Essay #7

Jordyn Miller

Professor Pettice



How Has Social Media Changed Society?

Society was once a place where to talk to someone you had to talk to them in person or called them on the phone. It was a place where you had to have good social skills in order to communicate effectively with others. The world we live in was once a place where no one could hide. That world is no longer here. That world has been taken over by social media that has brought many positives and negatives to our society. When it comes to the uses of social media, the good needs to be emphasized and encouraged while the bad needs to be exposed and changed.

Through improvements and transformations to social media websites, people have begun to find more and more negative ways to use it. The most common example of this is cyber bullying and incivility on comment boards. Social media has created a way for people to say nasty things to one another while hiding their identity behind a keyboard. Even the social media sites with known identities are dealing with issues of bullying, as well. Those who don’t want to take the wrath of saying hateful things to someone’s face can now turn to social media. It’s much easier for them to type what they want to say, rather them to say it to the person’s face. This ability to hide fears behind computer screens is what is ruining social media today.

Social media has also created generations of children, teenagers, and even some adults that do not know how to properly communicate in person. These generations have become so immune to talking to one another over social media that talking on the phone or in person is like speaking a foreign language. This can lead to problems in the future when they have to go for a job interview and communicate with the people they work with. If these generations continue to rely on social media to communicate, their futures could be in jeopardy due to their inexperience with real life confrontation.

Graduate students at UNLV are currently researching “virtual” communities. The have found that social media is presenting many dangers to society. A UNLV researcher and sociology professor, Simon Gottschalk, says, “Social media sites are addictive, seductive, and irresistible.” He also believes that social media “changes human brain structure and how people interact” (Drawhorn). So far, the research indicates that since there is no physical interaction, conversations tend to be less civil and demeaning, and this can directly affect the ways in which we communicate in person. If we are saying ruthless and hurtful things online, it could lead to a lack of respect for one another in real life. 

News outlets tend to focus on all the negative aspects of social media, which gives many people the wrong impression. Social media has had plenty of positive additions to society that are often times over looked. With the help of social media, family and friends that don’t regularly get to see each other can stay connected. Friends are able to view pictures that are uploaded, status updates, and videos of different activities that are posted on YouTube or Facebook. Social media has made it very easy for those who live hundreds of miles apart to still feel like they are connected to each other’s lives.

Another example of social media being used to positively contribute to society is what is called social media for social good. Social media for social good can be defined as the act of using social media to spread awareness and help raise money for certain charities. For example, just recently there was a typhoon in the Philippines that not only took many lives and left many people injured, but it also destroyed a whole country. In order to raise money and awareness for the people in need, the Red Cross put banners on Facebook and ITunes that would connect you to a donation page. It was a great way to encourage many people to help those in need by the use of social media as advertisement. The fact that millions of people are on social networking sites everyday makes it a great way to advertise and promote the important things in our society.

Finally, social media is overlooked as being used in a positive way by many of the younger generations. Last year, Common Sense Media, a non-profit child advocacy group, surveyed more than 1000 13-17-year-old students about how they view their digital lives. The survey resulted in 52% of teens saying that social media has made their relationships with their peers better versus the 4% that said social media had negatively affected their relationships. Social media is a great way for peers to upload and share pictures taken with one another and interact using the different features each site has to offer. Just as some kids comment and write hateful things to each other, many more write uplifting things and tell one another how beautiful they are in their pictures. Children and teens can be given confidence on Facebook, which can create a fun and positive environment for them to interact. Lisa Katz, the director of digital media for Common Sense Media said, “For every heartbreaking case of cyber bullying, there are many stories of teens using social media for social good” (Wallace). Even though some take advantage of the anonymity that social media presents we can’t let that tiny population ruin the image of social media for everyone.

