Describing My Relationship with Social Media in One Word

I was trying to think about one word that describes my relationship with social media. The first word that popped into my mind was tiresome as I thought about the (MANY) times I’ve gotten lost in the endless scroll that is social media. I really enjoy the screen time stats that came with an iPhone update about a year ago. This allowed me to manage my time better and also made me realize how much of my day was being dedicated to social media. The interupptions created by social media in our daily lives are significant as shown in this tweet below by Plainsview School:

The screen time issue is just one of the many negatives associated with social media. My classmate, Kyla, discusses others in her blog post this week. Further, the internet is FULL of articles that describe the negative impact of social media on society. I have had many opportunities in Alec’s classes to explore these impacts. In EC&I 830, in debate-style, two teams argued that social media was ruining childhood. If you are interested, you can find Team Agree here and Team Disagree (my team!) Team Disagree. Our main points are outlined below: Capture

However, social media isn’t really an issue of polarities. It certainly has negative impacts but is also has so many positive impacts. Unfortunately, the positives are a little trickier to find — but they are out there! The article, A Generation Zer’s Take on the Social Media Age, is one of my favourite examples of how social media is playing a positive role in society. I am also thankful for my classmates, like Dean, who are sharing their positive relationship with social media. 

So, I started out describing my relationship with social media as tiresome. But I couldn’t just stop there, with one word. My next thought was that social media has also been extremely educational for me in so many ways. In many aspects of my life, I have been able to connect with experts in the personal and professional fields of interest through various social media platforms. As a result, I can ask questions of these experts who I may not have access to in my city and receive immediate (or close to) responses.

On a personal level, I find social media to be fun, engaging and enjoyable for the most part. I love to connect with family and friends and see posts about what they are up to. My preferred social media platform is Instagram. I have connected with teachers who have inspired ideas about classroom set/up, lesson plans, classroom management, student engagement (and the list goes on…). I have connected with photographers who have inspired my creative side and when I see something interesting can ask them “hey what camera settings did you use to create this photo?” Mostly recently, in the past year and a half with the pregnancy and birth of my daughter, I have been able to connect with nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, doulas, nutritionists, occupational therapists and many other professionals in this field to learn about the experience I was having. I didn’t have to make an appointment or pay for a service, I could just watch their Instagram stories and ask questions to quickly get the answers I needed. Further, these “influencers” were providing information in a relatively under-researched area: women’s health. They had answers to questions that I couldn’t necessarily find via a Google search or a Google search may yield misinformation.

The next word that describes my relationship with social media is scary. This is where the issue of “the post-privacy era” comes in. Personally, I try to be very careful with privacy settings on all of my social media accounts, especially Instagram which is where I share personal stories, images and videos. While I want my family and friends to be able to see pictures of what we are up to, I am very conscious and what and how I post due to the possible theft of images, use of images for branding and other negative purposes. My classmate Catherine and I were chatting on Twitter about rules we following for posting online (especially now that we are both parents). If we want to teach our students and children about following appropriate rules for posting and conducting ourselves online, adults should be held to the same standard. 

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Professionally, I continue to be intimidated about using social media in the classroom. The do’s and don’ts for teachers are still too ambiguous (IMO) and the consequences too significant. While I see other teachers using social media in positive ways, protecting student privacy online is a big deal and still daunting enough that I have not ventured in that direction yet.

So, I couldn’t sum up my relationship with social media in one word (too tough!) but I was able to find a few. My final word to describe this relationship is balance. I was walking through Chapters the other day and saw the book 24/6 – The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week where author Tiffany Shlain discusses the benefits of turning off screens for one day each week. I chuckled at first but on second thought decided that a lot of people could probably gain some insight from reading this screen-time self-help book (put your hand up if you need a copy!) Each year my family heads out on a 9 day trip to Northern Saskatchewan where there is no cell service which means before we hop onto the float plane we toss our powered-down phones into our Rubbermaid bins (suitcases are not suitable for this trip). Once the phones are off, it is almost as if a weight is lifted off everyone’s shoulders as we get to completely disconnect from the world.

In this post I have listed some of the ways that social media has had a positive impact on my life and some ways in which social media can be a really negative force to reckon with. Additionally, I have discussed how sometimes it just feels amazing to completely remove yourself from the world of social media. Therefore, my relationship with social media isn’t one word, it’s a really complex relationship in which there are many possible outcomes (most of which/at least for now) are completely under my control.

 

 

 

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