Royal Society for Public Health in the UK released a report listing the top five social networking platforms that were damaging to youth’s mental health. Instagram was listed as number one, followed by Snapchat for impacting youth through anxiety and depression, as well as generating uncertainty about self-identity and body image. AccessSacramento talked to five teens who use Instagram regularly about their experiences with the app.
Millennials are the primary users of social media but according to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, they are also the most afraid of how it affects them. Of the demographic, 48% report that they are afraid of how social media use affects their physical and mental health and 63% report feeling attached to their phone or tablet. Social media has taken over the world as we know it, but is it really for the better?
Welcome to another episode of the AccessLocal.Tv Podcast. On this show, the latest Neighborhood News Correspondents talk what Social Media controversies and how people and groups get in trouble online. Their comments and opinion may surprise you! Feel free to chime in with your opinion on the discussion in the comment section below!
Most People Will Just Scroll Past This Article, But When She Stopped to Write It She Found Out Something INCREDIBLE. Number 2 Will SHOCK You!
Recently, I attended a Building Healthy Communities Youth Media Conference supported by the California Endowment in Los Angeles with the rest of the AccessLocal.Tv team. This conference brought together media journalists from across the state, helping us learn about important issues occurring statewide and showing us how to spread those messages through media. Out of four workshops that were offered on the second day, I chose to go to the “Social Media: Get your story trending now” workshop which was put on by Angela Kim, a social media expert. In this workshop, she taught us how to work with different social media platforms when publishing content.
Other than stressing that headlines are key, Kim taught us that posting your story on different social media platforms can really help put your story out there and to always add pictures to your story as most people look for a visual aspect when scrolling through their feed. When speaking about the actual article, she told us to ask ourselves who and where is your audience and will the article resonate with them. Ask yourself if you saw your article online, would you share it? When it comes to your profile on your social media platform, remember to keep it professional. Your bio should include a clear picture, a direct handle so people can easily locate you, a mission statement which includes your title if you have one, and a link that directly connects to your website. This workshop did a nice job of showing the best ways to upload content on each platform, including several tips for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. One of the final things Kim said which stuck with me was “build your audience when you don’t need it”. This gives local youth media reporters like me a chance to start connecting with people through social media. Little by little an audience starts growing while you grow as a journalist.
“Social media for publishers isn’t about just posting a link,” Kim responded when asked why it is important to upload content onto social media. “It is where you can share your stories and also connect with your audience to engage and build a community.”
The organization Sons and Brothers, who also spoke at the conference, use social media as their only form of communication to the world. Sons and Brothers, which was inspired by President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, is put together through organizations nationwide that are focused on making health and opportunity happen for America’s young people of color. Their platforms include their website, a website through the California Endowment, and social media pages such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
“Thanks to social media, the speed at which news travels has changed significantly,” said Kim. “Stories in one town can be spread globally in just minutes and end up trending on social media.”
Locally, AccessLocal.Tv uses their Facebook page to promote the stories that are published each day.
At the speed technology is advancing, it can be hard to keep up, especially for older citizens who weren’t born into a world with laptops and smartphones. To help them, an initiative by the City of Sacramento called TechConnections is giving participants the chance to gain computer literacy and navigate the ever-expanding cyber world.
TechConnections, launched by the city last year, is geared towards people over 50 years old who want to become more tech-savvy for a variety of reasons. From Facebook to Macbooks, from Windows 8 to Word, there is a class for many basic computer and internet programs.
“TechConnections classes make a difference in people’s lives in many ways,” says Christopher Godsey, volunteer for TechConnections. “I believe that all of the classes offered help to improve technological skills and abilities.”
This program is challenging the idea that older adults have little desire to go online or learn new technologies. The Pew Research Center provides studies that debunk that myth. Their research found that in 2012, 77% of seniors in the US had a cell phone, and over half were using the internet. Of those older internet users, over 70% go online almost every day. Today those numbers are likely higher.
There are, however, real hurdles that older adults face in keeping up with newer and newer technologies. Less than one in five seniors felt like they would be able to learn a new technology on their own, and over half felt like they would need help signing up on a social networking site.
“At 83 years old I found myself losing intellectual language skills,” says TechConnections student Mario Gonzalez. “…The three classes I took with TechConnections have helped me to challenge my language skills and to discipline myself in a way that made my life more interesting and satisfying in my daily activities.”
One class offered by the program addresses this issue by educating participants on the use of networks like Facebook and Twitter, focusing on things like privacy, finding friends, and creating timelines. Classes also offered include internet use, Microsoft Word and Excel, and Apple’s Macintosh operating system.
“I feel I am a stranger in this world where most of the people around and in everyday life, talk about computer use,” says, Sundus Al Rubaye. “So I decided that late is better than never and I began to look for a place where I can benefit, and here I am…”
Sacramento seniors who don’t want to be left behind in the Computer Age are encouraged to check out the city’s TechConnections program and sign up for a class or two. It’s never too late to learn.
