Social media is often perceived as an instrument that is only used by big companies to exploit people in different ways. Though this perception is valid to some extent as the same is suggested by many reports as well as several scientific studies.
Many reports have suggested that social media companies often steal data from their users. For example, the very popular Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the personal information of millions of Facebook users was used to influence the 2016 American elections.
Social media is also criticized for its toxic dopamine based reward systems and how it’s affecting our mental health. This is also true as it is supported by enough scientific evidence. Not only this but there are several other drawbacks of social media like its role in spreading communalism & hatred, cyberbullying, fake news, and many other problems.
But despite many disadvantages of social media if we conclude that social media only exploits us, then we will be very wrong. Such a conclusion is similar to saying that:
Rain is atrocious and there should never be a rainfall as rain causes floods and affects life.
Instead, if we say that ‘rainfall supports life and should be considered as a boon, though sometimes when it rains heavily it can also affect life’. Such a broad viewpoint will be the right one. Similarly, social media should also be considered as a boon as it is helping us in hundreds of ways, which no conventional system of communication could provide.
The best example to make us understand the importance of social media is to observe how social media has brought us together even in the times when we are advised to social distance ourselves. Even in these tough times, social media has become an important platform to seek help or to provide help.
Here is a list of 5 acts of kindness displayed on social media, which prove that social media is not such a bad place as perceived by us.
Sonu Sood’s help to millions
During the 21 day COVID-19 lockdown, the section of the society which suffered the most was poor migrants. Most of these migrants were forced to leave metropolitan cities due to various reasons like the unavailability of food and shelter.
And since all the means of transportation were suspended, these poor migrants were forced to leave the cities and travel to their home states covering hundreds of kilometers without any government support. In desperate times such as these, the Bollywood actor Sonu Sood came into the picture to help these people in reaching their home.
Sonu Sood helped thousands of people and replied to each and every person on twitter who asked for help. Sonu booked buses, train tickets, flight tickets and provided his support in every matter.
Not only during the lockdown but even nowadays also Sonu is busy providing his assistance to people via Social Media. Recently he has gifted buffaloes to a family affected by floods in Bihar and even donated a tractor to another family after following news on social media.
80-Year-Old Businesswomen Got Investment
In September 2019, a viral video surfaced over the internet claiming that an 80-year-old woman is selling idlis at only 1 rupee too on a wood-burning stove. This video amazed many including Anand Mahindra, who is the chairman of Mahindra Group.
Anand Mahindra tweeted about this old woman entrepreneur and asked people to find out more about her and said that he is interested in investing in her business. Fortunately, people on social media helped Anand Mahindra and it was found that the entrepreneur’s name is Kamalathal and she lives in Tamil Nadu.
Not only Anand Mahindra but many other individuals and organizations came to support this woman in her business. The corporation Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)provided her with an LPG connection.
From Homeless to Hollywood- Ted Williams
Ted Williams who was homeless for many years was surprised and also paralyzed with excitement when he got a call from Hollywood and heard from the other side that they are looking for his ‘golden voice’.
This became possible because a local reporter from Columbus, Ohio shot his video and uploaded it on social media, which got viral. When Ted was approached by Hollywood producers, he didn’t even know what ‘viral video’ meant.
Ted who was an alcoholic, a drug addict and even a convicted criminal who had spent a long time in prison says that since that day he has never even touched alcohol.
Fundraising through Social Media
We often come across many stories on our social media feed asking us to donate for a cause. These are either related to medical problems or to socio-economic issues. But many of us ignore these stories and posts, thinking how can we as an individual help in that cause.
But there are many stories coming from across the world suggesting to us how crowdfunding has changed the lives of thousands of people and even a community.
One such story is of Juhi Goyal who started crowdfunding to help hearing impaired, underprivileged children of Samarpan Badhir Vidhyalaya in Agra. She used a crowdfunding website, Ketto and social media for her crowdfunding campaign which was aimed to provide education to these children. Within some time she was able to generate more than 1,00,000 Rupees with the help of 190+ donors.
Juhi Goyal is not the only one who was successful in her campaign. In the last few years, many other people have used social media and crowdfunding websites to help thousands of people. If there would be no social media then people going through serious health issues like cancer and tumor would never be able to fundraise and avail medical care.
Even in this COVID-19 crisis, crowdfunding websites like Ketto, Milaap, ImpactGuru, etc. have helped people in getting proper financial assistance via social media.
Kindness does not always mean providing someone with financial support. Sometimes an emotional or psychological support becomes much more important than a donation. One can understand the importance of this psychological support when he/she is going through a bad phase.
Social media platforms like Now&Me are helping people to open up and seek support from others. Many people are opening up and sharing their thoughts and problems related to their personal lives and are getting great solutions for their problems.
The above stories are just a small snippet of how social media is helping in spreading kindness in this world. People from different parts of the world are connecting with each other to provide financial, medical, emotional, and psychological support.
The above acts of kindness also tell us that even we as individuals can help others through social media. Even if we are unable to provide financial assistance, still we can provide psychological support to someone from our side. We can acknowledge someone’s talent by liking and even sharing a video. We can comment on someone’s post and help him by simply asking how he is doing. These small acts of kindness from individuals through social media can impact society in a great way.
Yes, we must be aware of the drawbacks of social media. But at the same time, we should appreciate the fact that how we can spread empathy and kindness through social media.
Edited by Annanya Chaturvedi