‘Save Sesame Street!’: How social media affects the presidential debate

By K’Leigh Bedingfield, Megan Kramer, Briley Garrett, Aida Delgado & McKenzie Boone – 

They say that “birds of a feather flock together,” and during last week’s Presidential debate, Big Bird fans gave more than their two cents. “Save Sesame Street! Save Sesame Street!” was the phrase that seemed to be on society’s mind more than the actual debate.

So what does this have to say about our society?

Within the past decade social media has taken over the world by storm. It has allowed us to stay in touch with anything and everything at a constant rate. We use it to get our news, people’s birthdays, who is breaking up with who, and even to find out what other shenanigans Lindsay Lohan is getting into. The world is literally at our fingertips. Although it may seem like a wonderful thing, social media has replaced the ways we learn things on our own.

Our society has come to a point where we are so dependent on social media, and we rely on it as a hub for our information. It is rare to see a person look things up in an actual book, or in this case, sit through a whole debate.  Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube might be effective in regards to keeping up with what is going on in our social circles and entertainment, but we as a society should not rely solely on it for our information.

When it comes to the Presidential elections, we as Americans should not find our information from our news feeds and tweets, because the majority of this information is people’s opinions on what is currently going on.

Karen Ramming, a student from Tarleton State University, said, “Watching the debates allows you to form your own opinion, whereas consuming it through social media only offers you the biased opinions of others.”

If we were to actually watch the presidential debate, then we would’ve known that Romney talked about PBS for only a few minutes (if that), and not once did he mention anything about getting rid of Sesame Street or Big Bird. In fact, his statement was to express his thoughts merely on federal funding for public broadcasting.

“Big Bird is going to be just fine. ‘Sesame Street’ is a very successful enterprise. I don’t believe CNN gets government funding, but somehow you all stay on the air.” — Mitt Romney

Those who looked only at social media for their news about the debate thought that he spent majority of his time bashing the bird. With one of the most important decisions coming up, it is worrisome that the people in our society are leaning on their peers and other citizens to make their minds up for them. As U.S. citizens, we need to make ourselves knowledgeable about the upcoming election, and form our own opinions and political stance. We do not need to rely on Facebook or Twitter to decide for us.

So where do you stand within America’s society? If you’re leaning on others to make your political decisions for you, then where will the United States be in the future?

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