As much as we all value our independence, our lives are not meant to be lived in total isolation. Without others by our sides, we risk losing ourselves to our own respective abysses, where the only way out of the darkness is with a helping hand. Helen Keller, one of the most remarkable and admirable women in human history, once brilliantly said that “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Unlike some uneducated or unaware people may believe, social media is not simply a collection of websites that allow the loud to be obnoxious, the debaters to be more argumentative, or for the braggers to be more ostentatious. No. Social media has given the silent a way to speak their mind. Friends now can connect and organize time to be together faster than ever! But the most important impact social media has given is a way for groups to spread their message faster and more efficiently than ever, which has translated to real world action that all of us can see.

We are no longer in a time as a society that complacency with social problems is okay or inaction in issues is tolerated. Let it be said loudly and clearly: Facebook and Twitter are not solving social inequality between races or genders, fixing police brutality, or making everyone sing side by side with love and animosity. As great and wonderful that would be, that is certainly not the case. But social media has provided the first steps: awareness and a platform to discuss. Too many police brutality videos have been posted online, too many cases of gender inequality, simply too much discrimination has taken place in our society. These problems have been there for a while, and in the past there would be no outlet for those to become aware of such atrocities. But thanks to sites such as Facebook and Twitter, hundreds of thousands of people here the stories of friends and peers who either witness or are even victims of vitriolic acts of discrimination.

Hearing and reading about these events are one thing, but social media has lead to real time action. Thanks to Facebook events and the outreach of tweets, large groups of protest have gone to sites to verbally and visually voice their dissatisfaction with what bothers them. The benefits of social media go beyond organizing large protests, but as stated above, have raised awareness. Conversations between friends and coworkers have become more real, with background knowledge on social problems already in their brains, they can now focus on talking how to cease the problem in the present, and prevent it from repeating in the future. So regardless of what some people, get online! Take time on Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr, whatever site it may be, to inform yourself on the problems other people are dealing with. They don’t even have to be large social problems, any problem that your friend is dealing with is important! Social media is a part of who we are, and rather than fight it, all of us should take the time to connect not with the sites, but to each other as a whole.