Living in the year 2014 means living in a year where one’s thoughts, actions, desires and experiences are broadcasted on the ‘double-sided-sword” platform of Social Media. About 75% (a number that’s continually increasing) of the world’s population is using social networking sites. That’s a very easy concept to grasp…next time you’re in a group setting, take a look at how many people around you are on their phones. A little depressing.
While the Social Media addiction has had numerous negative side effects on people such as occasionally running into a poll while texting, or not feeling cool enough due to the lack of Likes, or even engaging more in a virtual conversation instead of conversing face to face, there are some hidden gems that Social Media has created. Take a look at these five ways Social Media has risen above being just at outlet for stalking others or self promotion.
1. Avoid Shopping Lines
Raise your hand if you like driving all the way to the mall, walking around for awhile, and then having to wait in a long line to purchase your item? NO THANK YOU. The beauty of living in a social-media-obsessed society is that anything can be bought in just a click of a button. Ninety-three percent of marketers use social media for business. Companies have learned where their customers are spending the majority of their time. They know that people are constantly on social media, from the instant they wake up to the instant they close their eyes for bed. Yes, this means that there are countless ads popping up online, but it also means that our society has the opportunity to tell businesses what they want and purchase what they want instantly.
2. Find Your Soulmate
One word: Tinder. Who would have thought Tinder would have been considered one of the main social media channels for online dating, let alone dating. Tinder launched about two years ago, and now has a daily user base of over 10 million people and a history of making more than 1 billion matches. Obviously, what started out as a fun way to meet people, has exploded into a mainstream way of dating. Tinder has its modern-day benefits. In a Time article, it’s explained, “While traditional dating sites require extended periods of time in front of the desktop writing and browsing long bios, Tinder can be played in short bursts on the go.” Tinder falls under the present stereotype of our society “wanting something now” by allowing people to instantly see who’s interested in them and allowing them to chat immediately. With more than 1 billion matches, the odds are looking good in the dating world thanks to Tinder and other social media channels. Click here to read about some heart-warming marriage stories from Tinder.
3. Manage Your Finances
Paying people back doesn’t require whipping out your checkbook anymore. It only requires one finger pushing a button on your phone, preferably your index finger. Money is shifting from being in the physical form of paper to becoming solely a digital presence. Venmo is an example of a great finance app that “lets you take the awkwardness out of asking your friends for money”. You can instantly request or send money between any Venmo user. Mint is an all-around-finance platform that allows its users to create and manage their income, budget and expenditures. Even Snapchat has recently expanded to allowing people to send cash via Snapcash. Companies are realizing that their customers want daily tasks to be simple. These three apps are just a few examples of how Social Media makes it possible to manage your finances in the most convenient and efficient way.
4. Catch Crooks
No one likes when others get away with an illegal deed, especially if the deed is done to you personally. Your first instinct is to become an FBI agent and do some investigation. I have recently experienced how Social Media can help with detective work.
During the week before Thanksgiving this year, my youngest sister’s (Abigail Keenan) backpack was stolen on her college campus. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if her laptop and external hard drive (both containing months of photography sessions for her business) weren’t inside. Following a day of extreme stress and sadness, Abby accepted the loss of her backpack. She decided to tweet about her recent experience to warn others to be safe with their belongings. The next night, Abby was contacted by Austin Butler, who lived half an hour north of her, who explained that he had possibly just purchased her stolen laptop off of KSL. Abby learned that Butler had felt that something was off with his laptop purchase due to certain names and pictures he found on the computer. After some investigation online, he found Abby’s Twitter account with her tweet about her stolen laptop. Eureka!! Abby and Butler were able to meet up where Butler gracefully returned Abby’s stolen laptop. A few days later, the suspect was found, and her backpack and external hard drive were also returned.
This case was solved due to the existence of social media. If she had had her backpack stolen even ten years ago, there would have been a different outcome: they would have been gone forever.
5. Save Your Life
The ability to reach hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people at once has opened the door for people to say whatever they want, including a cry for help. Thousands of people have been saved due to social media, including a woman named Leigh Fazzina.
People’s human nature includes the desire for adventure and taking risks. Fazzina was competing in a mini-triathlon when she ended up getting separated from her group due to her front bike wheel hitting tree roots causing her to fly over her handlebars. This accident caused her to be lost, injured and unable to walk. Since her cell service wasn’t strong enough to make a call, she decided to tweet “I’ve had a serious injury and NEED Help! Can someone please call Winding Trails in Farmington, CT tell them I’m stuck bike crash in woods”. Within minutes, Fazzina was rescued. In this case, Twitter saved her life. Social Media became a way for Fazzina, and many others to call for help. Read more stories here.
As one can see, Social Media is not just a way to stalk your friends or see what the latest gossip is. Yes, that’s usually what occurs online (you’d be lying if you said you didn’t love doing those), but Social Media can be used in ways that have more depth and have more meaning in one’s life. Our generation is even lucky to have the opportunity to have access to those benefits instantly. However, it’s up to our society to make sure that there is a balance of using Social Media for guilty pleasures or meaningful substance.