It is very easy to criticise social media. There have been accusations that it is stopping people from communicating with each other, that it has opened up a whole range of new crimes and that it is encouraging the worst of human behaviour.
Over the years we have seen people blame social media whenever they can and the media love the put Twitter or Facebook into the headline of a negative story. Take for example “Jessie J blasts Twitter trolls over sexuality”, “Sunderland striker..trolls his own fans during Twitter row” and “Did voodoo rumours on Facebook lead to a murder?” The media love to be able to highlight negative activities or behaviours that surface or are highlighted on social media. It is usual a way to easily criticise this relatively new phenomenon for information sharing.
On the other hand I have seen from my experience the benefits that it can bring. The way that social media can empower people, can encourage them to work together to solve local problems and can allow people to be really creative. It is the positive elements that I have continued to try to highlight to the media, raising awareness of how social media has allowed people to have direct access to police officers, how it has enabled them to provide information and help solve crimes, and how it has given them a way to air their views.
Today (Thursday 8 May) I was reminded about the simple things that social media has allowed. We received a request via Twitter for an email address as someone wanted to provide feedback. The address was given and what arrived was a lovely personal message about really positive work by two police officers. It is unlikely that without social and digital we would have been given that feedback as it would have meant writing a letter and not many people are happy to sit and do that.
When people receive good service or have a good experience then they can tell people about it as well as publicly thanking the organisation or business. Now it is not just the individuals that can see it, everyone can see it. Obviously when things are less positive that can get highlight as well, but I would rather that as it means issue can be discussed and addressed.
Social has given us a lot. It is easy to knock it and highlight the challenges that it has given lots of organisations. We need to remember that all social media has done is highlight both the bad and good of human nature. For me I would take some of the negative to be able to celebrate all the positive. Would you?