I spend a lot of time in this space talking about the perils of social media. There’s a lot of research that backs up some of the claims I and thinkers everywhere have made, but in this week’s edition, I’d like to talk about how I think social media doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

While the title of this post may reflect that social media is limited to a country or geographical region, social media has really connected us on a global level. Content can be posted online and shared instantaneously by socialites from all corners of the world.

And although I think we all suffer time to time from information overload, there are many benefits to using social media to keep up to date and current with what’s happening. In an effort to be more informed, I’ve recently taken a lesson from several friends and have been using Twitter (and Facebook) to follow companies, major news outlets, startups and causes that I care about. It’s a great way to catch the major headlines of the day quickly. (No, Twitter did not pay me to write this to encourage you to join if you haven’t).

And the information powerhouse social networks do more than just help you find the content you’re looking for. During Hurricane Sandy, an overwhelming amount of those affected and those looking to volunteer turned to social networks to connect with one another and help their neighbors. That rapid connectivity and communication could have never happened without so many being connected and ready to help online.

And has anyone recently checked out “Craigslist Joe” on Netflix? It’s a documentary about a guy who depended on the goodwill of others and exclusively used Craigslist to travel across America. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. Though we hear stories about people all the time becoming bitter, cold and closed, this movie is a silver lining that shows that there are people out there willing to help and be decent people—but you might have to find them on a social network.

Do you have a story of social media being used for good (not evil)? I’d love to hear about it! Tweet me @jtleeman.

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Joel Leeman

Joel Leeman, '13, hails from Apple Valley, MN, and is pursuing a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Music. Joel is heavily involved in music at Concordia and enjoys spending the rest of his free time divided between various other campus organizations and activities. Joel's passions and interests include but are not limited to: social media, music, technology, personal and professional branding, leadership and making connections.

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