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Social Media Can Be A Warm And Fuzzy Place: #icare


SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE A WARM AND FUZZY PLACE: #ICARE

This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.

BACKGROUND:

It’s been a really long time since I posted anything relating to my personal feelings on social media. You know, the ones that aren’t so well written or polite; the ones that show that you are a human and is in fact very vulnerable. My teachers, parents, and friends do the same, so I’ve noticed. Very few post about how they are ACTUALLY feeling.

That time I was really frustrated, I posted how I feel on Moments, but very few responded. I ended up feeling even worse because I felt stupid for posting something so personal: everybody has had a long day. They don’t have time for my problems. What made me feel even more terrible was, what if others think I’m whiny or melodramatic?

While it was perfectly normal for teenagers my age to crave attention and approval from peers, I overlooked the fact that I actually was feeling bad before the very instant I posted my status on social media. I ignored the fact that feeling bad is normal and sharing your feelings is nothing to be ashamed of.

Generally speaking, this isn’t a positive environment. Obviously when you feel hurt, you need consolation. You need to get it out somewhere. Very students few turn to teachers or parents, and social media isn’t really fits the concept of “safe haven” in this case. The culmination of negative feelings don’t lead to very good results.

It doesn’t necessarily has to be this way. Everyone can spare a moment and care for those close to us who feel sad, stressed out, or hurt. It only takes a second, but it makes things so much better. I had a little experiment on my close friends on Weibo, a social media site in China. While the posts are public, there’s less than ten of us at school who are friends on this site. My friend Summer, who is really generous and caring, has always been very supportive whenever we feel down. With her help, the two of us started a mini campaign #icare and encouraged those around us to take a minute to read about what’s making our friends sad, and responded them by showing love and support. Soon, all my friends on Weibo followed suit. It was really nice to see the flow of support.

This campaign is making things better, even if it’s only a little bit. I am going to continue the campaign and try it on different social media cites. Please share this with your friends if you feel the same way I feel.

THE CHALLENGE:

It’s clear that the social media has been accused of many wrongs. There’s cyber-bullying: millions of teenagers AND ADULTS suffer from this wide-spread phenomenon daily. It has also been targets of deception and fraud. On a broader term, it makes us feel cold. Everyone seem more agitated on the Internet. Perhaps the nature of anonymity contributed to the “meanness” of Internet. My instinct tells me that the Internet is a place for glamorous things. People don’t have time for other’s misery. This is why when someone at our school posts on Moments about them being hurt, both physically and psychologically, it’s awkward because no one replies. This is not particularly a mentally healthy environment. And this doesn’t has to be this way. Everyone can be kind and nice. It’s up to your choice. Sometimes it isn’t that they don’t want to, it’s just that they forget.

HOW CAN I CREATE A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

THE SOLUTION:

Given the amount of school work, I don’t except my fellow students to do a lot. And they don’t have to. Not necessarily. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Your task is simple. Share a short post on social media explaining how you need supports when you feel sad. Your friends and family will understand because they probably feel the same. Please include #icare with your post. And feel free to use any picture on this webpage.

And also. Don’t forget to show love and support when your friends feel sad. Sometimes an emoji or two really helps heal a broken heart.

A little reminder makes things better. XD

These are replies under a post from the humansofny Instagram page where a young girl feels confined for having to support her child, her sister, and her grandmother. Consolation only takes a minute, but it can be really heartwarming. You can make a difference.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I plan on bring this to WeChat, a social media site with more than 900 million users. First I will spread the words around at school. Then I might write for bigger public accounts to invite more people to join our crusade. You can also help by sharing this on Twitter and Facebook.

The last paragraph was written last week and NOW, the campaign on WeChat is growing more and more popular! Here’s a few screen snaps from Moments.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

When someone post on their moments, all their friends see this post. Everyone has more than three hundred friends on WeChat. It’s safe to say that thousands of students and teachers has seen this post! I’m really impresses by how supportive my fellow students at school are!

Perhaps I only started something they have been meaning to do in a long time. You can join our crusade too! Post this on Facebook and Twitter! 

Feel free to leave a comment and help make this campaign better! <3

To Learn More:

 misunderstanding or cyber-bullying?

“It was a slip. The first thing I thought about was an abortion. I was only fifteen at the time. But after getting my ear chewed off, and all of the bitching, and all of the scolding, I decided to take responsibility. My daughter is three now. I’ve had to give up so much. I can’t go to university. I can’t go out, or go on trips. Now my life is nothing but a routine. I’m a slave to paying rent. I work seven days a week at a casino for minimum wage. I have to support my grandmother and sisters. My mother left the house in December to live with a man. I never talk about any of this. I keep to myself because nobody cares. Even if I’m happy—nobody cares. I only worry about my daughter’s happiness. I only think about her future. I have hope for her. But not for me.” (Medellín, Colombia)

A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on

 

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