MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Online technologies:The good with the bad- we gonna work it out

It seems June has been a busy month all around. has yet to post any new content for this month. So, in following a common trend, I went through some old contributions and found something that peaked my interest, and hopefully it will yours as well.


Back in April, Papryus blogger Sonja Lind commented on how discussions around online technologies seem to focus on the negative and what’s bad about electronic mediums. She referenced cyberbullying and the loss of human connection. Likewise, we, as a class, have also discussed whether or not the internet is making people antisocial or allowing individuals to hide behind their online persona. Lind acknowledges that these are valid arguments, but counters her statement with a link to a good news story about how an American teenager was able to save a British teenager’s life through the use of Facebook. Supposedly, the British male send a private message to American girl saying that he was going to hurt himself. The girl, not knowing his address, told her mother, who then called local authorities. The police called in a “special agent” from the British Embassy who then narrowed down the suicidal teens location. He was found after four attempts, haven already taken an overdose, but still conscious. 


This is truly an inspirational story.  It not only shows the power, reach and good qualities of such social media tools, but also reiterates some of the points Kim raised in her post “iTube, weTube, we all scream for YouTube,” specifically, that the internet does have a heart, compassion and humility.


It is so easy to disregard the fact that an actual living, breathing, feeling human beings on the other end of your electronic exchange. Computer generated messaging have become quite common and users have become pretty skilled at filtering out a lot of targeted messaging. Don’t get me wrong, this is a necessary skill to have to avoid information overload and media bombardment. Nonetheless, I think this article emphasizes the overlap between online and offline and the impact these relationships can have. In this case, it saved a young males life. Had the teenage girl dismissed the message, he might not be alive today. I think it also highlights the importance of good blogger etiquette and treating people with dignity and respect despite lacking the face to face exchange. As common sense as it may sound, we must not forget that behind these technologies are someone’s sons and daughters, real people with real problems, who just might need a virtual shoulder to cry on. 


I’d like to leave you all with a song I’m totally obsessed with lately, musical preferences aside, I think we can all appreciate the message: let love prevail. 🙂




June 14, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , ,


  1. This is so true! People always focus on the negative. I know there was another story similar to the one you describe. It was a Canadian teenager who found a website, blog or something, created by a teenager in Britain outlining his plan to shoot people in his school. The Canadian teenager forwarded the info to the authorities and they were able to apprehend the student while he was on his way to the school. Shocking, but amazing that someone from across the world could essentially save lives.

    I’ve looked for the article on this but I can’t find it amongst the thousands of school shooting articles… maybe just another example of how the negative always outweighs the positive

    Comment by beewilly | June 15, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hey Holly,

    I think you’ve raised a good point – there are definitely two sides to this story that is social media.

    I think in trying to figure all of this out as a class, you’re right, we’ve focused on the negative potential of social media – but like you said, it also has a lot of potential for positive interaction and building relationships.

    The boundaries of social media are more flexible than our physical presence, which is limited by time and distance. Using social media allows us to overcome these communication barriers in some cases, which could be extremely beneficial to many people.

    You’ve already given Kim’s post a shout, and to further that, Dee’s comment on is a perfect example of this.

    Social media provides us with a forum that can be used at any time, in some cases anywhere (through smart phones, etc) and that can reach almost anyone – people with similar interests, beliefs, ideas – even if they’re thousands of miles away.

    This means that social media has a tremendous around of potential, and we need to keep an open mind and try to see multiple sides of the story when considering its implications in our professional and personal lives.

    Comment by Laura Hawkins | June 15, 2009 | Reply

  3. Remember, to be critical does not always mean negative.

    Comment by doctor d | June 21, 2009 | Reply

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