By this point, everyone probably knows that I love using social media sites. I’m always one to Instagram a photo from an event I attended, tweet about a cool design article, or announce a new job to my family and friends via Facebook. Social media has really changed the way the world communicates, and although some choose to use it for evil instead of for good, I think that the emergence of social media has had some extremely beneficial payoffs. This post will be the other side of Dan’s social media debate:

On a personal level, social media has given me a channel through which to explore things I could never have been exposed to if I was living decades earlier. With a quick search or click of a hashtag, I can find photos, thoughts and opinions of people who live anywhere in the world. People who aren’t “famous.” People who are like me, in every culture or state of wealth. I appreciate hearing the views and seeing the lavish lives of certain celebrities, but sometimes the most meaningful thoughts can come from a ten year old working to make the lives of childhood cancer patients more fun. Sometimes I can find incredible design inspiration from a 22-year-old just like me exploring the world during a semester abroad. Social media has given me a lens through which I can explore the world and meet incredible people, even though I may not have the means to physically explore it on my own.

On a social level, social media gives me the opportunity to engage and catch up with family and friends who I don’t always get to see very much. I’m not the kind of person to accept friend requests from people I don’t know or acquaintances I talked to once or twice in high school. Dan, I’m going to fight back a little here and say that I love to see bits and pieces of my loved ones’ lives—and they love to see mine as well! These small snippets of life they capture via Facebook or Instagram spark endless conversations and catching-up when we do get to see one another, not leave nothing new to talk about at reunions or the dinner table.

On a big-picture level, social media has proven a huge change agent in topics that shape America and the rest of the world. It sparks conversation, feeds debates, and helps to educate people on all sides of arguments the world faces. For example, Apple recently announced it’s new, Spotify-like streaming music service with a free three-month trial. Apple was not going to pay artists, writers or producers during these three months, which many of them cannot afford if they are just starting out in the music industry. In an open letter to Apple via the star’s tumblr site, Taylor Swift changed all of this. Taylor tweeted the link to her letter and not long after, Eddy Cue from Apple responded positively. The singer single-handedly helped thousands of artists and music industry professions alike by giving them back the opportunity to receive the pay they are entitled to just by sharing her opinion with the world. 

Social media is a powerful tool.

Tweet wisely, friends.

Emily