While it has become popular to bemoan the rise of social media in recent years as the death of “real” relationships and interactions, social media actually serves to bring us together in ways that simply used to be impossible. There have been distractions from face to face communication for years, from television to video games to books. Overall, social media has brought issues to light that would have previously slid under the radar, especially in regards to social justice movements like Black Lives Matter. One need only look to the Arab Spring to see what social media can do for people and movements that would have little ability to organize or mobilize otherwise.
Social media has opened doors for so many people & had made ppl + aware of many issues, yet yall make it sound so negative like its a curse
— BELA (@isabelaseraffim) March 8, 2016
As Zeynep Tufekci notes in Social Media’s Small, Positive Role in Human Relationships, “texting, Facebook-status updates, and Twitter conversations are not displacing face-to-face socializing — on average, they are making them stronger. Social media is enhancing human connectivity as people can converse in ways that were once not possible.” This is certainly visible in movements like the Arab Spring and Black Lives matter, which may not have been possible (especially the Arab Spring) before the advent of social media. I know this has been the case for me in terms of learning different viewpoints, while I might not have been able to understand those movements, due to social media I now have an opportunity to do so. Ultimately I think social media has positively impacted my relationship with people not only in my direct social circle, but also around the world.