Social media: the misunderstood underdog

“Social media is silencing personal opinion.

“Is social media ruining our kids?” 

The more we promote social technology as a competition to be the best, the more we fuel disaster.

It’s certainly no secret that social media has negative connotations, particularly among older generations. Children have their faces glued to their phones and computers, cyber bullying took off before anyone could stop it, and anonymity has become the new personal identity.

Sure, all of these things are true. However, we never really take the time to discuss the powers of social media. If I would sit back and try to explain to my parents that Twitter is beneficial and necessary for future success, they would roll their eyes and laugh at me. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: they sound like time-wasters, like a way to get involved in everyone else’s lives while procrastinating things you could be accomplishing in your own life. I get that, I do. But you’re wrong. You’re all wrong.

Social media has had an outstanding impact in so many ways.

  • Political debates are being revolutionized by social media.
  • We are able to reconnect with lost friends. We can stay in touch after moving on with our lives and going separate directions, whether they take us across the country from one another or across the world.
  • News! News travels faster on twitter than it does through any other outlet there is. It spreads like wildfire with thousands and thousands of tweets going out per second!  Do you know who broke the news about the death of Osama bin Laden? That’s right, Twitter. The entire attack was live-tweeted by Sohaib Athar, @ReallyVirtual, which initially started with him complaining about helicopters buzzing around at 1 o’clock in the morning. Then Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff of former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, sent out the tweet announcing bin Laden’s death hours before the president’s national address.
  • Need I say more?

Among these amazing contributions that Twitter has added to each of our lives, it is also helping out local and national businesses exponentially. I couldn’t even tell you (or rather, won’t tell you, because it’s a shameful amount) the number of restaurants’ Twitter accounts I follow. Nearly every restaurant on High Street promotes daily through Twitter, with various dining choices offering competitions if they are retweeted or followed. While they receive more publicity, you receive the opportunity to maybe win a free lunch at Clutch Wings or free food for a month at Tailpipes. If you tweet Dominos, you’ll get a response back – oftentimes a funny one. These places have the ability to now connect with their customers in a way they never could before.

This revolutionary gift from the business heavens assists more than just restaurants. Nearly every bar in Morgantown now has a Twitter account that they utilize to post their drink specials of the night or to advertise for the bands and entertainment they’ll be having that weekend. Stores post sales and deals for their viewers to access. It has revolutionized business, and it is going to continue to do so.

Who doesn’t want to feel included? Especially in regards to our favorite food spots or shops! I have tweeted to Joe Mama’s on more occasions than I’d like to admit. I have tweeted to Bent Willey’s to see if my ID was maybe just maybe in their cash register. I have tweeted to Fat Daddy’s to check if they had a cover that night. They feel more accessible to us; we feel as though we can have a conversation with them.

Social media has changed business promotion forever. Don’t believe me? Stick with me and you’ll see.

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