Social Media has democratized the web, giving the average joe an opportunity to be heard as loud as an LA Times writer. News are now in the hands of the masses, and anyone can get their story picked up by media. How is it that us regular joes have a chance to reach out to millions around the globe? Social media sharing sites!
Imgur, pronounced ‘image-r’, was founded in Athens, Ohio 2009 by Alan Schaaf. The site is an image-sharing community. The images can be anything from a general cellphone picture to a photoshopped image to a series of gifs. The users of the community upvote images they find powerful, instructive, informative, heartwarming or simply tickles their funny-bone. Once an image receives 300 upvotes, it then leaves the category known as “User Submitted” to “Most Viral,” making its way to the front of the site. The front page will undoubtedly provide the original poster (OP) to gain instant internet fame for a moment. Thousands will view the post and hundreds will comment.
Also known as the front page of the internet. Reddit is the Imgur’s big brother, in a sense. All images Reddit users link is to Imgur. Reddit has generated a massive following and has a plethora of subgenres (subreddits). Unlike Imgur, Reddit user don’t just share images to tell their story, it’s heavy on text that sometimes links to images. However, similar to Imgur, you need a certain amount of upvotes to make it to the front page of the site. Once there, you’re voice is seen/heard by not thousands, but millions.
With great power comes great responsibility. What are the benefits and problems such power causes?
A benefit of social media sharing sites is awareness for issues that have yet to be realized, discussed or heard. Missing persons, cases of rape, animal abuse, inequality, anything you can think of, if it can breakthrough to the front page, it’s worldwide news. Due to the high volume of material that’s continuously being shown globally, these sites are constantly keeping updated on information. Resulting in viewers seeing the content before newscasters can even report it.
Awareness of certain issues, personal stories that have warmed the hearts of viewers everywhere lead to the good will that lies within the people. Fundraisers have been established for countless of stories to help boost the chance of making a difference. Recalling one occasion, the fundraiser raised as much as ten grand, paying for the surgery of a child in need.
Reddits subgenre, r/AMA (Ask Me Anything), is a revolutionary form of interviews. Any redditor can submit a question to the celebrity online. The list of celebrities on reddit varies from A-list to Z-list. Reddit has had anyone from Barack Obama to Bill Gates to Bryan Cranston to the Korean pop artist PSY answering each question submitted for a certain period of time. Imagine that, YOU can directly ask the figure you respect/admire any question in the world, without any restrictions. Where else would you have that opportunity?
Image Courtesy of Gunnulf of Reddit.com
Not just the heart-wrenching stories and images of cats get circulated through the sites, but occasionally, gold is struck and viewers get OC (Original Content) by sheer, raw talent. Talent that isn’t well-known but should be. Artists from all over the world can display their work, creativity, unique creations and once planted on the front page of the internet, millions will take notice. Millions of viewers have contacted these inspiring creators, asked them to produce a masterpiece for themselves, in which they pay. Thus, providing the talent with work and leaving their new customers with custom-made art.
These sites are full of individuals searching to connect with viewers, real people. People who want to laugh and be silly, share the content that make them happy, no matter what that may be. A gif of a hilarious scene from a movie or a series of images of your best friend fast asleep at a party with obscure objects placed upon them.
Ah, the downvoters, also labeled as “haters.” The internet is full of cyber bullying on any social media site, sharing sites are no different. If someone doesn’t share the same opinion as you, be prepared to have your post hit a handful of dislikes. Posting a picture of yourself? Forget about it. You’ll get downvoted into an oblivion with snarky comments to follow suit.
Image Courtesy of quickmeme.com
Becoming a meme
Some individuals have become “internet famous” for all the wrong reasons. A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. For instance, a school picture of child with a hopeful, goofy smile is a known popular meme labeled “Bad Luck Brian.” This boy is out there somewhere with this title looming over his head, everywhere he goes.
And sometimes, people will use all benefits of these sites for cruel intentions. Some have even gone as far as posing false stories that folk have felt so touched by, they’ve set up fundraisers to help the individual out, given money from their pocket, only to discover it’s been a fraud.
Despite the harsh realities the internet has to offer, the benefits outweigh the cons. Let’s face it, unless you’re Miley Cyrus, your voice gets lost in the clutter mass of the interwebs. These sites provide the opportunity for everyone to have a voice that will be heard around the world. They will continue to expand & grow as more and more readers subscribe; and maybe that is exactly what the world needs– a voice not just from the people as a whole, but each person individually.
The Internet may be a big place, but your presence doesn’t have to be shrunken because of it! Get out there and express your creativity!
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