We all have that friend. The one that “doesn’t believe in social media”. They claim it promotes disconnect from real life and only brings about unnecessary drama. Or perhaps we are that friend. We used to use social media like an addict. You know, when the initial craze hit. But eventually it became so consuming and overwhelming that we had enough and just deleted all of our accounts. Drama over. I have a friend like this. We’ll call her X.
My friend X is in my Communications program and cringes every time an instructor tries to hit home the relevance of social media in modern business. And while I’d love to say I blame her, I can’t really. The truth is, there are a lot of totally justifiable reasons to hate the online world. First being, it fully endorses the shame and reward system. We somehow have single-handedly managed to stifle freedom of speech with how quick we are to shame others for their content (I am not exempt from this either). Similarly, it has also made “number of likes” synonymous with self-worth. And for all intents and purposes we probably will miss several real-time moments in our lives because we are checking Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Insert Any Platform Here.
But for all of the millions of reasons there are to not jump online, I have managed to fall completely in love with social media… and while the offline community (and my pal X) have completely valid reasons to hate it, I am here to tell you the top 3 reasons I f*cking love social media (and you should too):
1. Relationships: This is the age of Aquarius baby
Social media often has a bad rap for stifling interaction. Of course relationships and connectivity can exist offline. No one is arguing that. And really nothing can beat face to face interaction. Or can it? One of the reasons I love social media is the ability it has given me to connect with people. Whether through a “like” of support, a friendly comment reminding them someone cares, or comforting a lonely soul at 3 a.m. via online chats – social media has allowed me to connect and build relationships with people that I may not have met otherwise.
2. Think Global: do you want to be friends with famous people or not
Part of the incentive of my getting a twitter was in being able to connect with my one and only love, Leonardo DiCaprio. Long over are the days that there are 100 degrees of separation between you and your celebrity crush – or anyone for that matter. While that thought can be a scary one it has its’ positive aspects too. As an artist, I have been able to connect with other established industry people, which in turn has landed me contract after contract. Additionally, I have been able to gain mentorship with media professionals, partake in workshops all over the world, and engage celebrities that want to share and support in my causes. When and where else could this happen?
3. Influence: you’re making bigger waves than you think
This is the one that still blows me away the most. A few weeks ago I started this blog for a school assignment. I was dreading it. Blogs (and social media in general) are exhausting, demanding, and require so much thought it’s not even funny. In some ways, this has required more effort than any relationship I have ever had. But damn is it worth it. On the day that I finished the course and no longer had to continue blogging, I received these messages in my inbox:
What you have to say matters, and believe it or not people are paying attention to you. You have fans that are watching, reading, and internalizing what you put out into the world – online or otherwise. You are making bigger waves than you think you are… and chances are someone is finding comfort in what you have to say.
Go on, reopen that old account…
So sure, while cell phone screens have replaced lighters at concerts, grassroot artists are now able to promote and manage their entire career online. And yeah, princes(s) charming may be too busy checking their Instagram to notice you making eyes across the coffee shop; but you are now able to jump on a dating website and filter who you do/don’t want to talk to, solely based on a profile write up.
As individuals, we have become exponentially very powerful rather quickly with the rise of the online world. Like anything, there are problems and benefits with this. As an ode to that, my good friend Prevail from Swollen Members (who I met offline, to be honest) recently did a TedxVancouver talk entitled: Pandora’s Box. As Tedx states, it is “a telling tale of the power we all hold in the tip of our finger”.