The Positive Side Of Social Media

The Positive Side Of Social Media

Why focus on the negative?
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In today’s world, social media has taken over. Or at least taken over the younger generations. We truly are the kids raised on technology in many aspects of the word. Since we’re so involved with it, do we even realize the effects all the different platforms, pictures, and messages have on us? If not, well, let’s look into it.

All you hear these days is the negative effects and aspects of social media. And I agree that social media can be a real pain sometimes. Studies have shown that social media increases the occurrences of cyberbullying, decreases productivity, lead to more sadness, less privacy, a sense of competition or depression when comparing your life to others, and can lead to a decrease in real life conversations and connections.

These are all valid arguments and are true in many cases, however, there are some positive sides to social media that people tend to overlook, focusing all their energy on the negative. There has to be some reason most people in younger generations are in a social media craze.

Sites like Pinterest inspire creativity and new ideas daily, if not more than that. With so many DIY instructions for a multitude of crafts, home improvement, makeup, hair, and more there’s no time to be bored. It only takes one search to come up with something new to occupy your time. With thousands of different people inputting, there’s always room to think outside the box and be inspired by others’ ideas.

Multiple platforms can also be used for education. You never know what useful tip or article you’ll find on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’s so easy these days to find out anything you need. Obscure paper due next week on a subject that nobody knows about? It’s just a search away (just make sure to cite your sources correctly).

Almost any site you go on can be used as a tool to speak out.You might feel like you don’t have a voice, but that feeling might begin to go away if you post a word or two about something you’re passionate about. Since social media is so broad and there are so many people on it, it’s not hard to find others who share your own beliefs and opinions. If shared the right way, your message might even be seen by hundreds or thousands. You can create your own voice and broadcast it across the internet.

Some might not believe me when I say this, but being active on social media can actually improve confidence. You get to post selfies, and pictures of you and your friends and over time become more comfortable posting pictures of yourself and showing off your true beauty. It also helps you hone certain skills like writing, getting your point across in only a few words and/or picture, digital photo editing, and many more. After all, practice makes perfect.

Apps like Snapchat are perfect ways to reach out to your friends and connect with them digitally face to face. When you're stuck at home, in a long distance relationship, live hours away from your bestie, or if you're traveling. This gives you the best way to see each other and still feel close when you are unable to meet up in person.

So what are we waiting for? Social media may be scary, which is understandable, but it is also a place where so many good things can happen. Why not take advantage of them? Just make sure to stay safe, reasonable, and kind. Go have fun, kids!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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'Fifty Shades' Isn't A Love Story, It's An Abuse Story

Fifty Shades is not "empowering" or a "beautiful" love story, it is abuse.
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In the midst of all the buzz about #metoo, I find it surprising that many of these people who are standing up for women who have been sexually abused and exploited are also going to see "Fifty Shades Freed."

I have not and will never go see or read any of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Beyond my own standards of what visual content I think is right or wrong to watch, I won't watch it because I do not think I should take part in something that normalizes and romanticises abuse.

I'm not the only one who thinks this. Check out #fiftyshadesisabuse to see what other people are tweeting. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation considers Fifty Shades to be abusive. Cosmopolitan, Fight the New Drug, The Independent UK, and Huffington Post all have also published articles on the abusive nature of Fifty Shades.

Dawn Hawkins, the Executive Director for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, made this statement about 50 Shades:

"The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey among women sends a message to men that this is what women really want. Even more dangerous, it also sends the message to women that they can “fix” violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving.

A warning to the women lining up to see this film: There is nothing empowering about whips and chains or humiliation and torture.

Women as a group will not gain power by collaborating with violent men. Women would be serving only as an agent to further their own sexual degradation, handing themselves on a silver platter to exactly the sort of men who want to use and abuse them, and take away their power."



