Are Selfies Really the End-Game?

The purpose of social media and what are we going to do about it.

*Cue movie announcer voice* In a world where videos of cat fails and horrible drivers go viral, fake news and click bait are still a thing people fall for, and isolation and lonliness are at an all time high, mankind must find a way to save itself from the chaos of social media before it gets too late and the world turns into one…giant…meme. *End movie announcer voice*

Oftentimes, it can feel like theres a slim chance social media can ever redeem itself from the damage it has caused or the doors it has opened to the strangeness (let’s be honest, there’s some weird stuff out there) and destruction (read: cyberbullying and fake news) people can cause on the “interwebs”. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good selfie (go get ’em) and sharing solid gifs with my friends brings me true joy, but it can get discouraging to flip, tap, swipe (up), and slide (into DM’s) through the overstimulating humdrum of our social media.

However, social media can do some amazing things and is now beginning to act like a new form of journalism — coined “citizen journalism” — and it is changing the way journalism looks. The “voice of the many” is now gaining access to the microphone of influence and our world is changing because of it. There are some I have found worth listening to.

Here are a few voices to keep on tap:

She's All Fat Podcast (Twitter): an excellent podcast aiming to end fat shaming and promote all kinds of body positive goodness.

Carrie Rad (@carrierad on Twitter): a popular influencer known for her radiance, kindness, and genuine care for her followers (her Twitter account is just full of positivity). Her most recent YouTube series #SelfCareSummer and #LoveYourLife are so uplifting and so worth watching.

Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn on Twitter): How could I not mention JVN? Not only is he 1/5 of the new — and fabulous — reboot of Queer Eye, he is such an amazing influence for positive change and the power of knowledge and self care. His podcast, Getting Curious, is one that is absolutely worth a listen.

Philip DeFranco (on YouTube): Philip DeFranco’s YouTube channel takes on a feel of the next generation of journalists — or should I say, video journalists. Every weekday, he publishes a new video discussing important topics, relevant headlines, and beyond. His form of journalism is personal in the way that he first tells the story like it is, gives his opinion, and invites his viewers to express their opinions and research in a respectful and constructive way.

National Geographic (YouTube): If you are a fan (in any way) of our world — even our universe— National Geographic is a “community” worth paying attention to. Their YouTube channel is chock full of videos covering a multitude of topics including outer space, art, animals, geography, economics, and more. Plus, their content is stunningly beautiful, it can make anyone cry over the smallest, most beautiful butterfly.

Dazey LA (@dazey_la on Instagram): A force to be reckoned with, this small, fair trade business run by Dani — female entrepreneur and vintage connoisseur — is all about female empowerment and opening the door for conversation on topics such as mental health, body positivity, feminism, and more. She’s managed to create a community surrounding her of women supporting her and supporting each other, making an impact on the fashion world, one fair trade t-shirt at a time.

Buzzfeed News ( Buzzfeed is more popularly known as a platform for creating content that didn’t take itself too seriously. From things-you-don’t-need-to-know articles, to “take this quiz to find out…!” quizzes, to random videos about silly ideas about nothing. However, it has made a name for itself in talking about deeper, more important issues and they’ve created a separate page called Buzzfeed News. This, it might seem, could also be a glimpse at the future of journalism. A social media platform turned into news room.

It’s a crazy world out there, but we don’t have to be afraid of it, nor do we have to be intimidated by the tools we’ve given ourselves — such as social media — for furthering our discussions of things that are happening to us. Now, more than ever, discovering things about our communities and about what’s happening around us, as well as connecting with people that are like us and that differ from us is so incredibly important. With the creation of social media, those opportunities for connection and conversation have never been easier to reach. We need each other and social media is bridging that gap for current and future generations to change our world for the better.