Sarah Hopkins, Capital High School
How many of you reading this right now can't go more than two days without logging onto Facebook or Twitter, using FourSquare to let the world know where you are or checking YouTube for funny video clips -- or even sharing your own? Most of you probably even have an old MySpace account that's surely covered in cobwebs by now.Social media is really just a way to make your voice heard. In a society that seems to want to dismiss whatever teens say, social media gives us a way to express our feelings; it's a conduit for our pent-up teen angst. It also has the benefit of helping develop relationships, both new and old.Social media is what you make it, though. If you're only using Twitter to tell people, "OMG, I'm eating a #donut!" then no, you won't be getting the most out of it, and you probably don't understand what the fuss is about, either. But Twitter can be very helpful when used correctly. For instance, news organizations can use it as a source, and we can use it to stay in the know about major events.For many of us, Facebook is simply a way to communicate with one another and to keep others informed about the major aspects of our lives, but did you know the site has been used many times to help lost family members and friends reconnect? Did you know it can sometimes even save lives? Late last year, Facebook launched a tool that lets users report suicidal behavior so the proper organizations can be alerted.
Tumblrs allow us to unleash our creativity. For instance, I have a Tumblr dedicated to the weird faces "Glee" star Lea Michele makes when she sings. (Strangely, it's not the only Tumblr devoted to that). The same goes for blogs, which let us tell the world what we think.In 2006, Time Magazine named "You" its Person of the Year, showing how much of an impact social media has had on the world. It's made people's social lives easier, and it's made business easier for companies.People are quick to brush off social media sites as being pointless, but they're missing the importance these sites play in our day-to-day lives. Social media has made it easier for us to connect and grow as a society.