Featured image from Flickr under Creative Commons.
3rd Annual Youth Media Forum Featured Media Projects.
Panel 1: Health and Environmental Justive and Well Being
Students Reaching Out (SRO) at Encina Preparatory High School in Sacramento created a mini-documentary which highlights the social impacts of substance abuse. Nine teens are interviewed to gain a youth perspective on the topic
I believe nearly everyone has had this feeling at one time or another: “I’ve got something to say, but I don’t know how to say it, or know if anybody is even listening.” When I was growing up as a young boy in South Sacramento, this was something I felt quite often. Attending John F. Kennedy High School in the late 1990’s, I experienced what one could only call an identity crisis. I’m Mexican-American, but I was never taught how to speak Spanish. I grew up in a suburban tract home, but I spent most of my free time downtown with punk rockers. Long before it was socially acceptable, as it seems to be today, I was dyeing my hair every hue in the rainbow, and dressing in strange clothes I acquired from thrift stores and swap meets. Looking back now, I can only explain it as some sort of strange attempt to force strangers to stop in their step and acknowledge my existence. I didn’t know what I wanted to be, I just knew that I wanted with every fiber of my being to make my mark on the surrounding landscape, desperately.
It may not have been that long ago, but you must remember, this was in an era before the internet as we know it today. Broadband video streaming sites like YouTube and the social networking powerhouse Facebook didn’t exist yet. It wasn’t easy to publish and share one’s thoughts or interests with their peers. So instead of updating my status, or recording a video blog, the only way I felt I could express myself was musically. I knew plenty of kids who felt the same way, and we’d get together and collect musical instruments of various quality and try to write melancholic songs about teenage angst and heartbreak. Were we any good? Not by a long shot. But were we successful? I’d say we were, if success can be measured not by the level of fame your art achieves, but by the sense of fulfillment creating something original gives your soul. In that sense, we were rock stars.
Now, I understand not everybody wants to be in a rock band. I’d actually be the last person to even recommend doing so to most. The point of my story is that even though I didn’t know it at the time, all I really wanted to do was express myself, and for others to witness and respond to that expression. As I’ve aged in life, I’ve continued to find new methods of expression to fulfill my needs. I’ve worked the restorations of semi-historical downtown buildings, some over 100 years old. I’ve joined neighborhood organizations and attended forums where my input has helped shape the future of our community. I’ve even found solace in the simple pleasures of gardening in my yard. To my surprise, however, nothing has satisfied me greater than a creative outlet I discovered about a year ago: online journalism.
The first piece I ever wrote was for the website sacramentopress.com. One morning, while driving to get coffee in my neighborhood, I noticed an abundance of illegal advertisements that were propagating on a temporary fence surrounding a construction site. I had noticed them before, but the sheer number I observed that morning inspired me to do something. I know I should have called code enforcement, or have contacted the property owner, but I decided that instead I would handle this myself. Pliers in hand, I removed dozens of signs and banners from that fence, and several telephone polls, vacant buildings, and empty lots in my neighborhood. Now, I could have stopped there, but I’m glad I didn’t. Once I got home, I laid all the materials on my driveway and took a digital photo. After uploading that picture to my computer, I took to my web browser and pointed it to sacpress.com. I wrote the tale of my actions, attached the photo, and clicked on a button that said “publish story”. I had no idea what I was in for next.
Over the next few days the comments beneath my article astounded me. Some thanked me for my actions. Others cheered me for my “vigilantism”. It was one posted comment, however, that really struck a chord with me. A user, quoting Gandhi, wrote: “be the change you want to see in the world.” It was as if somebody flipped a switch in my brain. I had no idea that a) something I wrote could affect so many strangers and b) that a strangers response to something I wrote could have such an affect on me. Over the next few months, I continued to write and hone my craft. I found my writing “voice” through trial and error. Most importantly, I felt as if finally I had found a way to connect with people in way I never knew possible before, by crafting original and relevant stories about this city which I love and have called home all my life.
I don’t posses a college degree or any specialized training. I don’t have a gift or exclusive ability that no one else can tap. All I have is my desire to express myself and a passion to see that this city remains a great place to live for me and my family and my neighbors. Luckily, I now live in an era where anybody can do so in the digital domain. This website, accesslocal.tv, and other social media sites like these allow those who once may have been voiceless speak as loud as their soul can shout. With the now common everyday tools such as a computer and a digital camera, we all are now free to share the stories that otherwise may have been lost to the ages. The stories of regular folks making their way through the world in a fast-changing environment. To that end, I am willing to help anyone use these tools in the hopes that they too can achieve the same sense of reward that I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy. All you need to do is shed the fear of failure, look into your heart and the eyes of your neighbors, and write what you observe so that others can share in your experiences. This is an amazing time to be alive, why not help write the pages of history with your tales?