I’d probably be a different person today if social media didn’t exist.
By social media I refer to all the participatory features of Web 2.0. When I was a kid, I wrote a lot (okay fine, I STILL write a lot…) so my Mum decided to upload my writings to a blogging platform. My first time being exposed to social media.
I cut my teeth on Myspace and Friendster. I ‘Became a Fan’ of Facebook pages and had to use a special website to write tweets longer than 140 characters. I found solace on a certain social media platform called Tumblr due to a lack of friends in middle school. Later at boarding school, I felt severely deprived of social media.
Every role that I’ve held in UiTM, apart from JAWS2K17 Director, significantly involved social media. My first unpaid role off-campus was Head of Social Media for NALS. I was once a dropship agent for a book publishing company – selling solely through social media. Half my university assignments are about social media – and even my //final year dissertation// (8-10k words) is about social media marketing. My past internship at Leo Burnett heavily involved social media analytics. My current internship for Newcastle University is focused on creating social media content. I stay in touch with most people until today through social media.
Social media has helped me discover new interests, amazing knowledge, brilliant connections, niche communities, and remarkable opportunities – the whole universe at the edge of my fingertips.
Recently during a camp I was told, “Arifah, we assigned your group to talk about social media on purpose, because we wanted to cater to everyone’s strengths”. I was so amused by that statement.
In 2010 social media used to be a thing that I could only access using a desktop computer and I could go through all the tweets posted in the last 24 hours on my timeline. How things have changed.
Having been exposed to social media for more than two thirds of my life, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen how social media can help make humanitarian aid accessible to those in need, and I’ve seen people badly scammed through social media. I’ve seen how social media can play an important role in overthrowing oppressive governments, and I’ve seen social media being used for evil propaganda of politicians. I’ve seen people discover amazing opportunities thanks to social media, and I’ve seen people quit or take a break from social media for the sake of their mental health. I’ve seen families reunited through the power of social media, and I’ve seen people get bombarded with anonymous hate messages. I’ve seen how social media can make or break one’s career.
So is social media good or evil? If you ask me, let’s go back to the most basic form of ‘social media’ centuries and centuries ago… the pen. It is neither good nor is it evil, it is simply a tool to write. The writer is the one who chooses to use it for good or evil.
But yeah, I’d definitely be a different person today if it weren’t for social media.