Part of social media’s attraction is its entertainment value and ability to capture and share anything from everyday moments to unforgettable moments. It goes to show that as important as it is for parents to educate teenagers about digital responsibility, it's also important to lay the ground rules and set them free.
Here are five moments on social media by teens that will make your day:
1. Anonymous Instagram Account Builds Up High School Classmates
“It’s about you. You’re next.” These are the words in the description of @thebenevolentone3’s Instagram account where for nearly a year, students in the graduating classes of 2014 through 2017 were cheered on, complimented, and recognized. Anonymously. In his graduation speech, valedictorian Konner Suave revealed he was the person behind these kind words. The story caught the attention of both ABC News and Huffington Post, in which Suave details the purpose behind his genuine actions.“I wanted to focus on the better aspects of people...To shed a positive light on each individual, make them feel appreciated, and to know that someone cares."
...There is one quote in particular from Maya Angelou that reads “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I find this such an inspiring quote because over the past year I saw a change occur in our high school, a positive one, it seemed as though we were more united than we had been in the past. During the summer, I made the decision to go in and try to make everyone here feel appreciated and recognized for simply being the amazing people they are. It is easy for people to be cruel over social media, so I decided to make an anonymous account on Instagram that would counteract the negativity seen today by posting a picture of each student and a paragraph of what makes them GREAT and how other people should see that too. So after 657 posts, over 11 months, and finishing each person in the Class of 2014, Class of 2016, and of course our Class of 2015, I would like to prove Jose Gutierrez right and admit that I am “thebenevolentone3” Benevolence being defined as “characterized or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings.” In the end, I realized that we are ALL the benevolent ones in our way and actions of how we treat others, it has been a wonderful year. I’ll miss East Valley. And although I part without finishing all of the class of 2017, I wish that the next generations take over and find bolder ways to express positivity and encouragement in the East Valley Community. Keep on keeping on.
2. Lip Synching Teen Makes The Big Time on YouTube
All that it took for a teenage boy from the Midwest to make it big was some creativity, mad lip synching skills, and an Internet connection. When Keenan Cahill posted this video to YouTube of him lipsynching to Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, his life changed forever, to the likes of 57 million views - for that video alone. Since then, he’s attracted close to 1 million YouTube subscribers, performed with Katy Perry in a video and teamed up with other stars including 50 Cent, The Oak Ridge Boys, Maroon 5 and many more. Follow him on Twitter via @KeenanCahill to see what he’s up to now.
3. Powerful Instagram Photos Humanize Our Homeless Population
Nic Tullis adds credibility to the term ‘iPhone Photographer,’ and shows us that the camera on our smartphones can be used in powerful ways. His iPhone and interaction with a homeless man while snapping pics on a trip to St. Louis inspired an ongoing series of photos on Instagram in hope to drive social change. As described in this Backchannel article, “Most teens use social media to share ‘selfies or pictures of food they’re eating...But unlike the average teenager’s Instagram feed, Tullis’ features grizzled men in hoodies, moody shots of downtown streets and lots of black and white. It’s urban, thoughtful, intimate.”
4. Teenager’s Tweet Catches the Attention of Late Night Talk Show Host
A tweet with the hashtag #AndrewShadowJimmy landed high school senior Andrew Kochamba of Tennessee the opportunity to shadow Tonight Show Host Jimmy Fallon. On October 6th, he tweeted, “Hey @jimmyfallon, can I shadow you for my Senior Shadow Day? It's October 14th. Let me know.” The tweet was retweeted more than 1,000 times and within a week, @akochamba got a surprise phone call from Fallon and was on his way to shadow him at the Tonight Show. The teen’s social media play didn’t stop there. He posted a video to support his case, and then took to Periscope on the big day so others could follow his time together with his favorite celeb in real-time. He summarized the surreal experience perfectly when he tweeted #BestSeniorShadowDayEver.
5. Teens Put Pens to Paper And Share on Social In Response to the Sharpie Brand’s Uncap What’s Inside Campaign
Over the course of 4 years, Sharpie ran an advertising campaign targeting teenagers and encouraging creativity and self expression. The campaign took off thanks to social media and caught the attention of thousands of teenagers who interacted with the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Teens responded by sharing their “Sharpie Creations” on social media which were then featured in the campaign. The collection is fascinating and inspiring, and worth swiping through. You can check out Sharpie art here on Instagram.