Here’s the deal: I hate social media. Ok, let me clarify that just a bit. The truth is, I actually love social media. I love what it can do for brands, and I love what it can do for individuals who know how to use it. What I hate about social media is how it’s twisted the meaning of what it means to be social.
When social media first came on the scene, it was supposed to change the world. Suddenly, we could be “friends” with hundreds, if not thousands of people. We could keep up with our friends from high school and see what our college friends were doing after they graduated. We had instant access to developing news stories and could keep up with the times without having to read a newspaper. We could even keep up with the “private” lives of celebrities!
Time for a quick tour of the evolution of social media :
Social media has gone from an entertaining factor to a fully integrated aspect of nearly aspect of daily life. Politics, the workplace, homelife, dating life. The advent of social media has changed the way we communicate forever. Before I cover the bad let's talk about the good
Will Smith: “Racism Is Not Getting Worse, It’s Getting Filmed”
The image of a police officer kneeling on the neck of a George Floyd while he is in police custody, handcuffed and saying he cannot breath will be forever be burned into my memory. In the last few weeks, many of us have been following the protests sparked by his killing through social media and online news publications.
George Floyd is not the first black man to be killed by police brutality. Before him, there were many black people lost and civil rights activists had been calling for change well before this moment. However, what makes it different now is the sheer size of the response.The Black Lives Matter movement is a quintessential example of a movement that’s found successful amplification through social media. According to a newly released Pew study, the hashtag has been used nearly 30 million times on Twitter — an average of 17,003 times per day.
Storytelling expressed through a picture can be a very powerful tool in social media for working towards inequality and unfairness. As we do not live in an ideal world, we should be always striving to improve it and uncover the roots of the many issues that impact on society in a negative way. The Arab Spring cemented the idea that social media can topple dictatorships by freeing citizens all over the globe to come together. And this is why I love social media, it just takes one tweet, one picture, and one post and your life could literally change forever.
Now the bad:
The very same attributes that make social media a positive force in our lives make it potentially dangerous. For example, anonymity allows for cyberbullying which has led to many young people taking their lives. The unrealistic expectation social media has created. Social media has created a culture of perfection and it does not stop at filtering. It seems like nowadays people rely on social media to feel validated about their lives.
Have you ever waited to eat a meal because you needed the perfect Snapchat or Instagram post?…..
In the rare case that you haven’t, there’s a very high chance that you know someone who does put their life on hold for the perfect post.
Social media paints an idealised picture of what life should be like. There is a constant comparison with everything in life. It’s problematic because it again sets expectations as to what a certain individual should be up to and when that individual can’t, he or she is exposed to all the things he or she might be missing out on.
The truth is, we live in an incredible time. Where information and ideas and connections are at our fingertips! How we use them and when we use them are really up to us. It is a choice and one that shouldn’t be discounted.
Social media is not going anywhere. The more we can love it and understand it, the better it will serve us. And the better we will be able to equip ourselves, and our future children. They are moving into a very connected world and our generation needs to be ready to hand them the reigns and show them the good and the bad of social media. I think it’s ok to love and hate something at the same time. I think today I will choose to embrace social media and all the opportunities it can open.