MANY media and political outlets berate social media and liken it to social anarchy.
Over the past few weeks of horrendous storms and difficult conditions I have seen an online social media community pulling together.
Help for people stranded or that have lost power, with offers of food and shelter. Advice on roads that are flooded, to prevent others getting trapped.
The general British stiff upper lip has been present and people are joking with each other to boost morale.
On Christmas Day itself, those who would normally have been alone and spoken to nobody have suddenly got an avenue to speak to others and enjoy some human interaction.
Those with mental health conditions who find this time of year especially hard have been given a lift by the online community around them with words of encouragement and support.
On New Year’s Eve those at home alone with children can be part of a party atmosphere on social community groups. Social media can be dangerous and while it is still in its infancy there will be problems. An etiquette of how to behave is slowly being formed.
People are turning more and more to online community groups for news and opinions rather than the traditional sources. Some companies are embracing this. The Western Gazette is actively involved with community groups. The reporters are building a presence and rapport, being able to report stories and news that previously would not have been known.
Yarlington Housing Group launched a social media online community group in March to bridge the communication gap between residents and the company, winning them a national social media pioneer award 2013.
The local police force is engaging with the public in a way never seen before, listening to issues being raised and acting upon them. People from all walks of life are communicating on the same level.
Social media can be dangerous but, for me, watching the changes over the past few years, I am proud to be a part of it.