Op/Ed

The good in social media

HOPE E. TREMBLAY

Social media. Friend, or foe?

For me, it’s a bit of both. I mostly use Facebook and Instagram. I have a Twitter account, but rarely tweet. My personal account is typically filled with photos of my kids, maybe what I’m eating or drinking, fun times out with my husband and friends – nothing too personal.

It always amazes me when I see posts about very personal things or people complaining, judging and accusing. My life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, but so many people use their social media as if it was Festivus every day. I’ll follow George Costanza’s lead and air my grievances at the Festivus pole instead of social media, thank you very much.

To use social media in the workplace – especially if you’re in my business – requires thick skin. It can be a necessary evil and I have come to learn that it’s the vocal minority that typically complains. Social media gives people the ability to type things they would probably not say to someone’s face. It can be cruel and tear people apart.

But sometimes, social media can be amazing. It can bring people together and share the good in the world. Just this past week I witnessed such goodness. A resident of Westfield posted on social media that a neighbor could use some help. A veteran who was struggling, he had run out of oil and could not pay the extra fee to have an emergency delivery on a weekend and have his furnace primed and started.

There was an outpouring on social media to assist this man. Strangers offered to help pay for the fuel and the fees. One person said he would meet a fuel company at the man’s house with $100 cash. There were dozens of offers of help, and even an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.

In the end, a fuel company waived the fees and delivered oil to the veteran. But this one post renewed by faith in people, even if only for a little while, and I saw the value of social media and its power when it is used for good.

What do you think of social media? Is it your friend or foe? Let me know — [email protected]

 

 

 

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