Out of the blue, nine-year-old Oswald Gennuh became everybody's favorite kid after his harmless letter to his mother went viral on social media.
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It is interesting to note that, his mother Rita Gennuh had no idea the letter which was posted by her work colleague just for the fun of it would gain so much traction to the extent of getting the attention of big brands.
Just within a couple of hours, Oswald's mother was overwhelmed with calls from brands wanting to be part of Oswald's our day which he personally wanted to be special in his own way.
This brings us to the point of asking what exactly social media is and what exactly it has to offer to its heterogeneous uses.
What is Social media?
Social media is a catch-all term for a variety of internet applications that allow users to create content and interact with each other.
This interaction can take many forms, but some common types include; Sharing links to interesting content produced by third parties, Public updates to a profile, including information on current activities and even location data and sharing photos, videos and posts as well as commenting on those content being put out.
To the layman who has access to a smartphone with enough data, social media, is basically WhatsApp, Instagram Twitter, and Facebook.
Due to the proliferation of new media and its trends, most people have access to social media in order to keep up with growing trends, and also be updated with what's going on around the world.
Just like any other thing, social media has its good and bad sides
Advantages of social media
As has become the norm, having access to social media has become more or less like a basic life need for most individuals.
Access to social media has given a lot of people the opportunity to explore various opportunities
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Looking at a marketing perspective most people who do not have budgers cut out from their small scale businesses do not use the traditional media like the radio, television and newspaper to advertise their business.
Most business owners have now turned their focus to growing their businesses on social media because most of their target customers are mostly on social media checking out trends and new stuff.
It is evident that resorting to social media by creating and posting interesting content has gone a long way to help businesses grow and strive.
Social change can be defined as the way in which human interactions, relationships, behavior patterns, and cultural norms change over time.
These changes ultimately transform cultural and social institutions, concepts, and rules, which will inevitably impact society for the long haul.
These changes and transformations are not necessarily good or bad, but they are profound.
In a very own Ghanaian setting, it is clear that social media has been such a powerful tool for social change in the sense that the teeming youth seem to jump on every other thing that's trending knowing very well that it does not sit well with our Ghanaian culture.
Social change may happen on a small scale, but then does not really reach the overall society at large.
For instance, there may be changes in a way a particular age group decides to dress just because they have identified someone they look up to do that and they tend to replicate it.
This change does not in the end affect the whole society, but rather a particular demographic of the society.
Social media helps amplify advocacy efforts by reaching more people virtually, in more places, faster than ever before.
The advantages of using social media for advocacy are clear, as it in terms of cost, is low, has a potentially wide reach, is fast and reliable, more engaging and feedback is easy.
In Ghana, for instance, the recent #FixtheCountry demonstration that gathered a lot of young Ghanaians started as social media advocacy on Twitter.
The hashtag was created and through no use of force, people who felt the country needed to be fixed retweeted that hashtag causing it to trend to the extent of getting the attention of the government.
This is a clear indication that social media can be used to push for change and demand accountability from the government and the higher-ups without having to use any kind of special force or intimidation.
Many are the times when Ghanaians took to social media to help people who were in need or were struggling with one sort of financial assistance or the other.
The case of Oswald Gennuh is clearly still fresh in the minds of people.
The little boy who went viral for taking fufu to school on vacation day will soon have his life turned out for the better, as a good samaritan has promised to fly him to Canada to continue his education,
Another form where social media has been used as a tool for social good is the many crowd fundings that have been done in support of people who are in need.
Ghanaians are by nature very kind and empathetic and do whatever they can to support an individual who is in dire need of funds to undertake a surgery of any kind. Unfortunately, some of these individuals do not live despite the money raised to support them
The bad side of Social Media
To every good thing, there is a bad side.
Social media despite all the good it comes with gives people too much room to do what they like because it is mostly information and content put out there does most at times not go under any form of scrutiny or gatekeeping.
Some of the wrongs social media comes with are scamming cyberbullying and deceptive content.
Despite all these wrongs, it is clear social media is such a powerful tool when it comes to advocacy, social change, and as well as social good.
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