What are you saying with social media?

Social media provides new ways to speak, be heard and start change.

Chloe McElmury, Senior Columnist

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Social media dominates the digital world. We hear all about the dangers, catfishing and fake news associated with it. However, many more use it to share, inspire and advocate. Take for example the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.” The New York Times reported the phenomenon helped to raise over $115 million, bringing new attention to the cause and desire for a cure.

On the political spectrum, while we don’t always want to see that creepy uncle of ours make Facebook post after post about why he loves Trump, how incredible is it that we’ve started to have a greater conversation about politics? We see more stances challenged, facts questioned and debates being started. A topic once taboo, and still just that in many instances, is being discussed more frequently. Social media has helped bring topics like cancer awareness and political change to the surface in order to send a message.

When you think about it, that’s what we are all doing: sending a message. We might post flirty full-length photos on Instagram, sending our ex the message that we are well over him. We might share posts with a hashtag showing solidarity with a movement for social justice. We might simply share a post of our beloved dog to say that we miss our pets. Whatever message you send, you’ve thought about what you want to get out of your social media posting.

There are countless other positive uses for social media. I for one enjoy the connectivity it provides me to relatives I can’t visit everyday. While there was a point in my life I dreaded parents and grandparents dominating Facebook, now I embrace it.

My aunts, grandparents and faraway cousins are able to stay updated with my life. I try to talk to my family often, but being a college student and procrastinator in general, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Instead of through the traditional phone call, other interactions populate our digital lives. My mom can tag me in tempting cooking videos on Facebook. My cousins can see my Instagram posts and recommend new places to visit. If social media didn’t exist, I would not be interacting with my family as much, if at all.

Instead of talking, we are sharing. Our relatives and followers are motivating us, cheering us on. When we update our Facebook profile to include our well-earned promotion, we hear back the emoji-fied claps from our friends and family. This positivity can be hard to find in the world, but with social media, it’s always present. There’s always another cute dog photo, adorably dressed baby or epic fail video to see. There are entire social media accounts dedicated to these topics. Videos that “restore our faith in humanity” are ever-popular. All of these are still shared and retweeted because they make us feel good. There’s no better word to describe it.

When we’re feeling down, social media is there to pick us back up. We see an overly-cheesy message about finding ourselves or loving who we are, saving it for the next time you need a little pick-me-up. Instagram photos of art accounts, photographers and creatives spark our interests in hobbies that could turn into careers. Social media allows us to share a window into our lives with the world, no matter who we might be. This gigantic power allows us to influence and empower those who choose to give us a follow.

Source for the Ice Bucket Challenge:


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