By now, you must have heard about the egg being the most liked photo on Instagram, surpassing the previous world record of 18 million likes on Kylie Jenner’s post. On the 4th of January 2019, a picture of an egg was posted on Instagram claiming the goal of breaking the world record of most-liked photo. Currently, this egg has over 52 million likes. That is well over the entire population of South Korea which is 51 million. This is a significant phenomenon in Internet history: it portrays the unstoppable force and the unity the internet can bring on social media platforms. What hidden superpower lies behind social media nowadays?
People are constantly curious of what others are doing. Likewise, the psychology behind the minds of the 52 million people who double tapped the egg photo may lay a sense of conformity and desire to “belong” in part of the trend. This basic instinct to fit in with the majority and engage in social activities influences the popularity of social media. The motivations of sharing their lives on these public platforms may vary: It may be the desire to reveal valuable and entertaining content to others, to establish social relationships with those you can’t meet in real life, and to speak up for events or products they like or support. Through a public network of “friends” and followers” online, they gain insight into what’s going on in the world. The accumulation of all these potential benefits in establishing connections online for free led to the growing popularity of social media.
It is undeniable that social media has brought an immense impact to the world. It is almost omnipresent. A simple online space, created as just a convenient place to keep in touch with friends and family, is now being used in ways that have real impact in the society. It can be said that there are so many productive benefits to social media effect: social media allows information transparent and easy-to-access, enables democracy and mobilizes activism, creates educational and personal developmental communities for students world-wide, and substantially influences media.
Despite social media’s prevalence in our every day, the debate whether or not social media is good or bad still dwells in our society. There may be some downsides such as manipulation or excessive use of social media; however, so far, it has been substantially benefiting the humanity.
Larchmont Charter School in Los Angeles has corroborated their effective use of social media to the positive changes that it can bring to our community. “Our school hosted a blood drive last November. To spread awareness about this crucial event, the school communication committee had created an Instagram account, advertising the upcoming blood drive. Consequently, we were able to collect way more blood than our initial goal amount, thanks to social media which brought beautiful donors from both inside and outside of school. Our past success of this blood drive wouldn’t have been possible without social media.”
Another good example of excellent social media utilization is done by Teen Line, a global teen hotline. It offers support to teens,who are going through hardship, on friendly social media platforms that allow them to communicate without revealing their identities. Simply by reassuring teens that they are not alone, Teen Line aims to save thousands of lives around the world.
Likewise, when social media is put into good use, it will definitely be a boon for everyone. So before we criticize social media, why don’t we consider first about the undoubtable superpower behind it that may impact the world positively.
Goeun Lee, Grade 10
Larchmont Charter School