The positive and negative effects of social media

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The positive and negative effects of social media

Opinion Columnist Abigail Bennethum discusses the pros and cons of social media in relation to a recent interview with the Duchess of Sussex.

Opinion Columnist Abigail Bennethum discusses the pros and cons of social media in relation to a recent interview with the Duchess of Sussex.

TNS

Opinion Columnist Abigail Bennethum discusses the pros and cons of social media in relation to a recent interview with the Duchess of Sussex.

TNS

TNS

Opinion Columnist Abigail Bennethum discusses the pros and cons of social media in relation to a recent interview with the Duchess of Sussex.

ABIGAIL BENNETHUM, Opinion Columnist

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When people talk about social media, it can be perceived as either positive or negative. Social media can be used for a variety of reasons including growing businesses, self-promotion, self-improvement and even fame and fortune. However, it can also be a very negative and toxic thing as well. The thing that differentiates between these positives and negatives is how people use it. When really thinking about social media, it’s not the application itself but the content that individuals provide on the application.

Different applications provide different ways people can share and contribute to the world. Twitter in this day and age seems to be one of the most influential applications to share anything and everything while connecting with almost anybody. Topics of discussion are almost limitless ranging from memes to self-improvement threads, all the way to politics and controversial issues. 

Something that has been trending for a while on Twitter is #weloveyouMeghan. This hashtag was started in support of Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, after an interview with ITV News about her early days of motherhood. Many news stations and reporters have seen the internal struggle that she portrayed during the interview.

Many people have found commonalities with Meghan and her newfound role as a mother and the mental and physical exhaustion that comes along with it. This interview hit home with many mothers, not just the ones in the spotlight, all expressing the feeling of judgment and dislike.

During the interview, Tom Bradby asked about the impact of the pressure of this new stage in her life and how her mental and physical health is doing. Markle explains how, in general, while being pregnant, you feel vulnerable and added being in the spotlight emphasizes the vulnerability and strain she has been experiencing. Something I noticed about the interview was she had trouble forming her words into what she was trying to say. However, I feel like the people who watched it knew exactly what she was trying to say. In the end, Markle cut off her own line of commentary and switched to thanking Bradby for asking her how she was. Markle expressed that not many people have asked her if she was okay.

I think this interview really resonated with a lot of people besides mothers, especially when she said, “Not many people have asked me if I was okay.”

We all felt our hearts breaking because of the pain we saw in her eyes and her courage to portray a strong front, immediately we all thought back to a moment in our lives where we had to do the same. The personal touch this interview unknowingly had and what it has brought onto our social media platforms is insane, in a good way. We see people left and right of all ages, demographics banning together with words of encouragement and kindness.

Even though there were encouragement and kindness presented, scrutiny and judgment followed quickly, trying to make this movement of positivity towards somebody who needs it a joke. Many people followed the interview making their own videos and demeaning tweets towards her and the struggles she is facing. To that, I think it is extremely unfair. Everybody has their own trials they are confronting every day. Through these social media platforms, people have turned such a gut-wrenching situation into something beautiful and uplifting. Others are seeing that and squashing the beauty of a community coming together in a positive way. Not only with Meghan’s situation, but anything that could possibly be expressed.

That is what is wrong with social media.

As we head into this next week, and all the weeks after, I challenge everybody on this campus to do something that will spread a little love. Check up on your friend you haven’t heard from in a while, hold the door open for somebody, support somebody, or just offer a smile. Carry this encouragement and positivity to your social media platforms, make it a place where people feel inspired and lifted up, not somewhere people feel broken down.

“Be pitiful, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” – Ian Maclaren

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