Social media is, in part, a medium that enables people to connect with others. The word “connect” does not necessarily have a positive connotation. Rather, it means that people who did not previously have access to talk with each other have the ability to do so through social media. The nature of that conversation, whether it’s a mutual appreciation for a band or a vitriol discussion involving slurs, is subject to change.
There are so many reasons why I prefer Twitter over other social media platforms but among them are the dope ppl I’m able to connect with!
— Marquis (@mtaylor313) September 1, 2017
My initial approach to the question of whether social media is bringing the world closer together was influenced a lot by the arguments I encounter on a daily basis in Twitter threads and Instagram comment sections. I thought, yes, social media is bringing us closer together but also tearing us apart. But upon thinking through it more, I’ve refined my position to be that social media is absolutely bringing us closer together in the sense that it is allowing us to speak with people we never thought we’d get the chance to speak with, no matter what we’re talking about. Three years ago, my favorite celebrity thanked me on Instagram for defending her against body shaming. I would have never imagined that possible before social media became a prominent feature in my everyday life.
And to think i was done unfollowing people on social media….too much hate speech
— Fibi Maganjo (@fibimaganjo) September 1, 2017
But at the same time, bringing people together is not always the good, virtuous action it sounds like, as bringing people together often causes friction. The only reason I connected with Giuliana Rancic on Instagram is because someone else said she was a bad role model for women because she was too thin — a statement rude enough without the context that Rancic is a cancer survivor with other health issues. So upon further thought, my individual consensus is that social media is bringing us closer together, for better or worse.