Tag Archives: instagram

How Social Media Can Promote Democracy

How Social Media Can Promote Democracy


As of 2022, there are almost 35 million social media users in Canada. 

In 2018, there were less than 25 million (Dixon, 2022). 

A difference of around 10 million or 40% in just five years.

When beginning to research social media and democracy, I was under the impression that most believed social media is poor for democracy. I did find many recent articles that make the argument “social media is negatively impacting or threatening democracy.” Here are a few articles that make that argument:

However, what I was surprised to find was that a lot of articles did not make that argument. Most determined that social media is not good or bad for democracy, but more of a neutral force with pros and cons. Here are a few articles that come to that conclusion:

While exploring the goodness of social media for democracy is a worthy endeavour, it is one that has been pursued many times and resulted in the articles above. The reality is that social media is going nowhere, the fact that 10 million more users have joined social media in Canada since 2018 proves that. So, even if we were to research the impact of social media on democracy and come to the conclusion that it is bad, we would gain nothing. Rather than explore whether social media is good or bad, here I will explore how social media can actually be used to sustain and promote a healthy democracy. 

Defining a Model


Democracy means “rule by the people” (Froomkin, 2022).  This means that power is distributed among the masses so that decisions are made in a manner through which the people approve. Throughout history, it has been fundamental to converging toward a just and equitable society

Social Media

“The term social media refers to a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through virtual networks and communities.” (Dollarhide, 2022). This definition includes platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but it also includes non-centralized media too such as news sites and personal blogs (like this one). 

The Interaction of Social Media and Democracy

Democracy is heavily reliant on the flow of information, as information is what allows people to form views and base their actions in a logical manner. Social media is a technology that accelerates the transportation of information. Resultantly, one might immediately think that social media may allow for democracy to thrive.

Issues With The Model

Centralization – Social Media Platform Incentives Are At Odds With Society (Business)

Today there is an incredible wealth of information available online, and unfortunately, we all only have so much attention to give. Centralized social media platforms such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Snapchat, all have business models that rely on our attention. Their primary way of earning money is by selling our attention to advertisers by giving them the ability to use the platforms as advertisement media (Mintzer, 2020). An unfortunate truth is that as a result of this, is that the platforms end up promoting content that is likely to send us into outrage because outrage creates engagement and keeps us on social media (Hathaway, 2021). 

Echo Chambers (Individuals)

In his article The problem of living inside echo chambers, Thi Nguyen defines echo chambers as spaces where insiders come to distrust individuals on the outside. The result of this is that insiders start to believe everything those around them say, and begin to refuse to believe anything else outside of their bubble. People are exposed to ideas outside of their echo chamber, but unfortunately, others within their echo chamber do not trust these ideas, and as a result, they follow and refuse to trust those on the outside (Thi Nguyen, 2019). 

Fake News and Censorship (Politics)

A couple of issues that have been at the forefront of social media in the past few years are fake news and censorship. In recent times and especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, centralized social media platforms have become increasingly concerned with what people can and can not say on the internet and this has resulted in frustration across partisan lines. The left argues that not enough disinformation is being stopped and the right argues that facts are being censored from the public. Unfortunately, it really does appear that social media companies are making up rules regarding content moderation on the fly and this is heavily concerning for the future of free speech and spread of fake news (Oremus, 2022).

What To Do

What You Should Do

The unfortunate truth is that platform-based social media problems are unlikely to dissolve themselves quickly. According to the Pew Research Center, “experts are evenly split on whether the coming decade will see a reduction in false and misleading narrative online” (Anderson & Raine, 2022). The good news is that we as individuals have the ability to make choices for ourselves.

What we must do as individuals is be conscious of these issues on social media. When browsing information online, ensure that you are approaching it neutrally and look at multiple sides to the same issue so you can form your own opinion on the matter. Approach all information with the understanding that it might be false, even if it aligns with your own views.

What Government Should Do

Through policy, governments have the power to apply pressure on social media companies to make changes to their platforms. 

This is a difficult path for governments to go down, however, as political parties making decisions regarding what information can be shared is something that people should be skeptical of.

