Debate team puts social media on trial

Lilly Montero , @Lilly_Montero3

The LMC Debate Team hosted their public debate Wednesday evening. The debate, which centered around the question of whether “social media has damaged our ability to have meaningful relationships,” made for a thought provoking discussion when it finished.

On the government’s side, the side arguing social media had caused damage, were debaters Arthur Klimkiewicz, Joseph Briggs, Lexee Roberts and Felero Smith. On the oppositions side, the side arguing social media had done more good than bad, were Gadai Bulgac, Brandon Hursh, Kelly Williams and Luis Martinez.

Klimkiewicz began the debate with hard hitting rhetorical questions, heavy data and a personal anecdote about how social media had impacted his relationship with his son.

“[Social media is] hijacking our loved ones and monopolizing our loved one’s attention,” said Klimkiewicz.

Social media is also inhibiting the development of social skills the debater pointed out, which turned into a running theme on the government’s side.

Gadai Bulgac, leader of the opposition, also gave a compelling speech on the benefits of social media. Bulgac honed in on its ability to connect people over great distances and the way it lends itself to community building.

Pulling from his own experience, Bulgac talked about how it can connect people with “obscure hobbies forming niche communities” like the one he found about the study of flags. His speech was light and comedic, but straight to the point.

“You aren’t limited in your ability to form meaningful relationships by your location,” said Bulgac.

Lexee Roberts and Felero Smith, seemed to pull in the win for the government side with their emotional and humorous speeches.

Roberts focused on the neurological effects of social media. Citing the dopamine rush likes, retweets and scrolling through endless feeds gives to the brain and how it essentially trains it to be unfocused. She also pointed out how the  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has recently designated Internet addiction as a mental illness, arguably one of her strongest points.

Felero, on the other hand, emphasized the time it took away from connecting with your loved ones.

“Maybe I should make a Youtube so my niece can see me, cause right now I can’t see her,” he said.

Ultimately, the crowd sided with the government.

Debate coaches Star Steers and Marie Kaufman were proud of their debaters. With a team of only three remaining veterans and five rookie debaters to train, this semester has been one of growth.

“I’m extremely proud of our five new debaters. It is not an easy feat and they far exceeded our expectations,” said Kaufman.

Steers was equally impressed and looking forward to the spring semester.

“I’m looking to see what the new debaters do with the confidence this gave them,” said Steers.

Those interested in speech and debate can register for Speech 160 through Insite.