Our perception of social media usually includes celebrities and selfies; however, there are many people out there using social media for pro-social purposes. Big causes — like the ALS ice bucket challenge of 2014 — gain major media attention, but we shouldn't forget about the countless people who work each day to make the internet a brighter place to spend time. These bloggers, writers, musicians and social media gurus do us all a major service by informing, educating and inspiring us daily.
Here are 10 social media power players who create a family-friendly internet atmosphere, and here are the lessons they teach us about how we can use the internet to do good.
1. Glennon Melton (momastery.com)
Her mission: As a recovering addict and mother, Glennon uses her blog, Momastery, to encourage families from every walk of life. Her honest writing style and willingness to tackle the big issues facing families make her accessible to her readers.
Lesson: When you own your past while striving to improve your future, you become an inspiration to those around you.
2. Ree Drummond (thepioneerwoman.com)
Her mission: The reigning queen of blogging, Ree heads up a social media empire including a TV show on Food Network and multiple book deals. Fans love Ree for her traditional values and her committment to safeguarding her family.
Lesson: Strong morals will still carry you far in this world.
3. Lindsey Sterling
Her mission: Violinist, Lindsey Sterling, combines modern dance with violin to create music videos that defy categorization — which is probably why they often go viral. Lindsey helps make YouTube a family friendly place to spend time online.
Lesson: Dare to be different. People love it when you have something unique to offer.
Their mission: This collective features stories about children with special needs and their families. They prove that it's not what you have that matters but what you do with what you have.
Lesson: You can find inspiration in even the most trying of circumstances.
5. The Piano Guys
Their mission: This classically trained musical trio uses original music and popular covers to introduce classical music to a whole new generation of listeners.
Lesson: Real talent never goes out of style. If you have incredible skills, you will garner an incredible following.
6. Dave Ramsey
His mission: After serious financial setbacks, money man, Dave Ramsey, now teaches families how to free themselves from debt, save for the future and give back in a big way.
Lesson: By overcoming personal obstacles, you set yourself up to lead others to a better place.
7. Kind Campaign
Their mission: Partners Lauren and Molly are on a mission to end unkindness among girls. In addition to their extensive social media network, they also present assemblies at schools nationwide.
Lesson: The old saying is true — kindness really does "begin with me."
8. Kid President
His mission: This super funny guy is all about bringing adults and kids together to create big change in the world.
Lesson: Adults can learn a lot by listening to and working with the kids around them.
9. Tammy Strait (graceuncommon.com)
Her mission: Christian blogger, Tammy Strait, has an important message for women of all faiths and from all walks of life — let's empower, strengthen and encourage each other as we seek to "live our best life."
Lesson: People from all religions and backgrounds can come together to make a big impact.
10. Power of Moms
Their mission: This collective bills itself as a gathering place for mothers, but the essays, podcasts, articles and community are a treasure trove for all parents.
Lesson: You can support family values and great parenting practices from your computer, without ever leaving home.
The greatest lesson from all these social media influences is that we all have the power to affect change in the world. All you need is passion and the courage to speak up.
Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan, mom to three crazy boys, and wife to one amazing husband. She writes about passionate parenthood at moderatelycrunchy.com.