How many times have you logged onto your social media account and come across meme’s, reposts, and rants about the latest gossip and/or all of the problems with the world (and more so the types of people in it)?
If your feed looks anything like mine (before I started my “screening” process), it’s probably hard to even come up with a concrete number because the truth is: there are too many times to count.
Thanks to social media, we are constantly subjected to the opinions, perspectives and influence of others—teens more than anything. According to the Pew Research Internet Project’s September 2012 data, 81% of online teens use some kind of social media. Additionally, 51% of teen’s visit social networking sites daily as reported by Common Sense Media’s 2012 study on teen’s social media and social life. Furthermore, in 2013 Edudemic found that the average youth (age 8-18) spends an average of 10 hours and 45 minutes on social media sites.
While there have been numerous studies and discussions that argue the negative impacts of social media on our daily lives—especially that of young women—the bottom line is rather clear: social media is a powerful tool that can be used for positive or negative depending on the user.
Take a moment to scroll through all of your latest social media posts and status updates. What does the majority of your content focus on (i.e. personal life, selfies, school, job, family, gossip, philosophies/theories, and news)?
Now let’s take it a step further: When is the last time you shared a social media post that advocated for or captured something positive that would help or inspire someone other than yourself—say, your community or special cause?
There’s power in your presence—especially your social media presence. Why, just last year The Huffington Post shared the story of Jeremiah Anthony, a 17-year-old high school junior from Iowa City. Anthony wanted to do something that would “make his classmates and teachers feel good about themselves”. He along with two of his friends started the Twitter feed @WestHighBros. They shared “heartfelt and thoughtful compliments” that are now shared with over 5,000 followers. Their goal was simple: encourage kindness and compassion to change the school climate. Social media can be used to create REAL LIFE change.
Consider the number of followers that you have and how many of them are “ghost followers”. There are some people out there who watch all of your posts, and yet never engage with you on social media, yet they are exposed to you and your mind every single day. That’s powerful—the simple fact that someone doesn’t have to engage with you but can be affected or influenced by your actions. Maybe it’s time to use that power of yours for a little good in such a way that maybe you have yet to. Besides, just because you’re a teen doesn’t mean you have to wait on adults to figure out the answers to some of the problems or issues that you, and so many others like you, face daily, right?
So let’s flex your social media power…that is, if you’re up to the challenge.
Here it goes:
The IAM Change Challenge
Identify one negative issue in your community or school that you would like to help or see change. Some issues could include: needing new books in classrooms, unfavorable conditions in your school, littering in your neighborhood, [cyber] bullying, violence, etc.
- Brainstorm a social media campaign to raise awareness about or help fix the issue(s) [tip: use a hashtag that isn’t already in use]
- Come up with 2-3 outcomes that you would like to see happen as a result of it
- Identify 5 friends/associates and one adult (family member or favorite school staff member) to help you execute the campaign
- Take social media by storm! You may even want to consider creating flyers to post around school or in mailboxes to tell people to search the hashtag and join in!
Be sure to tag me in your campaign and feel free to e-mail me if you need any help: SincerelySyreeta@gmail.com!
I can’t wait to see the difference that your social media presence will make in your school and/or community!
Infographic source: Edudemic.com
Syreeta “Sincerely Syreeta” Martin is a mother, freelance journalist, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, life guide, strategist and creator of SincerelySyreeta.com. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook (@SincerelySyreeta) and/or Twitter (@SincerelyReeta).