As a lover of social media and waver of the Instagram flag, my post for Createful’s 8th birthday will share what I believe are the BEST things to have come from the world of social.
We’ve all had the social media debate at one point or another, and while I do agree we should limit the time we spend scrolling through our news feeds, I really believe social media has done a lot for us, particularly over the past few years. While some are pretty small things that may only be of interest to me, others are pretty phenomenal…
You’ve all seen this somewhere. Twitter, Facebook, newspapers, breakfast television. Going viral in October 2017, this hashtag empowered people around the world to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harrassment, particularly in the workplace. The phrase has been posted online millions of times, and provided individuals with a platform where they could share experiences, seek help, and name those responsible.
2. Health & fitness accessibility
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m an avid foodie. I’m fully aware of the jokes surrounding #avocadotoast, but seriously – have you ever seen so many recipe ideas?! With the simple click of a hashtag, you can find millions of ideas for any preference, be it #vegan, #glutenfree, or simply #pancakes – the list is literally endless. The same goes for exercise. Thanks to the likes of Joe Wicks, Emily Skye and Alice Liveing, you can get fitter in the comfort of your own home.
3. Brand interaction
Social media has allowed for an almost instantaneous response from our favourite brands. Want to know when the next flavour of your favourite ice-cream will be available? Lost a piece of jewellery in a shopping centre? Most big brands how have active community management going on; if you want to know something, you can pretty much tweet them and they’ll come back to you with an answer!
4. TV communities
The #DoctorFoster hashtag made for extremely amusing reading during the ad breaks. Sharing reactions with other live tweeters of your favourite programme is great fun, and reminds us all of the power of great TV. A tweet I sent out during the last episode of Marcella got over 200 favourites – that’s how invested we become in contemporary culture, and it’s great that social media platforms allow us to share views and engage in conversation with fellow fans.
5. Be at an event, without actually being there
There are so many events, both in the U.K and worldwide, that tickle my interest. A recent one was Influence Live in London, where individuals from the world of influencer marketing gathered to discuss topics, techniques and barriers within their profession. Although I couldn’t be there myself, following the #InfluenceLive hashtag let me follow the event throughout the day, which allowed me to identify industry experts and engage in conversations.
6. Discover new talent
Gone are the days when a CV was enough to land you an interview for a job. Employers can now check you out via your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles. I’m not coming at this from the usual, “Watch out what you’re putting out there” place. Use your social platforms to impress those you think might be looking at you after you’ve submitted that application. Have you just applied for a job working at your favourite healthy food brand? Illustrate your passion for healthy food by sharing your favourite recipes on Instagram, or on a blog. It WILL be spotted.
Whether you’ve poured a bucket of ice over a friend for ALS, or shared a #NoMakeupSelfie for Cancer Research, these simple actions have helped raise incredible amounts of money for charity. The speed at which messages can be spread through social media is amazing, and charitable causes definitely require this speed to drive engagement and funds raised.
8. Raising awareness
Whether it’s mental health, cervical cancer or sexual abuse, the power of the hashtag has helped spread awareness and start discussions surrounding some of the most sensitive topics around. Through a sense of community, less people are suffering in silence, and more people are making the decision to keep up to date with health checks. Similarly, environmental issues are being discussed more publicly than ever. Several restaurants have recently pledged to ban the use of plastic straws, and some supermarket chains are beginning to phase out excessive packaging. The Evening Standard recently launched their Last Straw campaign, with the aim to eradicate plastic straws from London streets for good. The public have been sharing support of this campaign through the use of the #LastStraw hashtag.
Phew! It was difficult to narrow them down to just eight, but those are my favourite things social media has provided us with. Is there anything else you think social media has done for us? Join the conversation on Twitter.