Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why we need social media

For the longest time, I have had a love/hate relationship with social media. I don’t use ALL of the social media sites and rarely will I ever participate at Google+. But I love the social media sites I DO use – Twitter and Facebook – because they’ve been great to stay connected with people. I HAVE been tempted to leave them either because I have had problems with people who were being jerks or my friends’ complaints about “evil social media” starting to frighten me. But then I figured, heck, I’ve been on this long, why stop now?

And I have seen how social media has been helpful to people. It’s helped to bust criminals, put together clues on things that have happened to people, as well as get messages across that the public at large could not be prone to. (Journalists DO use tweets and Facebook pics/posts in their stories.) Today, I saw how using social media can be VERY helpful.

I am reviewing this nonfiction book for Night Owl Reviews that is a woman’s true story of different things that have happened in her life that drew her closer to God. (Good book, by the way!) In one chapter that I read today, she recounted a terrifying experience she and her friends went through that they were lucky to survive. On a holiday in an Australian rainforest, the driver lost control of their car and it flew into a deep part of the forest, front-first, and nearly sank into the mud. They survived that crash and pushed their car out of the mud, but the car was out of gas so they couldn’t use it to get out of there. So they started walking – and ended up getting lost. In a rainforest. None of them had a cell phone, as well as no food, radio or water. For hours, they trekked through the woods, and then they got lost. They were freezing, scared, starving, bruised from the crash, dehydrated and had no way to call for any help. The author of this story said that no one knew where they were so they would not come looking for them, and no one would know for several more hours that they were lost.

By that time, they might be dead.

As I read this, I thought, Well, what if one of them had been posting about their adventures on Twitter? And a friend realized that the posts stopped, or there was no blog posts or pics on Instagram, and realize something was wrong?

But then I remembered that this person’s story took place several years ago – before Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and blogs. (Well, the blogs we know today.) No one would have updated or posted about ANYTHING on social media, because there WAS no social media at that time!

This gave me pause. It also made me grateful that we DO have social media. Thank God for people who post about their vacations and their adventures! That’s how other people – their friends, family and colleagues – can keep tabs on them. So often I have checked out the Twitter or Facebook page of someone I’ve lost touch with, or even their blogs, to see if they’re still alive. You know? I mean, social media is a great way for us to keep tabs on each other and be more aware of if something is wrong.

So, yes, I AM glad we have social media today. Maybe those college kids would have had a better chance of some friend thinking something was wrong because there weren’t any tweets or Facebook posts. (Smartphones make it possible for us to do that no matter where we are – another thing to be thankful for!)

In the end, one of the group who was still strong went on ahead and got help. They were rescued. But I think if they’d been using social media to post about their adventures and stuff, maybe it would be less worry for people who get lost because there is a chance someone following their posts would see no recent updates or tweets or anything, and realize they might be in danger and need some help.

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