So last night I was thinking about social media. Lots of people will be quick to point out the negative aspects of it; to say we’re “addicted” or “obsessed” with technology and social media. Those people will also point out things like “catfishing” and other deceptive situations. But there are so many wonderful things about social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. The possibilities are truly endless. Here’s five benefits that I can see with these such networks. While each of these may have negative bits attached, I think they’re generally positive.
- Starting a conversation about literally any topic. This is especially true of Twitter and Tumblr, where a conversation between two people can spark and develop into a conversation between 10, 100 or even 1,000 people — and it can be about any topic. Whether you want to talk about how that hockey game went last night, what that celebrity was wearing this morning, how it’s the anniversary of a book release, what you thought of that movie the other day or literally ANY other topic, you’re almost guaranteed to find someone else out there who can talk about that, too. The expansive wealth of topics for conversation on any social media network is ever-changing and constantly expanding. It’s a nonstop conversation.
- A marketplace for sharing artwork, writing, ideas. Draw something neat? Share it. Snap an amazing photo during your vacation? Share it. Write something and need opinions on it? Share it. Social media is a great marketplace by which people can share any materials they’ve created. It’s a great way to start getting your work – and your name – out there and get people to notice your work and share it with others.
- Finding like-minded others across the world. One of the great things about social media is that it allows you to connect with people from all around the world. No matter what your interests are, you’re bound to find someone else out there who likes the same thing you do or has a similar opinion about something as you. I have met a lot of wonderful people through social media who have similar interests to myself; the difference is that we all live around the world, but are able to come together in one place on the Internet, and I think there’s a certain beauty in that. We all live our own lives – working, going to school, maintaining other friendships and relationships – and we all come from these completely different places, joined together by a common interest, on social media. It’s also a great way to delve deeper into a topic you’re interested in and learn more from others who are more involved or experienced in that field.
- The ability to stay connected with friends and family — or even to find them. How many stories have we heard about people who have connected with long-lost siblings or relatives through Facebook or other social media? It’s also a wonderful way to stay connected with someone after they’ve moved away for a new job or to attend college, gotten married, etc. So many people are on social media nowadays; all you need is a name and a general idea of their location and you’ll be able to contact them. Not only does social media allow us to create relationships with people around the world, it allows us to stay connected with friends and family worldwide. Of course, reading someone’s Facebook status shouldn’t be a substitute for a phone call or in-person visit, but it’s a nice way to keep tabs on each other in between visits or phone calls.
- A venue by which people can share their opinions and have open debates. If you have strong opinions about anything, there is probably someone on social media who is willing to debate with you about it. Whether it’s a political issue, environmental issue, something in the news you want to talk about, or even a controversial sports play, there’s bound to be someone out there with an opposing viewpoint who’s willing to chat — and I think that’s a great thing. Social media allows us to connect with others who share our opinions as well as those who don’t, taking us out of our “box” and pushing us to consider the opinions and thoughts of others. Yes, there’s going to be those people who harass others for their opinions, but I’m talking about healthy debates, a healthy sharing of ideas and opinions.
So next time you’re thinking about social media, be sure to consider all the wonderful opportunities it offers people — this is just the tip of the iceberg.