Social media power rises

Frankie Clarke

From your average Grady student to President Obama, almost everyone has a presence on social media. With 500 million tweets and 50 million Instagram posts uploaded worldwide per day, bold tweets by Trump aren’t the only things creating controversy.

Social media can be an outlet for many important discussions, some proactive, like the ice bucket challenge that raised thousands of dollars for ALS. Many campaigns have also spread across the world raising awareness about certain current events. In response to the Paris shootings, #PrayforParis, was trending worldwide. As the scope of social media gets bigger each year, many people are allowed to join the “conversation” on social issues plaguing our society today.

With this worldwide conversation can come actual reform, such as the Trayvon Martin case that sparked the Black Lives Matter campaign. However, most of the debates seen on twitter or Instagram are just people shouting their opinions without any factual evidence to back them up. This results in the hashtag (#alllivesmatter) that, while seeming to agree, actually draws away from the true meaning behind the original campaign.

Debating whether a dress is white and gold or blue and black online is one thing (it was white and gold), but discussing the issues of sexism or racism with the argument “you’re wrong and I am right” doesn’t accomplish anything. If anything, it draws away from the importance of social conversations on any major platform. While people’s opinions are important, sharing them in a way that doesn’t put down another’s demographic or sex is vital to keep the conversation going.

This is a conversation that needs to happen, and all versions of this discussion are significant. Whether it occurs on a local, national or international scale, peoples’ opinions are important, but it’s how the conversations are had that can really make a difference.

For these social media campaigns to survive and make a difference in our communities, it’s essential for students to take initiative. Posting or tweeting can make a change, but saying only one side of the discussion matters only leads to further issues within the social problems that plague our current lives, online and off.

For example, across the web feminists have now earned the reputation of “man haters” because of the actions of loud, but misinformed, people. These well meaning “feminists” have good intentions at heart, hoping to eliminate our misogynistic society. However, by discounting the opinions of men, it sets feminism back by promoting one gender being better than the other.

As the amount of Twitter and Instagram users grows everyday, there will always be someone who’s starting a conversation. Whether or not you want to join in or start a discussion of your own is up to you.  

This is the age of social media. 50 years ago to get a point across they had to storm Washington, now we can upload a photo. Whether it’s a new dance that could be the next “dab” or a campaign towards racial justice, we have more power than we think.