A couple years ago, I disowned social media.
Apps like Instagram, Snap, and Twitter were taking up hours of my day without much to show for it. In the Silicon Valley tech bubble, many people delete social apps to increase productivity and improve mental health.
But these last few weeks have convinced me that social apps are a core part of being an effective citizen on the internet. They should not be ignored.
Pre-internet, most media was controlled by executives at a few publishers like the New York Times, ABC, CNN, etc. Meanwhile, the internet gave rise to citizen journalism. Today, everyone is a media company.
So, what happens when citizens begin to control the narrative instead of large publishers?
We get to decide what gets talked about. Many topics considered taboo by mainstream media like racism, psychedelics, and spirituality, can finally be talked about on a global stage.
That’s the power of social media. Yet, it’s hard to realize.
That’s because every social media app has three benefits:
- Entertainment (e.g., funny videos and memes)
- Status (e.g., likes and follower counts)
- Utility (e.g., education and activism)
Many of us - myself included - focus on the entertainment and status elements, but not enough on the utility.
A week ago, a single lady with a smartphone in Minnesota changed the world forever by taking a video and uploading it to Facebook. Everyone has a voice. As such, my hope is that we begin to speak up about other historically taboo topics as well.
These social apps are not just a form of entertainment and status. They are tools for change.
Let’s start using them.