Social Media: The Good, The Good, and The Good?

Social media has become a powerful force which gives many the platform to create and share anything with a large audience. But what else comes along with it?

By GRACE TURNER

ATLANTA – In the world we live in today, social media has emerged as a prominent part of our culture, so much so that we seem to be addicted to it. There is a constant urge to check Instagram, or Facebook, stalk your favorite celebrities or post clever tweets in an effort to get the most amount of ‘likes’.

Social media and technology have become so easily accessible and necessary, it’s often hard to imagine how we ever lived without it. Technology and social media has effected our lives in so many ways; from large advertising and branding corporations, to our day to day tasks.

Blog Boom

Blogs are a place where everyday people can share their experiences, tips, opinions and more on a platform that virtually anyone can see and read. It is estimated that 6.7 million people currently blog on blogging sites, and another 12 million people blog via social networks such as Twitter.

One of the most active blogging communities is the beauty and fashion community. This is a place where people go to share their opinions on products, tips, fashion outfits and advice.

Devna Thapliyal, contributor to a very large and widely successful beauty blog between 2010 and 2014, speaks about how she has seen the blogging and YouTube community grow.

“It’s really grown exponentially,” says Thapliyal. “What’s really great about these channels and blogs is that it is user-created content, so there is an opportunity for viewers like you and me to really find a channel or blog that resonates with us. Even groups that were previously unrepresented in mainstream media, like women of color and plus sized women, can find several vloggers they can relate to.”

YouTube

Another one of the biggest influences social media has to offer is YouTube. It is said that YouTube has over a billion users, that is almost a third of all people on the Internet. YouTube has been used for similar reasons as blogs have, but it allows the users more creativity by enabling them to create videos instead of just writing blog posts.

Similar to blogging, one of the largest communities on YouTube is that of the beauty and fashion community.

Alison Henry, known on YouTube as AlisonLovesJB, can attest to the influence YouTube channels can have as she has almost 900,000 subscribers on YouTube herself.

“It’s amazing to me the effect my YouTube channel has had on my life and even the lives of my viewers,” says Henry. “When I started making short beauty tutorials on my Macbook seven years ago, I had no idea it would grow to this size.”

Find out more about Alison and her take on social media’s influence here.

Social Media Stars

These ‘bloggers’ and ‘youtubers’ have huge followings that help give them Internet fame. The people behind the successful YouTube channels and blogs have grown exponentially in their fame over the past decade.

Zoella, a British native, YouTuber/blogger, and author, has over 9.2 million YouTube subscribers and 3.8 million Twitter followers.

These stars are able to monetize their videos through ads, have large corporations sponsor them, and explore other ways to capitalize off of their platform.

“I feel these channels have had such a positive impact on people’s lives and on many brands’ sales, so I’m one of those who feel very optimistic about this new trend,” says Thapliyal. “I only say this because there are some people who feel that these vloggers, especially in their ‘haul’ videos, are adding to consumerism and rampant materialism. While this is true to a certain extent, I feel overall the vloggers have had a positive impact.”

Alison Henry’s social media platform

Alison Henry, known as AlisonLovesJB on YouTube, started her beauty channel doing quick simple make-up tutorials after being asked to share her make-up tips by some friends in high school. Now 7 years later, Alison has almost 900,000 subscribers on YouTube and 156,000 followers on Instagram.

Although her channel is mainly beauty and fashion related, Henry sees it as a platform to voice her opinion.

“I love what I do because it gives viewers like me a place where they can escape from everyday life and just enjoy the videos I create on beauty and fashion,” says Henry. “What’s also great is that I can use my following as a platform to raise awareness on topics I am passionate about.”

Alison has featured companies such as “The Elephant Pants” on her Instagram to raise awareness. Its mission is to help save elephants by donating money from every item sold to the African Wildlife Foundation.

“I am a huge animal activist, so anytime a company like The Elephant Pants reaches out to me, I am always happy to use my platform to spread the word!” says Henry.

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