Unfortunately, the positives become lost in all the criticism social media faces. In order to create a more positive association with social media, schools and the social media websites themselves are starting to find ways to eliminate the negative actions. The first tactic schools are bringing to use is to simply inform students about social media. Educating students on how to use social media is starting to become a popular way to try and eliminate the hate on these websites. Along with this, schools are also beginning to keep a closer eye on social media by punishing students when they use it in an inappropriate way. If an authority figure, other than parents, is threatening punishments, this is often enough of an influence to prevent further action. Another great solution that YouTube has recently come up with to eliminate the problem of incivility on their comment boards is to force users to create a Google Plus account. By doing this people are no longer able to anonymously comment. YouTube is hoping that if people can no longer hide their identity, they won’t comment hurtful things. By creating severe punishments and unmasking identities, social media may have a chance at being a positive environment for all.

Erasing the negativity completely on social media is an impossible task, but taking steps towards lessening the problem is what will be beneficial to future generations. Hopefully, the steps YouTube has taken will start a trend, and many more social media sites will find ways to help reduce the negativity. Social media is going to be around for a long time; we might as well make it a positive experience rather than something that tears people down.



 Works Cited

“Benefits of Online Social Networking.” Parent Further. Search Institute, Web. 9 Dec. 2013.

Drawhorn, Aaron and Sharie Harvin. “Researchers Say Social Media Affecting Interaction.” 8 News Now. 18 Nov. 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.

Wallace, Kelly. “The upside of selfies: Social media isn’t all bad for kids.” CNN. 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. 


Social Media Affecting Society

Social media has become a huge part of society today. We rely on it to keep us entertained, connected, informed, and many other things. But have we become to rely on it too much? A study being done at UNLV is looking at the dangers social media is causing to society. Although social media can be used for good, we have started to use it for things that it was not originally created for. The researchers so far have found that social media is addicting and can change the human brain structure. It can also change how one interacts and how they think about themselves. Interacting with one another online tends to be less civil than interacting in person. Since we communicate so much online, it has caused us to not communicate as well in person. The researchers have found that “online communication can adversely affect our offline communication,” meaning when we say mean and hurtful things behind a computer it might cause less courtesy among others in real life. 

Jennifer Lawrence’s Answer On Body Image

Jennifer Lawrence was recently asked a question about body image and what her opinion was on those who judge others based on appearance was. Her first response was the typical and perfect Jennifer Lawrence answer. “Screw them,” she says. She goes on to explain that the world, with the help of Hollywood creates a certain picture that many believe they need to fit into in order to be beautiful. This is not the case in Jennifer Lawrence’s eyes. Jennifer Lawrence answered the question in a way that many could relate to, but also incorporated her well-known sense of humor as well. For example, “What are you gonna do? Be hungry for the rest of your life to make other people happy? That’s just…dumb,” she says. She also went on to talk about shows such as Fashion Police that are based on judging peoples appearances for entertainment. Shows like this make it seem okay for others to point at people and call them fat an ugly. They call it “fun” and “welcome to the real world” but according to Jennifer Lawrence, that shouldn’t be the real world, but it will continue to be the real world until we stop treating each other like that and stop having unrealistic expectations for women. Jennifer Lawrence ends answering the question by expressing her disappointment in the media for keeping the hate alive and fueling the fire in tearing people apart for the way they look. 


I think that Jennifer Lawrence is one of the greatest people in Hollywood. She is very relatable and has no problem sharing how she really feels about particular topics. More people like her are needed in Hollywood to get the message across that no one should be judged based on their appearance. Jennifer Lawrence is just at the beginning of a very successful career in Hollywood. I believe that she has the power to make a huge difference in the world and how people perceive one another during her time in the spotlight. 


Problem: People believe all the stereo-types about the city and are too scared to go into it and enjoy the things it offers

Solution: Make a video that will connect to people and that they can relate to in order let them know that the stereo-types about the city aren’t all real. From the video you would be able to go to a link in which you could donate money. The money would go to helping make the city look nicer so people will be more wiling to go into it. 

What will I change: On the website where you can donate money I will also have graphs showing what the money is being used for so people know exactly what they are donating to.



Essay #6

Jordyn Miller

Professor Pettice


November 20, 2012

Social Media For Social Good

In order to have a video that goes viral, the connection the video has with the audience has a major impact on the popularity. Kony 2012, a short YouTube film, found a way to connect with the audience in order to spread their message and raise awareness as the video went viral. The only problem was the creators later had a hard time proving the facts used in the video, and this allowed for viewers to criticize the video and turn away from the problem. If a video could be made with legitimate facts with a deep connection with the audience, the potential profit made could support for a good cause.

