Today young people everywhere are plugged into social media and the internet, giving them access to an array of benefits and opportunities - employment, education, health improvement, technological innovations, entertainment, etc. Information is literally at their fingertips. Making friendships and connections across continents are now commonplace. This wide access now makes it possible to reach a large number of people everywhere, to connect, communicate and build strong networks. This makes the world so much smaller, as realities of other people lives and views across continents are brought to individual doorsteps. We now live in a world full of neighbours where interaction with strangers on a daily basis has never been more possible.
On one hand, social media is an irreplaceable learning tool. News, notifications, information - all in the palm of our hand, in real time. You can also curate your online experience to suit your interests and tastes, and with the wide variety of information sites, this can be as personal as you can make it.
Meeting new people for social and professional networking is another major plus for social media connectivity. There is now wide exposure to diverse cultures, norms and perspectives, for a richer experience. People grow their businesses, join in civic engagement, find the jobs of their dreams and connect with kindred spirits with similar interests much more easily.
However, just like there is a darker side to interactions in the real world, so it is on the virtual space. The anonymity afforded by the internet means that online, people can get away with distasteful behavior much more easily than in real life. Unfortunately the relative novelty of the internet means that we are yet to iron out the kinks in laws governing the online space, and to deal with the attendant difficulty of enforcing them. Another drawback worthy of mention is the spread of false or misleading information. Because people feel protected by online anonymity of some platforms, some pay no attention to the validity or veracity of their information.
We will, in these series of posts, have in-depth discussions on how to use social media to benefit us immensely and also discuss how to ensure we all use social media more responsibly.
For us at C4C, social media connections are crucial. It is important therefore, to explore and discuss the possibilities the social media space holds for young people. If used strategically, social media is a great tool for growth and empowerment at so very little cost!
Please do stay with us as we roll out our series and join in the illuminating discussions by leaving comments under each post. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear from you! We promise the series will be illuminating and sometimes even provocative!