“Delete Facebook” seems to be the rallying cry of the social media skeptics. But like all kneejerk reactions, it’s an extreme one.
Over 80% of internet users are also social media users. Social media now dominates the internet and we carry it the palm of her hands. But that makes it an easy target — like books after the invention of the printing press or television to our grandparents’ generation.
The simple truth is that social media has its upsides.
Here are some of the social media positives that prove it’s not all bad.
We live in a global world. That’s not changing anytime soon — it can’t without regressing our way of life.
And as we learn to live together in physical space, social media allows us to do it in the digital world, too. Every day, social media users get a glimpse into the culture and traditions of people from all over the world.
That’s a chance to share perspectives and draw on vast amounts of information to inform our worldview. Humans have only achieved our current success by making it easier to share information on a mass scale. Expanding our horizons is vital for us to take our next step as a society.
Like books, telephones, and television, social media takes us to a new unprecedented height. And in doing so, it lays the groundwork for wherever we’re going next as a species.
It doesn’t stop at conversation, of course. Social media also allows us to work together in unprecedented ways.
If you’ve ever asked for a favor on social media, it may have surprised you to see the people queueing up to help you. Even perfect strangers help each other out in places like the RandomKindness subreddit.
Now imagine that kind of cooperation on a global scale, and you’ll start to see the level of support people can offer each other through social media. Users have found success using social media for charity drives and community projects, among other collaborative efforts to make the world a better place.
These events have changed lives for the better, sometimes on a huge scale. And they’re only possible because of the discoverability and collaborative tools that social media represents.
Giving Voice to Problems
Social media has gained a negative stigma for the so-called “outrage culture” it enables. But it also gives voice to genuine problems.
The #MeToo movement has uncovered serial sexual abusers and connected victims to each other. That allows them to build a unified voice. This has shed light on abusers who have before found protection in their privileged positions.
These are people who had no voice thanks to their isolation and lack of power relative to their abusers. Alone, their accusations wouldn’t have been enough to effect change. But together, these lone voices become a movement capable of providing closure for past victims while preventing the creation of future victims.
Opportunities for Creators
There’s no denying that this is the single greatest time in history to be an independent creative. The internet has enabled discoverability like no medium before it. People who would’ve labored in obscurity can now find an audience almost overnight.
And that’s all thanks to social media. Using social media, creatives can reach audiences of thousands with little effort and not a cent spent on marketing.
That allows creatives to build a brand around themselves and even monetize their audience through crowdfunding. Artists, novelists, and musicians are just a few of the kinds of creatives that may never have found success without social.
Benefits for Business
Social media began as something of a Wild West frontier. But as things have become more settled, businesses have moved in on the territory, bringing some sense of order.
This has its pros and cons, but social media has allowed businesses to thrive that otherwise may not have survived. Even a small business can reach a huge number of people on social media, and establish a voice that otherwise would take thousands spent on marketing.
Consumers can also reach out to businesses in a direct way. Moreso than ever before, businesses are getting deep insight into what their customers want. While not always the case, many businesses have used that connection to transform their products into their most desirable form.
Can you be too positive about something that has literally saved lives? There are people alive and safe today because social media exists.
Social media’s connectivity can help to create a search party like none other, connecting worried relatives with the general public.
But it’s not all anecdotal. Social media has also saved lived on a mass scale. Emergency alerts on Twitter and Facebook have alerted people to mass shootings and natural disasters. They can warn people to seek shelter or stay away from the hotspot.
There’s no quantifying how many people such alerts have saved. But we only need to look at the potential reach of social media to understand how widely these alerts can travel.
Not all the benefits of social media are about the big picture. Even the way it affects our everyday lives can be positives.
There are many people out there who have deeper and more lasting friendships thanks to social media. It can keep distant relatives connected and help to forge meaningful relationships with coworkers, whether that’s having frank discussions or sharing fun facts about Bob Ross (seriously, check out this page).
If not for social media, thousands of relationships would’ve slowly fizzled out thanks to time or distance, if they ever developed at all. The connectivity of social media can make reaching out trivial, which removes one of the big barriers people face when trying to stay connected.
The Defining Social Media Positives
Commentators have demonized social media, painting it as a bane to modern society and as a failed experiment. But the truth is that, like all new media, social media has experienced the challenges of growth, and has positives and negatives to offer. When social media positives include saving lives, it’s hard to argue that social media is inherently evil.
Want to try growing your business with social media? Check out our guide here.