I went to see the dragon and fire-beasts show nearby. Drums, dragons, and sparklers. That is the best way to describe one of the most interesting parades I had seen in a long time. If I thought that I should be scared of getting burned by the sparklers in this parade, then I had no idea just how intense the next night would be. When I asked some locals what I should see during the festival, most immediately responded with “Correfoc.” Correfoc literally translates to “fire-run.” In this particular parade, a group of individuals dress as devils and light fireworks as they walk through the the streets. There are others in the parade whose purpose is to play rhythmic drums for the devils to dance to.2 My teacher strongly recommended wearing long sleeves and long pants to this event, and I am glad I listened. I wanted to get as close as possible, which meant ducking to avoid small burns from the sparks. Being in the crowd of people dancing to drums and enjoying the spectacle was exhilarating. It was by far one of my favorite parts of the festival.

After two days of parades and shows, I did not spend as much time exploring the festival on Sunday. This was also because I knew that there were events I wanted to be well-rested for on the final day, Monday the 24th. That morning I made my way to the Gothic Quarter so that I could witness a valued Catalonian tradition. Castellers are human towers, and the number of people involved varies.3 Generally, at the top there is one or two small children, because they can easily climb up and down the people below them. This tradition began centuries ago, and started to become more popular in the mid 20th century. When women were given the opportunity to participate in this previous male-dominated tradition, the difficult task of building a 9 or 10 story tower now became a reality. Since then, it has become so well-known that it was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.4 A castell is generally built in two phases. The pinya is the base of the castell, and is built first. The layer consists of strong and bulky men whose job is to hold up the tower. They also act as a human cushion in case the tower collapses. From there, each level is built carefully, though it must be done somewhat fast so as not to put too much strain on the bottom layer of people, who stand on top of the pinya. The day I saw the castellers there were various castles being built at the same time, of all different sizes. I did see one of the castles completely collapse from the top which gave me a little bit of anxiety. One of the local students told me that participants prepare for this by learning to fall in a way that will help them avoid serious injury. They also wear helmets so that their heads are protected. Castellers is unlike any tradition I have ever witnessed. It is a way for the people of Catalonia to come together and celebrate a valued custom, and I was able to experience how exciting it can be to watch firsthand.

The four day festival culminated in a final display of music and fireworks. It was held directly above the magnificent Museum of Contemporary Art located in Barcelona’s Plaça Espanya. In the United States, fireworks are used often. Every year there are fireworks displays all over the country on our independence day, the 4th of July. Those fireworks are very basic, there are no other added elements like there was in Plaça Espanya. The only display I have ever seen that may rival it is Reveillon (New Year’s) in Rio, which is held on Copacabana Beach. Even then, I think that La Mercè’s final show was incredible. I had front row seats to the fiery spectacle, which also included background music. It was the perfect way to close out a great weekend. Not only was La Mercè a fun weekend, but I got to learn so much about Barcelona that I never knew before. Anyone visiting Barcelona in September would be fortunate to get to experience this cultural commemoration.

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In order: Entrance to Plaça Espanya, Fireworks held at MNAC Museum; pictured during the day

Growing up online

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My parents were born in extremely poor neighborhoods in the 1960s. When they were in school, being assigned a research paper meant hours in the library pouring over heavy textbooks. On their days off, they spent most of their time playing outside with their siblings and friends. The way they contacted those friends? By walking over to their house and knocking on the door to see if they were home. In order to stay connected, face-to-face interactions were the only option. When I hear their stories from those days, I try to picture myself growing up in a similar environment, but I cannot. When I want to see how my friends are doing, I don’t even have to ask them myself. Social media shows me exactly what they are doing or thinking. Perhaps the most palpable difference between my parents’ childhood and mine is the vast amount of information at my disposal at all times.

