Power of Social Media

This title is nothing new to all of you. Being raised in this technological era, your parents, teachers and everyone who is an adult in your life has told you about the consequences and negative impacts social media has on the world. From cyber bullying to spending way too much time watching cute animal videos, social media is invading our world and everyone in it. Although this might be true, has anyone ever really stopped to look at the positive impacts social media has? Yes the negatives may outnumber them, but they are still there nonetheless and they still have an impact whether we like it or not.

Let’s start with something simple. Social media has brought people together from all over the world. You can communicate with your siblings or relatives in far away countries, long lost friends you met when on your travels during the summer, or the heartbreaking long-distance relationship you are desperately trying to maintain. Connecting people on a global level is one positive everyone can agree on.

Let’s take this up a notch. What about these social media platforms reaching out to a wider audience? Are any of you keeping up to date with the Six Nations? Twitter’s trends and hashtags enable you to connect with people from all over the world to discuss scores and player performances. Ever see the score of Premiere League matches pop up on your Facebook? This is social media taking a pastime a lot of people enjoy and putting it out there for others to engage in. Instead of focusing on individuals and their need to connect to others, these platforms have also allowed for organisations and charities to communicate with the world. Fundraiser events, donation pages and let’s not forget the ‘check in’ button on Facebook during the horrific terrorists attacks all over Europe.

Social media can be life changing in a way, but with the increasing attention of young generations not knowing how to use it properly, the positives are pushed aside. If you still aren’t convinced, which I’m sure most of you are, I am going to use a very recent and nearby example that we all know: the recent incident involving Maynooth University student, Kym Owens. Something so horrific was right at our doorstep which makes it that harder to comprehend, especially for her family and close friends. One thing I noticed during that week was how the majority of university students pulled together through social media in order to raise funds for Ms Owens and also to ensure that others were not left alone when walking home, as the cause of her injuries are still under investigation.

The charity night held by the Roost was shared on Facebook and I am sure the majority of you clicked ‘going’ with the intention of doing something for one of our own. That sense of belonging and community through social media was one of the ways fellow students could reach out during this time. There are a countless number of positives when looking at social media, but with this daunting world the negatives stand out more. It is important to learn and understand how social media works, but at the end of the day, these platforms were only created for people’s entertainment. The scary part is that it is not the platform that decides on these negatives, it is the users with the power to click and comment.