However, this is a bipartisan issue and government can target business models instead of content moderation. Perhaps there is some hope that government can intervene and force social media companies to change their business models (Zubrow, 2022).  

What Social Media Companies Should Do

Social media companies can explore alternative business models that align their interests with those of society. Sara Brown at MIT recommends social media companies explore ideas such as subscription models, identity verification, pay for content models, and giving users control over data (Brown, 2021). 

Social media companies should realize their obligation to society goes beyond making profits because their actions have incredibly broad implications for society. 

How This Makes Social Media More Democratic

Making social media more democratic requires collective action. Individuals need to become more aware of social medias flaws, government needs to implement policy, and social media companies need to adapt. If this occurs, social media will be a more democratic space, as it will become one in which healthy discourse is encouraged; as opposed to the current environment in which there is discourse, except neither side really listens to the other.


Anderson, J. & Raine, L. (2022). The future of truth and misinformation online. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2017/10/19/the-future-of-truth-and-misinformation-online/ 

Brown, S. (2021). The case for new social media business models. 

Dixon, S. (2022). Number of social network users in Canada from 2018 to 2027. Statista. https://www-statista-com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/statistics/260710/number-of-social-network-users-in-canada/ 

Dollarhide, M. (2021). Social Media: Definition, Effects, and List of Top Apps. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/social-media.asp 

Hathaway, B. (2021). ‘Likes’ and ‘shares’ teach people to express more outrage online. YaleNews. https://news.yale.edu/2021/08/13/likes-and-shares-teach-people-express-more-outrage-online 

Froomkin, D. (2022). Democracy. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/democracy/Democratic-institutions

Mintzer, A. (2020). Paying attention: the attention economy. Berkeley Economic Review. https://econreview.berkeley.edu/paying-attention-the-attention-economy/ 

Oremus, W. (2022). How social media ‘censorship’ became a front line in the culture war. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/10/09/social-media-content-moderation/ 

Thi Nguyen, C. (2019). The problem of living inside echo chambers. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/the-problem-of-living-inside-echo-chambers-110486 

Zubrow, K. (2022). Social media ethicist says regulation goes beyond moderating content. CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/social-media-ethicist-tristan-harris-government-regulation-60-minutes-overtime-2022-11-06/

My Top 3 Influencers For Style Inspo

Do you ever wake up feeling some type of way, wanting to look good but have no clue where to start?

Well, if that’s ever the case, I’ve got you covered! These are my top 3 influencers to turn to whenever I’m feeling fashionably uninspired.

#1. Kicki Yang Zhang



This Berlin-based Chinese girl is changing the game of fashion and style. She is fearless, fun, colourful, and doesn’t take herself too seriously. On top of that, her Instagram feed is so on point. Everything is so visually pleasing, and colour coordinated. So if you ever feel like you don’t have enough colour or art in your life, just check out Kicki’s Insta!






#2. Yourgirlneens

Yourgirlneens’ full name is Nina Huynh. She was raised in San Francisco, and now li
ves in Vancouver, BC. The first unforgettable thing about her is her beautiful pink hair. On top of that, her style is ON POINT! Puffy jacket, bucket hat, thrift items, she could pull of anything! Nina’s instagram includes mostly her styles and things that she is working on. But if you want to really get to know Nina, you got to check out her youtube channel. It has lots of different content, from lookbooks, to Q&As, to Vl
ogs, to challenges, and more! Her video editing skills is amazing, and so is her boyfriend!


#3. Song of Style


Aimee Song is one of the most elegant ladies out there. She is classy, flawless, and living her best life. Whether you are going on a date, or attending a gala, or even packing for Europe, whatever it is that you are planing on doing for the day, you could find some inspirations from scrolling through her Insta feed. Aimee was actually one of the first fashion influencers that I’ve ever followed. I remember how proud I was about her Asian heritage, and how I felt i finally had someone more relatable to myself to be inspired from. She also has a fashion lifestyle blog if you are looking for more of her and her style!




Who are your favourite fashion influencers? Comment below and share with me!!

The post My Top 3 Influencers For Style Inspo appeared first on Heyy, Jessie.