In 2007, the British Library and JISC commissioned a report based on longitudinal research. The basis of the research was to identify how scholars in the future would access and interact with digital resources. The small group of researchers labeled their subjects the ‘Google generation.’ The moniker derives from the fact that those born after 1993 have little to no recollection of a time before the Internet and other advanced technologies. Their main concern when conducting this research was whether or not the widespread availability of search engines would give rise to a different type of scholar, one who only utilizes online resources. The researchers found that modern-day children are not capable of fully assessing the information they read online. With the amount of time that my generation spends online, it is not surprising that most of the information we come across will never fully be taken in. The report also concluded that though we were born into an Internet-ridden world, we are not the most literate when it comes to the web. The main findings of this research can be accessed here. The British library mentions that there are major downfalls to being too reliant on the web, but there are a multitude of positive aspects to it as well.

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The cell phone, especially the more recent smart phone, is a fascinating device. With it, we can connect to anyone from around the world in an instant. This small and rather inconspicuous device has drastically changed the way humans interact with each other. Perhaps more than any other profession, journalists have the most to gain from the new online world. Nowadays, doing research for an article is easy to the point where you do not even have to actively search for a topic on Google. The highly popular search engine created a function called Google Alerts. It’s main function is to find names or keywords in articles, and then send you e-mail notifications. I discovered this function a year ago when my professor suggested we use it for his class, which was a research-oriented course. I set my Google to e-mail me articles that mention certain words, phrases, or names. In my opinion, this was the easiest way to do research by far. I barely had to lift a finger in order to have all of the information I needed readily available. While this is probably not the best method to teach young people the value of hard work, it makes for a simple yet effective way of doing research on an extensive topic.

A search engine as pervasive as Google may seem like the only consistent source of information, but that is far from the truth. Journalists, and citizens alike, have been turning to social media for current news. This may seem like a terrible idea, but sources on certain social networks are checked for reliability before they are used. An example of this is the trending topics page on Twitter. Usually these topics are based on what regular twitter users are talking about the most, so it is not the most accurate source of information. However, when something important occurs anywhere in the world, the reports of several trustworthy news sites will make it into the trending topics page. Furthermore, below the topics that are being discussed that day, there are often news articles available. Many politicians have also joined Twitter in order to give their opinions or just relay information to the general public. See below: California Senator Kamala Harris encourages young voters to make their voice heard in the November elections.

The presence of the Internet and social media have assisted and impaired the humans of today. The ability to ask any question and receive an answer almost immediately is appealing to say the least. Nonetheless, we must look at the negative facets of the digital age. We are exceedingly dependent on the Internet for nearly everything we do. It is our source of information, entertainment, direction, and much more. If tomorrow we were no longer able to access the Internet, chaos would ensue. Hearing stories of life before advanced technology is strange, but it does not have the same effect as our parents would like it to. They want us to understand that the Internet is not everything. There are other ways to connect with people, and other sources of information. Once we realize this, the digital world becomes far less of a threat to the future of human intelligence.

 

Setting a Standard for Artificial Intelligence

John McCarthy coined the term artificial intelligence in 1956 at the first academic conference on the subject. Long before this, people have considered the notion of whether or not computers are capable of independent thought. Humans are often described as having ‘natural intelligence’, the ability to practice critical thinking. Since the mid-twentieth century, scientists and engineers have attempted to recreate the capabilities of the human mind, but within a machine. Artificial Intelligence is essentially the process by which machines mimic certain cognitive functions, such as the ability to learn or problem solve. The limitless opportunity of AI is still shrouded in mystery.

When people are asked what artificial intelligence means to them, a common response is a reality akin to the chaotic environment of I, Robot.Before AI became an academic discipline in 1956, computer scientist Alan Turing wrote a paper describing machines that could think. Machine learning would allow systems to learn based on experience rather than being automatically programmed. Turing put this idea to the test in 1950. The Turing test utilized a human evaluator who would judge a conversation between a machine and a human. The machine was indistinguishable in the conversation, which meant that it was at least possible that a machine could think. Turing’s findings became the basis for the philosophy of artificial intelligence.

