Harnessing Social Media for Social Change


Taylor Pagan, Staff member

With social media being prevalent in the lives of many, it serves as an influential connector to individuals everywhere.

There are currently 2.92 billion Internet users worldwide, according to the Statistics Portal. Seventy-four percent of online adults use social networking sites, according to January 2014 Pew Research, and 73 percent of those online adults have seen someone harassed online.

Everything we do and say in this life creates a chain reaction. Our words and our actions create a ripple effect the very same way a small pebble has the ability to stir up an entire pond. Imagine our online presences as having this exact same affect.

Diablo Valley College student Ryan Flores, 20, says that social media has the ability to either positively or negatively impact a person’s life.

“It has inspired me in various creative ways; however, social media has negatively affected me even more,” he unfortunately admits.

Flores explains how the internet world has become a conduit of unhealthy comparison, with users obsessing over likes, seeking attention, and becoming very individualistic in nature.

Diablo Valley College student Trevor Felt, 21, is also disappointed with the direction social media is going towards.

Because of the dark, harmful news society tends to highlight, Felt believes that the good things in life often get overlooked and dismissed.

“I would like to see social media be more of an example setter, for someone to see something on social media and want to go do that activity or perform that experience,” he said.

Each and every one of us has the ability to influence the people in our lives. And because of social media, we also have to opportunity to influence people outside of our day-to-day lives, people we perhaps may have never connected with otherwise.

In the very same way a negative post reaches the screens of many, so does a positive post. In the very same way a critical comment can bring down the spirit of others, a complimentary comment can uplift the spirit of others.

Instead of choosing to spread hate and contribute to the massively prevalent hurt in the lives of many, we can instead choose to spread love and contribute to an ever-growing online community of encouragement.

Social media can be used and harnessed for social change. More specifically, social media can be used and harnessed to spread the encouragement, hope, love and kindness that our society so desperately lacks and needs.

By replacing all criticism with kindness, by taking advantage of this outlet of expression, and by using our voices to reach out and to change the lives of others, we can make all the difference in a person’s life.

Whether it’s a kind Facebook comment, an inspirational blog post, a motivational tweet or an uplifting Instagram post, the world is watching and we are, in turn, influencing.