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Social Media is Power

Beginning this column with “When I was in high school” just didn’t seem like the most attention-getting way of making a point. However, it’s unavoidable, due to the content. So, let me apologize up front. 
When I was in high school, there were cliques that one was categorized into, male and female. For the sake of my gender, we’ll talk about the feminine compartments. Think John Hughes’ film, “The Breakfast Club.” If you remember walking through your high school’s front door on the first day of school and automatically gravitating toward one group of students over another, then you know what I’m talking about.
The jocks who stood on one side, cheerleaders not far from them, A-student nerds who congregated near the water fountains, getting ready to wet their nervous lips before the undertoned points and giggles started, the weird kids who dressed like their parents etcetera.
And then there was my clique: the girls somewhere in between all that. I was the A-student that smoked in the bathroom and loved going to the football games and cheered with the cheerleaders and occasionally wore freaky clothes. It was the 80s, after all.
For my clique, we were the group who just didn’t really fit the niche anywhere. We had attributes of all, but were exactly like none. If we’d had Facebook back then, we would have been a force to be reckoned with.
In a recent article from The Huffington Post, the founder of Craigslist and Craigconnects.org, Craig Newmark, talks about a sector of our youth (the in between-cliques) who really are the grass roots, the regular ones, who don’t usually have a voice anywhere. They’re not overly wealthy, so they’re without major influence, but they have learned one thing: social media can be power. And, according to the article, they now have an organization that shows them this.
Girls Who Code is a nonprofit that teaches under-served girls how to computer program. It’s funded by Google, eBay, GE, and many other companies. No one knows coding as a way of expressing yourself better than the folks at these companies. The girls are creating apps to communicate with each other and their communities.
The theory is: a girl is powerful if other girls perceive her as so. That’s a belief that’s pretty much been proven down through the ages, with any gender. And it’s no different for someone trying to get their point across with Facebook, apps, Twitter, or any number of other social media venues. You make your peace, get a following, then network it. Before you know it you’re that bathroom-hiding-A-making-sports-and-cheer-enthusiast-who-wears-freaky-clothes girl with her own social entourage. And suddenly, you – Ms. Ordinary, have a powerful voice. And if you can code too…well…you might even market it to the world.
Thus “average” creates their own Breakfast Club. 
Angela Rogalski is a print journalism senior who lives in Abbeville. Follow her on Twitter @abbeangel.