by Luke D’souza a Junior @ Woodstock School

Social Media plays an increasingly large part in our lives, we use it all the time with applications like Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Linkedin and more; it’s hard to imagine our lives without it. But does that mean we’re using it right? The answer isn’t as clear as we’d like to think.

Social media has become so prominent in the 21st century that back in early 2019, Elon Musk raised the idea of “removing the space between the social and the media through the invention of a brain chip implant that connects human tissue to computer chips”. A thought to enable paralyzed people operate technology using their mind. While the technology is yet to be perfected, there is reason to believe that our future is headed in this direction but where does that leave us today in the early months of 2021.

Social media has placed itself within our worlds of politics, the workplace, home life, and my teenage mind, its fundamental use has also changed. For many, social media is a way to stay connected, share their personal life with the world, create a following and as an advertising and marketing tool. We send snaps on Snapchat, scroll through Instagram, and laugh on our family WhatsApp group chats. Now, we also use platforms like Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting for our classes, family gatherings and company meetings. But is that all we can and should use social media for?

Social media is an extremely powerful tool that, when used appropriately can create new connections and give us a platform to spread messages and to receive information on what is happening in our world. Social media is just like a hammer, you can use it to build something with meaning or purpose or to destroy something. Social media is neither “bad” nor is it “good” but instead a platform that we must take advantage of to show meaning and value wisely.

The #blacklivesmatter and #metoo movements are perfect examples of the usage of social media gone right, leaders in these organizations took advantage of their ability to “share” and spread a message with the tenacity for the world to know and understand the message they are trying to spread. Today these organizations are at the epicenters of change in our world and they too had to start their message somewhere.

However, we have also seen it used to spread Fake messages that spreads so quickly when forwarded causing disruption, pain, disbelief, mistrust. Fake news when shared on a social media platform, especially with images and videos is very convincing and believable. We have to constantly verify the truth behind every message posted. But in its infancy governments are taking necessary steps to curb this and have people become more responsible for their actions. Until this happens we will need to be cautious of messages and verify the truth.

Today with the rise of a more secluded and internet-based world, social media is a resource and tool that is more beneficial than ever, using it with the purpose of staying connected with friends and family and businesses it is fair to say that no we’re not using social media wrong but instead I’d like to conclude that there is always “more” we can do and Social Media is a platform waiting to be taken advantage of by many. It is important to maintain a balance between the good and bad or what is right and what is wrong and I think in today’s age, the smart usage of these platforms is exactly what is needed.

High School Junior @ Woodstock School