Emma González has over a million followers on Twitter. Cameron Kasky has over 400,000 followers, while David Hogg has over 850,000.
With that many followers, it’s apparent that many people are interested in what they have to say in some way or another. Twitter gives students a voice that many people were not able to have just a few years ago.
For example, the weeks following the school shooting in Parkland, conspiracy theorists were claiming that Hogg and other student survivors who were speaking out were “crisis actors.”
The well ORGANIZED effort by Florida school students demanding gun control has GEORGE SOROS’ FINGERPRINTS all over it. It is similar to how he hijacked and exploited black people’s emotion regarding police use of force incidents into the COP HATING Black Lives Matter movement. pic.twitter.com/XDZ3bcwF6F
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) February 20, 2018
VIDEO: Outspoken Trump-Hating School Shooting Survivor is Son of FBI Agent; MSM Helps Prop Up Incompetent Bureau https://t.co/AYCNLlXJqx
— Thomas Paine (@Thomas1774Paine) February 20, 2018
Parkland students were quick to respond.
I asked @Emma4Change about how the "Never Again" team is responding to the false conspiracy theories about them being "crisis actors." Short answer: They're having some fun. Here's Emma's full response: pic.twitter.com/5vQ57YXOqs
— Remy Smidt (@remysmidt) February 21, 2018
@davidhogg111 is smart, funny, and diligent, but my favorite thing about him is undoubtedly that he’s actually a 26 year-old felon from California.
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) February 21, 2018
To clarify @davidhogg111 can’t act to save his life. The fact that some people think he is being payed to is hilarious.
— Sarah Chadwick (@Sarahchadwickk) February 20, 2018
The topic of gun control has had a tendency to fade away a few days after a mass shooting. However, according to Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, the discussion of gun control didn’t fade. His answer? The students’ social media presence.
So far, Parkland is *not* fading from the news the way that mass shootings usually do. (The graph shows Google searches for the term "gun control".) The students speaking out makes a pretty big difference. pic.twitter.com/8IcJuJ6yTS
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 18, 2018
The students also took to Twitter to respond to politicians.
A gun has killed 17 of my fellow classmates. A gun has traumatized my friends. My entire school, traumatized from this tragedy. This could have been prevented. Please stfu tomi https://t.co/qNo03ZE3Ev
— Kyra Parrow (@longlivekcx) February 15, 2018
Dear Marco Rubio,
As a student who was inside the school while an active shooter was wreaking terror and havoc on my teachers and classmates with an AR-15, I would just like to say, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.
— Sarah Chadwick (@Sarahchadwickk) February 16, 2018
Make stricter gun control laws then https://t.co/UH9VGlX8XK
— Alex Wind (@al3xw1nd) February 14, 2018
The power of social media and its influence that it can have is certainly evident, especially when it comes to mass shootings.
What are your thoughts on the positive and negative impacts Twitter can have, especially when it comes to discussions and debate following mass shootings?