Twitter Users as Social Justice Police

This week’s reading, “Digital Natives with a Cause,” described a growing concern for this current generation’s lot of “Digital Natives.” Digital natives are defined as a population that are interpersonally inept, socially inept, self-centered, and ignorant, among other negative aspects. These negative qualities are credited to the overconsumption and misuse of technology and the internet. However, in “Digital Natives with a Cause,” authors Shah and Abraham brought to light an interesting point:


“Youth are often seen as potential agents of change for reshaping their own societies. By 2010, the global youth population is expected reach almost 1.2 billion of which 85% reside in developing countries. Unleashing the potential of even a part of this group in developing countries promises a substantially impact on societies.”


This week, I wanted to argue with the critics of this generation’s ignorance level online. Ironically enough, I stumbled upon this article form Complex Magazine while at work, which reported on E! Fashion Police’s Guiliana Ranic’s culturally ignorant remarks of Disney’s Zendaya on her chosen hairstyle at this weekend’s Oscar Awards.


The article goes onto report that Twitter was used as a channel of frustration towards Guiliana—from fans, Oscar watchers, and Zendaya herself. I feel like this aspect of the situation reflects that this generation is not as ignorant as older generations may think. In fact, in some regards, this generation is even more socially aware of racism and ignorance from the older generation. Guiliana is not within the age range of the “Digital Natives.” It’s kind of funny how this article to me combats the critic’s argument on ignorance.


With so many cases of social media being used to stand up for causes, to call to action and mobilize, and to criticize anything politically incorrect, it’s hard to agree with critics on the “problem” of the Digital Natives population. Perhaps this is even more evidence of a generational gap between millennials and the older generation, and it makes me wonder even more whether or not the older generation studying and reporting on Digital Natives are overly critical on different behavior as opposed to negative behavior. Rather than trying to find actions that defines a so-called growing problem, perhaps these people should try to connect causation and action to understand rather than define. If this generation, as Shah and Abraham point out, is “shaping the world,” assuming only the negative aspects is totally the wrong approach.

3 thoughts on “Twitter Users as Social Justice Police

  1. caropark

    I was so surprised that the veteran E! host Guiliwhatever made such ignorant comments about Zendaya’s Oscar look, which was in my opinion the absolute best on the carpet. In situations like these, I’m grateful that we can speak out on these microagressions through digital communicative technology.

  2. ShanyaNorman

    I definitely agree that we should critique the level of ignorance place on this generation and their online use. Yes, we use it to post selfies and create profiles, but we also are one of the biggest populations that use online mediums to speak out and have our voices heard (just like in the case of voicing frustration to Giuliana). It’s helped us with our expression and has allowed us to try and right the wrongs. Because of all the online backlash, including Zendaya’s own response that she tweeted, Giuliana made a public apology retracting her comments. So, maybe it is more of a generational gap as you mentioned, as the older generation might be overly critical because they don’t fully understand or participate.

  3. ShannonMartine

    I really appreciated the points you made here about the potency digital natives have in exacting responses in situations like the Giuliana/Zendaya beef. The host was so offbase and it’s great to see the power being on the wrong side of a hashtag has.

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