Panther Press

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The Power of Social Media

Lynnea Zhang, '19, Editor

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Long gone are the days where a book was the free time activity of choice (Stranger Things new season anyone?) Before the era of Instagram, Face- book, and as Mr. Benzing puts it ‘ChatSnap’, majority of advertising occurred on television, and majority of online interaction occurred over messenger platforms. Even now, times are changing. People have ‘rinsta’s and ‘finsta’s, follow celebrities who are constantly utilizing these apps to interact with fans and promote their own brand. As people spend time more time on social media, they want to spend time building their own images, search, see, and set the newest trends as soon as they are out. Today, we are largely shaped by the whooping 116 minutes that was spend on social media in a day, and industries are finding ways to capitalize on that.

As more and more ‘online’ celebrities are being created, platforms like Instagram become viable and innovative places to convince people to buy into trends and create buzz around them for the sake of marketing. People see celebrities and desire to own a product that the celebrity uses. Applications like Instagram multiply the likelihood of visual content being shared by a factor of almost 40. The most obvious example of this is the slew of detox teas advertised by celebrities all throughout Instagram. Their target audience are females on social media, and they utilize this to their advantage by having celebrities like the Kardashians promote their brand, engaging followers to purchase their products in order to be like them. Majority of marketing companies agree that social
media has an incredibly important role in advertising, but few really try and use that influence to the benefit of a greater good. Don’t get me wrong, movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are exactly the kind of thing that was needed to start a movement against the issue of sexual harassment, but they’re both very new movements in response to a perpetuating issue.

Rather than just using social media for selling detox tea, hair vitamins, or to establish new beauty standards for people to go after, there needs to be more movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp. Having a celebrity tell a following people about the severity of a situation and ask them to help out can trigger amazing waves of solidarity and progress within a movement. Time’s Up has now raised almost 17 million dollars in under a month, because of how the influence of social media was wielded. There are a multitude of issues with the prevalence of a powerful entertainment industry and the widespread use of social media – unrealistic beauty standards, toxic relationships, the list goes on – but if their influence is that powerful, we can use the same power that created problems and use it to fight against those issues. There is a bigger movement waiting to happen, and the power of influence will convince people to fight for the right cause.

The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.
The Power of Social Media