Social Media in Recent Events

Dimitri Baldauf

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, are they bad? Does social media create people who become consumed in putting others down? Maybe so, but there are also many other benefits that come with these outlets. So how can people be affected from these programs, and how can these sites be beneficial? The issue of Ferguson recently occurred, and is still ongoing. Can we ask ourselves if we reacted to the issue appropriately, and if we used the websites for their proper use?

Social media has two purposes—to be an outlet of opinions, ideas, and creativity, and to be a newsfeed for its users. In many ways, social media is good. During the time of the Ferguson protests, social media gave the people a voice. It introduced the issue of racial inequality with police officers, and in turn, allowed the information to spread, leading to possible reform in the security system. Social media may have also prevented people from going to violent protests which may have helped save lives or prevent injuries. But what the media does most of all, is that it gives hope to people. Hope that someday there will be change and that there are people who truly care and are willing to help out.

On the other hand, social media can be very harmful. Hate is expressed in many different ways. The internet is a place where people are hidden behind computers, willing to say whatever they choose. This allows them to be more vicious than normal. When these people start going off each others’ hate, they create a black hole of aversion. Eventually, people can feel that they are above everyone who disagrees with their views. This leads to no solutions. No action occurs when people turn themselves off to hearing both sides of a story. Stereotypical views form, and conceded actions result. For an example, Michael Brown’s stepfather told people to “burn this b**** down.” He later apologized for his actions, but the thing is, his actions may have been the cause of violent protests. Those protests caused many businesses to be burned, destroyed.

What we can learn from people’s actions is that we need to watch what we put out on the internet or what we say in public. It is not stressed enough that once information is out on the internet, it stays out there forever. People can easily reupload, save, and share anything posted. In today’s world, social media affects the world around us. Many people commit suicide every year because of bullying and many are never addressed for their actions. We simply need to remember that if we wouldn’t say something to someone in person, we shouldn’t say it at all because those actions can come back to haunt us in job interviews, relationships, and other life experiences. Be safe and be cautious. The internet can be a dangerous place as much as a wonderful one.