The Power of Your Click: Shaping the world through social media

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Power of Your Click
From Dr. Wayne Baker: Last week, we welcomed Michigan State University journalism professor Joe Grimm for a series on Cultural Competence. This week, we welcome one of his former students and the current Media Director of OurValues: Dmitri Barvinok. Every day this week, Dmitri will report on the power in your click—and the resulting “social media” we form online.
Here’s Dmitri’s first column …
Hand on a computer mouse, clicking on social media?.

“WITH GREAT POWER comes great responsibility!” Take it from Voltaire, who declared it first in French, or take it from the pages of Stan Lee’s Spider-man. But, please do take responsibility for your social media. This week, I’m reporting on five reasons you should take your clicks seriously.

CAN you reCALL the first social network?

In 1997, seven years before the world had heard of Facebook, debuted with everything you needed to make friends: a place to publicly list your existing friends and a way to look at other user’s friends. Social media has come such a long way since then! Now, any kids born from a chance meeting on are taking their driving tests.

This week, I’m inviting you to explore the power in your fingertip.

See those little blue-“f” icons hovering above and below this column? All it takes is your finger clicking on a blue “f” to “like” this column on Facebook—and suddenly the OurValues experiment in civil dialogue reaches a new audience.

I am not exaggerating. If you are a regular reader and appreciate what Dr. Baker has built for us over the past five years, your click on a blue-“f” icon spreads awareness of OurValues. Whatever else I may do as Dr. Baker’s Media Director to spread news about our weekly discussions of values—my efforts pale in comparison with a wave of readers taking charge and clicking to share with friends. One reason? Adults are taking to social media networks, including Facebook, by the millions.


This week, I will report on five reasons you should take your clicks seriously—both benefits and risks in social media. For example, over-use of Facebook by teens can bring on a special kind of negativity, dubbed “Facebook depression” by researchers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teens and preteens who spend too much time on Facebook begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression. Researchers point to the hours of browsing photos and status updates from friends who appear to have their life together.

Moreover, many teenagers feel caught up in Facebook while at the same time expressing a growing dislike for the social media platform, citing things like an increased adult presence (7 out of 10 teens now are friends with their parents on Facebook), over-sharing and the prevalence of social drama. Yet, they continue using the website because of the importance they place on socializing, according to new Pew Internet research.

Is the power of Facebook waning? Hardly! Since Facebook opened to the public in 2006 (after spending two years hopping from one college campus to the next), teenagers have embraced all aspects of the platform and most are sharing more personal information than ever before. Half (53%) of today’s Facebook-using teens post their email address, as compared to 29% in 2006. At this point, almost everyone (91%) has posted a personal photo. Perhaps the biggest difference is how likely a teen is to post a personal cell phone number today (20%), compared to 2006 (2%).

Right now, will you click on one of the blue-“f” icons with this column?

Will you invite friends to read along with this Monday-through-Friday series?

By Friday, you’ll learn a lot more about the power in your fingertip.

Please, leave a comment below …

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  1. Joe Grimm says:

    Facebook depression seems real. I wonder whether it plays a role in cyber bullying, which seems to have brought extreme efficiencies to an old cruelty.

    Dmitri and other Michigan State students wrote about cyber bullying and other modern developments in “The New Bullying.”