Social Media has undoubtedly become a huge part of our lives over the past few years. Apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Tik Tok, and many more have taken over so many aspects of our lives. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine our lives without them. But, does that mean we’re using it right? The answer isn’t as clear as we’d like it to be.
Social media has become so prominent in the 21st century that in early 2019, Elon Musk raised the idea of essentially removing the space between the social and the media through an invention — at some point in the future — of a brain implant that connects human tissue to computer chips. While the technology is yet to be perfected, it’s not hard to believe that our future is headed in this direction. But where does that leave us today, in 2020?
As quickly as social media has placed itself within our worlds of politics, the workplace, home life, and the teenage mind, its fundamental use has also changed. For many, social media is merely a way to stay connected, share their personal life with the world, and create a following. We send snaps on Snapchat, scroll through dozens of posts on Instagram, and laugh at our family Whatsapp group chats. Now, we also use Zoom for our classes and meetings. But is that all we can and should use social media for?
Social media is an extremely powerful tool that, when used appropriately, can create new connections, and be the platform for the masses to speak up for themselves, and also help us educate ourselves better. All we have to do is use it properly. It is like a hammer, you can use it to build something with meaning or purpose or to simply destroy something. Social media is neither “bad” nor is it “good”. It is simply a platform that we must take advantage of more meaningfully.
The “#blacklivesmatter” and “#metoo” movements are perfect examples of the usage of social media gone right. Supporters of these movements took advantage of their ability to share and spread a message with the tenacity for the world to know of the message they are trying to spread. Today such movements are at the epicenters of change in our world and they too had to start their message somewhere.
Some students in our own community recently shared a petition about the overwhelming workload from the shift to online classes. This petition circulated through social media. It sparked a discussion within the administration at school, and actually helped bring change.
Additionally, during the recent STUCO elections, candidates promoted and shared their ideas by campaigning, more than ever, by sharing their goals on platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, and holding debates and Q&As on Zoom.
More than ever, social media is being used spreading ideas, voicing opinions, and speaking up. Talk shows, like The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live, are using IGTV, Snapchat, and Youtube to run their shows. It has given us an opportunity to create, share, and change not just things about ourselves, but perhaps things on the front line of concerns in our world. Social media is a tool we need to be responsible with.
Today in the face of an unprecedented crisis, social media has become a necessary tool. Yes, it should be used for staying connected with friends and family, and it is fair to say that we’re not misusing social media, however, there is so much more we can do with it. It is important to maintain a balance between good and bad, and right and wrong, and in today’s day and age, we are struggling to find that balance and to use social media to its true potential.
Luke Dsouza is a staff reporter
Edited by Janvi Poddar