Talk It Out discusses social media

Photo Courtesy of | TEDx Xavier University held its first Talk It Out discussion of the school year yesterday. The monthly gatherings feature a Ted Talk followed by a discussion of the topic highlighted in the talk.

According to its mission statement TEDx Xavier University is “a student-led, collaborative experience that inspires innovative thinking, moving others to purposeful action.” This is exactly what happened in yesterday’s first TEDx Talk It Out discussion of the school year.

As the group watched a Ted Talk from February, “Dialogue Across Difference: A Guide to Social Media,” by Jamie Franco-Zamudio and then participated in a discussion afterward.

Franco-Zamudio, an associate professor at Spring Hill College, teaches social justice by combining education, research and scholarship. In her talk she explored the sticky balance that comes with having an online presence and the strong beliefs you hope to spread. Franco-Zamudio said that combining the two is often difficult to do without being hurt by others’ criticism and toxic comments, an idea echoed by students.

“It becomes toxic when the only comments are negative comments,” first-year Maddie Weiland said.

At one point during the discussion the topic shifted to the trend of self-imposed censorship of diverse opinions, specifically homogeneous private Facebook groups in which those who disagree with the opinion of the group are removed and those who agree are praised. In a much more subtle case, the discussion centered on the idea that social media is intentionally tailor-made for each individual and thus will further reinforce previous opinions rather than expose diversity in thought and providing the opportunity for growth.

“People get bold on social media,” junior Brianna Boyce said. “They hide behind it.”

“How can we use that platform to connect us?” asked junior Cheniece Wilson, a TEDx board member and moderator for the event. She then answered her own question:

“Have social media to gather people, but once people are gathered, put (technology) down.”

An overarching sentiment of the night was the frustration students feel from the pressure of an online presence.

“It’s not a diary,” senior Roslyn Davis said. “It’s social media.”

TEDx Talk It Out meets monthly to watch and discuss Ted Talks. For more information, click here.

By: Brittany Wells ~Staff Writer~