The memorable Time Magazine cover dating back to May 2013 defines Millennials (Gen Y) as “The ME ME ME Generation.” There is a lot the article explains behind this headline, but the image on the cover shows a woman holding up an iPhone taking a “selfie.” This must have been the majority’s point-of-view on how best to depict a Millennial, but there is something to be said about the tech craze that this generation ignited by making us adapt to something most knowingly love and hate: Social Media.
While I salute those who have deleted their Facebook, have yet to cave in to downloading Instagram, or joining Twitter, I believe they are missing out on some of the greatest stories of our time. By reporters sharing each other’s articles, I find the best reads on Twitter and Instagram allows me to follow news outlets and interview subjects whose photos show the faces of families and friends beyond what words could ever illustrate. But the power of Social Media goes beyond our personal gratifications.
The #icebucketchallenge broke records when it raised $115 million for the ALS Association (ALSA) in only eight weeks, and an additional $13 million for ALSA’s regional branches. The year prior to the viral movement, ALSA raised only $23.5 million in comparison. Some of the biggest social activism campaigns we have seen stem from hashtags created on Social Media, including #BlackLivesMatter (Tweeted 9 million times in one year), #LoveWins when rainbow filters, emojis, and #Pride flags flooded all outlets, and the #MeToo movement that is still today exposing sexual harassment in the workplace.
These are just a few examples, and I would be remiss not to acknowledge that Social Media comes with its own menaces, too. It can be addicting and self-indulgent. It can make you feel insecure and not ever good enough. Social Media, in all its glory and evil, is powerful. I am here to explore this ever-evolving craze and share its stories.
Illustration By: Graeme Metcalf