Friday, 24 March 2017

5 Ways to Improve Your Political Education

Do you want to get involved in politics? Don’t know how or where to start? What even is this politics thing? Find out in these places...

1. Read/watch/listen to varied news

I’m sure you’re aware of the biases that all news sources have, and this first one should come as no surprise. Try to read a wide variety of news sources so that your mind doesn’t follow that bias too rigidly. Of course, everyone has their own individual biases, but I like to keep a broad view of the news. I find this is especially important at the moment, when our media seems to be dominated by right-wing companies (and a certain Rupert Murdoch).

2. Make use of social media

Okay, so I know there are a lot of people on platforms like Twitter who are just out to start arguments, but I find I can stay updated with current events and understand them better through my use of social media, particularly the aforementioned Twitter. I often find out about major events by seeing them trending on Twitter, signaling me to do more research to better my understanding. On there, I follow many (reliable, I would hope) newspapers and channels. This means that I have access to the news whilst procrastinating and am constantly updated with the goings-on of the world. 

But also, please don't rely on social media as your source of political knowledge; while useful, it's an extremely flawed method that may give you lots of inaccurate information is you don't look elsewhere. 

3. If you are in college/uni etc. join the debate/politics society

I have been a part of my college’s politics society from the beginning of the year and I have to say that it has helped give me a better understanding of politics and current events through discussing events that I would not have come across otherwise. It is also a good place to found out your opinions on things, by seeing where your opinions fit in with other people’s.

4. Listen to people

Listen to everyone’s different experiences to widen your mind and thinking. Listen to people who have experiences you are not familiar with and listen to people who have a better understanding of politics than you do.

5. If you see a statement online or IRL, make sure you find an original (or close to) source

With the rise of ‘fake news’ and its prominence in our headlines (ironic? Or is that just me who thinks that?) it’s essential that we know the events we are discussing and debating have actually happened and the factual details of them. This can be really easy to do. You can find out the results of votes in Parliament on their website, and who supported what etc.

If you liked this post you might like: 5 Ways You Can Stand Up to Trump

Monday, 20 March 2017

Why Bloggers Should Be Political

Original Picture Credit

Since the politically traumatic events (and all other traumatic events) of 2016, we have seen a rise in celebrity ‘uprisings’, for lack of a better phrase, and consequently an increase of criticism of those celebrities who are getting more involved in politics. Artists such as Meryl Streep using their significant platforms, such as an acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, to speak out against a new far-right political climate that is emerging across the globe and are now being criticized for doing so, being told to know their limits and to stay within their industry. All I can say to that is:
But the use of a public platform doesn’t just apply to big name actors and singers etc. It should apply to anyone who can have any sort of influence through their public platform. And that includes us, bloggers.

I have no problem with bloggers who choose not to make their blogs political, that’s not for everyone, but if they have some sort of opinion on anything that’s going on currently, especially with the worrying events that could (read: will) have damaging effects on our world (*cough* Trump *cough* Brexit *cough*), they should at least mention something about their opinion on one of their social media platforms – it doesn’t have to be a full-length blog post.

Bloggers and other people will significant amounts of influence both online and IRL should use their voices to educate their audiences, who, in the case of many YouTubers, can be quite impressionable (that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to ignorance if people don’t treat them with respect). Education is key at a time like now, as any ignorance can be stifled by further understanding and widened knowledge.

I know it may not seem significant in the bigger picture, but every little action and its subsequent impact could have the potential to change someone’s views and open their minds for the better. Education and awareness are key to a healthier democracy and more accountable governments.

If you liked this post you might like: 5 Feminist Bloggers You Should Be Reading