El Paso Social Media Expert breaks down U.S./Iran trending topics, how they’re perceived

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A lot of people are making light of the situation through the use of "memes", which is causing mixed feelings for other users.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been trending topics on social media.

A lot of people are making light of the situation through the use of “memes”, which is causing mixed feelings for other users.

Carrigen Cain, an El Paso resident, is one of many people who have noticed the current trends on social media in reference of the tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

“I definitely use social media as a way to keep updated with what’s going on. So I’ve kind of gotten a mix of the facts and people making jokes,” Cain shared, “You really have to consider who it’s coming from of course the source is definitely important.”

Other current trends on social media also include talks about getting drafted, praying for troops, or “World War III”.

An EPPC Associate Professor of Mass Communications, Lisa Elliot, shared an interesting theory in mass media research. It’s called the “Third-Person Effect” which means you don’t think how media impacts you personally, but you think how others perceive the world.

“I think we see that a lot with people in social media conversations where it’s like, ‘oh that other person shouldn’t be sharing this, they shouldn’t be impacted, they shouldn’t listen to this’ and there’s not a lot of introspection about how is it impacting me and how is it framing the conversation we’re having. The national conversation we’re having right now,” Elliot explained.

Elliot also shared different generations’ relationship with media impacts the way they perceive it, “Maybe a younger audience is more familiar with memes is a digital native and have been using them throughout their life, may view them satirically. The older generation could potentially take offense to them and it’s an inappropriate response to something.”

“I see a lot of younger people making jokes about ‘Oh World War 3’ etc. but I see older people kind of saying like, ‘Pray for our troops, this is really serious’. I think there can be some dissonance between those two groups,” Cain added.

Despite any differences, Cain sends a message to those who use it often, “I think it’s important that we remember at the end of the day everyone has their own opinion and that’s okay.”

Other social media users told KTSM social media is often an escape from people’s realities, and they do not fear that anything will happen in regards to the ongoing tensions.

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