Currently, the political climate in the US is an unstable and divisive one, as scores of citizens protest against infringements of their rights and restricted economic conditions. An inevitable consequence of this is that the nations media has become a veritable conduit for negative and damaging news stories, helping only to further cultivate the existing mood of depression and social tension. However, these reports only serve to worsen an existing social perception, and often undermine the better aspects of daily existence that help to improve peoples standards of living.
An example of such good deeds is the Underheard in New York’ project, which was prevalent in the news this week after helping to reunite a homeless man with his estranged daughter of 11 years. The scheme, which aims to give homeless individuals a voice by creating social networking accounts and giving them a prepaid mobile telephone, is a continuing entity that gives unfortunate individuals an opportunity to make tentative steps as interactives member of society.
Quite aside from assisting and improving the standard of living in US society, this project has also helped to reveal the role that advanced social networking can play in delivering a healthy contribution to interaction. The practice of social networking through a virtual medium is one which is often maligned as potentially disruptive, but this is largely due to the negative perception generated by media reports of instances of abuse or malpractice by users.
Given this, the positive effect that social networking and media interaction can have on society is often overlooked, and therefore it is fair to assume that the potential of its activities are only partially realized by its users. The Underheard in New York project is a clear example of how the concept of global and remote networking can be manipulated to connect people and afford them access to a virtual world of opportunities, both in terms of their professional and personal activities.
If you consider the nature of social networking, then you begin to understand the importance of its users in how it is directed. It is essentially a virtual platform, which affords individuals a profile and presence amongst a global community, and how they use this is entirely at their own discretion. So, while it can be used for insignificant recreational activity or severe malpractice, it can also be used utilized to create excellent commercial and personal presence.
While the Underheard in New York project has given homeless individuals a chance to develop social function and renew their contact with everyday existence, it is fair to say that social networking is still under appreciated as an example of social armory. Many commercial and charitable organizations are only just understanding the full benefits that the social network can deliver in terms of awareness and interaction, where it is able to build a substantial base of customers and potential contacts.
Similarly, job seekers are now being urged to create a professional presence through social media outlets such as Twitter and LinkedIn, in order that they may advertise their skill set and experience to potential employers in their field of knowledge. No other medium affords an individual the same opportunity of global exposure, regardless of the service, item or cause that they are championing, or offer a similar method of instant and far reaching communication.
As the social network continues to evolve into a functional rather than recreational entity, it is a perfect time for governments and businesses to conceive ways through which to maximize it further. The idea of important government updates and policy details being issued through Twitter is one that exists in certain nations, and serves to keep voters informed with regards to their representatives plans and democratic rule. This concept could even be developed further through forums and discussion boards, allowing individuals to pose questions to their governor and federal officials and generate and open discussion within society.
Projects such as the Underheard in New York example help to display social media and networks in a more favorable light, and given the influence of the media in fostering public perception this type of story is crucial to maximizing their potential. Should the concept be considered as a more beneficial one in contemporary society, then more and more individuals and organizations will be encouraged to use social networking in order to satisfy their own requirements and those of society as a whole.
The idea of using a social network to help the homeless is a perfect example of what the media can offer, as it is perfectly placed to resolve the key issue which afflicts such individuals. By helping people reconnect with their peers and restart the processes of social interaction, we have been provided with conclusive proof that networking sites are in fact a significant player in improving contemporary culture, and that they possess an unlimited potential depending on the user and their objective.