9/5/17 Social Media as a means to spread awareness

As someone who has worked and will work in the tech industry, I always understood the impact of technology, especially social media. This past summer when I was an intern at Facebook, I was able to firsthand witness the amount of impact one post can have on the 2 billion active users of that social media platform. I understood the far reaches and span this social media had over the world; it was crazy to see how just one social media app could connect users from America all the way to Thailand or the Philippines. I worked on the Ads organization at Facebook so I thought a lot about how to connect sellers to buyers, markets to consumers. One thing that did not occur to me is how social media platforms, such as Facebook, could help spread awareness about political and social movements. For example, Tania Bruguera literally starts movements and spread awareness; and nowadays, technology plays a huge role in spreading awareness. By connecting different people from all parts of the world, these movements can spread like wildfire through videos, posts, and sharing. However, one of the things Facebook really worries about is circulating fake news. With the interconnected web, you can spread ideas around, regardless of its true or misleading content. One instance I can think of KONY 2012, not that I am saying it was supporting a false or fake idea. The movement was based on a real issue, but because of power of social media, the documentary and the movement itself went viral. I remember in high school, seeing everyone posting and sharing about it; however, after seeing so many posts about it, I did not know what the organization actually did with the donations. After the initial peak of interest of KONY 2012, everyone started becoming skeptic about where the donations were actually going to and the little change the organization has done with the money they have raised. Over the years, I have been skeptical about these awareness campaigns I see on social media; so I am interested to see the different examples I will in this class.