The Real Power Of Social Media

Posted by Aastha Sareen in #NoPlace4Hate, Society, Specials
January 2, 2018
Facebook logoEditor’s Note: With #NoPlace4Hate, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook have joined hands to help make the Internet a safer space for all. Watch this space for powerful stories of how young people are mobilising support and speaking out against online bullying.

Social media has always been an important platform for discussing various issues. Sadly, today, it seems to be overpowered by troll culture, and people who are looking for a fight.

While mostly, the basis for change hasn’t changed – people still use social media, especially platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to put across their views on some issues and express their opinions, but lately, I’ve realised that the instance of people fighting over trolls has increased considerably. These factors have always been a constant part of social media. Social media gives people value. It allows them to put their best self out there, create a brand, network, express themselves and build relationships. Social media, put simply, is a social community. As young adults today, it is more important than ever to be a part of this community. The biggest advantage of social media is that people feel accepted when they express their opinion openly.

Most of my friends crib about how social media is essentially a bad place where you have to handle mean comments, men who send us unwanted content and people who are just creepy in general. Being a millennial, I’ve also heard innumerable stories about how an active social media presence caused them harm. These stories I head first-hand, coupled with reports I read online, had somewhere made me believe that when my parents said that the internet was not a safe space, they were right.

There have been many instances where people have expressed their opinion on social media and asked for help. More than that, there have been instances where people have actually helped the person in need via social media platform and solved their major problems. One such incident occurred recently that made me re-affirm my belief in the real power of social media.  

A friend’s brother had passed away in Canada, and she and her a family needed visa overnight to travel to the country. As the incident happened on a Sunday, it was difficult to do so.

But nothing is impossible when we have social media.

She chose Twitter and Instagram to highlight her problem and asked her friends to help. She wrote to Sushma Swaraj, the external affairs minister asking for her help, and asked her friends to retweet the same. In a matter of hours, hundreds of people had retweeted her request and had even put up insta-stories asked their friends to help. People who did not even know the girl, pitched in. All the reposts on both Twitter and Instagram helped her in such a way that Sushma Swaraj not only replied to her message, but also helped her to arrange a visa for her and her family. This simply portrays how powerful social media is as a tool and how simply by retweeting and forwarding her message, she got all the help she needed in due time. 

Many see the internet as a place where hate is propagated and useless things are shared. But social media is much more than that.

Not only did people forward her message, but also gave her hope and courage to fight for her rights. They motivated her to stay strong. People’s positive responses kept her going and fighting. Social media is no longer just seen as a platform to put pictures and share thoughts, it is also seen as a source to help others, gain help from others, motivate people around the world, express your opinion, share your thoughts and be accessible to anyone at any given point of time.