When I was diving into social entrepreneurship 8 years ago, the environment around me was incredibly inspirational. President Obama was running his first Presidential campaign at the time, and his messaging, infused with hope and transformative change for the future was a catalyst for us social entrepreneurs. Our potential President embodied the characteristics of a social entrepreneur too -- a desire for social change married with integrity and leadership. This environment not only confirmed the work I was pursuing, but led me to believe that my investment in being a social entrepreneur was valuable. 

Today, young people are experiencing social entrepreneurship in a different environment. Something as simple as opening your Facebook is radically different today from how it was 5 years ago. It's no longer just a check-in with your friends, it's also a check-in with domestic and world affairs. 

With increased access to world affairs through platforms such as Facebook, it is inevitable that their algorithm will prioritize mostly sensationalized news that's violent and heartbreaking. The world through the lens of social media is overwhelmingly scary, sad, and hopeless. It's difficult to decipher if the violent, desolate rhetoric of our world's affairs will turn young people away from social entrepreneurship, or if it will pull them closer. Is this generation currently not in the right type of soil to grow social entrepreneurs? Or will it make the urgent case for social entrepreneurship? 

I hope that my worries are unfounded and that this generation of social entrepreneurs are utilizing their increased access to world affairs and social connectivity to their advantage. 

Today, young social entrepreneurs have access to information that took me months to acquire back when I was trying to build my startup. The world is literally under their fingertips now and they have immediate access to video, written word, and other content to help them empathize and learn extensively about the rest of the world. They’re able to watch videos of first-hand accounts, and share posts with each other on what’s happening in the Syrian refugee crisis, or epidemics such as Ebola. Currently, social media platforms can help foster empathy and comprehension of the plight of others through personalized and encompassing mediums of storytelling. 

If you’re ever curious for example, about how many broken water projects there actually are in Kenya, you can go on Twitter and ask someone. If you ever want to see what being a refugee is truly like for someone, you can watch someone livestream their day. 

Millennials today are uniquely qualified to change the world because they grew up connected to people in far corners of the world.

They’ve seen other people's struggles, and have access to their voices and first-hand experiences through this highly connected world. They have been unknowingly gaining a daily education in international affairs through their Facebook feeds. Millennials are gaining a Masters degree in repairing our world right now, and they don’t even know it. I hope that this hyperconnected new reality for millennials leads to a collective enthusiasm for social entrepreneurship, and inspires individuals who want to work for and support social entrepreneurs. Our world is in dire need of it. 

Sophia Sunwoo