Every day I hear stories about how social media is causing depression, ruining our real-life social skills and causing a huge generational gap. These stories may be true. But there’s a whole lot more to the story that needs to be told.
Social media allows people that would otherwise be idle at home to generate an income using their social savvy. Information that helps to improve our lives is available during a 2-minute break from work. And, during our times of need, social media can alert friends and family that you need some love and support.
1. Empowering the Work-from-Home Generation
Stay at home parents are becoming home-based entrepreneurs at an increasing rate. This is great news for families stressed by the impact of the Great Recession. As our economy continues to roar back to life, home-based businesses will be a major powerhouse for growth.
But, if you put yourself in the shoes of an average stay-at-home spouse, marketing probably isn’t something you have a great deal of expertise in. With social media, it’s easy to transition from personal sharing to spreading the news about your product or service.
As people like and share a small company’s posts, a community begins to develop. And with the right social moves, that community can become a passionate customer base. And if you need help with something, what’s easier than submitting a quick post to your network of friends? Someone is bound to have some advice.
Speaking of advice, social media is a great way to access relevant information for outside the world of small business….
2. Better Access to Life-Improving Information
Just the other day I was scanning through my newsfeed and stumbled across a healthy eating article my cousin shared. She’s the fit one in the family. And, her ideas for healthy snacks weren’t half-bad. My cupboard is full of healthier alternatives to Cheetos and salted peanuts that I usually snack on while working at my desk. Hey! I see you judging me. I have a stressful job, alright? And I’m eating better now, so wipe that look off your face…
The point is that social media makes it incredibly easy to share information that I find useful in my life. And, chances are, if I find it useful in my life, someone else can benefit from it as well. Unfortunately, there are people out there that use this benefit of social media to spread propaganda, fake news or depressing stories.
Remember, the “unfollow” button is your friend. I spend a few minutes customizing my feed every day. Thus, my newsfeed has become more useful to me, and the information I find is actually something I value.
3. Much Needed Support at the Drop of a Post
When my friends are having a rough day, the first thing they do is post something on their Facebook. They share their struggles and vent. Whisper is another popular app for this. Just last week, a buddy of mine posted that he felt like life was kicking him while he was down. I knew he was struggling with a lot, and I immediately picked up the phone to offer support and encouragement.
Without social media’s ability to connect me, in real-time, with my friends, I would have never known to call and help. Who knows. If we hadn’t all rallied to provide encouragement, he may have made it to see today.
Amazing tools, like the National Suicide Prevention Line, are becoming social media savvy. It’s now possible to report posts to these organizations so that a trained counselor can come to the social media user’s aid with a direct message.
At the end of the day, social media certainly has a dark side. But, used within the right context, it can be an incredible tool to unlock the potential of every day.