The two sides of social media

November 17, 2015 Opinion

Social media can either be your greatest ally or your worst enemy.

I recently attended a couple of Broadway shows this past weekend, including the musicals Hamilton and Spring Awakening, and was surprised to see a T-shirt with the hashtag #YayHamlet. This was a reference to a tweet written by Hamilton’s creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, after a woman congratulated him on the street. At Spring Awakening, there was a board with headshots of the performers and their Twitter handles. Every playbill encouraged users to tweet and follow the production’s social media channels. This kind of inclusion engages the audiences and invites them to be a part of art, such as theater, in a new way. In encouraging participation that goes beyond filling theater seats, this type of social media is enriching for the audience and production team alike.

Asking for patrons to tweet and follow these productions on platforms like Instagram and Facebook not only provides them with vital information, but also encourages conversation. Social media, whose presence is becoming more and more pronounced, is not just great for larger promotions, but for self-promotions too. Websites like YouTube can turn anyone with a camera and a creative side into a sensation. The American Dream is alive and well, and more accessible in the last decade. Are there consequences to that? Of course. Without enduring hard work, it is hard to stay at the top. That is probably the notion most people have when they think of “instant celebrities,” but among many people who become famous for nonsensical things, there are those who become successful. Without social media, they would have had no other way of grasping the opportunities given to them. Many entrepreneurs seek different outlets to promote themselves, and it works wonders. The bad side of social media is the overexposure, and the challenge of creating a unique persona. Who is it that you want to be? Who do you want people to perceive you as? It is the ultimate test and the most challenging to pass. The most vital thing that in order to see the bright side of social media more clearly, you must keep the dark side in mind as well.

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