The Fourth Estate

The Power of Words

YOU have more power at your fingertips than entire generations that came before you. Think about the words you choose because they will affect people from all over the world.

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The Power of Words

Itziar de Pedro Sarasola

Itziar de Pedro Sarasola

Itziar de Pedro Sarasola

Today. How many times did you open your notebook in class? How many times did you open your phone and send a text? How many times did you open your computer to type something? Our world is completely dominated by words. It has always been. Since the first stories were told by the wise elders to the young, when writing didn’t even exist, until today, when thousands of digital words are traveling from one side of the world to the other every second. And those insignificant-looking arrangements of letters have an immense amount of power over us: they influence our way of thinking, reasoning, and feeling. Words mark us.

From that first illustrated children’s book we read to the thick, endless dusty novels we read in high school; from that English essay that took hours and more than a couple cups of coffee to complete, to that simple three-word hurried text message we sent to our friend; from that political poster we saw on TV, to that cute post-it note that appeared inside our locker; words mark us. Why? Because they have a message: they are communicating a million different ideas that provoke a million different feelings in us.

The best magazines, advertisements, movies, and commercials are all strategically planned to be effective. There is a massive team behind those three simple ‘Just Do It’ words. They have a meaning, convey a message, transmit important information and are personal and emotionally compelling. They all have a story. A story which produces oxytocin, identified as the neurochemical responsible for empathy and narrative transportation.
In this day and age, we have more power in our phones than many generations before us together. We are able to address the whole world, make a photo or message go viral. Our phones are a massive bullhorn and we need to know how to use it. That is where words come in again. We need to be able to master the art of writing. What to say, what not to write. We have to be careful when writing to avoid sending a wrong message to the world.

We, teenagers in the digital era, unfortunately, sometimes use social media and online messaging carelessly. We have to understand the power our words have on others. Next time you open iMessage or are about to write a not-so-nice comment on someone’s post or decide to express your opinions online, take a second or two to think about it. Because those words are going to stay there. Although we may delete it and think it has disappeared, our phones write with permanent ink. Those words will be there, available for many to see and use. So think about this: would you be okay if your college admissions person read this? Or your future boss? Or the whole world when you become the next great doctor/lawyer/actor/CEO/president? Just remember how much power you have and use it well.

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The Power of Words