Remember that video that resurfaced on your feed over and over? And that thing that people tweeted about all day long? Or how about the “hey, have you seen on Facebook…”
I recently came across a video on Facebook that went viral for a quick time. It was a 5 min clip of a police officer taking money from a Hispanic man by the surname of Matia for selling hotdogs on the street without a license. And if the rumors are true, the officer took about sixty dollars from the vendor. In turn, that generated Matia over fifty thousand dollars through a Gofundme campaign.
In December 2010, there was another man name Mohamed Bouazizi from Tunisia who got his produce confiscated and harassed because he did not have a vendor’s permit. He appeared before the courthouse for justice and nothing was done. Therefore, he lit himself up in flames and his actions triggered the Tunisian Revolution, also known as the Jasmine Revolution.
What do these two situations have in common? Social media.
Both of these scenes were caught on camera and shared on social media— triggering all kinds of emotions and supports.
The video clip of the Tunisian in flames was shared on Facebook and went viral leading to protests and demonstrations. Bouazizi’s illustration brought the people in his country together and ended their president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s 23 years of power and dictatorship. The Tunisian Revolution continues to be a leading example and inspiration for other movements in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
The 5 min clip of Matia’s encounter was also shared on Facebook repeatedly. Many people were outraged by his misfortune and raised thousands of dollars to show support. We can see and assume that with the new developments of social media and other networks such as Gofundme campaigns— he did not have to go to an extent for results.
Nevertheless, the moral of these two stories is to show how influential social media can be.
Social media and the internet are so powerful because it provides online community space for people to come together. They are able to support and become a part of the community anonymously. Users also have the capability to connect and share from one platform to another leading to faster actions and results. Something can happen in one area, and the whole world would know in seconds by a few clicks of a mouse. In fact, news travel so fast on social media that most things can be classified as real time.
While social media can make great things happen, “not so great” things can happen as well. So be mindful of what you share, because it may be the next big thing!