Nowadays when you walk down the street, almost everyone is looking down at his or her latest iPhone or Android device. They may be texting a friend or scrolling through the numerous social media apps that have developed over the years.
To think MySpace, the first popular social media site in the U.S., took off in 2008, is crazy when looked at in the massive scope of social media available today. Websites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Vine have played a huge role in social communication in the last few years.
Many will argue that social media create opportunities for cyber-bullying and hinder verbal communication skills. In reality, people choose to misuse social media and have no one to blame except themselves.
Merriam Webster dictionary defines “social media” to be “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other content.” Social media can create many positive ways for people to connect and raise awareness.
Celebrities, for instance, have taken advantage of social media sites by using them to communicate with their fans and share personal thoughts or random things that are happening in their lives. Celebrities have also used social media to promote causes and charities that they support.
In fact, MarketingProfs.com said that 98% of the largest charities and organizations use social media accounts to raise awareness for events and donations for various causes. They also use video footage to help inspire their audience.
The average person uses social media for communication — to catch up on the latest happenings in the lives of their friends and family. It also gives everyone a chance to express his or her creativity with photography, video making and much more.
Social media can even be used to turn your creativity into a source of income. Many college students utilize social media to promote their personal businesses, from hand-made jewelry and clothing to various other crafty creations.
Another social media outlet for creativity are blogs. Anyone can create their own blog, cover a niche and attract an audience. Given enough effort, blogs can also become sources of income as the page attracts more viewers and in turn, potential advertisers.
Students can check their school’s Twitter account for updates on events or what is happening on campus, as does the twitter for @RiderUniversity and other Rider organizations and clubs.
Not only have social media been used for pleasure, but sites such as YouTube and Vine have changed people’s lives. A popular user of these websites with thousands or even millions of followers can create a career for themself. On YouTube, a person can get paid for the videos that they put up, given the number of viewers is significant. Some people who start these accounts for fun do not realize how it can change their lives forever. With their creativity, they have made long-lasting jobs and connections through a video-sharing website.
For all of the amazingly positive things that have come from social media, it is not ruining society as much as people claim. Critics of social media need to look into the great opportunities that social media have created. Social media have shaped today’s society for the better, in ways we could have never imagined.
Freshman journalism major
Printed in the 10/15/14 issue.