University assessment

Social Media and You

In this technological era it seems as though all of us are part of online communities and have more than one social media account; the world is at our fingertips. But have you ever really thought about the many benefits of social media?

You probably have some idea of the benefits like being able to re-tweet your favourite celebrity or share hilarious cat videos on Facebook. However, what I’m talking about runs much deeper than that and is purely based on what you, as an individual, can achieve through this medium.

Here are some important benefits of social media:

Social media allows you to connect with more and more people.

Active Australian social media users are on the rise meaning you have the ability to interact with a growing number of people in this online space. Another plus is that location is no barrier to the internet and you can develop networks and relationships globally. Just by connecting with users you can form small communities across various social media platforms and deliver your message or thoughts to a large audience rather than to a small group of people face to face.

With social media you can post any time and any place.

Immediacy has become central to the 21st century way of living and social media delivers this through allowing you round-the-clock access. You can participate in real-time conversations regardless of where you are or what you are doing. Any time of the day you are free to voice your thoughts or post updates, unlike other forms of communication. This freedom is greatly thanks to mobile devices that can and do, go with us anywhere and everywhere.

Your opinion and interests matter more than ever.

You have never had more freedom to publicly voice your opinion, so why not take advantage of it? Online audiences are increasingly interested in what others, like themselves, think about an issue and often prefer an everyday person’s commentary over the news. Every day billions of people are posting their thoughts on all matters political, environmental, social, etc. If you publish content that matters to you and those in your network you can get the ball moving on a bigger project and initiate change.

Woman posting to Instagram.
A simple upload to social media has the potential to influence and inform the masses. Sebastiaan ter Burg 2013, Flickr

 

You may be wondering what all these benefits have in common. They all form the basis of citizen journalism, when non-professionals take it upon themselves to provide the news. Social media and smartphones are the main tools citizen journalists use to deliver this content because of audience reach as well as the constant access.

Whether you post from the scene of an event or state your views on a topical issue you are essentially being a citizen journalist as you are providing information to others. Perhaps you already are one and you just haven’t realised it yet.

Let me know your thoughts about citizen journalism.

Are you excited or maybe even intimidated by this concept?

Does it encourage you to utilise social media for a greater cause?

 

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First year assessment

Online News Package

Our task was to create an audio-visual story as well as a text-based element on a topical issue for a local audience.

A big thank you to my assignment partner Nathan Biddle who captured all of the vision.

Charity workers thankful for public’s generosity

Local volunteers are praising the Sunshine Coast community for their “wonderful” and continued support of the region’s op shops.

People are generously giving to the stores which give back to various charities and raise funds for education programs for the underprivileged.

Sunshine Coast Community Hospice Opportunity Shop volunteer Cheryl Lennon said the community’s donations were greatly appreciated and never went astray.

“There is never, ever an excess,” she said.

“We deal with whatever we get.

“We sometimes have them piled very high but we always manage to get through them, sort them and pass them onto our other stores.”

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The sorting shed of Sunshine Coast Community Hospice full of donations.

Collection bins are set up around the Sunshine Coast for locals to donate their unwanted items.

Fellow volunteer Jenny Gatehouse said people were taking full advantage of these bins as there was never a shortage of donations.

“People are very kind,” she said.

“We get very good quality donations and they come on a regular basis, it’s just non-stop.

“They come daily with stock of everything from furnishings to clothing to brick-a-brack.”

With such a large number of donations, some items could not be sold due to their conditions.

However, Mrs Lennon said these items are welcomed and did not go to waste.

“Naturally like anything in life some [donations] are good and some aren’t,” she said.

“We do have to dispose of a lot of the stuff if it’s damaged or soiled … and that sometimes does cost us money to take it to the tip.

“Most of the clothing if it’s damaged we can put in bags we call “Africa bags” and they get sent away to underprivileged countries.”
More than 50 op shops on the Coast have become increasingly popular among locals.

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A customer searching through the abundance of clothes.

During October a Facebook survey found 32 per cent of participants’ shopped at the stores to find rare items.

While an additional 34 per cent are shopped there to save money.

Mrs Gatehouse said people chose to shop at the stores because of the financial and charity benefits.

“A lot of stock is brand new with labels, saving people money,” the volunteer of 15 years said.

“Plus everything that’s here goes fully to charity.”

Chaplain and eager op shopper Lynette Neil said the charity stores had great support because of the environment they created.

“I think they [op shops] are very important because they are a really good meeting place … for everyone in the community to mix together,” she said.

“Bloomhill especially means a lot to me because I had breast cancer.

“I found it the place where you go for companionship and an alternative look at what else can be added to your therapy.”

Fifty-two per cent of people would still like to see more support behind local op shops despite the increasing number of donations and shoppers.

Mrs Lennon said although any help is lovely more volunteers are always needed.

“Volunteering is very good,” she said.

“We never have enough volunteers because a lot of people on holidays or with family commitments.”