Goal #2: Become an Informed Citizen

My second goal for this year is to try and become a more informed social citizen.

Merriam-Webster defines a citizen as, “a person who lives in a particular place.” Although the internet isn’t a “physical place” per se, I would still argue that we are citizens of an online, connected social world. I always like to say that millennials have social media intertwined into every fiber of their body; we are social beings.

I feel like the fast-paced nature of social media is causing individuals as a whole, especially millennials, to actually be less informed about the world around them. As I try to constantly keep up my Twitter feed, I many times will believe that as I do so, I am being an informed citizen. False. We all have different likes, beliefs, and opinions. I may believe that everything in my feed is important news, while my best friend may completely disagree. I am afraid that social media has put all of us into a giant bubble. For the most part, the content that we see tends to agree with our likes, beliefs, and opinions. We never see or hear anything that disagrees with us.

I personally want to hear the other side of the story. I want to surround myself with a wide variety of ideas, beliefs, and opinions, so that I can better form my own, but more importantly, become more understanding of the world around me. My goal is to, as best as I can, break through the social media algorithms and not let my networks tell me what is news and what it isn’t. My plan is to begin following and interacting with a wide variety of political parties, news outlets, and individuals, in hopes of expanding my horizons. I encourage all of you to do the same.

To me, an informed social citizen is one who can easily sift through all the content that their social media networks are throwing at them and find out what is truly important to them. Informed social citizens are active newsgatherers, and do not let personal views and beliefs get in the way of expanding their minds and learning all that they can learn, even if it is something that they may not readily agree with.

How do you stay informed, despite all the information that is constantly hitting you?

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Ethan Parry is 
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... a Service Designer + UX Researcher at Hanzo. Parry frequently leads workshops around the world on topics such as Google Design Sprints, UX research, and service design. Parry also teaches UX and service design in several universities and bootcamps in Barcelona.