A NOTE FROM THE EDI TOR
the social media issue
morning when my alarm goes off, I grab my phone and, in order, check my texts, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Then, I put on my glasses, get out of bed and start my day. If my ritual sounds at all familiar to you, then you would probably agree in believing that social media has changed your life. And though it may be difficult to predict what the future looks like, especially since sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Vine have only been around five, four and three years respectively, that social media has had an enormous impact on the life of college students is indisputable. For one, Marketing majors now need to know the nooks and crannies of Facebook, while budding journalists must be able to navigate hashtags. Photographers have to be Instagram wizards, and RTF students should be fluent in YouTube, Snapchat and Vine. Colleges across the country admit to scouring the personal media of more than 35 percent of their applicants, and the snooping goes both ways. According to a study by U.S. News, nearly 68 percent of high school students check the Instagrams of potential schools. And of course, none
// NOVEMBER 2016
of this even addresses the component of college most affected by social media—the social part. Making friends, setting study times, arranging dates, planning parties, capturing memories, eating meals—it’s all been reinvented. In big ways and small ways, slow ways and fast ways, safe ways and dangerous ways, it has become increasingly apparent that social media has changed the entire college experience. But is that such a bad thing? For this issue, we initially intended to see how digital media was harming the college experience, but were so overwhelmed by evidence to the contrary that we reversed our approach. Whether they are using it to broadcast their talents (pg. 38), discuss pressing issues (pg. 43) or create funny, uplifting brands (pg. 36), students now have avenues for achievement and expression that have never before existed. Some, such as Tori Davis pg. 42, even plan to study social media as a career, proving that the field has become so crucial to modern life that it now warrants its own academic analysis. Still, as a welcome foil, it helps to know that though modernity has changed many things, other have remained untouched. Head to page 12 to see cover model and UIW artist Cassidy Fritts’ paintings, a study in human form and identity, or work your way to page 46 to read about Olivia Meyer, Iowa State’s record-breaking boxer. Though social media may have changed how we view and interact with the world, it hasn’t done much to change what we do in it.
MARK STENBERG EDITOR IN CHIEF @MarkStenberg3