I have been chatting about social media this month – the good, the bad and the ugly. And I wanted to finish on a high note. I love social media. I love how it democratises information. How it has created universally accessible platforms for expression and connection. How it allows like-minded people to become friends.How it brings the previously inaccessible closer. Sure, there is the trolling, the judgemental comments, the bullying and the invasion of privacy, but there are so many lighter sides to the darker underbelly.
Here are the reasons I love social media:
- There are things in life that can make you feel acutely isolated. Experiences that you are not sure anyone around you understands. Social media offers connections to those that are going through the same thing. People that you might never have met otherwise, offering comfort, guidance and understanding because they have either been there or are going through it.
- The nightly news and the local rag offer a very limited view of the world. Social media opens up the channels of information. I can access views and opinions over a broad range of issues, not just what local media owners want me to see. And when news first breaks, I am more likely to learn about via social media than the radio, paper or television.
- There are amazing communities on-line. Inspiring, beautiful people who have become a part of my every day. On-line friends that I have never met in person, and may never meet in person, but enrich my life.
- I love how accessible it is. I love how it has allowed small businesses to thrive. How creative people have been able to use social media to showcase their work to the kind of audience they never would have had without it. Yes, it has become harder as social networks have monetised, but getting in front of thousands and thousands of people with your work as an indie artist prior to social media would have nearly impossible.
- It has given those who traditionally didn’t have a voice a megaphone. Social Media is the ultimate example of people power. It connects those with common concerns. It can mobilise action. It can unite the disenfranchised. It can turn a minority into a force.
Someone once asked Reddit if someone arrived from 50 years in the past, what thing would you have the hardest time explaining?
I like this answer best: I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at videos of cats and get in arguments with strangers.
Sometimes I feel that way about social media as well – we have this incredible, powerful tool that is often dismissed as trite or a waste of time. Carly Findlay wrote an excellent post about just this thing. I don’t think we have even come close to realising social media’s potential.
What do you love or hate about social media?