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The Widening Impact of Social Media

            Although social media is a great way to raise awareness pertaining to specific causes, most of the time sites like Twitter, and Facebook have very little impact on these issues beyond raising basic awareness. Social media introverts look for the next big fad to retweet and spread like wildfire. There is an ever present challenge to accumulate the most followers, rack up the most "likes" or "favorites," and increase one's own social media presence. Unfortunately, in an attempt to reach as many people as humanly possible, the meaning behind an original post is almost completely lost or in some way distorted. As leaders of social activism movements try to cope with and adapt to the new tools offered to them, they must constantly work to engage the public, to give a face to their movements, and to provide some depth to what may otherwise become as two dimensional as the monitors that connect modern day "activists.".
             During the summer of 2014, it was impossible to log on to any social media without scrolling through a dozen posts (at a minimum) pertaining to the ALS Ice-bucket challenge. In theory, this was for the purpose of raising awareness about a terrible and crippling disease. However, a lack of meaningful commentary on these posts begs the question, "how many people participating in the event even knew what ALS was?" At the time I didn't, even after pouring a huge bucket of ice-water on myself, still didn't look further into the organization sponsoring the challenge. Like many others I'm sure, I was blindly standing for a disease I knew nothing about, simply because everyone around me was doing it. With further research I was informed that ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. However, if not for the overwhelming popularity of posting videos and tagging one's friends, few people would even know what the ALS Association is.

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