Flint, MI raises Social Isolation Issue

Our population uses social media as a way to gain attention, spread the word, and inform. It has become a norm to be active on more than one social networking platform. I know personally, I am extremely involved on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat; sometimes I even feel like I am missing out if I do not check these daily (and I’m sure others can agree)! However, something that I have never considered while using social networks is social isolation.

After reading allisonfine.com’s article: Flint as a Networked Problem, I soon came to realize that there are more problems than just the water crisis itself occurring in Flint. While the rich people have better service and access to internet/social networks, they say “jump”, and the government says “how high?” Oppositely, the poor people of Flint are unheard, even on social networks. While these poor people are actively using social media, they reinforce only one media platform and have a voice there, but are not able to bridge to new social media networks. This causes a social isolation because it is essentially, “out of sight, out of mind” for the government not listening to the lower income population. And in the case of Flint, MI the water crisis is more actively being solved for the rich neighborhoods, while the poor are forced to have filthy and polluted water.


So I propose that we, as college students, that continue to use social media and grow our
networks, try and notice the difference in income inequality on social media and brainstorm as to how we can ‘bridge’ this gap?

For more information on the bridging of social media networks related to the Flint Water Crisis, check out this article: http://allisonfine.com/2016/02/15/flint-and-the-tragedy-of-networks/

Alison Kelly is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in Communication Studies with a Certificate in Fundraising and Philanthropy. She is very passionate about nonprofits  and hopes to eventually be on the board of a nonprofit organization in the future.


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