Back in 1997 the first social media platform launched, changing the way we communicate, learn, and experience entertainment. The launch of this site created a wave that allowed our society to have all the information and people we need with just a touch of a button. Social media has become an everyday tool for most people in our society. But with the increased popularity many people are speculating as to whether or not it is good for us. Many people believe that having our lives on the internet is an extremely bad and dangerous thing. Others think that being able to share opinions immediately and reach a vast amount of people has caused many issues in our country. Although these things may be true I believe social media is important in our lives for just those reasons. People are able to reach one another instantly and feel included and accepted. People are able to receive and send news instantly. And people are able to change the world while sitting at home.
The first reason I believe it is important is because we can connect instantly. It is incredible that I can know what is going on in someone’s life that lives far away and I otherwise wouldn’t see or hear from. For example when I was in kindergarten I had a best friend that moved away to Arizona. Our parents stayed in contact on Facebook and when we were old enough we were able to connect on Facebook ourselves. To this day I know what is going on in her life and vice versa, this isn’t even the only example of this in my life. Many middle aged people use Facebook to reconnect with people they went to school with and ended up losing contact with. But it doesn’t even have to be someone who you know for it to be remarkable. There are many sites where people meet tons of new friends. In fact I myself have met lots of people via Twitter and Instagram. It is truly astounding that through the power of social media people, who without it would have never met or never reconnected, get the chance to do so. Not only does this allow us to share what is going on in our lives but also to feel included in each other’s lives and to feel as though we belong. . The world is a harsh place and it can be hard to deal with when you feel like you are alone in your situation. Now that social media is available people can connect with others just like them. For example, before social media being gay may have felt very lonely and like you were the only one going through it. I am certain that people still feel that way but now there are websites and forums and pages and apps that allow gay people to connect so they don’t feel so alone. That’s just one example of people who have greatly benefited from social media. This doesn’t just apply to people who are “outsiders” but literally everyone. I know when I went off to college I felt a little like I was left out of things back at home, but through social media I felt like I could catch up on things which made me feel included. Life gets busy and sometimes that can make people lonely and feel left out of all the fun, they might not be able to join in but at least they get a little taste via social platforms.
Another reason social media is so important is that news is shared and received instantly. Before social media everyone would have to sit down and actually watch the news at night or in the morning to know what was going on in the world. Not too many people my age watched the news and we were uniformed about what was happening. Now we get news faster than ever before and it is directly on our phones. Not only are news stations posting stories as they are happening but with the new live feature on Facebook they can literally be on the scene and you can watch them from your phone as it is happening. A few days ago there was a house on fire near where I live. I got a notification from Facebook saying a local news station had went live. They were broadcasting the event as the fire department was showing up, that’s how fast news is received. Another important role social media plays in news is that there are many different sources of news now. Before you would just trust what your local news station or newspaper said but now you have sometimes have ten sources writing about the same thing. Nowadays political parties play a huge role in what people think and believe. Politics aside it’s amazing that there are stations for whatever your belief is. The one part I really enjoy about that is although some articles may be biased there is usually another article written by a different station that has a different point of view on the situation. I think this has greatly changed politics for the best. We now receive an abundance of information and from multiple viewpoints which allows us to determine what we as individuals believe are right.
Thirdly, social media is vital because people can literally change the world while sitting at home. Do you know how much more difficult it was to campaign a charity before social media? Imagine trying to reach the world, but you have absolutely no way to do so. Now that’s completely different. When I was in high school I worked with an organization called SEND (Students Empowering Nigerian Development). This organization was put together to help build a school in Nigeria. One of the ways money was raised was by starting a go fund me. The go fund me was shared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and people from all over donated to the cause. Through the power of social media people were able to make a huge change in a totally different country. This happens every single day. It’s not just people sharing things to donate to but simply just putting the word out. People are changing the world everyday by simply learning more about charities and organizations that need help. Or they are just learning about situations that need help and helping. So many people didn’t know about the ocean being filled with trash and now there are tons of group who are building devices to clean it, getting in the ocean and picking up the trash, or even just advocating about it.
In conclusion, social media has allowed our society to stay in constant contact, to receive news as it is happening, and change the world from our small corner of it. The difference in our society since 1997 when that first site launched is a huge difference. Who knows what things will be like in another 20 years.