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Social Media: The Power to Connect and Disconnect

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Ayene Mitzi Cruz

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Social media is a platform for discovery and connection. People from all around become well-known for their talents. Whether if it’s from having a melodic voice like Shawn Mendes or a knack for creating comedic skits like Rudy Mancuso, social media acknowledges talents and shares them. It also connects people from all over the world creating online pen pals and providing copious support.

As a writer under the opinion editorial section, I have come to realize that sometimes opinions change. As time passes, people change and so do their mindsets. Last year, another writer and I wrote about the negative effects of social media. We wrote how social media doesn’t really make people social and instead tends to make them more obsessed with the amounts of likes and followers they receive. However, this time I’m not going to simply refute or reiterate my comments; I’m going to qualify them. Social media is a very influential platform, both positively and negatively.

Although in the past I have stated that our generation is very fixed on the numbers of social media, I have to admit I am fixed on them as well. However, this time I realized the numbers actually have an impact. Last January my niece, Kara Evan Khamo, was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma (cancer of the adrenal glands). My sister started to write journal entries about Kara’s progress and updates on an online forum called “Caringbridge.” However, not many people were able to read and see the updates, so I decided to give my niece her very own Instagram (yes, a four-year-old does have an Instagram and no, she does not use it). In just three months, Kara’s Instagram (@beKARAgeous) grew a large following as Kara received about a thousand followers and continuously received thousands of likes (she’s more popular than me!). Obviously, these numbers have no effect on Kara, seeing as she’s only four. However, these numbers do mean something: support, prayers, and help Kara and her family receive. Kara’s followers are able to see and watch Kara grow as they get a glimpse of what hope and sunshine look like. Because of her account, Kara has received loving letters, beautiful care baskets and gifts, and amazing opportunities.

Now, this situation doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone. But, this is what social media is all about: connection. Social media connects people from all around the world. Social media is the platform that helps people talk to friends and family from afar and say the things they’re too afraid to say.

Sometimes the connection and speech may turn downhill, as some people take advantage of this and create hateful and negative commentary. There are still social media “trolls” commenting insults daily and creating hateful accounts bashing on peers and celebrities. It is an easy way to say what you want, even if it’s something mean. There’s no real punishment for rude comments, simply blocking and reporting accounts. Social media can also disconnect people from the world as they become obsessed and addicted to spending hours scrolling and liking. There are accounts constantly attempting to become noticed and receive thousands of followers and likes, waiting for the numbers to reach thousands and millions.

Social media is the one platform that can both connect and disconnect people from the world. It catches us up with friends and also leads us to ignore friends. It gives us the courage to speak our minds and gives others the courage to speak with violence. It’s the reason why sometimes we feel so popular and supported while others feel alone and dejected. Social media is simply one of the most influential platforms and impacts our lives one way or another.

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Social Media: The Power to Connect and Disconnect