Thursday, December 10, 2015

Social Media and Social Change

There is no doubt that social media has grown into a staple in today's society, but what we sometimes fail to realize is that power it has beyond simply a tool for personal use.

It seems as though ever since the explosion of #BlackLivesMatter back when the Michael Brown case occurred, social media has turned a leaf and is being used to erupt social change. Through the use of hashtags, the story of Michael Brown not only swept the United States, but social media platforms around the globe. Using tags such as #BlackLivesMatter, #MichaelBrown, and #HandsUpDontShoot, people all around the world had Michael Brown entering their homes even when the media wasn't covering the story, and this is another beautiful asset that social media has for social change.

The media is very picky. They choose stories that not only interest them, but that will interest the public. In doing so, some stories either get left behind or told from a completely biased view; this is where social media steps in. There are millions of users on Twitter and Facebook, all with millions of different opinions. You could turn on the news and hear one side of a story, but you could turn to the uses of social media and hear a number of other ones. Although this could lead to false information, it can also lead to a broadening of the mind. I may think one way about a situation because of something I've seen on the news, but I could turn to Twitter, see someones points on the same issue, and completely change my mind simply because I hadn't thought about it that way before.

Too, social media also works to get the word out and bring people together. An amazing example of this would be for Evan Leversage of St. George, Ontario who had millions hear about his situation. Using the hashtags #LightsOnForEvan and #EvansLastChristmas, his story spread across the world. Donations flooded in, thousands attended his christmas parade, and in a bittersweet fashion, now thousands will be attending his funeral. This goes to show how a simple "share", "like", and "retweet" can take something small and make it large beyond measure.

In closing, our world is constantly in flux. Disasters happen, miracles happen, there's good news and bad news, but one things for sure is that social media is becoming the main source of communication between all of it. If you want to know about an event, you turn to twitter, if you want to see a funny video or share a story, Facebook is there. Social media is growing so rapidly, that we have no choice to adapt, but luckily, it allows us the opportunities to change the world.

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