In a world where negativity is often louder than positivity, social media can be a force actively working to change that in an age of digital and social activism. Never before has it been easier to advocate for various causes, support small/local businesses and build connections with one another. While social media certainly has its downfalls, it can still be a driving force for good in the world and here’s how:
- Amplifying Causes/Voices
With features that allow users to share posts on their stories, Instagram pioneers the way for amplifying causes and voices that often go unnoticed. Because of social media, informational graphics containing valuable information and resources have a simple and accessible distribution channel to reach users beyond the following of the original creator. This allows smaller initiatives to gain the traction and awareness they need, and can even result in nation-wide support. Social media provides the power to amplify voices.
- Supporting Small Businesses
As time advances and large businesses continue to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult for small businesses to survive and be successful. This is largely in part due to the fact that consumers simply aren’t aware that they even exist, and therefore cannot support them. Social media allows ordinary consumers the opportunity to discover and support these small businesses. This may occur via scrolling on the Instagram explore page or the TikTok ‘for you page,’ or when a friend shares a post from their favorite small business that their followers have never heard of.
Simply engaging with posts on social media (liking, commenting, sharing) is a way to support small businesses everyday. In many ways, social media is reinventing and expanding the power of traditional word-of-mouth advertising. Instead of relying on consumers to verbally advertise products, they nonverbally share products and businesses on their social channels.
- Fostering Connections
While this may seem like a given, the ability for anytime, anywhere connection with friends is largely due to the opportunities social media platforms provide for their users. Whether it is reconnecting with old friends or making new ones, it’s undeniable that social media makes the entire process significantly easier.
Not restricted by time or physical constraints, social media also kept relationships alive when the COVID-19 pandemic changed life for us all. Virtual events, live watch parties, and a constant influx of TikTok trends are all ways social media changed the standard for interpersonal connection during the pandemic beyond. In many aspects, it is hard to imagine reverting back to the old ways of life after adapting to new ways that take full advantage of the capabilities technology has to offer.
Amplifying causes and voices, supporting small businesses, and fostering connections are all ways that social media can be used for good in the 21st century. In many ways, it’s hard to imagine surviving the pandemic without social media, isn’t it? As these platforms continue to grow and evolve, don’t underestimate their potential for good.