Social media has transformed the way that we communicate, empathize, and act; it’s been a powerful tool for humankind to connect with each other in ways beyond our wildest imagination.
While we’ve seen the ways the social internet has had harmful effects on the world, we’ve seen significantly more good being done by creative people around the globe.
To celebrate how far we’ve come and how folks are using social media to help each other, we’re highlighting five of the people who are using it for compassion and community:
The Power of Plus
Gianluca Russo and Shammara Lawrence were fashion journalists who saw a big problem in the industry: there wasn’t space for plus-sized talent.
To start conversations about what body diversity and body authenticity looked like, they started the Power of Plus, an online community on Instagram for folks who have been traditionally left out of fashion.
“We aim to create a safe space grounded in engaging, forward-thinking conversations around the topics of fashion, body positivity, fat politics, and acceptance,” their Instagram reads.
“As the fight for true, authentic inclusivity advances, it is vital that we create a platform where we may openly broach sensitive and sometimes difficult conversations.”
Thanks to their advocacy, the Power of Plus is now an active community paving the way for a better and more inclusive future.
BTS Army for Crisis Text Line
A text can save a life and ARMY (the K-pop group BTS’ name for their fan community) wants to help their community do just that.
In 2020, BTS ARMY Help Center (a fan-organized group with 66k+ followers on Twitter) collaborated with Crisis Text Line — a text-based hotline where anyone in crisis can reach a trained Crisis Counselor — to destigmatize mental health.
Their collaboration aimed to host honest conversations around mental health on Twitter. BTS ARMY Help Center now regularly shares Crisis Text Lines’ number in their viral tweets about mental health, offering it as a valuable resource to those who need it within their large digital community.
“[ARMY Help Center] began as a platform for the fandom to lean on and has grown into a community of helpers pioneering to bring mental health everywhere,” ARMY Help Center and Crisis Text Line said in a joint statement made available to Teen Vogue.
“As we enter this new decade, we want to continue following BTS’ footsteps by staying true to our fandom and promoting these important values of goodwill.”
We’re Not Really Strangers
Photojournalist Koreen Odiney created the We're Not Really Strangers card game with the intention of empowering meaningful connections.
The viral game is a set of cards with questions like, “How are you, really?” and “What's been your happiest memory this past year?” that are meant to people closer together with vulnerable conversation starters.
Additionally, the WNRS online community is a strong one: Koreen posts card game questions on Instagram and Twitter (collectively an audience of 4.9m people) for followers to answer and engage with each other, offering support to those who need it.
“Social media has become a place where I create meaningful connections, and I think it’s because I’ve been intentional, shared my real emotions, and the things that I care about,” Odiney told Vogue.
She hopes the game will be a “passport” to each other and have players re-examine their assumptions about the people in their lives, as well as themselves, for the better.
Photographer Aundre Larrow has worked with clients like Apple, The North Face, and Adobe, and his photography has been published in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal; but his real mission is to help other creators of color in the industry.
His work aims to show the fundamental value in each person and commonly captures the intersection of art and racial justice.
Larrow uses his Instagram platform as a teaching tool for photographers, generously sharing valuable resources about topics like how to edit diverse skin tones and how to reduce inequity in visual art.
As an experienced artist, Larrow’s knowledge is valuable and with a platform like Instagram, he’s able to share his insights with others. Not only is he making the world of photography more inclusive, but he’s setting an example for other photographs to follow in his footsteps.
We Are Fluide
The future of beauty is inclusive. That’s what We Are Fluide, a mission-driven beauty brand that creates vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free cosmetics designed for all skin shades and gender expressions, is working towards.
On Instagram, they’re providing a platform and amplifying the voices of queer and gender-expansive identities. By showcasing queer beauty, they’re making sure no one’s self-expression is getting left out.
Furthermore, they’re using their online platforms to empower their community.
“What sets Fluide apart from other beauty or conscious brands is that we are made up of a team that's as diverse as the models and values we talk about and represent,” said Catherine McMahon, their social media manager.
“By working with, hiring from, and really listening to the LGBTQIA+ communities (and donating part of our sales and holiday campaigns to various mutual aids/collectives and nonprofits), we actively involve and show up every day for the communities by involving them within our brand and storytelling.”
This article originally appeared in The Small Business Edition of the Goodnewspaper — and was supported by PLANOLY.
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