Say What You Need to Say

Reading Response 3

From our own individual perspective of the world concepts are formed and from our concepts opinions are generated. It’s only natural as human beings to want to share those opinions especially if we are emotionally invested in them. The purpose in voicing our opinions most of the time is to provoke change, to redefine the status quo and that’s exactly what Newspaper Op-Eds attempt to do. But are they really effective?

Mimicking these Op-Eds is an exercise often used in college assignments to train students to be aware of his arguments, to be logical with his reasoning and to have a specific audience in mind. But let’s say he publishes his Op-Ed on a class blog. What chances of reaching his target audience does s/he have? Can s/he make a big enough impact? Unfortunately I believe not.

Three days ago I received a notification on Facebook from a friend of mine who “liked” a post. The person that liked the post was also a student from UCSB whom I haven’t seen in awhile so it sparked my interest. I clicked on my notification and saw that he liked an article entitled “Isla Vista Cops Need to Be Way More Chill”. Since I’m a resident of Isla Vista I went on to read how IV cops are worst than our mothers. They are worst for shutting down music in the notorious party street called Del Playa at 12 AM and by enforcing the curb law (ticketing students who are found sitting on the curb drunk). Now this Op-Ed was published in a very popular website called thetab.com. They gather news from a vast number of universities written by students and for students. The point I’m making is that the only reason why the article reached me was because it was from a popular website that was specifically optimized to cater to an audience comprised of UCSB students. If the article had been published in a blog, a personal site or even The New York Times, I probably would not have read it.

Today in order to have a big enough reach you need to cater to your audience. Why are explainer videos on YouTube getting more and more popular? They know their audience and are able to present their opinion in an attractive manner that is easily accessible. They are merging the old medium of Op-Eds with New Media in order to optimize their reach and get the most views. For example, John Green received 6,682,966 views to his video published 2 years ago regarding the cost of Healthcare in America. That is a staggering number, and imagine the kind of impact he can have with that audience size. YouTube is where people are being exposed to opinions regarding world events, politics, health and wellbeing.

Op-Eds are a great tool to develop your voice to envision your audience and structure your argument but in order to be effective and to bring about change you need to merge that with new media; especially attractive videos.

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