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Five Ways Social Media Has Changed Our Lives

Has social media changed the way we live? You bet it has! I’ve been in India for 22 years and have visited home in Ireland maybe half-a-dozen times. The biggest challenge about this, for me, has always been coping with the difficulty of making contact with old friends and family. However, that’s all over now, thanks to Facebook. I check my phone every morning and read that uncle Ned in Dublin is furious over the biased referee in the boxing match or that my cousin Paula in Dublin went to see Take That in concert (or whoever!). I speak to my cousin Veronica in Scotland every few days thanks to WhatsApp. We haven’t spoken this frequently since we wrote to each other as kids. Social media has definitely changed our lives forever. I can think of at least five ways that social in which it has affected life as we know it.

  1. Social media makes the world more accessible to us. This is a fact. The world is at your fingertips. Find out which of your friends and family are on Facebook and once you keep your page updated and they keep theirs updated, you’ll be in touch forever. You don’t even have to write. You can wave to each other across the world every so often. That’s it.

  1. Social media makes us more accessible to the world. Yes, well this is probably one of the downsides. My friend Ruth had an alarming experience recently. A friend of hers asked to add her to a WhatsApp chat group. Ruth is a Christian, which means she belongs to a minority group in India. Her friend Seema is also from a minority community. Seema said a relative of hers wanted to discuss Christianity, so Ruth agreed to join the group. The ‘relative’ turned out to be a middle east-based male named Kamal, who had an extraordinary interest in religious matters. Ruth felt irritated when the gentleman continually quoted the Bible to  her to prove to her that Christianity was an erroneous religion. Then Kamal contacted Ruth on WhatsApp, independently. Without Seema’s restraining presence, Kamal started trying to sweet-talk Ruth, saying her that he felt drawn to her attractive personality and that he felt as if they had some kind of bond. Ruth was really upset and confused over this. She’s married and so is Kamal and she didn’t want to say anything offensive to him for Seema’s sake. Which brings me to my next point.
Ruth realised she'd probably been targeted as the next 'victim'

  1. Social media helps us discover information we really need to know. Ruth went on Facebook and discovered that Kamal is a member of an active religious group based in the middle eastern city where he lives. This group holds various functions in which solemn-looking (male) speakers in eastern ethnic dress give speeches in Arabic, Urdu and English on religious subjects, usually rubbishing Christianity. Their page also features videos of Christian people converting to the faith of Kamal and his friends. Also featured are screenshots of FB and WhatsApp Messenger conversations  with Kamal himself, in which he persuades alleged Christians to deny their faith and he literally walks them through proclaiming themselves members of his community. So Ruth realised that Kamal had obviously targeted her as his next ‘victim’. She took immediate action and blocked him from her FB and WhatsApp pages and couldn’t care less what Seema thinks about it.

  1. Social media has given a voice to those who have none. Okay, so I'm being a bit dramatic! But seriously… I live in a country where I have residency rights, but not citizenship. I don't happen to live in the country where I have citizenship. So I have no vote in either country, which I think makes me a second class citizen in both countries. When I think of how, in the past, women chained themselves to railings to get the vote, I feel great regret for what I've lost. My vote doesn't matter, therefore I don't either. But social media has helped me a great deal here. There are so many petitions being shared on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, that I make a point of signing and sharing petitions with which I agree and which I support. I may not be a full citizen of either of my two countries, but I am a world citizen through the power of social media. Petitions I have supported have gone to government ministers and other higher authorities and have changed lives and if there's something I feel strongly about, I can even start a petition of my own. It makes a huge difference to know I have a voice that matters. Also, if I have a complaint about the service offered by the pizza delivery company, the Internet service provider or even the mobile wallet company, leaving a message on their Facebook page or sending a Twitter message often gets better and quicker results than the phone or email. I know someone trying to set up a bank account abroad who was able to contact the desired bank through Twitter and is now well on their way to achieving their goal. So believe me, the power of social media is making it possible for more and more people to get their voice heard.
Nowadays, social  media has varied platforms

  1. Social media has platforms to fit almost everyone. Okay, Facebook is not for everyone. It has its share of detractors and certainly, if the user isn’t careful, it’s possible to get into danger from befriending the wrong type of person online, so caution is important. But leaving that aside, even the most avid Facebook hater will find a social media platform which suits them if they look around. A family I know in Ireland, the Dromgooles (names changed), make very diverse use of social media. Jack, the father, is very busy with his work, but when he gets time to relax and unwind, he loves to take artistic, still-life photographs. For him, Instagram is the social media platform of choice. He has gathered a loyal group of followers who enjoy his photography and leave appreciative comments. Jack has no interest in Facebook and leaves it to his children to spread the family news. Jack’s wife, Penny, also has no interest in opening a Facebook account but gets a lot of enjoyment from Pinterest, a search engine of ideas. Penny is a keen crafter and she also has huge interest in organic food. Her Pinterest boards have quite a following and help her to find people on the Internet who have similar interests. The two adult children, Jack Jr and Frances, use LinkedIn, a corporate networking site, to connect with people in their industries and advance their careers. They also use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. The youngest child, Faith, is still in school and therefore not allowed by her traditional-minded parents to open any social media accounts, but she gets to enjoy seeing the photographs which her sister and brother post on Facebook, not to mention her father’s photography. Whoever in the family has a phone uses WhatsApp to keep in touch by text or voice message, so everyone is available to each other at the flick of a touchscreen.

