When I think of social media, I mostly think of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, though after Tuesday’s class, I have come to learn that there are many more platforms, and that social media encompasses more than just certain brands. I myself am not a big social media user but I do know there are many positive effects of it. As my fellow EC&I831 classmate, Joe, suggests, it is important that I take the time to start looking at the all of the good social media can do. I really liked his take on the charity aspects and wider good social media sharing can do.
The first thing that comes to mind as a positive attribute of social media is the ease of connections. Within seconds you can be updated on someone’s life, even if they live across the world. I remember as a kid sending letters to people all over and while I still think there is a place for letter writing, having the ability to communicate with immediacy can allow for closer relationships.
Another positive attribute about social media is the ability to form connections with people we don’t even know, this could entail a myriad of definitions but I am mainly thinking of professional type relationships, such as the ones in this class. It is neat to be able to “meet” people we never normally would have encountered through the internet. Already, I have noticed the beneficial aspects of this through a platform such as twitter. In using our hashtag, I have read several articles, that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. Now, that’s not necessarily changing the world but its changing the perspective of at least one person and that’s better than nothing! Since I have never used twitter, it’s kind of amazing to me, the power of having our ideas accessible to millions of users quickly and without much publicity effort. Of course, I knew all of this before, I have just never experienced it.
Social media platforms also allow everyone to be able to form connections with public personalities. One that I am thinking of is Pope Francis. When has the world ever been offered such an immediate and close glimpse into His Holiness’ thoughts and teachings? NEVER. I myself have used His tweets with my students and the general student body in my school. Being able to have his point of view accessible to us daily sends out a stronger message for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It allows us to hear words of wisdom without having to wait for public appearances and long news articles.
Looking at this from much simpler terms, which I think we need to do at times, social media can sometimes just be a place for us to see and learn about positivity: news clippings that make us smile, a cute picture, funny meme, inspirational photo or whatever it may be. And yes, I know people will say Marley there’s so much garbage and dumb things and negativity. Of course, there are, but I also find sometimes a person just has to suspend reality and choose to look at the positive. I might not follow the most intellectual things on Instagram or read the worldliest news stories but sometimes the things I choose to engage in uplift my mood, give me motivation for that extra-long run or are just genuinely good and nice to share with my students.
This brings me to my last point about the great things in social media: my students. While the only social media I consistently do is Seesaw (which I love), it has been nice to be able to share things with them through whatever platform I come across. In the past students and I have watched Olympic clips, we have learned about wildlife, different types of classrooms around the world and since starting this class, I have come across a tweet of a baby elephant learning to walk, which my kids will love. Granted, not all of this has been done through social media but it has offered us some opportunities to experience a world outside of our classroom.