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Influence of the Media: Reeve Kennedy, Maryland

Frostburg, Maryland

Story Narrative:

Reeve has short brown hair and a collared shirt, with blue flowers and patterns on it.

This snapshot was gathered in conjunction with the Maryland Voices initiative at Maryland Humanities, specifically to supplement the "Voices and Votes: Democracy in America" traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program. This collection, made up of stories of first-time voters between the ages of 18 and 24, showcases the experiences of young people as they wrestled with the 2020 presidential election, issues around social justice, the environment, immigration, and the pandemic.

Reeve Kennedy (00:01): I'm Reeve Kennedy, I'm 18, and I go to Frostburg university. I have a double major in English with a literature focus, and law and society with a legal studies focus. So, democracy and voting is kind of my thing, really.

Reeve Kennedy (00:13): I'm a firm believer that social media is an amazing tool for advocacy work, activism maybe not as much. The results aren't always there. But specifically for advocacy, spreading your beliefs, spreading your word, sharing with like-minded people or sharing with people who don't agree with you just to see different statistics and facts. If it's done properly, it's a very effective tool.

Reeve Kennedy (00:31): I personally use it. My platform on my Instagram is all for different social justice advocacy, activism, showing off the different projects I'm working on or working with, the people that I thinks voices matters, amplifying mine and theirs. So, it definitely is important.

Reeve Kennedy (00:47): In the question of disagreements online, I think they definitely exist, and they're at some points harder to deal with than in real life stuff, just because it's easier to be bold online. You can say what you want to say and there aren't always going to be repercussions. Within the past couple years, we are seeing more consequences to your words. A lot of people are losing their jobs, are being socially, I don't want to say outcasted, but they're facing consequences for some things they say. But it's still not happening enough or enough to the point that we would get people to stop. There's a lot of strong minded people on both sides. It's not just one side. One side's more bigoted than the other, but the other is also just as intense and just as hateful at times even.

Reeve Kennedy (01:32): I feel that that's what makes it a little bit dangerous bringing all of those opinions onto social media, just because it really, really amplifies it. This whole election, so many things are just spread around. The tensions were high. Everyone was just at their max, and it blew up. I've personally had to deal with a lot of that stuff online. I try not to get involved in comment sections or in messages if it's not online. If I don't know you and you're not going to impact my life personally, I try to avoid it. But, I mean, we've all given into that temptation. We've all responded. We've all done something at some point. I definitely have, and, yeah, I feel like everyone, as long as we learn from it and we move along, I think it can be healthy, even though the benefits may not be as good as in-person communication.

Asset ID: 2021.03.14.f
Themes: Social media, advocacy, activism, divisive, temptation, online, consequences, accountability, hate, danger, presidential election, communication
Date recorded: February 1, 2021
Length of recording: 02:19 m
Related traveling exhibition: Voices and Votes: Democracy in America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Allegany Museum, in partnership with Maryland Humanities
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