These are just a few of the ways in which social media has changed the way we live over the last few years. There may be even more ways. If anyone reading this post can think of anything to add to this list, please write a comment below and let me know. I'm very keen to find out more about the many ways social media has changed the lives of people, hopefully for the better.

I blog with the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a group of bloggers who post on the same topic/prompt every Friday. The current blogging members of this group are: me, RamanaChuck and Pravin. Thanks to Shackman for the topic/prompt 'Life With Social Media".

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Images: Courtesy of  Pixabay


  1. I really relate to the point about it giving us a voice because well, I have a blog! And I wouldn't be able to do it without having my blog :D I also think it makes information so easy to find like you mentioned :)

    1. Yes, Olivia and I totally love reading your blog. You certainly do have a voice. You made a great point here. I know Blogger isn't exactly a social media platform, but blogs give us a voice and social media is a good vehicle for promoting our blogs. We can share our stories from our blogs through social media too.

  2. I agree with each bit of it .
    Specially social media is way to express yourself which is most important because where there is ban on self expression is harmful for one who can not display his energy in positive manner and this can turn one in worse for his surroundings and for himself as well.

    1. Yes, I certainly agree that freedom of expression is very important. It's a great benefit for everyone. It's terrible when freedom like that is controlled by the authorities because provided it's peaceful, there should't be a problem.

  3. You make some good points about social media. I'm a fan of Facebook for several reasons. Firstly, as you say, it provides us with information - we can Google unfamiliar terms or people or organisations, and we can find out about things not covered in the mainstream media (like more effective solar panels or the damage done by sand-dredging). Secondly we can share jokes and satirical articles. Thirdly we can make interesting friends we would never meet otherwise. And fourthly, as you also say, we can easily keep in touch with people and get their latest news. It's a fantastic invention.

    1. I can't agree more. We wouldn't be having this conversation if it wasn't for Blogger now would we? Or maybe WordPress, because that's the home of Ramana's blog and that's where we met, if I'm correct.

  4. Frankly, I can not imagine being without my blogging, facebook and whatsapp applications. I tried twitter and linked in and gave up both for being too intrusive and irrelevant for my purposes.

    1. Everyone has their favourite social media platforms, Rummuser. I like Facebook but I'm getting more drawn to LinkedIn and Pinterest

  5. My mum is against joining Facebook because she says she doesn't want to share her life with strangers - I've given up trying to explain she only has to be friends with people she wants to. My sister is sharing photos of her new son, which Mum is missing out on. I try to keep my interactions with strangers to Twitter - my Facebook account is for friends, family and people I've come to know and like through their blogs.

    1. That's a very good point Annalisa. I'm going to remind myself of this adn act on it very soon.

  6. Social media, as you say, has made an incredible difference in society. Much of it, like the things you've already mentioned, is positive. Because of Facebook, I reconnected with a number of people I hadn't seen in fifty or more years, but the reason I got on there in the first place was to keep up with our children and grandchildren. If my hubby and I wanted to see their latest pictures and know what they're doing, we had to go where they were, and they were all online. (They all live in another state, so those online pictures are such a blessing to us.)

    But, there are some downsides, too. Like the fake news that spreads lies and venom like wildfire, and the bitter attacks and disagreements I've heard about that occur between so-called "friends" who have never met each other and never will, and I believe these things happen because anonymity gives not-so-nice people a safe place to spew their lies and venom. To avoid that nastiness, my online "friends" are limited to real-life family and friends, blogging pals, fellow writers, and readers who reached out to me because they liked my book.

    1. Yes, I've seen some real manifestations of hate online, people getting all worked up about stuff. It's essential for people to try and keep calm when this sort of thing is going on. How to handle social media in a mature manner will probably become a school subject eventually.....

    2. Susan said : "But, there are some downsides, too..."
      You are right?

      On the other hand, I worry if my child's social life (psychologically) tend to the virtual world than to the real world.

  7. Hello Maria, Facebook has put me back in touch with childhood friends with whom I had lost contact decades ago. For that alone, I am a fan of FB. The downside - it can get a bit in your face, but it's up to the individual to limit the extent s/he lets it take over. Balance is the key. Definitely more positives than negatives.

    Nice to meet you.


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