Fact: 90% of people grab their smartphones first thing in the morning, before jumping out of bed. Chances are, close to the same percentage of folks are using it to check their social media accounts. It feels as though social media platforms have been with us since the dawn of time, but it’s really only been the last several decades where we have seen the development of social media into what it is today. While people tend to have mixed feelings about social media, the fact remains that it’s had a significant impact on our everyday lives.
World Social Media Day was established over a decade ago by Mashable on June 30, 2010. It was launched in order to bring recognition to social media’s global impact on communication. Those of us old enough to have had a MySpace account can remember the thrill of being able to represent yourself authentically in a way other people could truly see you and communicate with you. For the first time, you didn’t have to try to close the closet door over the curly telephone cord and listen to the click of your Mom picking up on the other line. There was such powerful autonomy in that! Social Media’s evolved quite a bit since then, and while there are obviously some negatives associated with its use, I thought in celebration of Social Media Day we could celebrate all of the good it’s done; particularly after the year we’ve had where staying connected with each other was more crucial and more difficult than ever.
Social Media gets a lot of flack for being a hub of negativity, perpetuating comparison and envy, and for creating a fictionalized ideal of what life “should” be, instead of what it is. While I don’t disagree that this can often be the case, there are so many accounts that exist to promote emotional, physical, and spiritual health, that provide encouragement, that foster and curate bright spots of beauty and provide positivity and moral support. When used appropriately, it could provide the kind of pep talk one needs to start the day with confidence, support, and the recognition that we aren’t alone. Several Instagram accounts dedicated to the uplifting of humankind particularly in the field of self-love, care and personal boundaries that I make a point to follow for a boost in the morning are @alex_elle , @morganharpernichols and @_lisaolivera. Some, “body positive” Instagram accounts that have encouraged me to face this summer season celebrating my beach body (because I have a body and I like the beach) @meg.boggs, @thebaileyp and @thebirdspapaya. Curating my feed to feature the accounts that uplift and encourage has been such a saving grace for me. Use the social media forces for good, my friends, and you’ll immediately see it’s positive impact.
Networking in Business
Women are badasses in business. Social Media’s made it possible for others to notice just how much. Networking can feel like a four-letter word; some of us get visions of cold-calling, emailing high school acquaintances we haven’t spoken to in years in order to sell a product, and other manners of uncomfortable attempts of trying to, “sell oneself” in order to turn a profit and make a living. Social Media has normalized the fact that women have lives AND businesses. And that it’s not only acceptable to have both, but it’s within our right. Social Media has brought some of the best business gurus right into your home screen providing you with invaluable information to grow your own business with integrity. Women help each other. Women help their communities. Women in business can change the world. The businesswomen making Instagram work for them right now while providing other women opportunities to network and grow that I follow are @rachelrodgersesq , @cathy.heller, @jennakutcher and @thebudgetnista .
This past year has been scarring on so many fronts, but I think the thing we all missed most of all was our connection to the people we love. The hardest thing I and my children had to weather was the inability to hug my Mom and their Aunts and Uncles. We had only screens to continue the connection with the outside world and to the humans who mean the most to us. This made social media a boon of comfort and the bridge necessary to ensure those in isolation had some sort of connection. Considering the fact that women use social media to connect to their families and loved ones nearly 20% more than men, we should celebrate the fact that we pioneered the charge to maintain relationships by posting graduations, birthday drivebys, notes of encouragement when ill, etc. I rekindled friendships this past year that have brought me such joy, purpose and connection. I have social media to thank for that.
Whatever your thoughts are concerning social media, today is a day we can celebrate all of the good its done.