SOCIAL MEDIA SNAP: Earth Day fun, AP’s Twitter hack & a Boston Bombings update

Social media changes so much in a week that it can be hard to keep up. Check back every Friday for our roundup of stories we think you should know about in our Social Media Snap.

This week, social media proved that it can be light-hearted and playful one moment, then powerful and life-changing the next. From silly Google doodles celebrating Earth Day to false tweets sending the stock market into a downward spiral to heartwarming tales of helping those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing, it’s amazing to see how many different ways social media shows up in our day-to-day lives. Even more amazing is how much social media can influence aspects of our world that would seem to be untouchable. I mean really, at what other time in history did one little prank on the Internet make the U.S. economy go nuts?

This week kicked off with Earth Day on Monday, which led to many thought provoking and insightful questions like, “What if earth had a Facebook Page?” and “What would we write on her (his?) wall?” Luckily, Mashable was there to answer these burning questions and more.

Google got in on the Earth Day fun by creating one of their infamous doodles to reflect the changing of the four seasons. Google has certainly come a long way in their doodle art, don’t you think?

But really, Earth Day should be about more than the fun Google doodles and facebook jokes, right? It’s about taking action to help save our planet. On Tuesday Mintel, a trend tracking company, said that green social media marketing works better on young people because they “have larger social circles and are more prone to take action”.

Also on Tuesday, the Associated Press’s twitter account was hacked. The hackers tweeted that there were two explosions at the White House and that President Obama was injured. But Twitter’s just a harmless social media site, so this couldn’t possibly have had negative repercussions, right?

Wrong. This one false tweet sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting by about 145 points. Luckily, the market recovered once everyone realized the tweet was a prank. This is yet another example of the power that social media can have on something as huge as the stock market.

If you don’t like how influential social media has become in our lives, then you’ll hate this: Forbes posted an article today about how Twitter and Facebook are changing democracy. According to the article, “nations are applying the latest technologies to improve citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.” All I can say is WWGWD (What would George Washington do)?

Many people have been following the story of the Boston Marathon bombings. As a born and bred Masshole (I say that with love) this event really hit close to home, literally and metaphorically. While social media played a huge role in identifying and locating the bombers, it also led to a few missteps and false witch-hunts.

In the aftermath of the bombings many are trying to make sense of the tragedy and pick up their pieces of their lives again. People across the country have taken to various social media sites to raise money for those affected by the bombings. According to the article, “Personal fundraising campaigns set up online for victims of the 15 April Boston bombings have raised more than $2 million as of today, surpassing collections by at least one site after recent national tragedies”.  If that doesn’t warm your heart and make you scream ‘MERICA from the top of your lungs, I don’t know what will.

Happy weekend!