Trevians take to Instagram to boost political views

Students use social media to spread news and politics to their followers

The+Jan.+16+post+from+%40homegrownterrorists+announced+the+identification+of+Frank+Valentine%2C+who+participated+in+the+insurrection.+Other+slides+of+the+post+include+Valentine%E2%80%99s+Instagram+page+and+a+video+of+him+on+the+day+of+the+attempted+coup

Instagram

The Jan. 16 post from @homegrownterrorists announced the identification of Frank Valentine, who participated in the insurrection. Other slides of the post include Valentine’s Instagram page and a video of him on the day of the attempted coup

Many Trevians are turning to Instagram and other social media to express their political opinions—and persuade others. The Black Lives Matter Movement, COVID-19 and the attack at the Capitol building have accelerated this trend.

“I very often get frustrated at the amount of people, especially my age, that don’t care at all about what’s going on in the world,” said Junior Anika Roche. “[Posting on Instagram] is such a small thing that can help so many people and it doesn’t harm anybody.”

Roche has always been political on her Instagram page because it allows her to voice her opinions on different topics so that people know where she stands. She does not want people to get the wrong idea about her beliefs. 

I really want to see all of this unfold. I want to see the videos of these people getting arrested because I’m mad about what’s happening”

— Alana Kipnis

Similarly, Junior Annabel Miller has been active on Instagram for a long time.

“I have always followed Instagram accounts that have screenshot articles and have put opinions on them. Not everybody pays attention to the news feed in any way but a lot of people pay attention to Instagram or Instagram stories, so I have just reposted those posts on my Instagram account to bring it to people’s attention.”

Reposting something on Instagram stories allows all of your followers to click on the post to view the comment and other information.

When reposting on her Instagram story Junior Sammy Obel always checks the accuracy of the source by making sure it is from a reliable website or by double checking the facts in the post.

Being political on Instagram has caused some backlash for Roche. People who don’t necessarily agree with her.

“It’s typically the same couple of people” who respond, saying “ ‘this is wrong, you’re being too aggressive.’ It’s really frustrating.”

However, Obel said that she once had a pleasant conversation with someone who disagreed with her. 

One social media page that has garnered lots of attention following the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 is @homegrownterrorists on Instagram. Currently, the page has approximately 357,000 followers and 192 posts.

“People send in tips,” said junior Ellie Wilens, “and [the purpose] is basically to try and find the rioters and hold them accountable.”

“Then, they’ll post the identities of people once they find them and updates (including charges),” said junior Alana Kipnis.

For the identification process, the page posts an image of one of the rioters and calls on the social media community to identify him or her.

Wilens and Kipnis learned about the page from other social media platforms and their friends.

“I learned about it through TikTok,” said Kipnis, “Once I saw that, I was like ‘This is perfect,’ like I really want to see all of this unfold. I want to see the videos of these people getting arrested because I’m mad about what’s happening.”

Besides following the page, they have both been interacting with it by liking posts and commenting on them. They’ve also been spreading the word about @homegrownterrorists in an effort to have more people contributing to its cause.

“I reposted one of their stories, but besides that, I just have been talking about it with my friends,” said Wilens.

Social media’s role should be “to start to engage younger audiences,” Wilens said, “…The short little infographics that people make or just posts in general that are really informative help kids with short attention spans to introduce them to politics and just be active in current events.”