This is a little bit of a self-help post. I'm a mother of two teenagers, so I'm well aware of the bad side of social media. However, I'm also finding many good things about social media. I want to highlight those so they stay top of mind … to me at least.
This is also my attempt to talk about some positive uses I've found for social media and how I've constructively used some channels in my personal and professional life. Also, how social media has been used by others in an extremely beneficial way.
Before we get to some good social media examples and stories (they exist, promise, just stick with me!), let's review some broad statistics.
- The number of social media users worldwide in 2018 is 3.196 billion (Smart Insights)
- The average daily time spent on social is 116 minutes a day
- 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media channels
- 81% of all small and medium businesses use some kind of social platform
Suffice it so say, social media is all around us and it can be all-consuming. Individuals use it, businesses and organizations use it — it's everywhere.
According to Pew Research, a majority of Americans use Facebook and YouTube, but young adults are especially heavy users of Snapchat and Instagram.
I personally use Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I'm proud to say that I don't have a Facebook page and I never did. I was able to resist the urge to get one back in 2004 and 2005 and I've managed to stay off of that platform since.
Some positive or productive ways I use my social channels are:
Instagram — it serves as an online scrapbook for me and my family. We are able to document events that are significant to us such as holidays, vacations, etc … and then go back and reference them when we need to smile or just to simply remember a fun time.
Twitter — my husband is a power-user of Twitter. I use it much less, but it has proven to be a valuable source for me to find quick information about our community, any potential security issues in our area, any important news or sports scores, weather and traffic and much more. I've managed to avoid talking or reading about politics on Twitter, so I mostly view it as a positive news source where I can get extremely real-time information.
LinkedIn — I have a profile and I get some value from connecting with old friends and business colleagues, but I get the most benefit from LinkedIn when searching for candidates to join our team.
Pinterest — my daughter LOVES Pinterest, therefore, I got involved with it. I use it to find ideas on decorating my home as well as gift ideas for friends and family.
Here are some real-world stories that involve positive uses of social media:
- The Ice Bucket Challenge! Remember this back in 2014? This was a viral campaign that helped to raise more than $115 million over an 8-week time period for ALS (see some more stats and info here).
- #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia campaign back in 2017. Here's the info about this Powerful Story on Using Social Media for Good.
- After the Las Vegas shooting, mom was able to find her 5-year-old in less than two hours. Read about it here: Social Media Helps Mom Reunite With Lost Son
This is how I want to think of social media and use it in the future. I hope more of the world does, too. With all the bad stories associated with the internet, it's heartwarming to know that we can all use the power of online social channels for good — aiding disaster relief, quickly spreading helpful information during a crisis, reuniting loved ones and fighting devastating diseases.