Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Why I won’t Give Up on Twitter (or Any Social Media)

Embracing a generation of social media

Lately, I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of contrasting perspectives on social media. My fellow YA bloggers, Taylor, and Niabi, have written about giving up social media for a week (agh, imagine!) and also about considering deleting Facebook (never) – they question the appeal of social media.

But, Niabi and Taylor aren’t alone. Whether it’s from students or older adults – there seems to be a sizeable number of people who think social media is a colossal and atrocious societal entity that is poisoning us.

Think about the number of times you’ve heard someone say “I’m so over Facebook” or “Twitter is dead”. While I am inclined to agree with some of the arguments that condemn social media, I also think that we tend to direct too much focus on the negatives.

I think that social media is beneficial for the millennial generation, and even for those in older generations. The internet was initially created to help share information – it was a ground-breaking entity that strengthened the spread of knowledge.

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg kick-started the social media generation by creating Facebook, which is arguably the most popular social networking platform in the history of the internet. Presently, Facebook is valued at nearly 50 billion dollars and has 1.7 billion active users registered. Zuckerberg created a communication revolution and transformed how we interact.

Social media allows us to expand our networks, discover new opportunities, become more informed, and connect with the people we care about. The wealth of knowledge and the expansion of information sharing allows us to learn from each other. Social media has become a key part of our generation.

I’m not trying to hide the fact that there are negative sides to social media. I just think that the negativity towards it is often blown out of proportion. I often hear individuals saying that it’s dreadful. But why do they think so? I hear these things and I often try to figure out what is motivating these statements. It seems to me that our digital generation is so vastly different, that some people have an issue embracing the change.

Social media is a major factor in the lives of millennials and we should start embracing that this is our generation. We are connected, informed, and we interact with each other through platforms that have done incredible things for society. If we start to fight a culture that is inevitable, it will cause more damage than good.

Facebook allows me to connect with family and friends who are all over the world. Instagram allows me to share my life in photos for the people I don’t see regularly. Through these means, I get to maintain relationships and connections. When you think about it, it’s phenomenal.
There are a number of millennials who claim that they want to give up social media or delete their accounts. There are a few reasons why I don’t think this is effective.

Social channels allow us to stay updated, and as Taylor said in her article about giving up social media for a week, she missed a lot of news during her week without social media. Whatever is happening in the world, good or bad, someone will post about it. Someone will snap a photo or a video, someone will Tweet or post to Instagram or make a Facebook status – instantly informing those in their circle about what is happening.

In her blog post, Niabi suggested that Facebook, was the cause of her short attention span and that it was the time suck that kept her away from her study hours. But, she also admitted that Facebook has allowed her to have group chats for projects, in addition to helping her stay connected to her social circle and current events, so again, I think that the pros outweigh the cons in this scenario.

Instead of fighting the fact that social media is a part of our lives as a millennials, let’s embrace it. It’s there for you as a tool – if you feel like you’re abusing social media, as you would with anything else, simply limit yourself. It’s important to show people that while social media is a part of our lives, it hasn’t taken over the world.

We are more informed and open to different perspectives because of social media. I believe that social media needs to be embraced and harnessed to effect change and acceptance. That’s why I’m sticking with it.

Melissa - YouAlberta Contributor

Melissa is a second year BA in Global and Development Studies at Augustana. Her favourite pastimes are drinking tea, eating chicken wings, rock climbing and playing her ukulele. Melissa loves wearing bright red lipstick to match her hair and her sarcastic personality!


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