Casey Butler Harwood

The Positive Power of Social Media

A couple of days into 2020, our intern, Jackson, wrote an open creative brief on how to do social media right this year. He wrote, “As content creators, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard and create better content that affects social media users’ real lives — not just their online lives. It’s up to us to make social media fulfilling in 2020.” At that time, of course, we had no idea that social media would begin to do just this.

Over the past six months, we have been forced apart, physically, and we have looked to social media to keep us feeling connected. We watched as our friends in Italy and France sang out from their windows and balconies to reassure their neighbors that, in spite of their isolation, they weren’t facing the novel coronavirus alone. These videos were viewed all around the globe and they delivered something far more powerful than the typical status update; they disseminated much-needed hope, leaving viewers in awe of the human spirit.

We listened, and continue to listen, as experts in every field imaginable speak directly to us via their YouTube channels or their Instagram Live broadcasts or their Zoom seminars. They’ve helped us learn, grow, cope, accept, persevere. 

And, of course, since May 25, the day that George Floyd was killed, social media has been alight with widespread calls for justice and reform. Social media has allowed a true seachange to be felt, has empowered critical movements to gain traction, has enabled the organization of protests and firmly stood behind the very first constitutional right ever granted to us by our founding fathers, has amplified the voices of those who never seem to be heard, even when they’re screaming, has educated the ignorant, and has uncovered countless truths — many painful, many cathartic.

Now, this is not to say that social media is all progress and warm and fuzzies, but we called for social media to be better this year and, we’ve gotta say, we think social media rose to the challenge.

Photos, clockwise from top: Marvin Meyer, Mike Von, Chris Montgomery (via Unsplash)