Political Posting: students start anonymous political Instagram account

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The Instagram account @stogapolitics is an anonymous bipartisan group dedicated to bridging the gap between the two major political parties.

By Emma Clarke and Katherine Lee, Business Editor and Staff Reporter

Design by Claire Guo, Opinion Editor

Although teenagers cannot partake in elections until age 18, Conestoga students have found a new way to cast their votes on controversial issues: social media.

The Instagram account @stogapolitics is an anonymous bipartisan group dedicated to bridging the gap between the two major political parties and generating discussion according, to the account owners. While the account itself is owned by just one individual, four students contribute to the posted content. The four content producers are made up of two self-identified Democrats and Republicans each who have worked to post daily polls and posts covering controversial topics such as immigration and gun control. The contributors to the account, who wish to remain anonymous, refer to themselves as the Content Curation Team.

“We choose to remain anonymous for reasons of non-affiliation, safety, and privacy. We do not want students to assume we favor one side as a result of the owner’s personal leanings, because the focus should be on @stogapolitics as a bipartisan entity,” the Content Curation Team said in direct messages with Spoke on Instagram.

Junior Dylan Ott spoke positively about the anonymity of the account, claiming that it added a “mystery” aspect. Others, including senior Laila Norford, want to know the identity of the owners.

“I would like to know who runs the account. It is hard for me to view it as bipartisan without knowing whose opinions are actually being reflected in what is said,” Norford said.

The account has already gained over 400 followers, but not everyone seems to be in favor of its bipartisan nature. Instead of taking on a neutral perspective, the account owners alternate between left and right-wing political perspectives. A recent post from the Left perspective tackled the issue of reverse racism in America, generating 47 comments in debate.

“I often just look to see which side it is on any given day, and if it is not ‘my’ side, I just scroll past. Part of the problem in US political culture today is that the center is neglected, despite the fact that most of the population are moderates,” Norford said.

The account owners of @stogapolitics, however, believe that their way of expressing bipartisanship is effective because it allows people to see both political parties’ beliefs through its stimulation of political discussions, often using hashtags like #MAGA and #humanrights.

“Our goal is to, as a result of these discussions, instill political efficacy in Conestoga students, find common ground between those who disagree, and help them rationalize their own positions,” the Content Curation Team said.

The discussions take place in direct messaging chat rooms—-individual rooms for each party and a combined debate room. Created by the account owner, these chat rooms allow students to share their opinions on  political topics.

“I am grateful for the party chat rooms and big debate room that they made because I found a group of other students who shared my political beliefs, and we’re able to debate with the other side about our opinions compared to theirs,” Ott said.

In addition to the chat rooms, the daily polls posted on the Instagram account’s story are another popular feature. They have covered controversial topics including gun rights and the migrant caravan, and allow students to anonymously vote for what they agree with.

Polling the people: @stogapolitics posts daily polls to evaluate Conestoga student opinion on certain political matters. The account was created at the beginning of the school year to foster an environment for “debating” politics.

“The daily polls are quite neat too because you can see how other students generally feel ideologically compared to you,” Ott said.

Overall, the Instagram account has been well received by students.

“I think the account is really entertaining – it takes almost polar opposites of the political spectrum and makes posts every day, and it’s interesting to see how people are commenting on them,” Ott said.

Like Ott, junior Drew Borrelli appreciates how the account has allowed him to explore other political perspectives.

“I am in favor of the account because personally I think talking about politics is really important as it affects everyone,” Borrelli said. “I still have the same opinions, but I always like to see the other side because I’m open to having my mind changed.”

While the debates that have arisen from the account may be divisive, the Content Curation Team said @stogapolitics aims to bring unity to the student body through effective discussion.

“We have received mostly positive feedback from our students. Some like it because it has helped them find other students who share their beliefs. Others like it because they can see both sides day-by-day instead of having one side shoved down their throats. There are also some students who like it simply because they enjoy debating with others about politics,” the  Content Curation Team said.

Nonetheless, other Instagram accounts have been created in opposition of @stogapolitics, hoping to somehow find a mediator in the current political climate with different posting strategies.

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