Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In Defense of Twitter (and Other Forms of Social Media)

I've been inspired to write at a kind of late hour, again. (It's 11ish right now, so at least it's dark.) This time I wanted to tackle a little issue that I have to talk to a plethora of people about, and that is the good side of social media.

Oh Twitter, everyone loves to hate you. (Seriously. I have to defend you to people that say social media just makes us too narcissistic and is a useless tool. A lot.) So many people tweet that they are deleting their twitter accounts because they, "ruin their priorities" and they need to "focus on the real, important things." And then these people think they are wonderful people. After all, they have rid from their lives a man-made evil. Right? I don't think so.

Twitter and other forms of social media are not a collective form of Satan. (I think that's 4chan, but let's not talk about that.) Twitter allows people to connect and know that they aren't alone in their struggles. #DSMA (aka DIZMA) let's people chat every Wednesday with other PWDs (Type 1, 1.5, 2 & Awesome) about living with diabetes and just normal life as well. On every other day of the week you can still find people supporting others on twitter using that exact same hashtag! Seriously, how could a tool that helps people get support (of the emotional and sometimes technical variety) be that evil?

So which roller coaster does it look like I'm riding today?
Social media also gives people a sense of anonymity that cannot be achieved elsewhere. I know so many teens that use Twitter and Tumblr to express their feelings of hatred towards diabetes. And while it may make you sad to see things like this (it definitely doesn't make me feel like a ray of sunshine), it allows people to release their angry feelings towards having to constantly deal with a chronic illness. Social media gives people ways to have an outlet for their feelings without being destructive or terrible to themselves or others. There is no harm in that.

And speaking of not harming, remember that social media is a great place to continue and start advocacy efforts. Who remembers the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? (I think that would be anyone that ever went on the internet last summer.) That challenge that took the internet by storm raised $115 million dollars to go towards research for improving the lives and finding a cure for people with ALS. Imagine if a challenge like that happened for diabetes. (Seriously, someone needs to get on that. ASAP.) No harm at all. I think that counts as all help.

Honestly, I get it. For most people social media is just a way to keep track with friends and family and a way to gauge popularity. For others, social media is an place for an outlet, a lace for advocacy, a place to get support, a place that reminds them that they are not alone. So before you make a huge deal about the pure evil that is social media, remember that it's not just a place for popularity and pettiness for everyone.

Moral of the Story: Shockingly, Twitter is not Satan!

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