As you can see, the Fifty Shades trilogy is no love story. It makes abuse seem normal and puts women into a submissive, weak, and degraded place. According to Fight the New Drug, Fifty Shades does these things, as compared to healthy relationships:

The Journal of Women's Health says, "Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction " in Fifty Shades and that Anastasia reacted like a typical abused woman. These abusive instances include:

1. Stalking

2. Intimidation

3. Isolation

4. Sexual Violence

Not only does Fifty Shades normalize abuse, it correlates to having negative effects on consumers.

In fact, there was a study done that traced the effects of reading Fifty Shades to young women's health. They found that women who had read Fifty Shades were more likely to have a verbally abusive partner, fast/diet, have more than five sexual partners, and binge drink.

Fifty Shades also teaches some pretty bad lessons, such as:

In light of the #metoo movement where women are standing up against sexually abusive and manipulative relationships, rape, and other forms of sexual harassment, "Fifty Shades Freed" should have sold zero tickets at the box office.

But that is not what is happening. People are flocking to the movie. In fact, as of right now, it is the #1 movie in the world.

It's not OK to view abuse through this movie or other forms, and then post about standing up against it through the use of #metoo. Either you are fine with domestic and sexual abuse, or you are not. If you want sexual abuse to stop, stop giving money to people or organizations like the Fifty Shades franchise who normalize it.

Fifty Shades is not "empowering" or a "beautiful" love story. It is abuse.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Help, I Haven't Left The Couch Since The Olympics Started

Like any addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem.
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There were many strange things about my upbringing, but one of the strangest is that I did not grow up watching commercial television. I’ve never seen an episode of "Spongebob." I never watched the Disney Channel or Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. My TV experience came in the form of episodes of PBS Kids shows, lovingly taped by my grandfather. My first encounter with reality TV came in the form of "The Biggest Loser" when I was 14. My family’s cable TV blackout was total — in all respects except one. Every two years, for two weeks, I glue my ass to the couch and my eyes to the screen to watch impossibly athletic humans perform feats of speed and skill in order to earn disks on ribbons made of precious metals. Yes, I’m talking about the Olympics. The Olympics have ruined me.

The Summer Olympics are fine, for the most part, since they’re in the summer and I’m usually free of responsibility at that time of year. During those two weeks, I cease to leave the house, leaving the couch only to go to the bathroom and to obtain more food. If my Summer Olympics watching habits were a sport, it would be Extreme Couch-Potatoing, with points awarded for the longest time elapsed between shifts in position and the largest drops in resting heart rate. I have a system for the Summer Olympics. The system works. The Winter Olympics, however…

With the 2014 Games, I got lucky, as my typically temperate hometown was snowed in for a decent portion of them. Not compelled to leave the house for school, I entombed myself on the couch and watched them almost straight through. This year I’m not so lucky. I’m hovering on the edge of real adulthood. I have school, and worse than school, I have work. There are myriad responsibilities preventing me from achieving my ultimate goal: to become one with the furniture as I cheer on whichever country seems likely to win a particular event. There’s no such thing as country loyalty for me when it comes to watching the Olympics. Patriotism is nonexistent in my attempt to consume as many sports as possible over two weeks to make up for the rest of the time when I consume no sports at all.

We’re not even a week into the Winter Olympics, and the cracks in my respectable public façade are already beginning to show. My eyes twitch unnervingly. I steer clear of social media, living in fear of spoilers for events that haven’t even happened yet. Instead of asking my coworkers and classmates if they had a good weekend or how their classes are going, I demand “Did you see _____ event at the Olympics last night?” and shake my head and cluck my tongue when they say no. I am a purist. I am obsessed. I make other people nervous.

Like all true and good things, however, the Winter Olympics will come to an end at some point — most likely in two weeks, at which time I will lurk around my apartment in varying stages of withdrawal. In time, the symptoms will fade. But the disease will lurk somewhere in the back of my mind, ready to spring out in summer 2020.

I am a marathon Olympics watcher. I am unstoppable.

Cover Image Credit: BLazarus / Pixabay

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