Campuses have long been a hub of political activism in America. Since the days of the Kent State protest, students have used their universities as vehicles to get their voices heard and, in turn, universities have always encouraged these endeavors. These days, this entails providing WiFi so students can access the largest source of political influence: Facebook.
One student, who has taken advantage of this, Jake Miller, is a long-time advocate on Facebook. However, Miller, a sophomore at Cornell, sees a dark future for the pastime he has grown to love.
Frustrated by the increase in political posting on social media sites, students worry about differentiating themselves from the pack. “Everyone takes it all for granted. It’s not just posting how you feel. It’s more than that — there’s an art to it,” says Miller, frustratingly searching for articles on The Huffington Post and New York Times.
Miller’s last piece could be considered a return to form. In response to an article in the Cornell Daily Sun about a recent “walk-out” on campus, Miller was able to post a three-paragraph opus that spawned 30 replies and 54 likes. However, he was not satisfied with the results, as he used to average 42 replies and 61 likes.
Miller has been an avid poster for years. Ever since the advent of Facebook, he has felt a certain connection to arguing in the comments section of renowned political blogs, such as “Obummer Sucks” and “Repeal the Emancipation Proclamation.” Propelled by the rush he felt from arguing with 50-year-old factory workers from Iowa, Miller eventually upgraded to starting arguments on his own posts.
Even before Facebook, Miller remembers his penchant for argument. He tells stories of fighting with his parents over the benefits of broccoli at the age of 2 or arguing with his friends against the “ludicrous” idea that girls have cooties.
However, it’s not all fun and games for Miller, who feels it is his civic duty to fight with his relatives on their statuses and pictures of dogs. “It’s not for me. It’s for America. If I didn’t do it, who would? Those likes don’t lie. Those numbers speak for themselves. At the end of the day, I know I’m doing what needs to be done,” proclaims Miller as he edits a scathing comment directed at his second cousin supporting tax cuts.
As Miller excuses himself from our interview, he walks along a long line of students perusing Facebook and avidly typing on their phones. “Fools,” he says to himself. “All of them.”
You went drinking, now you’re stuck pooping. How’s that going for ya?