Double-tap, like, scroll, snap and tweet: a connected world is our reality. Social media allows for a world of increasing globalization, as distance no longer limits communication. Despite the negative aspects of social media (e.g. the potential injury to self esteem), overall, social media can be used as a positive tool for those young and old alike, as it allows for universal connection.

This connection that social media allows for forces humans out of isolation. Pre-social media, technology was still present, and technological devices like televisions or radios really only existed as a form to passively process. People just listened or watched without communicating with others. Now, we still have television, but people can live-tweet episodes of the Bachelor, so they watch alone yet feel as though they have others keeping them company.

Now that we have social media, no one ever has to feel alone. For teens in particular, this can be life changing. Those who feel as though they do not belong or feel depressed have an outlet where they can connect with other people and get help. This connection saved a New Jersey teen’s life after he posted on Facebook that he was thinking of jumping off the George Washington Bridge. A friend contacted the local police, and the officer assigned to the bridge sent his contact information via Facebook. The teen reached out to the officer and volunteered to receive help. Evidently, the teen just needed to connect with someone and get help. Social media allowed that to occur. 

The feeling of connection that social media allows for also applies to adults and the elderly. As adults have been through many phases of life, such as high school, college and new jobs, it can be easy to lose contact with people, but social media prevents these people from falling through the cracks, as you can like your high school prom date’s pictures on Instagram. For the elderly, their quality of life has been proven to improve based on their status of their social network, and social media allows for them to not become isolated.

In addition to expanding communication, social media allows individuals to learn more about the ideas of others. Senior Tayley Cotton currently runs a pottery account on Instagram and uses the platform to not only share her work but also to see what other potters are creating.

“I see a lot of pottery posts on social media, and I follow a bunch of potters as well, so that really helps spark my creativity,” Cotton said.

Senior Frank Carson also runs an Instagram account. He films and shares music videos, using many hashtags to group his posts in with others similar to his.

“It’s pretty cool to be able to share my music and my songs with others through social media,” Carson said. “It also allows me to interact with other musicians around the world.”

Both Cotton and Carson have found communities through social media and have been able to share their works with people from all over the world. Without social media, they would not be able to connect with as many people.

The biggest drawback to this newfound communication and connection is that not all experiences on social media are positive. There can be cyberbullying, and users, teenagers especially, can experience body dysmorphia, as a result of having their feed filled with “perfect” looking individuals. Unfortunately, these instances do occur; however, according to a report by a child advocacy group, one in five teens said that social media made them feel more confident, with only 4% of the teens reporting that it made them feel less confident. 

Though social media interactions are not always positive, as a whole, social media serves to connect people. Because of social media, we never have to be truly alone.