Column: A call for connection


Atarah Israel, Managing Editor

Instagram stalking and twitter retweets. Hashtags and cancel culture. Memes. We live in the era of the phone screen—a digital expanse of information lays at our fingertips. Despite this advancement in communication, however, a deeply disturbing sentiment of isolation has arisen. Considered
in tandem with the new age of social distancing and mask requirements that we live in, our society is especially removed from meaningful connections. 

What implications does this hold for us, a generation that in 2019 the CDC reported to be the least likely to report good mental health? In a world already prone to isolation, expressions of despair, depression and nihilism are common.How do we as teenagers combat this problem? What power do we truly hold?

These disorienting frustrations are manifested in the only easily accessible form of expression we have—our social media. In almost every situation we find ourselves, an endless cycle of isolation, despair and social media outpour resurges. This process has some benefits, but poses major threats to our mental states. In an arena where a meme is deemed more valuable than nuanced sensitivity, not only is our empathy under attack, but our ability to resonate with others. 

A major example of this is the overwhelming response and commentary concerning the global pandemic we now face. Although making light in dire times offers shining resiliency in the face of panic, other approaches to this method are bleak. Memes claiming dark humor that often declare 2020 as the end of the world resonate with elements of depression and cynicism. These memes spawn from a variety of angles, all with themes, such as “Why should I complete my homework? The world is ending.” 

In spite of the rising prominence in unmotivated views, social media also reflects the positive strides we have made as an online community. As the amount of negative comments consistently pile upon one another, guidance, activism and timely information also spreads from platform to platform. Whereas the conflicts we present online highlight our divided state, the immense amount of support and cooperation we display emphasizes our strength.