Elements that contrast can be beautiful to behold. Think of yin and yang, the two contrasting life forces that are necessary to bring balance to the world. Then there are contrasting elements that when shown side by side show how wonderful one can be and how horribly bad the other is. Unfortunately, I see contrasting elements when I look at the web. We have been learning all semester how great the internet and social media can be. Yes, there have been examples here and there from our studies that illustrate the negative effects of certain parts of Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, but most of what we have seen and worked with has been quite positive. For this final blog posting I want to compare the negative and positive sides of the internet and social media. Let’s begin with the negative.
Bullying. We have all heard about this mean act of aggression reported on by the mainstream media happening on the internet. If you have never had a bully after you in life, primarily in the school years, then you really cannot imagine how soul-crushing this can be. Growing up, I had the horrible experience of dealing with a bully. It occurred during my seventh grade year of junior high. I never had anything like this experience before or after, and to this day the negative effects still bother me in a strange way. My bully only had access to me during gym class two to three days a week for the duration of nine months. I was not bullied during each day of access, but when I was, he was relentless. I cannot imagine a bully having access to me twenty-four hours a day every day of the week. This behavior has had such horrendous effects that adolescent boys and girls have killed themselves over it. I hope that society has learned enough about this dark side of social media that it is stopped as soon as people with authority see it happening. Let’s promise that we’ll all be vigilant and put a stop to online bullying as soon as we see it happening. Thank the Lord most people have better stuff to do on the web.
Social media for social good. I am not talking about the book we read for this class. I am referring to the actual act. So many organizations work relentlessly to make the world a better place. I have mentioned before that not all nonprofits are the ‘do-gooders’ they want the world to believe they are, but I think the majority do wonderful work. And we can visit these organizations on their websites, interact with them on social media, help spread their message on the web, and offer help in many possibly ways. This is happening all over the web, and I really had no idea until we started work in this class. I am still amazed at the number of wonderful nonprofits in Fargo alone, and many of them are sharing their good vibes through all sorts of platforms all over the internet. These organizations are definitely the sunshine in the internet sky.
I have learned a lot about social media and nonprofits through studying, working, and connecting in this class. I am thrilled to have knowledge about all the wonderful organizations who have created and maintained a web presence to spread good and kind acts in our community. I am going to remind myself right now to make sure I keep the list of the nonprofits in our community who are spreading their message, so I can help in any way that I can. Many people, animals, and other entities need support. We can’t fix everything overnight, but we can keep helping and supporting others to make the world a better place.