The Effects of Social Media Can Be Positive

The Facebook Files were released by the Wall Street Journal this fall, highlighting the myriad of ways in which Facebook has lied to or misled the population and its users. The Social Dilemma, a 2020 Netflix documentary/drama film showed all the ways that tech companies and especially social media companies try to trap you in their apps. Both of these reports, as well as all of the other ones highlighting faults or flaws in social media, are very true. However, sometimes forgotten amongst all the bad are the equally real positive effects of social media.

The greatest effect of social media is the ability it gives people to stay connected with one another. Instagram and Facebook allow people to connect with friends and family that they live far away from, and be a part of their lives more consistently than was allowed in the past. Before I got social media, I saw my cousins once, maybe twice a year. Now I am able to at least keep in touch with them and keep up with their lives. Social media is no replacement for seeing them in person, but it is better than not seeing them at all.

Another oft-overlooked benefit of social media is the fact that it allows people to promote real societal good. When people, especially young people, had ideas about how to improve their world, they often had no way to share them with the outside world. Now, everyone has a chance to start a conversation around topics that they feel strongly about. This point is a bit more cautionary, as the power for anyone to say anything can be used very harmfully by cyberbullies, but it is still a benefit when used correctly.

Social Media has not been without its detractors in the past couple of years, and rightfully so. The power of the companies in charge of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, among others, is vast and has, especially in Facebook’s case, been grossly misused. However, there are still benefits to social media. Use these sites cautiously, but enjoy the benefits they provide.