Everyone has their highs and their lows throughout their life. At our lows the connections we have and make with others can help us get through hard times. Author and social media strategist, Anne-Sophie Reinhardt was struggling through an undiagnosed eating disorder years ago. At a time when she felt like giving up, she stumbled upon a podcast through social media. She quickly made new friends online, with whom she was able to be herself and share how she felt with others.
“I don’t think I would’ve been able to make it through this year had I not found friends online,” Reinhardt said. “Social media was a true blessing for me and enabled me to live the life I live today.”
While technology is often seen as a factor of decreased interaction, students said social media connects us, giving people a medium to strengthen relationships and help build self confidence along with promoting social change.
“I think social media has a lot of power to do good, as long as we use it in the appropriate manner,” senior Anusha Deshpande said.
In fact, according to a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, 52 % believed that social media helped strengthen their friendships, and 30% said that social media helped them feel more confident and outgoing.
Experts said that social media can also encourage students to become more proactive in their day-to-day lives.
“Social media can be a catalyst for motivating students to believe they can accomplish great things,” Tom DeSpiegelaere, Digital Marketing Expert said. “As students encounter pressures and anxieties in their daily lives, just one video or motivational quote can rekindle their self-confidence and maybe even reveal their true desires in life.”
Additionally, Deshpande said that social media can help bring awareness to a lot of issues in our world today. In fact, she uses social media as a way to spread a significant message about the period tax. She believes that the tax on menstrual products should be removed as “they are an absolute necessity, just like food”.
After speaking with a state senator, Megan Hunt, she was able to organize a petition shared through her Instagram.
“I put the link to the petition in my bio as did my other friends and mentioned it in my story a couple times. That really helped us reach out to get more signatures,” Deshpande said. “There were a lot of people who followed me on Instagram that signed the petition, and without social media, I wouldn’t have been able to reach out to them.”
Along with individuals like Deshpande, organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union use social media as a way to communicate as well.
Sam Petto, Communications Director of ACLU of Nebraska communicates through social media in order to prompt their mission.
“It’s my responsibility to make sure we are consistently communicating in a way that advances our mission by mobilizing action, educating Nebraskans, and influencing how civil rights are discussed in our state,” Petto said.
Petto runs various social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. On Instagram and Facebook, at least one post is made everyday.
“It is vital. If organizations want to run an effective communications program, they almost have to be engaged on social media,” Petto said. Social media will be with us for the foreseeable future and likely in some form or another for the rest of our lives.”.
Along with uplifting one another, social media has helped inform users about issues in our world today on a much larger scale as it raises awareness to issues that might’ve even been invisible to some users.
As younger generations continue to use social media, they have a way of making a positive impact in our communities and providing a better world for future generations as well.