Social media is simply a means of mass communication that creates a platform for social interaction. It has more or less benefits for most people of the world, but its effect on the lives of so many has made it quite impressive. Virtually everything is affected by social media, including our freedom of speech. Trying to understand Jon Ronson when he said “the great thing about social media was how it gave a voice to voiceless people”, I think he was trying to say that it has given a voice to those who are unable to speak out, a voice to those who have been caged by silence, a voice to certain individuals who are unable to express their opinion or are scared of airing their views and showing the world what they have to say and what they can offer. These are some various ways in which social media has raised a voice for the voiceless people:
Firstly was giving those who are unfairly judged a view or rather an open opinion, some citizens who are sometimes referred to as the ‘low class citizens’ are deprived of the opportunity to express their views when there is an injustice done unto them or when there are arising matters in society. Many times on the news we see different noble citizens and people who are considered as very prominent people in the society. Most times they are there to give their thoughts about a certain issue or to speak on behalf of society. Speaking of times when they come on the news on behalf of society, they do not always, however, speak the minds of those being represented but rather express their own opinions, neglecting the fact that this issue is not his or her personal matters and therefore the rights and the views of both the high class and low class citizens should be highly considered to avoid a biased justice later on. You know that feeling when the teacher calls only the class prefect to fix a date of his choice for a test and at the end the date is an inconvenient date for you but you still cannot do anything about it, that is the same feeling many people have when their representative is not able to consider their opinions. They feel neglected, disregarded, and disenfranchised. What do you think these people will do when an opportunity like social media is created for them? Of course, they will grab it immediately and post articles where they can publicize their expressions and opinions concerning matters surrounding them.
Speaking more specifically on politics, many people who cannot afford to air their voices on the traditional media like televisions, radio sets, on the newspaper, etc. has found an enjoyable comfort through social media which allows them to freely express their political opinions concerning a political party or activity.
Furthermore, social media in a great way has made social interaction easier, most especially the shy ones are better off, the people considered as introverts. For these people, social media would really be a great help: this is because they find it hard to communicate or interact with people, either because they think they look ugly or because they are simply shy or maybe because they think they are bad at starting up a conversation. Now, these people can simply start up a conversation with any of their social apps like the famous Facebook without being bothered at looking at the person or speaking shyly because they just simply need to type which involves no physical interaction, using stickers when they like to express themselves. With this, they gradually learn to communicate and start up conversations both on social media and in the physical world.
Sincerely speaking, the joyful part is how it has gotten solutions for those who are enclosed in problems and are too scared and shy to speak out. Certain problems keep people in depression and psychological trauma, mainly because they have kept it in for too long and they are unable to share it with any other person. Some people even carry sicknesses for a long time because they have not found a solution. Thanks to social media, many are able to speak out on their problems and seek for possible solutions without being shy or scared of who is watching them or who is going to judge them, because in social media you simply do not have to say who you really are. You could simply upload a post seeking solutions to your problems, and lucky enough, someone somewhere in the world could be of help in the comment box.
However, social media has given the talented a great opportunity to be discovered. Here in Nigeria, many talents are yet to develop and many more are just yet to be known, and there is about a fifty percent of the citizens whose talent although discovered are yet to be developed. The problem lies in the inability of the less privileged ones to develop their talents and make greatness out of it considering the fact that they lack the resources for their development. The reason not being that we lack wealthy individuals who could promote their special talents, but due to the obstruction between the communication of the poor and rich, or distance, or simply because these wealthy people who are ready to help are not aware of their talents. Well, social media in its wonderful way has created a means of spreading information far and wide to any part of the world. This will be of great benefit to those people who want the world to be aware of their talents so that they could get a sponsor ready to develop their talents. In a nutshell, social media has given a voice to these talented individuals to make the world aware of their special gifts so they could be led to the spotlight.
In conclusion, I agree that the instrument of social media has beyond doubt became a voice to those whose comments would not have passed the criteria for judging new values by traditional media. To promote its benefits, social media should be further transformed in better ways it could help the voiceless people. Indeed, Jon Ronson was right when he said that the great thing about the social media was how it gave a voice to the voiceless people.