Let’s Use Social Media As a Force for Good

by Anna Maria Hoffman

Social media plays a big role in our lives, and we’re all familiar with its positive and negative effects.

We see how social media helps us maintain our friendships, connect with like-minded political people, grow nonprofits we support, remain informed about big news stories, draw awareness to issues we care about, and so much more. We especially maintain our relationships online by sharing photos and articles, and posting status updates or tweets about our joys and struggles, our successes and failures.

As our society has become more interconnected online, we have seen people increasingly share more details about their lives on the Internet and spend less time with others in the real world. When we have conversations in the real world, we often have many discussions about what happens online. It’s as if our generation maintains online and offline lives, yet blends them together.

While there are many perks to social media, we must acknowledge that it has led to increased loneliness, distortions in relationships, and higher instances of libel and slander. It’s already having damaging psychological and emotional effects on our generation, as people our age fear the consequences of their online actions and how their online activity will impact their future.

People our age are communicating their emotional states through status updates, tweets, and photos, especially “selfies.” They crave the realness and comfort that come with substantive real world interactions that are increasingly getting replaced by online interactions. Our generation looks forward to getting more “likes” on their photos, more attention on their:  status updates, and more retweets on their tweets every day.

As human beings, we are social beings. We heal from tough situations and celebrate our successes best when we communicate with people in the real world. We love face-to-face interactions and connecting with others on an emotional level in person. Social media cannot replace any of that.

Even though social media is plagued with many negatives, like anything in life, we can change its negative perception in the media and its negative effects on us. Our generation should use it as a force for good to make the world a better place.

We should use social media to promote values, positive messages, good political causes, and valuable nonprofits. Essentially, we should use it to work towards the betterment of our society than as a tool that promotes narcissism, animosity, and needless toxicity.

Yes, it may seem hypocritical of me to be sharing this message on social media, but we can only address and fix problems where they occur. Things will only change if We the People make a change in our online interactions for the better.

Let’s pass this message along to more people, so social media can become a force for good rather than a negative mark on our generation.

This blog post was originally published on Counter Cultured’s “Lady’s Nook” column.

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