Social media essential to communication

MIRANDA BROOKWELL

Youth Correspondent

“Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” – Brian Solis

As teenagers, it’s not surprising to hear negative things about our social networking habits. “You’re always on your phone” and “You’re such a Facebook addict” are quite common phrases. But what people don’t always realize is the usefulness of being able to have the world at your fingertips with emailing, texting, and websites such as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook.

Thanks to these social networking devices, communication with family, friends, classmates, and sometimes even employers, is simple and quick. Personally, I enjoy keeping up with my friends over Facebook, whether they live in Ponoka or across the country. I can still keep in contact with people I met at Skills Canada competitions, family members living out of town, or friends that have moved away. However, that isn’t the only great thing about it. I rely on Facebook to find out about school events, big news in my friends’ lives, local concerts, cancellation or time changes of dance classes, and even birthdays. Local talent like The Utilities can post updates about upcoming shows on MySpace or their Facebook page. I can scroll through posted pictures of a great night out with friends and relive the memories.

So I guess for me, in my warm house in a safe neighbourhood, with food on the table every night, social networking is just fun and useful for my life here in a small town. If only it was that way for everyone.

Good news and bad news travels remarkably fast over the internet, and even if it doesn’t bring a big smile to my face, I believe it’s important to hear about what’s going on in the world on both a local and international scale. For instance, I subscribe to status updates form Red Cross and World Vision on my Twitter account, and heard about the awful earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand almost immediately after it happened. This devastating news occurred too soon to be in a newspaper or on the television right away, and yet within a couple of hours, thousands of people – even celebrities – were posting their hopes and well wishes for the victims of the quake, as well as making donations to the organizations assisting the area.

All of a sudden, this website I’ve known to just be for updating people on my rather boring life had become a cry for help from those in Christchurch. It amazed me to see how many people were sending their love, and even some of their money, to New Zealand. It’s so refreshing to see such a show of kindness and sympathy, especially when we feel the glass is half empty, and the word is a dark place full of selfish people.

If it hadn’t been for social networking, the world would never have been able to see the remarkable and peaceful revolution that Egypt endured. The citizens made their problems known to every nation by video recordings smuggled out of the country and immediately posted to the web. They must’ve felt so relieved that the superpower countries of the world were informed of their economic crises and other issues. Social networking, whether for huge issues or our day-to-day feelings, is a way to explode out to our fellow citizens how we feel. And in a world that is constantly focusing more on oil than the people living above it, I believe that is incredibly important.

Social networking is so often viewed in a negative light, that it’s important to remember all the good it does and how necessary it is becoming in the lives of youth. Even if it isn’t face to face, we are communicating with each other more now than ever before, and I think that’s something that should be respected.

Because when times get tough, you might be glad that hundreds of friends are giving you their support, even if it’s through cyberspace.