Updated: Sep 18, 2022
There are so many different sources from which to receive your news. There are websites, print newspapers, radio channels, TV channels, and, most recently, social media. This may seem surprising, as social media is often regarded only as a platform for sharing photos and videos with friends, its original use. However, people have taken to social media (notably, Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter) to share their political ideas and stories with others. This helps show people that they are not alone.
One of the first movements to blow up on social media was #MeToo. The #MeToo movement empowers rape and sexual assault survivors to share their stories and connect with others who have gone through the same trauma. This movement brought to light how common sexual harassment and assault are. Social media allowed everyone to contribute their own stories and formed a bond among survivors around the world. The traditional media has little bandwidth and can’t possibly share every single story, but social media allows every individual to be a part of a larger community. Recently, social media has been used to spread awareness about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the protests that rang out across the country following the murder of George Floyd. Protesters used social media to share videos and photos from the protests to spin their own stories that the media would not or could not have used. They offered a personal perspective on what was really happening, and not just the media’s broad strokes outline. Traditional media sources are ordinarily impacted by the same sweeping slant throughout their paper or site, often showing only one side of the story, while on social media platforms, you can find every viewpoint as it is the most personal form of information available. Undoubtedly, you will find many different opinions, but social media presents a more nuanced look at the world around us by personalizing causes.
Social media is not just used to spread awareness and information about giant movements like BLM and #MeToo. It is also used on smaller levels and caters to younger audiences. Recently, 16-year-old TikTok star, Charli Damelio, took to her Instagram story to share her experience with an eating disorder, showing others that they are not isolated, and that even the most successful people struggle. She also encouraged others battling with eating disorders to seek help, saying, “I need you to know you are not alone. Remember it's OK to reach out and get help. We all need help sometimes.” When influencers share their struggles, young viewers can see beyond their favorite content and into the lives of people they relate to. Before social media, celebrities were never encouraged to show their flaws.
Social media has often been portrayed as strictly a fun, social tool, but it has transformed into a means of spreading information, raising awareness and connecting victims of the same struggles.