How Social Media Has Broadened My Horizons

Do you like social media? 

Me? I do! 

I used to hate it though. I hated it so much for a long time because I thought it was just a space where only the “cool kids” got to boast about their lives; I hated it because my life was nowhere near being boastable. 

I started to like it, however, after I gained this new perspective—I can cultivate my empathy through my experience with it. With this mindset, I can now see social media as a space for better understanding and empathizing with others. People often say “social media is toxic” or “it only harms you” but, if you ask me, social media has broadened my horizons! Not gonna lie, it’s put me through a lot of crap, but after all, I've learned a lot about myself and others thanks to my experience with it. Putting aside its negative aspects, I believe there are so many positives to social media. Here’s some positivity I’ve found on each platform so far:

 

YouTube

Oh, how I love YouTube. 

I love how YouTube covers so many different people from different facets of life with so many different opinions on different topics (...phew! That was a mouthful!). I always get inspired by an opinion from someone who comes from another background, so I’m thankful to YouTube for making it possible to access such a wide range of demographics and their thoughts. I probably wouldn’t be able to witness any of it if it wasn’t for YouTube.

My favorite channel is called “Jubilee Media,” one of whose projects is named “Middle Ground,” through which they gather people from two opposing opinionated groups (e.g. Democrats and Republicans) and have them discuss to find a ‘middle ground’—it’s shown me the importance of listening to stories of both sides in a binary discussion.

 

Twitter

Twitter is an interesting one. 

I understand that some people use it to criticize anyone for anything. Some people use it to vent with their anonymous best friends on their timeline. Some people use it to tweet out irritation on their mind that wouldn’t go anywhere otherwise. (I’m one of them, by the way.) Overall, based on my own observation, Twitter is where people’s true colors tend to come out; it often has me wondering what makes people act and behave the way they do.

 

Instagram

I like Instagram.

It keeps me and my friends updated on life, or at least it keeps us all in touch and reachable to one another any time, any day. I personally don’t post anything on my newsfeed (...again, I don’t have a boastable or ‘Insta-worthy’ life!) but I do use My Story. I share a bit of my life through it, as do others—this allows us to acknowledge what’s up in each other’s life and sometimes even to encourage and help one another. If you think about it, Instagram creates bonds and rekindles friendships in such a creative way! 

I remember this one time when I shared my doodling on My Story, a friend of mine, who I hadn’t seen for 3+ years, messaged me saying she liked it and we ended up meeting up over coffee after all these years! Who would’ve thought that your random doodling would end up reconnecting you with your old friend?

 

Facebook

Just like Instagram, Facebook also keeps us updated and in touch with one another. One major difference I find between them is their focus; Instagram focuses on pictures whereas Facebook focuses on words. Because of this nature, I get to see on Facebook what others are going through at the moment written in their own words. It’s cool to see how we all go through ups and downs from time to time and that we’re never alone in this journey called "life." close up on woman holding smart phone in hands

Of all the bright aspects I’ve written out, I admit social media can be extremely detrimental too. So here are two heads-ups I have for you regarding the use of social media:

 

First of all...

There’s so much hatred and bullying spread around on social media. Especially when you express your opinion on a controversial topic, people always have a comeback for whatever you say. When someone anonymously says something harsh to you, you don’t want to take it as a criticism of who you are as a person; instead, take it as a criticism of your opinion only. 

 

Second of all...

It is so easy to compare your life with that of others on social media, especially when everyone is putting out their best selves. Please know that you have a choice to not see what you don’t want to see. You can be selective about what you display on your screen by following/unfollowing certain accounts. You can take “breaks” from social media by not opening up apps or deleting them for a while. Indeed, you want to choose and filter what you bring to your heart.

hands making a heart shape over purple flowers shot from above

So, you see, there’s so much good and bad all jumbled in social media, and the effect it has on you depends on your approaches and perspectives. Nowadays, one of the common pieces of advice given to people is to stop using social media for good in order to avoid the bad, but I don’t want to say this here. Having taken social media “breaks” multiple times myself, I appreciate its pros more than I despise its cons. 

So “use it wisely” is what I want to leave you with.

person standing on field facing a sunset

Last but not least, I want to put an emphasis on another goodness about social media: there are so many resources you wouldn’t find anywhere else. In fact, I found the opportunity to become an editorial writer for Her Campus ICU on Facebook! I am so blessed to be part of this community and very much excited to write about my passions (environmental issues, mental health issues and Christianity, in particular!) and to use this platform in the hope of spreading empathy going forward!