Editor’s Note: The following essay won second place in the essay writing competition with the topic “Social Media as a Medium for Healing and Change” during the UB Academic Olympics held on September 29-30, 2016. It was lightly edited for clarity.
Suddenly, the world became smaller.
Huge distances were made shorter, relationships became larger, and what was sensationalized as revolutionary became even more sensational each year. From what were mere simple decisions came gadgets with various functions. And as these devices grew in number so did the number of social platforms, claiming to exist to achieve a common goal: to connect people.
Various platforms of social media – like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – boast varying features, uses and complexities that aim to gather more people in the comfort of their homes. Somehow, communication became commonplace, demanding a huge number of people to join in. Anytime. Anywhere. You’re connected, and you are expected to be most of the time.
We expect such a huge network of connection to be good, but, as always, there will always be some people who will seek to use it for wrong. But these people are few, and their mindsets are minority compared to most of us who seek to do good, or seek to just have fun and use this gift to make the world a better place.
But are we using it for what it should be used for?
Imagine the time we waste claiming how awesome our lives are, hiding behind the covers of lies and fake attempts to uplift ourselves. Why not seek change for real? If we have been wasting our seconds scrolling to see random posts from random people, why not seek something new to learn? A language to master, an instrument to play – or, better yet, an old enemy to befriend? And if our lives really are at a positive pace already, have we ever thought to ourselves, “I know somebody who suffers silently. Maybe I should reach out to him and ask how he’s doing.” We all know we can. No matter how far that person is. Let us claim the honest fact that most of our “friends” on Facebook are not really our friends – adding one will probably not make a difference.
But reaching to one will.
Maybe a simple “hello” could stop someone from ingesting that fatal drug. Maybe that “hello” could make your Mom feel like she is loved and special and beautiful. Or maybe that “hello” can make a classmate return to school.
Is it not ironic that we seem tough at being keyboard warriors to bring someone down, yet cower at the thought of being a good soul to another person? –Ryan Joseph Rivero
Ryan Joseph Rivero is a senior BS Psychology student of the University of Baguio.