Social media is the biggest platform of the 21st century, it reaches 2.46 billion people worldwide and incorporates mediums such as newspapers and letters. Apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow people to see what you are doing at any moment you decide to share it, you can share photos or messages with anybody you want in an instant. With the likes of IMessage, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat you can get in contact with a given person 24/7. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a naive person and I don’t think this is the healthiest way of interaction however I can really see the positives which social media provides.
Being able to have an outlet to share your experiences, positive or negative, can make the situation less lonely. It can reach people you may not be able to reach if you were just talking to a friend or a colleague, it can allow people to see it and think “I am going through the same thing”. This could allow them to feel more confident in their situation, it could show them what can be done and also could give them a feeling of comradery that you are not alone in your experiences. An example of the way social media has connected people dealing with similar experiences was the recent #MeToo Movement which came around in October 2017 soon after the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations. This movement encouraged people who had experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape to come forward and say “Me Too” to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault especially in the work place. This movement mainly used on social media with the #MeToo hashtag to show how often sexual crimes were committed. It also allowed people to share their experiences and gain confidence to start their healing processes, it also allowed them to find other people who had been through the same ordeals and to get inspiration on how to move forward. When being a victim is such a lonely place, having hundreds of people feelings similar things makes it so much less lonely.
A huge aspect of social media isn’t people we know personally but social media influencers, whether that be ‘instagrammers’, ‘you tubers’ or ‘bloggers’ they are all very present in the social media space. To just show how huge these influencers are in our community it is rumoured that some brands will pay around 6 figures for a stand-alone video or post about their product.
Now I don’t see anything wrong with this because people have to pay their bills and if a brand is willing to pay that amount of money to an influencer chances are they have worked really hard to get there. It is an unconventional job but as time goes on and the influencer status shifts higher it will become less frowned upon. The thing is with social media is that you only get to see the sides of people they want you to see which can lead you into believing that everything is perfect for everyone but yourself, however as long as you are aware of this and have a mindset which takes everything with a pinch of salt it’s not a huge problem. Not all social media influencers are problematic, some are inspirational and genuine which really creates the sense of community within the social media world. An example of this is:
Imogen from Imogenation on YouTube, she spreads the positive message of love hard and be yourself. She is so passionate about her job and her ‘huns’ that is hard not to be moved by here. Imogen does story times which highlight battles she has fought and overcome which she uses to help others going through a similar situation. She is very real and emotional and tries to document as much as she can to really connect with her viewers, watching her videos is like sitting with a friend. I personally find her so inspirational and her outlook on everything has really helped me put my thoughts into perspective. She aims to help people love themselves for who they are and be completely unapologetic for that which I think it is so necessary in a world where self esteem issues are at a high. Influencers like Imogen really are a huge pro for social media as they allow people who struggle with issues or cannot find positive non toxic people to have someone to help them. It may be behind a screen but that is so much more useful than having nobody.
I can see the downfalls of social media but with it being such a massive platform in today’s society it is inconceivable how we can just disregard it completely. When used properly it can be such a perfect place to connect with people and to create a community you may not have in your real life.