OPINIONS
Keep social media social BY ASHLEY MCCANN

Photo courtesy of Thomas Pullin.

Social media outlets have the incredible ability to connect individuals all around the world in a matter of seconds. The evolution of language and its different modes of communication is nothing short of remarkable.

 

With technology improving every day, the opportunities for communication seem endless. High school sweethearts, co-workers and that aunt who lives in Pensacola, Fla. are just a click or two away.

 

The internet, specifically through social media, has revolutionized the ways people communicate with one another, and the opportunities for establishing healthy, global relationships are at an all-time high.

 

These opportunities increase the ability for people all over the world to gain exposure to many different cultures.

Want to raise money to help Puerto Rico? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help with that. Want to spread the word about upcoming charitable events and volunteer opportunities? Never fear, just log-in to LinkedIn, send some pictures via Snapchat and pay good ole Pinterest a visit. All of these social media sites can serve as valuable outlets to disseminate information and identify helpful organizing techniques and resources.

 

However, with all of these positive avenues to pursue, many individuals seem to miss the mark when it comes to using social media outlets for their potential good.

 

Every Facebook post seems to be accompanied by insults, arguments and hatred. Instagram posts are full of criticism and body shaming and Snapchat is slowly transforming into an outlet for cyber bullying and sexual harassment. While many may argue that the dialogue on social media is helpful in terms of addressing issues, in many cases, that is far from the truth.

 

Debating is a healthy necessity of life; however, there is a difference between debating and berating.

As a society, we need to address complex issues. We need to participate in difficult discussions in respectful ways. It’s time to take back the internet and, as reporter for The Guardian Matt Haig recently wrote, “Ensure we are still the ones using the technology – and that the technology isn’t using us.”

 

We need to use social media to discuss, debate and ultimately speak up for as many difficult situations as possible. We should rely on one another to be supportive and respectful. Bullying each other based on different political and social situations will not solve anything.

 

Know someone who could benefit from open discussion? Then actually have a discussion that’s centered around compassion, patience and love. Aggression is usually not a key player in persuasion, and if we want to make positive change, then we need to reflect on the ways we use social media.

 

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