Your Opinion is Not Your Own

by Carlie Burns ’27 on November 10, 2023


My screen time report indicates that I spend an average of five hours a day on my phone. That is a rather lengthy period dedicated to consuming media—a time which ultimately promotes disassociation and relinquishes the need for any form of cognitive processes. Excessive scrolling is unproductive and addictive as well as crippling to individuality and free thought. Though I will credit it for its entertainment and unifying capabilities in connecting people globally, in general, it does more harm than good. Humans are quite impressionable. Therefore, the constant stream of intellectual guidance fed through phones and other forms of technology ultimately leads people to conform and discourages originality in thought. Online forums and opinion articles circulate the Internet, corrupting significant amounts of viewers. Without the awareness that information online is not gospel, society will fall victim to majority opinion; if we are all consuming the same media, all our judgments will reflect the same few schools of thought.

The unfortunate effects of this issue are apparent in the limited variation in opinion regarding politics and societal issues. Many people look to social media platforms for enlightenment on global happenings; however, in doing so, they face the inevitability of being persuaded into belief. We’re constantly being fed information that shapes our thoughts and therefore abolishes the need to think for ourselves. Our opinions are not our own, but rather an accumulation of the ideas of others. Furthermore, the algorithms of these platforms are designed to reaffirm our beliefs, feeding us content that aligns with that which we seek out. It is thus increasingly difficult to discover new perspectives and expand our knowledge. Social media orchestrates the way we respond to events, ultimately forcing opinions onto us and advising us how to think. The only way in which we can break this damaging cycle is by acknowledging it. In actively working to peruse various ideas, rather than just consuming those of the same opinion, there is a lesser chance of conforming to a singular idea. Individual thought is vital to the diversification and advancement of society and it is crucial to recognize the way in which social media pressures us to adhere to the views of others. In restoring individuality and allowing for an abundance of opinions, personal competency will flourish and societal progress will ensue.