The bright side of social media


Social media is the only way of communication for many people around the world, especially in socialistic systems like Venezuela.

Socialist governments take control of both television and radio stations. When certain events happen on the streets, like protests against policies, there is no mass media to broadcast what is taking place in that moment.

This is when Facebook, Twitter and Instagram open up a whole new world of possibilities. People grab their cell phones, take pictures, make videos, and then just press one powerful button, share.

In 2014 for example, a video of an officer from the Venezuelan Army brutally hitting a young woman with her helmet who was protesting peacefully went viral on Twitter and Facebook in just seconds. Human rights organizations intervened immediately, and the officer was removed from her position.  

Valencia College Electrical Engineering student Eduardo Angulo spoke about remembering his conversations with friends back home in Venezuela. They would tell him that he knew more about the problems and things going on in Venezuela from the United States, than those actually living in his homeland.

Despite the local mass media not delivering various events and news properly to the Venezuelan people, information has still made it out onto social media; streamlined by famous actors, singers, and politicians.

Actor and lead singer of the band Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto, dedicated his Oscar´s speech to the Venezuelans and Ukrainians.

“To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say we are here and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible. We’re thinking of you tonight.

The World responded by sharing pictures with messages and hashtags like, #SOSVenezuela and #PRAYFORVENEZUELA.

Steven Tyler of the rock band Aerosmith also tweeted “ They can´t be heard but we can…please speak up!!! #PRAYFORVENEZUELA.”

“I remember clearly. Even in Venezuela people needed to download an app to read the tweets because the government turned Twitter down,” Angulo said.

Actor, director and comedian Kevin Spacey also tweeted in favor of the protesters in 2014.

There is no doubt there has been a bad impact of social media in our society. Too many people are concerned about likes or selfies. However, social media can serve as a key tool to either spread out valuable information of what is going on in other countries, or even in your own neighborhood. It is up to everybody to use your voice wisely.