There are two main types of artificial intelligence. The first, narrow AI, executes one task perfectly. An example would be a self-driving car or Siri on our smartphones. The goal of this technology is efficiency without being concerned with human error. The more difficult and sought after intelligence is known as general AI. If successful, general AI’s would be able to comprehend complex situations on a human level. Instead of training, these machines would be able to make decisions based off judgment and what they have learned.There are already major innovations in this field of study. Hanson Robotics, a company based in Hong Kong, has created a ‘social humanoid robot.’ Media outlets around the world have interviewed Sophia because it is able to imitate human gestures and facial expression. Sophia can also recognize people and make simple conversation. The most interesting feature of Sophia, however, is that it is designed to get smarter over time.

As we see with robots like Sophia, the developments made in the world of artificial intelligence have changed how we view and interact with machines. While some may fear something as advanced as Sophia, others see it as a learning mechanism that will only help us in future endeavors. A nonprofit founded in 1979 works solely to promote the research and responsible use of AI.2 With over 4,000 members worldwide, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) has become one of the top organizations in the world of AI. Since 1994, AAAI has presented a prestigious award to an individual that has made major contributions to the study of computer science. The award is named after American computer science researcher Allen Newell, and it includes a prize of $10,000. With more incentives for studying artificial intelligence, we will begin to see just how far engineers will take this once implausible idea. The fundamental ideals of AAAI are essential to continue working towards a world where artificial intelligence will be used as a tool to benefit society.

How social media changed how we travel

In recent years, the importance of social media in people’s daily lives has increased significantly. In a world where efficiency is highly valued, it makes sense that social media has become so widespread. Social media is much more than a platform for easy communication. These sites use advertising to target specific audiences in order to make money. Furthermore, advertisements often serve a dual purpose. They can also be used to change the opinions or even the lifestyle of the person viewing them. This may have happened with the Presidential election of 2016, which means it definitely happens on a much smaller scale.  Of all the popular social media platforms, Facebook has risen above all. It has become the most popular social media in the world, with about 2 billion users. The influence Facebook has on people around the world is astonishing.

In today’s world, we are far more connected to each other than ever before. Among its many uses, social media is a platform filled with ideas. Common ideas include food recipes, clothing, or even just life tips. One of the most fascinating influences Facebook has is with travel. There are a multitude of articles on my timeline about where and how to travel. I often read these articles so I can get a sense of where I should visit when I go somewhere new. To make travelling more bearable, Facebook has recently introduced a new feature. The “traveling to” feature tells your friends where you are currently going. Certain cities have a special symbol next to them, such as the Statue of Liberty for New York City. While this feature is a convenient way to tell your loved ones where you are, it also raises security questions. Announcing to hundreds, even thousands, of people that you will be out of town for an extended period of time may not be the best idea. Chances are that not all of our Facebook ‘friends’ are real friends, and they do not need to know exactly what you are doing when you are doing it. However, for every negative aspect of the new feature, there is a positive. People often complain that Facebook is too isolating. With the new “traveling to” feature, Facebook can connect you to friends that live nearby. This new feature works to help make your travels easier and more enjoyable. Various articles will also appear on your timeline that will suggest where to go and what to eat in that specific area. Facebook makes it possible to connect with strangers who are travelling to the same area. This way, you could meet someone online and get to know him or her before ever meeting in person. While this does pave the way for some extremely superficial relationships, it is an interesting way to meet new people.

Travel inspiration blogs and articles are great for various reasons. For one, they are a simple way to discover the best of what a city or town has to offer. Without the Internet, certain areas of the world may have never been considered a ‘tourist destination.’ Social media has helped shape how we travel, and even how we view the world. Unfortunately, there is a major downfall to this new world of shared travel ideas. We regularly forget to stop and appreciate what we have in the moment. Kids my age worry too much about taking the perfect picture to show that you are enjoying your trip. Facebook should be used for travel ideas, but once we have reached our destination, social media should be the last thing on our minds.

https://www.facebook.com/thisisinsidertravel/

 

A journey through Europe

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