In today’s culture, one cannot deny the influence Social Media has on every human being who has access to it. Whether you spend 5 minutes a month or 5 hours a day viewing it, you can’t deny being ‘moved’ by a photo, video or profound statement posted on the world wide web. You will most assuredly be moved to laughter, be entertained or be inspired by at least one post every time you click that glorious and magical button on your electronic device that leads you to your favorite social platform.
In every “Our Town” column I have chosen a word that sums up the column theme and have defined it usually according to Websters dictionary. In my quest to define ‘Social Media’, I found many definitions that moved me. Here are a few:
“Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content
or to participate in social networking.” - Websters
“Social media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing
and discussing information among human beings.” - Wikipedia
“Social media is getting a msg across in as few words as possible,
in as little time as possible, to as many people as possible.” - Twitter User @KateHorstead
And last but definitely not least, my favorite…
“It is a thing of opposites; compelling and annoying, time wasting and time efficient,
useful and useless.” - Twitter User @nettya
Why does Social Media have such a profound impact on us, as a society? I was compelled to understand and ‘get my msg across in as few words as possible’ in this months column.
My research led me to four types of social content that ‘move’ us according to social media engagement studies:
I don’t think it’s a ground breaking discovery to realize that shocking or dynamic photos grab our attention online. This is easily proven by the popularity of gossip, shocking talent, mysterious stories, outrageous reality T.V. shows and so on. In the Arabian horse community, an extreme feature on a horse or rare performance grabs our attention, our likes, our comments and our shares. All ill feelings, competitive tendencies and jealousy seem to take a back seat for that one ‘social’ moment.
Profound quotes displayed in ways that are appealing to the eye often draw a great deal of attention, especially if they are shared by our own version of a celebrity or mentor. These types of post feed our need to be motivated and can give us a quick burst of strength often when we need it the most.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. Posts that tickle our funny bone have been proven to be good for our health, so we seek them. It goes without saying that pets and children are the most popular subjects to generate laughter on social media. Interestingly, they are also the most popular subjects for number four…
Our emotions are complex and often subtle. They are what make us human. Children and pets seem to have a profound impact on nearly everyone on social media. They drive us to tears and to laughter. They inspire us, confuse and motivate us. And for many of us, social posts that touch our emotions cause us to take action. It is for this reason that love it or hate it, social media is a very important to our culture and our community. It has the power to unite us, and for me, there is no subject more near and dear, especially in this community for which I have been raised.
Our pastor recently spoke on the subject of joy. In his normal humorous manor he suggested that Instagram can rob us of our joy. He brought us all to great laughter when he suggested that Instagram photos are fake and that most Instagrammers are not in the glamorous destination they claim, rather posing in front of a photo on their calendar. All humor aside, his point was driven home with the realization that social media can have a profoundly negative affect on us if we compare ourselves or get lost in the idea of what we perceive others lives to be like according to their social posts.
In closing, we as human beings have an internal NEED to laugh, to be entertained and be inspired. As in all things, in proper balance, social media feeds that need and more importantly unites our Arabian community like nothing else can.