As new media has become more interactive and accessible to all users in a majority of American households, social media has become a strong frontrunner for sharing stories around the nation. With that, people have been able to witness different events and situations in amazing ways, allowing them to empathize and relate to people they haven’t even met before. As David D. Perlmutter writes in his essay, “The Internet: Big Pictures and Interactors” in Image Ethics in the Digital Age, “The integration of interactor into the news icon and all other news images on the Internet will potentially allow us to feel the states of others, including their pain and suffering, as never before: interactive, Internet empathy” (14).
Through digitized storytelling and the sharing of personal lives through the many social medium we have today—Facebook, twitter, instagram, YouTube—individuals from all over the nation are able to weed through the junk and connect through their similar interests and ideas, perhaps creating and forging that special “bond” or “spark” when they realize someone else in this world is experiencing something very—maybe scarily—similar to him/herself.
The ability to have people listen and respond to you as an individual has almost become that much easier for some people, as long as they are reaching out to the right people and audiences. I find that through sharing personal experiences—especially through photographic medium—has allowed others to respond and get to know oneself better. That, in itself, sparks the empathy one has with another through the Internet. Through sharing moments of one’s life with another through images and photographs posted over the Internet, it almost transports a viewer into the world of that photograph from the individual, sharing a part of that experience with them. As when moving away for college, photographs have been a key “telescope” into having my friends and family—whom I may not see as much anymore—have an idea of the experiences and moments I have been living. It, perhaps, when paired with words and journalistic writing, allows them to potentially “feel the state” of mine, including my “pain and suffering” and other feelings, like never before. It brings them that much closer to me.