Almost everybody has heard about or has seen the Kony 2012 video put up on YouTube March 5, 2012 that attempted to bring awareness toJoseph Kony’s actions in Uganda. The video was seen and shared by so many people in a short amount of time, which caused the video to go viral almost immediately. The video was an instant success in creating awareness of their intended message and influencing people to make a difference by helping the cause. This video proves that if you put an unknown problem into perspective for millions of online viewers, many will be motivated to make a change. Using the Internet for social good by placing videos online to help raise awareness about worldwide problems is a great way to influence people’s emotions and desire to give back to a cause. Giving an audience personal connection through a video will keep them thinking about the cause, and it will motivate the viewers to do something to help.

Kony 2012 was a short film produced by Invisible Children with the purpose of promoting the Invisible Children’s “Stop Kony” movement. Joseph Kony became globally known by this video and was arrested by the end of 2012. Kony was an African cult and militia leader, indicted war criminal, and an International Criminal Court fugitive.  Kony, who is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, was also being accused of ordering the abduction of children to become child sex slaves and child soldiers. Jason Russell, the director of Kony 2012, connected the audience to the video when he introduced a boy he had met when visiting Uganda. The boys name was Jacob, and Jacob explained how Kony had affected his life. Jacob and all the other children living in Uganda constantly worry that the rebels will arrest them. He even explains that he watched the rebels kill his brother by cutting his throat after he tried to escape from them. At that point, the video has the audiences full attention and interest. There is a connection that the audience feels between themselves and Jacob. Next, the director also brings his own kids into the video. He uses his own kids to show how lucky and fortunate they are to have grown up in the United States where they can go to sleep without worrying about being captured and killed by rebels in the middle of the night. He uses his kids to compare their lives to the lives that Ugandans live everyday. It really helps to put into perspective the life that we, as Americans live, in comparison to the everyday life of Ugandans. These appearances of children help to solidify the emotional connection the video is trying to make with the audience.

The Kony 2012 video seemed to have affected many people and cause them to take action to help. So what went wrong? The main problem was a lack of organization. The video was put up in order to raise awareness about Joseph Kony with the hopes of getting him arrested. When the video was put up, there was a link to the Invisible Children website where you could donate money and buy their products in support of their organization. Many feared that when they did this the money was going towards Joseph Kony’s arrest, and Invisible Children couldn’t prove where the money was going. There wasn’t much they could do with the money being donated to help the ‘Stop Kony” campaign. Although the money was going to a legitimate organization, it wasn’t being used for what the people had thought it was being used for, and therefore, it caused an uproar. Invisible Children was attacked in every direction while being accused of the “Stop Kony” movement of being a scam. Once the pubic got word of this, all the work Invisible Children and especially Jason Russell put into this video immediately went to waste. The video went from being the most talked about and viewed video on the web, to non-existent. The lesson learned here was that there needed be transparency. Invisible Children should have been able to show the people donating exactly where their money was going. Social media could have helped in this process by creating graphs or data charts and putting it online to show how the money was being spent.

There are a few positives that came out of Kony 2012, however. The main improvement that came was the fact that the world viewed the video, and made Joseph Kony a known name. Everyone knows who he is and what he has done to Uganda, which was the main purpose Invisible Children had when releasing the video. They wanted every one to know who he was and the horrible things he has done so he is no longer ignored. Also, whether the arrest and publicity of Kony was a direct result of the “Stop Kony” movement is a debate. After the Kony 2012 video was placed on YouTube, Obama ordered 100 United States troops into Uganda. The purpose of the troops going there, according to Obama, was to help and advise during the capturing of Joseph Kony. Although Joseph Kony has still yet to be captured, the video made his name known and made people want to do something to stop him.

