Thursday , 21 September 2017

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Is Social Media our Savior or Demise?

Social Media has revolutionized how we share information and experiences with one another.  We no longer relate the image of a tiny blue bird to the one we see outside.  Our phones are like an additional ligament on our arms as they are constantly attached to us.  We have the ability to attain a global audience and foster an entire career just by sitting in our bedrooms. Social media has enabled us to make significant advances in globalization and trade, foreign employment opportunities and international population interaction. However, why with so many means of communicating to a worldwide network do global social issues still seem to fizzle in relevance on social media?

BELCHATOW POLAND - MAY 02 2013: Modern white keyboard with colored social network buttons.

Via: flipboard.com

Social media has become our daily newspaper, morning alarm and even our lifeline. Our Facebook profiles have become that needy friend that always requires attention.  We are constantly using and updating our various profiles and timelines. Yet, so many core issues slip through the cracks or get left behind for the dominant ‘pop culture’ gossip.  A wander on the timeline of any popular social media platform can feel like you are being bombarded by pop – up tabs when trying to load a good movie online.  Just instead of seeing game ads and ‘Click here for to Experience’ tabs its Fashion Tips, Jokes, Sports comparisons and ‘Who is she dating now?’ updates.  Why is that global social issues such as Climate change, human rights, gender equality and poverty have a ‘One – Hit Wonder’ effect?

These issues will trend for a given period of time but once the popularity of the event that brought it to the forefront of discussion fades its as if it never existed.  We continue to proceed with the activities of our everyday lives. As though the issues disappear once we stop making it our ‘Trending Topic’.  Are likes, retweets and favorites our only and greatest incentive to do anything nowadays? We have the ability to reach and engage with so many people on a daily basis through our finger tips, yet we squander the opportunity.  We need to recognize the impact we can create, as youth, as global citizens and an informed generation.

There are organizations that are creating new and innovative ways to incorporate social media into attaining sustainable development goals such as the United Nations – Action app. The app is a dynamic, collaborative tool that puts a spotlight on how innovation is helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – http://www.globalgoals.org/.  We must emulate exemplars like this to shape our approach towards social media content sharing and amplifying core international issues.

Despite social media being a platform for positive change and outreach, it is also used negatively to promote stigmas and prejudices such as bullying, racism, classism and discrimination.  Even to the extent of some users on various social media channels feeling offended or verbally abused to the point of deleting their profiles or inflicting self harm on themselves in order to change their ‘flaws’.  Although most social media platforms have systems in place to mitigate these instances of verbal abuse from occurring such as blocking, reporting, Muting and unfollowing.   These scenarios still occur on a daily basis. What will those who come after us, have to “tweet” about us?  Do we really want to be the generation that sat back and allowed toxic situations like this to fester?

Share is the dominate word of our social media driven era but are we sharing to help someone? Are we sharing to raise awareness? Are we sharing to make a positive change?   We should use social media as a never ending power source to stimulate positive contributions and highlight issues that need greater attention. Ask yourself this; “What is my social media endorsing?”, then ask, “Am I comfortable with agreeing to portray this as MY opinion?”.  If not, then you definitely need to reconsider the content you are agreeing to share.  Every post we make is a choice of what content we are choosing to broadcast and illuminate.  It is an opportunity to boost your career, build your brand, experience social mobility and help someone in need.  Make it count.  We all have an equal opportunity to share our voices.  Be vocal! We should not hesitate or doubt ourselves when deciding to speak up on relevant and critical issues.

About Alexia James

A young Trinidad and Tobago national ready to instigate change and grow as an all around human being within the global community. Looking to revolutionize the world by exuding positivity and overcoming daily adversity. Not only through the eyes of a university student or member of the Caribbean Community but as a global youth representative to break down false perceptions that youth of the millennial era have no regard or positive input to bring to the table.

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