The Power of Social Media and Technology In Today’s World

STORY BY Grace Jung

Published: July 16, 2013

It’s no secret that our world is looking quite different from what it was ten years ago.

In today’s world, parents are raising kids with smartphones instead of rewarding them with one like many did when I was a kid. There are jobs that didn’t exist five years ago, technology being crucial to all of them. Proficiency with technological applications is no longer a skill set, but a basic expectation from many, if not all, employers. Advertising and marketing careers, for example, require all employees to have basic knowledge of various social media platforms. In this day and age, social media and technology have gone from being a luxury to an absolute necessity.

Of course, you’ll hear your fair share of complaints and horror stories. Not everyone is happy with how our world has adapted technological advancements. The older generations tend to grumble that kids these days have their eyes “glued to the screen.” There are plenty of editorials on how this new era of social media has bred lazy and unproductive teenagers. And everyday, someone will meet up with a person they have met online, only to find out that that person is a 40-year-old man living in his mother’s basement—or a serial killer, depending on what crime show you’re watching.

But there are plenty of positive things about social media and technology that people tend to forget about, most of which can be summed up in two words: connection and conversation.

Connection: Social media and technology have brought us together in ways we could have never imagined a decade ago. Facebook, for example, allows us to share stories, pictures, and updates on our lives. Creating individual groups make it even easier to exchange information and conduct other activities, such as selling furniture or subletting apartments for university students. Then there’s Twitter, famous for its simple 140 character updates and usage of #hashtags, while Tumblr has grown to become one of the most popular micro-blogging platforms in the world, with millions of registered users being brought together through common interests. And finally, we have LinkedIn, known best for connecting and networking users to potential employers, and something that I find to be the ultimate example of how vastly our world has changed. All of this connects us in such a positive, productive way, and makes everyone’s lives just a little easier.

Conversation: Recently, we’ve had many things happening in politics. There were the riots in Turkey, the protests in Egypt, the filibuster in the Texas Senate, the overturns of DOMA and Prop 8, and the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting trial. There were quite a number of people who had things to say about all of them, whether they were expressing happiness, terror, or disgust, through status updates on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. And while it’s so easy to dismiss people’s opinions on the Internet, claiming that they change nothing and that they should “go out and do something about it if they’re so upset,” to dismiss them would be a mistake. Social media is our outlet for conversation and spreading awareness, because not everyone is going to care or even know about something that directly or indirectly affects them. It is a place to be passionate, vocal, and honest if we cannot do so in our outside lives. In fact, political conversation through social media should be encouraged, because we need to get rid of the apathy and political neutralization plaguing our generation in order to move forward with change.

So don’t be ashamed if you’re one of those people who love using ten different kinds of social media platforms. Embrace it, because our world is still changing, and social media and technology will always be right in the middle of it.

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