Social media is what everyone and anyone talk about these days. Even if someone doesn’t have social media, they still somehow get around to it in a conversation. Nowadays, information on social media can become viral in seconds, and even quicker than any news outlet can report on it. We all have our own opinions on different topics and when it’s put out there on any social media platform, whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or even Facebook, it can either bring people together or tear each other apart. While social media can be a scary place, in my opinion I feel like the world of social media can evolve into a positive and impactful place in the future.
Once the world was turn upside down with the introduction of the coronavirus or COVID-19, the world has banned together in more ways than I have ever seen before. During this chaotic time, the world has come to see the value in each other whether that’s through facetime and phone calls to friends and family members, helping to provide food and necessities to struggling families, donations, or whatever it may be. In fact, because of quarantine, in order to help one another the world has turned to social media because of how quickly information is spread and everyone has at least one or more social media accounts. There have even been donations set up online that have gone viral on social media to help struggling families, essential workers, and first responders. My personal favorite is that people have set up hashtags to go with their posts that spreads happiness and joy to each other during this scary time. To help spread it people celebrities being the ones to get it off the ground. These hashtags that have gone viral throughout all social media platforms has made this time in quarantine a little less frightening for many people because they are able to come up with unique challenges with their family and friends that they can do during this lockdown and then challenge other people to do it. Since the virus has canceled all live events, shows, and sports, celebrities are taking to social media to give it back to those who were supposed to see them live or just to spread a little joy. Doing Instagram Lives has been their outlet by doing mini-concerts, talking with other celebrities, and doing their own mini-show.
While everyone is doing everything helping to keep the spirits up and to keep up the hope, there will always be doubters and those who spread negativity and continue to do so no matter what others are going through. Clay Shirky says it best in his TedTalk, “How Social Media Can Make History”, when he states “Media is less and less often about crafting a single message to be consumed by individuals it’s more and more often a way of creating an environment for convening and supporting groups.” Those who spread negativity or those with different opinions on a certain topic want the followers and for groups to start forming based on their words. The world today is so susceptible to believe anything even without all the facts that they will be quick to judge or join a side.
Aside from all that there are also a ton of social media campaigns that were successful and went viral. There are two in particular that fall in this category and one didn’t just promote a product but a message that the world needed right now. Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that took the social media world by storm very quickly. Everyone from people like us to celebrities, and even the president, Obama, got involved. Not only did it cost practically nothing to begin with, but they were able to raise more than $115 million in order to get closer to a cure for the disease. Clay talked about how social media was able to make information go viral in a short amount of time, to the point where the people knew what was happening before any news outlet did. This is true for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because it wasn’t really covered in the news until celebrities and powerful people started shedding more light onto the subject. Dove created a social media campaign to promote positive body image and boost self-esteem for women. The company’s campaign was able to spread positivity and it gained so much traction that it was able to help women who needed the campaign in their lives. It was also a positive light for many people who are in a world where anything bad and negative that was on the news or being spread around on social media was at the forefront of everything for so long.
Overall, social media has become important in our lives, whether it’s to get information, to spread a message or opinion, to get something done, or even to shed light on something really important that should be changed or improved upon. While there will always be those to spread negativity and hate, once this health crisis has slowed down and we go back to our lives, I believe social media will become a more positive and impactful place even if it takes some time.