BERKELEY, Calif. — As his final semester at UC Berkeley commences, senior Joel Ryan documents his proud achievement of enrolling in Robert Reich’s course Wealth & Poverty. While not officially required by the Twitter-verified professor, Ryan and hundreds of his classmates flock to social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to earn well-deserved clout for simply taking Public Policy 103.
“The inspiration I feel by having a professor who is verified on Twitter is incredible,” says Ryan. “Growing up in the humble town of Newport Beach, I never would have imagined that I, an average aspiring political scientist, would be granted the opportunity to be in direct communication with that blue check mark.”
Ryan explains that he has always been a fan of the former United States Secretary of Labor. During the lead up to the 2020 Election, Ryan claims to have re-posted nearly half a dozen of Reich’s tweets on his Instagram story in demonstration of his devoted political activism.
“I have a vocation to spread political awareness to my conservative followers through social media,” continues Ryan, “And by posting Professor Robert Reich’s Zoom screen on my instagram story, everyone will know that I really do care about politics and am just overall extremely woke.”
While the Instagram story post was ultimately a success, Ryan explains that the journey to that perfection was a bumpy road. Although the image of Reich could be clearly seen, the bottom text displaying his name was blurry, as his iPhone camera failed to focus property. This technological difficulty presented immense challenges and frustration to Ryan. Yet as a UC Berkeley student, he was accustomed to confronting adversity and was determined not to succumb to the wrath of autofocus.
Although the course was challenging, Ryan was able to attain his perfect photo of the famous professor only ninety-three minutes into the two hour lecture, but it was all worth it when his fraternity little commented a “fire” and “one-hundred” emoji in response to the story. While Ryan’s social media ambitions may have prevented him from learning about wealth and/or poverty that day, he learned a little something about perseverance.