In my community, there are lots of stereotypes about going into the city. Many of the people I go to school with surrounded by everyday live in the suburbs of York, Pennsylvania, which, in most cases, are very nice neighborhoods with little crime. Everyone always freaks out about going into York City, thinking that they are going to get shot, have their car broken into, be approached by unknown people, etc. I myself have taken part in conversations about this as well, but as I have grown older I have realized that we scare ourselves more than the people living in the city scare us. I want to make a campaign to raise awareness about the safety of the city. I want to make people realize that it really isn’t a bad place to go. I also would like to raise money while doing this campaign to help make York City look nicer, which would hopefully encourage tourism to the historic city right next door to us.

Making a short film that can connect to people’s everyday lives or reach an emotional spot is a great way to use social media for social good. I would use Kony 2012 as an outline for my project. I as well will make a short film that will hopefully capture the attention of all the people in my community as well as surrounding communities. There are a few things that I would make different in my video than what was in the Kony 2012 video though. The first would be, I would make sure all the facts were legitimate and could easily be backed up. If you’re trying to raise awareness about something, people want to know it’s real and factually based. I would also let the viewers of the video know where exactly the money donated is going. The Kony video backfired because Invisible Children never clarified where the money raised was going. If people know exactly what their money is being used for and can prove that it is being used for those things, it is much more likely to be successful. I would make data charts and pie graphs with each category detailing where the money is being spent. The people donating would be able to see what percentage of the money is going towards specific causes. A link to the charts and graphs will be located will be at the end of the video. People will also be able to go to a website that is constantly being updated in order to see the data and progress. This will hopefully cause more people to donate and to share information with friends.

The “Stop Kony” project made a great attempt at a video and good basis for informational video creators to strive for. With just a few changes, a video that has the potential to go viral is one of the best ways you can use social media for social good.  If the audience can connect to and relate the video to their own life, it will lead them to think about the cause and to do something to help. Hopefully with a few changes from the Kony 2012 video to my video, I will be able to create a video that will go viral around my community to raise awareness and raise money for a good cause.

Hacking May Be The New Type Of Crime

With the world relying on technology, criminals are starting to rely on it as well. Instead of using mask and guns to rob banks, they are using the Internet and laptops. This week a third person has pleaded guilty to what many are calling a “45 million dollar global cyber heist.” These hackers found a way to break into the bank system using the Internet to steal millions of dollars. This might be an example of what the future holds for crime.


The bright side of this new type of crime is that it doesn’t physically harm anybody. This might prevent robbers coming into banks with guns threatening to shoot people for money, which is a positive thing. However, they are now able to steal much more money without being tracked if they know what they are doing. Hopefully a way can be found to track the people doing this and catch them in the act. Until then, you might be hearing much more about this type of crime in the news. 

Tragedy In The Philippines

Tragedy has stricken again in the Philippines, this time due to Typhoon Haiyan. This typhoon wasn’t what the natives were used to. Even though meteorologists were calling it one of the strongest storms ever recorded in modern history before it even happened, natives thought it would be just like every other strong storm they have experienced, causing many not to evacuate. Peter Borromeo was among the many people who choose to stay in the Philippines despite the many warnings to evacuate.


The day before the storm Borromeo decided to book a hotel room in Tacloban. He booked a room in a two-story apartment by the airport and made sure to text the rest of his family who was in the United States that he was okay. Borromeo grew up in the Philippines but had moved to the United States later in his life. He was only in the Philippines at this time to visit some family, but was very familiar with the storms that came through the area, which made him not worry very much.


The text he sent to his family that night was the last they heard from him for four days. The storm came through where Borromeo was staying at about 4:40am Without any warning, the strong winds of the storm blew the roof off the hotel forcing Borromeo to hold on to a pole with one arm, whiling using a pillow to cover his face in order to block flying objects with the other. Borromeo stayed in this position for four hours while he recited prayers, praying for survival.


Somehow Borromeo came out alive, but wasn’t able to get ahold of his family for four days. Thankful for technology, Borromeo family was able to locate him using social media and the Google People finder. They put a message and a picture of Borromeo on all their social media websites as well as the Google people finder. Someone saw one of the messages, located Borromeo, and let the family know that he was safe. Without technology Borromeo’s family would have been left wondering for days if he was alive or not.