The Influence of Social Media on the Events of 2020

Edirin Akonoghrere, Student

The year 2020 is a remarkable year in history. This year the world experience its first pandemic since the Spanish flu in 1916. The pandemic affected life as we know it and impacted on human socialization. It also had great impact on the economy of various nations and even led to bankruptcy of some organizations. The pandemic changed the orientation of education and school as we know it, causing every institution to switch mode of learning online. It is without doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed human socialization as we know it.

Social media in itself is an extremely powerful tool with a wide range of impact, sometimes the impact could be negative rather than positive. In 2020, the social media helped people to stay in touch with the affairs of the world and the health crisis going on. It was a great asset in sensitizing the people on the situation at hand and the precautionary methods advisable. Although the positive benefits are endless, some people took up this same power and opportunity to spread fake news among people. This instilled fear and even led to the stigmatization of the Chinese people. The situation escalated when individuals deemed it right that they have personal and efficient homemade recipes to cure the virus.

Along with the pandemic, 2020 saw an increase in social activism. There was the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in America which is a notable protest to mention. It involved good enough mobilization to become successful and social media was the right tool in doing that. The social media helped them organize and stay abreast of the situation in different places. It informed the public about the events going on at each protest and the reason for the protest. Similarly, to the COVID-19 pandemic, social media had both negative and positive impacts on the protest at large. There were some individuals who deemed it fit to create fake narratives in order to instigate more anger in the protesters. Others even made use of the media to implicate protesters wrongly for the benefit of their selfish opinions.

The presidential elections of 2020 is another notable political mention. The social media helped to motivate people to vote and helped to educate them on the processes. It also helped political candidates to spread information about themselves, their ideologies, and the things they hoped to achieve. In general, it helped people stay informed on the whole situation.

The media played a very important role in the events of this previous year. It had its advantages and its disadvantages in its entirety. I believed it saved more lives from the pandemic by being able to educate people on the situation and allowing institutions, organizations, and places of work to implement the proper health procedures to save people. The media as well had a major role to play in political events of 2020, from different protests around the globe, to the elections in November. Its role in our everyday lives is undeniably boundless.