Most people can’t go a day without checking in on some form of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many more are some clever ways to stay in touch with people and connect to people you may never have had the opportunity to before. However, these social media outlets give us an unhindered view into each others’ lives and, let’s face it, this often causes problems.
Social media can turn us into nosey people who can’t help but constantly compare ourselves to others. For example, I see one particular person update their Facebook status daily about all the things they’re buying and I can’t help but think to myself, Must be nice. Or I see that girls are continuously posting pictures of themselves and I think, I don’t look like that. How do I get to look like that? This mentality has to stop. Many people have turned social media into a bragging tool, and people like me fall into this trap of self-loathing as I constantly compare myself to them.
When I realized that Facebook and the like can be the devil on my shoulder and take my self-esteem to all new (low) levels, I decided to put the negativity behind me. Rather than give up on social media all together, I decided to look for the positive side. And guess what? There is a good side to social media, one that lifts people up rather than tear them down.
Here are some of the ways people have used social media for good:
1. Happy Birthday, Colin
Created by a Michigan mom, this Facebook page was meant to show an 11-year-old boy that he did have friends. When Colin’s mom asked him if he wanted to have a birthday party, he said no because he didn’t have any friends. So his mother took it upon herself to prove to her son that he did have friends. This page turned out to be a much bigger deal than she ever anticipated—Colin now has over 2.1 million friends. Colin went from being bullied to having the undying love and support of millions all over the world. The page name has now been changed to “Colin’s Friends.”
2. Hand For Torri
This story really hits home for me because it happened in my hometown of Liberty Center, Ohio. Torri Biddle was born with an arm that only grew up to her elbow. Her wish was to be able to give her dad a real hug one day. So her friends took it upon themselves to get Torri the attention and help she deserved. They took to Twitter and used the hashtag #HandForTorri. When The Buried Life, a television show on MTV, noticed the trending hashtag, they worked together with Invisible Children and Hanger Clinic to get Torri a bionic arm—which costs $150,000—free of charge.
If it hadn’t been for Torri’s incredible friends and Twitter, Torri wouldn’t have been able to make her dream come true: hug her dad with two arms.
If Torri’s video reaches 1 million views, Hanger Clinic will donate a bionic arm to someone else in need. Watch it here.
3. Sign of Change
This also is a movement happening locally for me in Toledo, Ohio. Sign of Change started with Tony Norton in 2012. He and his friends took it upon themselves to write simple, positive messages on cardboard and stand at street corners. It is their goal to spread joy throughout the community with a little positivity and a smile. They have #signofchange on their signs to spread the movement via social media. I see Tony on the streets all the time and he never fails to make me smile and remind me that there are good people in the world. It doesn’t hurt that he’s always dancing! Bring #signofchange to your community and see how the positivity grows.
These are just a few examples of how social media can help bring people together, rather than tear them apart. What other positive social media pages do you know of?Google+