Pro: Social Media Does More Good

MacKenzie Guynn I remember when I first got a social media account. It was fifth grade, and I was still trying to figure out having a smart phone. My friends continuously told me about Instagram and insisted I get it, and when I did, I was in awe at the ability to see and share photos with my friends instantly. Since then, social media has definitely progressed. I was introduced to Snapchat, Vine, and Twitter, as well as some others that didn’t last as long, like ask.fm, MySpace, or kik. Throughout the rapid succession of social media, my interest remained strong. Over the years since I was introduced to social media, I have constantly been pleased by the ability it has given me to express myself. The variety of uses of each social media platform is wide and allows people to share their thoughts with a 140 character tweet, a picture with a witty (or not so witty) caption, or a story of snapshots from their day. The multitude of ways to share ensures that people are able to express themselves as much or as little as they want to. The best thing about social media for me is the idea that you have access to an unimaginable amount of information at your fingertips. This not only includes random facts, or a post that ranges anywhere from interesting to oddly funny; through social media, we can also instantly know what someone across the world is thinking. It not only allows us to gain more information about the world, but also the different perspectives that come with growing up in environments other than our own. While social media plays a large part in connecting us internationally, it also fosters local community. Building a community online is something that fifth-grade me could never imagine, and yet we see it everyday. Facebook is a major component of Latin’s online presence. There are groups with the members of various clubs, grades, or classes. It’s a place where announcements are posted and people can share videos that resonate with them. Because of the ability social media gives us to learn and share, countless voices that might not otherwise be heard are able to reach millions. Social media is also largely responsible for the creation of many social movements because of the vast population it reaches. Some of the more popular ones include the ice bucket challenge, #YesAllWomen, and Black Lives Matter. All of these movements were successful in bringing an issue to the forefront of news, starting important conversations while still remaining behind screens for the most part. The Ice Bucket Challenge fueled awareness and urged people to join in the fight against ALS. The #YesAllWomen movement brought issues that all women face to the forefront after the Santa Barbara shooting in 2014. Black Lives Matter used social media to give a voice to the black population of America in response to police brutality and violence. All of these movements, plus many others, use social media as a platform to reach, inform, and even resist. They were able to reach thousands, if not millions, of people without having to be censored.Each movement was then able to successfully bring their efforts offline, expanding the conversation. Movements are not the only groups who use social media as a means of spreading awareness. Businesses and organizations also rely on social media to advertise and expand. For example, companies such as CNN, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, and ESPN have a slot in Snapchat’s discover page. This gives them greater exposure, as well as an easy way for people to read the information they provide. I, for one, get my news from CNN or Now This News and having them in Snapchat makes my day a lot easier. The invention of social media also allows many businesses to launch. Companies such as the Skimm are heavily based online rather than having a paper trail. This is not only efficient for the user, but it also makes for a constantly growing business model, as technology is being changed and advanced each day. Social media platforms are a relatively new concept, but they are slowly becoming the largest part of our lives. Social media is going to continue to adapt and conform to what we need it to be. The idea that social media will never go out of style may be the most important part about it. The want to express yourself in countless ways, grow global and local communities, and create change will always be present in humans, but now they can all be fulfilled with the push of a button. ]]>