Ever since our entire lives began to be online, the incessant critique of social media has emerged in tandem. There are a lot of reasons to be aware of as to why people don’t like it — it leads you to compare yourself to others, we become more isolated, and so on. But I argue that there are plenty of very compelling reasons why social media does more good than it does harm.
Keeping in touch with people
This is an extremely obvious reason why social media is great. You are able to provide an endless amount of people with updates to your life, and digest updates about other people’s lives in an efficient way. You can maintain a larger number of relationships than maybe you would be able to without social media. For someone who might be really busy, or far away from their loved ones, this helps them maintain connections with minimal effort.
I’ve seen this happen in so many ways on social media, especially in regard to safety. Police departments will often create social media pages and post updates to the community about a missing person, a criminal at large, or explaining a big public spectacle like a car accident on a main road. Also, community members will sometimes post things that spread around the community, such as pictures of somebody they saw breaking into their car or reporting hazards from inclement weather. A cool thing I’ve seen is volunteer-run pages where a group of people will take turns listening to police scanners to provide updates to the public through social media.
A lot of other useful information is spread through social media, from lists of organizations to donate to during crises, to infographics about etiquette in different countries, to self-help advice, and a million other things. Access to this information helps people make better choices and to be more informed in many different areas. For example, I once found an infographic from a reputable organization that explained the various stages of a migraine. As someone who gets chronic migraines, this helped me better identify when I feel one coming on. Additionally, I can send the infographic to people close to me to help them better understand the symptoms and effects.
Connecting to new people
Over time on social media — whether it happens because you are in a dedicated group with these people — or because you follow them over time, social media allows you to meet people that have similar interests to you. For instance, I’m part of a large Facebook group where everyone basically just talks about coffee. I’ve met some great internet friends through groups and common interests that I speak to every day that are always there to vent to and to cheer me on.
This is far from the most pragmatic reason for supporting social media, but it’s still valid. There is a lot of value in having an app such as TikTok where you can be instantly connected to content that makes you laugh. Or with a website like Youtube, you have access to an infinite supply of videos that range from helpful tutorials to funny things to watch.
To round off this list, networking is another great use of social media. While this concept is similar to meeting new people, it differs in purpose. Networking is forming professional relationships. Some websites like LinkedIn are definitely more appropriate for this type of activity. These contacts can be helpful in dozens of ways, from providing professional recommendations to helping you land a job. Social media makes this process much easier, and it’s also easier to keep in touch with these connections in a streamlined fashion.