We asked our Youth Advisory Board how they are using social media to stay positive and inspired (we know, not words that you often hear associated with social media) in 2021! Who are they following? How are they navigating the challenges that social media often brings with it this new year? Here’s what they had to say…
Who Should We Follow?
YABber Caroline T. recommends watching Gretchen Geraghty on YouTube for a boost of serotonin in 2021: “She uses her social media to brighten peoples’ days with her upbeat and positive attitude. She is always smiling, and shows her followers how to appreciate every day and live/be fully present in every moment in life. She has health with major losses and difficulties in her life, and she is very open about sharing her struggles and how she got over them to help those who may be dealing with something similar.”
Zoe B. follows Taylor Swift because she is not afraid to speak up for causes like human rights and feminism. Priscilla P. adds that Taylor “is an example of how someone can both be Christian and support the LGBTQ community, as well as an active voice against sexual harassment.” We love a strong woman with a platform using it to speak up for causes she believes in!
YAB Lead, Angela R. recommends following Demi Lovato. “Demi Lovato uses her platform authentically and strongly by actively posting BLM materials to continually bring awareness and keep her fans involved in the movement.” Couldn’t agree more! Demi Lovato is the perfect example of a celebrity using her platform to raise awareness and spread information. We love to see it!
At the recommendation of Ella S., we’ll be following Abbie Richards, a masters student who uses her social media to talk about climate change, disinformation, and conspiracies. In this age of easily accessible information, accounts like Abbie’s help us sift through the real, the fake, and the downright false!
Nina K. and Addison O. both recommend Sienna Mae Gomez on TikTok. In addition to the usual dancing and lip syncing content, Sienna spreads body positivity and reminds her followers that imperfections are perfectly normal. Being different is not a bad thing, even if it may sometimes feel like it.
Ria L. suggests we follow Katherine Hawthorn, a teenager who is battling multiple chronic illnesses that affect her day-to-day life. But, according to Ria, Hawthorn has “made it her mission to spread awareness and information about her diseases, as well as represent bodies that look like hers on social media. She is always kind and considerate to others and spreads positivity through her account by posting regular teen content about dying her hair and living through a pandemic while informing her followers how her life has changed because of her illnesses.” Nothing stops this #REALMEDIAGIRL from spreading awareness and positivity!
Rhea A. takes us offline to remind us that the people we surround ourselves with–“follow” if you will–in real life matter just as much (if not more!) than the people we follow online! Rhea is inspired by her cousin who lives authentically on and off of social media. “The biggest reason that I look up to her is because she advocates for her beliefs even if it means being unpopular. While it sounds cliché, taking a stance and fighting for other people no matter how it makes others view you is much harder said than done and is something that I personally can’t say I always do. She takes any negativity or hate that she receives, and she turns it into fire to speak up even more instead of letting it silence her.” We could all use someone like Rhea’s cousin in our corner.
Mila V. loves following Brittani Lancaster on TikTok! “She is so positive and she uses her platform to spread awareness on balance when eating as well as how society is wrong for trying to make impressionable young girls think their body is ‘too fat’ or ‘not perfect’ when in reality at any weight you are perfect just the way you are.” Pack up that media’s-“perfect”-girl messaging and put it in the garbage where it belongs!
Clara T. and Eden S. both give a big thumbs up for environmental activism when recommending people for us to follow! Clara says Isra Hirsi is a great person to follow: “She’s the daughter of congresswoman Ilhan Omar, but she’s also so much more–she’s a founder of the US Climate Strike and a radical activist in her own right.” Eden is all Greta Thunberg all the way! “She helps protect the environment, speaks truth to power, and does good work.” Both of these activists have a follow from us!
How Does Your Favorite Social Media App Bring Positivity Into Your Life? How Can You Limit the Negatives of Social Media in 2021?
Instagram is Princess P.’s social media app of choice. Instagram can “cause you to become self-conscious because there is a body image issue associated with the app and women of color and also it can cause you to feel like you are behind the curve because there are so many successful young people who have achieved their dreams. This year I plan to avoid these feelings by honestly focusing on myself and my own personal journey, and changing my mindset about my goals will allow me to navigate the app even better.”
Hayden B. spends the most time on YouTube. The upsides of YouTube are clear: “It brings positivity into my life because I really enjoy sitting down with a cup of hot cocoa and watching a hilarious day-in-my-life or informative makeup video.” Any downsides from YouTube? Hayden addresses this by saying: “This year I’ve decided that I’m only going to consume content that makes me feel good about myself. I took a break from social media during the holidays, and it really helped to clear my mind and give me a good start to 2021.”
Aanya V. uses TikTok the most, learning a lot of new recipes and expanding her music tastes with the app! Her advice on avoiding negativity? It’s along the same lines as Charlotte H.’s as she refers to her favorite social media, Twitch: “People will be toxic everywhere, and there’s nothing better to do than to ignore it.”
Amaiya A.’s favorite app is TikTok where the videos are short and informative: “I like how quick the videos are and how Informative certain sides of Tiktok can be, like politicalTok, spiritualTok, cleaningTok, NailTok, etc.” If things start to get negative? Amaiya says, “I can plan to avoid this by limiting the time I spend on social media and selectively following people I know and like.”