The Powers of Social Media

We live in a world absolutely consumed with social media. There’s an outlet for almost every type of content one could wish to share. Instagram is for pictures, Twitter is for thoughts, Facebook is collaboration. There’s no denying the fact social media helps people around the world connect with one another and provides a platform on which otherwise potentially voiceless people can be heard. It also does wonders for companies from a marketing and customer service perspectives. However, I believe people obsess, overuse, and overindulge in social media without thinking of the possible consequences.

With the invention of smart phones, what was once confined to computers is now accessible at our fingertips 24 hours a day. This is extremely detrimental. At school, large, long lectures are mostly filled with students scrolling through Yik Yak or Twitter. Why even bother showing up if you aren’t going to pay attention? I’m guilty of this as well – I have caught myself too many times scrolling through something pointless then glancing up at the world happening around me and wondering what I missed. My biggest pet peeve is when I’m having a conversation with someone and they pick up their phone and start fiddling with something. I will refuse to repeat myself. It’s easy to get caught up in the online world and miss out on actual life.

I believe social media has made everyone less social. I remember coming here as a freshman and being eager and excited to make friends in my building. Waiting for the elevator with a group of people on the first day, I couldn’t even get the chance to make eye contact let alone strike up a conversation. Everyone was on their phones, scrolling through something. Not having a smart phone yet, I didn’t realize how addicting it can truly be.

I think it’s also imperative to mention that social media carries a lot of responsibility and I’m not convinced the world fully understands that yet. Once a post is set out to the internet, it’s there forever. I am thankful the social media and smart phone boom happened when I was older. I can only imagine the horrifying selfies of braces and blue eyeshadow that would come back to haunt me if I had an Instagram in 7th grade. The internet is treated as a casual entity as we are all familiar with it by now. But it’s vital to remember that it’s also a powerful thing that doesn’t care if you regret drunk tweeting about your love affair with pizza at 3 am. With kids getting cell phones with the best technology younger and younger, I think it’s important someone at least clue them in on the responsibility that comes with it using social media apps. What may seem cool at the time may not be how you feel in a year or two, and the internet doesn’t forget.

That being said, social media has done amazing things for our world. Take the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 that was assisted by Twitter and other social media outlets. These platforms give voices to everyday people, and that is truly an incredible feat. Anyone can be heard and share their opinion. Social media is also in important tool for companies and those who don’t utilize it are missing out. It is simply the way of the world now, and if you want your company to have a chance you better hop on the trend. My friend’s sister got a job at a highly respected company and her daily activities consist of searching Twitter for mentions of the corporation and righting wrongs when she finds complaints. Social media is undoubtedly an enormous tool in our world today, but it is important to monitor what we choose to share with the world. Do I throw in a Voltaire/Spiderman quote here? (When in doubt, the answer is always yes).

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