by

September 28, 2022

 

The Journey to Extremism

In recent months, political extremism has become more and more apparent in America. Due in part to the rise of internet-accessibility and screentime, due to the pandemic. I read Luke Munn’s research article describing an individual’s path to extremism and the psychological occurrences that happen alongside.

Generally, indoctrination to the alt-right occurs gradually; incremental nudges of both personal experience and consumption of accounts from the media push individuals to extremism. However, with the help of social media platforms that prioritize content consumption and algorithmic content-recommendations, the “gradual nudges” have evolved to larger and more aggressive pushes.

In Munn’s article, he describes in a more technical sense the way social media platforms, such as Youtube, can create toxic “media bubbles” that draw individuals closer to extremism. “In a report for the Data & Society Research Institute, Rebecca Lewis (2018) identifies exactly this web of YouTube connections, labelling it as the “Alternative Influence Network.” Though disparate in their beliefs and styles, this assortment of Internet celebrities, scholars, comedians and pundits share a collective disdain for progressive politics.”


What is the “alt-right pipeline”?

The escalation of the political climate not only in America, but across the globe is deeply apparent. Over the past year, the world has witnessed a myriad of seemingly impossible events: from a ranging global pandemic, protests in nearly every city, and rioting on the Capitol steps. It is safe to say we’ve all noticed a rapid radicalization in the political sector, but the question that exists now is how did it happen so fast?

More and more research is being done on the groupthink-type impact social media can have on those who find themselves in politically-oriented communities online. An article by the New York Times goes into detail, following the experience of a 26-year-old who fell victim to what is more commonly being referred to as the alt-right pipeline. The article outlines the extreme dangers that online political indoctrination can have, and how quickly it can radicalize.

The issue of the alt-right pipeline is incredibly difficult to navigate as the blame lies primarily on the algorithms and artificial intelligence that are the basis of online platforms like Instagram or YouTube. These algorithms purpose is to show users content that the AI believes they will like or find interesting, and as one starts to get “sucked” into this pipeline, the more radical and dangerous content they’re exposed to.

The effects of this “pipeline” were widely demonstrated to all of America on January 6th. Not only was social media responsible for influencing political beliefs, but it helped to connect and organize those who aligned politically. In some cases, these tools could be seen as a good thing that has the power for positive change; however, that is not what is being demonstrated.

In researching this topic, I’ve come to better understand the world around me. More specifically, I’ve also realized and better understood the way that social media platforms function and learned what to look out for online. I don’t think we ever take the time to realize what a dangerous place the internet can truly be, and I feel the only way to combat this is by better educating those who use it.


YouTube

On February 14, 2005, YouTube was activated and has developed throughout the years.  The first video was uploaded on April 23, 2005 and took place at the San Diego Zoo.  

YouTube is a platform used to upload videos and express your creativity online.  It has impacted many people’s lives by paying thousands of dollars to those who are known as “YouTubers” and those who simply enjoy watching content videos.  There are many variations of videos including storytimes, ASMR, gaming and vlogs.  Just like any other social media app there are both positive and negative sides.  Content creators are at risk of losing their channel, valuable time and posting videos that may not be able to be deleted.  Music artists also take the opportunity to upload their music on YouTube which helps them earn extra money and get people’s attention.  

Personally, I enjoy watching videos on YouTube in my free time.  I watch multiple YouTubers including Sweetea, Nikki Glamour, Louie’s Life, Larray, J Cook, Brawadis, etc.  Not many people are aware of the channel named “Sweetea” but I promise you their content is the best and I hope they get the recognition they deserve.  Subscribe to Sweetea! 


What do we feel?

When you take a picture or look at picture do you tend to think what might have happened before or after the picture was taken. Social media nowadays is like the picture and whatever happens behind  closed doors are always hidden really good that people like you and me don’t really know what is going on those closed doors. We are now more cautions on how our online image looks like more then how we act in reality. We can just be a fake image we create just to hurt people. Just because we act in a certain way online people often think we act the same in the real life,which in some cases it isn’t true. This is were people like you and me get confused in the way people or at times we  live our lives.

Social Media and Life has a switch where go back and forth from because we have like two different lives and two different personas. This is when sometimes people get in trouble at times because nobody knows what happens between closed doors except the people involved in it. You may think this just happens to celebrities but this can happen to people like you and me. We all want to create a fake person we want to be because we are probably insecure of our own self. People often get in trouble for this switch of lives or for being this person here and being a certain person later because they’re trying to hide their own character is.

At times those individuals get so caught up in the moment that they don’t know the type of harm they’re causing for themselves and the people around them. Recently in the news we’ve seen so many scandals with celebrities getting into with other  people and getting called out for their actions in the past. But just because someone does something online doesn’t really pursuit them as a person in reality. This is what the media does to us.For example when a youtube or celebrity may be on a red carpet or filming a YouTube video but we as the audience don’t know what happens behind the scenes, or how they’re actually feeling.Recently there has been a internet scandal involving youtuber James Charles and a good friend of James, had exposed him due to his childish and petty behavior.

In this youtube video she explains how she doesn’t know him anymore and now that he’s famous he doesn’t know how to act. He thinks just because he has fame he can easily use it for his advantage. Which gives a good example on how there such a switch the internet fame. Tati also added that he was so quicker and put down people that were less “famous” then he was just because some comments were made of him. Now that’s very childish like why would you bring down people that was less than you ,why call them out?

This is where most influence tend to slip and fall and get trapped in drama and fame. They think they’re to good for anyone like what makes you so much better than them, is it because your popularity is some much higher and you want to seem like your in control and you have fame .In the James Charles scandal he is always pursuiting himself  as being nice and annoying on the internet but as you can see it isn’t really like this. It’s like someone that always may be so happy online but deep down inside they may be very broken and sad or the opposite. We wouldn’t know as the audience because we don’t get to see what happens before or after. So when these influencers or even regular people finally get to their breaking point they at times tend to blame the media because they keep their true colors in and their being  another person.

This is how the media makes us hide our true colors and hiding what we really feel inside in my opinion because we all want to be fine and let the whole world we are but at times in reality we really aren’t. So by keeping everything in we may explode and give up because we had let the person who really were go out and forgotten. We are too busy trying to up top one another that we tend to hurt and slowly become someone we’re not. This tends to everyone knowing you based on your online image then who you really are. For example when the video “BYE SISTER” came out James so quickly jumped into social media to apolgize his fans. You can clearly see by the actions taken that he cared more about his online image and wanted to save his back because he clearly got exposed for this person he created of himself and didn’t like the hate he was getting from not being real from the start.                                                          


My Scratch Animation- Shades Of Gray

My story, Shades of Grey is a twist on the average plot/fetch quest because the character who “wants” the item, Mr. Dragon, talks about how the actions of the main character, Midnight were morally wrong because the way that he just stole the item from the “antagonist” the Elder Dragon since the Elder Dragon did nothing wrong to anyone else. This explains the title because a good story with a hero doesn’t have the morals of the characters painted in black and white, rather, they are in shades on grey. To create this, I thought of the type of story that I wanted to make, and then I created a storyboard to visually represent the entire plot and setting of the story.
I then went coded the entire animation on Scratch.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/18yET7ti5djCjZSrcdF0JejsR0KnRUFiKK7sT2SdylVQ/edit?usp=sharing

https://www.youthvoices.live/tag/youtube/