12.27.2013

Social Media & Social Consciousness: 2013 in Review

By Jesse Muhammad for The Final Call 

Like money, social media is a tool that will amplify its possessor. Social media has become a weapon in the hands of people seeking to spread relevant information, sparking revolutionary action. Others have continued to engage in perpetual “dumbing down” of the public by disseminating the latest gossip and happenings from scandalous television shows.

Either way, my point: The global impact of social media is clearly not a fad and something that cannot be ignored. In coming years, use of tablets, smart phones and popular social networking sites like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook is not expected to slow down. The proper use of technology enables individuals, organizations and corporations to connect directly to like-minded people or a fan base at a more rapid pace.

Coupled with taking action on the ground in 2013, social networking sites served as go-to places used to keep abreast of, weigh-in on, support and disseminate updates about such 2013 events as the Boston Marathon bombing, the federal government shutdown, the controversial verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, the conflict in Syria, and the saga of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and exposed racist marketing ads by corporations such as Home Depot. Not to be left out are Paula Deen’s use of the N-word, Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sexting, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s crack smoking and Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend.

It has become almost a staple in today’s journalism for reports to include the reaction of people on social media, in particular the Twitterverse. Digital outrage and heavily circulated petitions have forced corporations to apologize, celebrities to lose jobs and entertainers to see endorsement deals stripped. During a national crisis, social media becomes a hub by which citizen journalists provide eyewitness accounts and pass on information that can potentially create headlines. Whether it’s a mass shooting or a natural disaster, news organizations, government agencies and law enforcement are in part relying on potential leads from the internet. [Read More]