Four ways social media is having a positive impact on the world

For all their popularity, social media networks are increasingly cited (often by people who don’t actually use them…) as an example of everything that’s wrong with the world today. But is this really the truth?

As a digital marketing consultant for luxury brands, Kerry Coleman understands how to use social media platforms as a positive influence to raise awareness of her clients’ brands, and help customers find the products and services they need.

But more than that, Kerry has also seen the power of social media to do good, and make the world a better, more connected place. So much so that she wanted to share some of the ways people are using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as a force for good.

Four ways social media is having a positive impact on the world

Whether it’s because of the job I do, or because I am passionate about digital marketing and social networking, I am often the one person in the room defending the merits of social media and promoting it to be used for good.

However, I appreciate there are always two sides to everything, and some may not share my view, and admire it for its innovation and power to do good. Instead they may view it as having a negative impact on society. Ultimately this will depend on individual perspective and how they perceive it.

So, here are four ways that social media is being used for good, with some examples to illustrate.

1) Raising awareness and money for charity

Back in March 2014, you may remember women posting pictures of themselves without makeup, on Twitter and Facebook. You may have even posted yourself.

Although no-one really knows how it all started, it went viral.

Cancer Research UK were not the ones to start the trend, however cancer awareness became the over-arching theme, and very quickly donations began to flood in when people pledged to post a # no-make-up selfie.

The charity raised £8 million in donations, which meant they could start 10 new clinical trials, none of which would have been possible had it not been for the #no-make-up selfie campaign.

This is just one incredible instance of people power, coming together to create awareness, and support a worthy cause, and all made possible through the medium of social media.

2) Responding to crises

You may not have even noticed this function on your Facebook App, I didn’t until someone pointed it out to me. It is well hidden amongst a long list of icons you may have previously considered totally irrelevant.

Crisis Response is a function within Facebook that lets those people affected by a natural disaster or terror attack tell their friends and family they are ok.

For those people affected locally and who may be posting about the incident on social media, they can click on a notification and mark themselves safe.

It allows people to connect with others who like them may need help finding food, shelter and supplies. For those at a distance, there is the option to donate to charities who are working to support those affected.

I for one hope that I never need to use this function, although it’s comforting to know it is there. Go check it out.

3) Making new friends

With over 3billion users worldwide, social networking means that we can make new friends with like-minded people across the globe, as well as join groups, create new communities and seek out support.

Social networks are now home to a huge number of support groups, where people can find an online community who understands them and their situation, as well as offer them practical and emotional support.

According to Paul Farmer, CEO for Mind, “for many, social media can be a lifeline. By connecting people with similar experiences, and providing access to information and support, the online world has a significant role to play increasing awareness about mental health problems.”

As well as being a lifeline to those with acute and chronic health conditions, social media has the power to help people stay connected regardless of their geography.

Its hugely cost effective in comparison to long distance phone charges and long-haul flights. For the cost of an internet connection, you can stay in touch with friends and family, hang out with them, and see their smiling faces even when they live on the other side of the world. It’s a brilliant example of tech for good.

And finally….

4) #reclaimsocial

Some might say there is still too much negativity on social media, and sadly the good-will stories, along with the positive impactful content being created and shared by the growing number of networking groups, businesses, charities and organisations is simply being drowned out.

To counter this and demonstrate the positive power of social media, Lightful, a tech for good platform launched a campaign in 2018 inviting organisations, charities and those who support them to share their positive stories all over social media.

Their tagline was: There’s too much negativity on social media nowadays. Let’s reclaim social media for good.

This wonderful movement fully embraced the positive power of social media, demonstrating how as a platform it offers a space to those who have heart-warming, innovative, and powerful stories to share.

One can only hope that movements such as these will help to redress the balance, and once again reclaim social media for good, one post at a time.

Kerry Coleman is an experienced digital marketing consultant and social media expert for luxury, premium brands.

Photo by Trung Thanh