Over the years I have slowly weaned myself almost entirely off of social media. I deleted my Twitter and Instagram over 3 years ago, and I deleted my Facebook just a few short months ago. I do see the benefits of social media. In this class, we are using social media as a tool to build our personal learning networks and engage with other professionals in the field of education, and that is great. But after this class, I am undecided if I am going to continue using Twitter and I definitely won’t be reinstalling my Facebook and Instagram and jumping onto platforms like Tik Tok.
The major reason why I deleted these programs is the issue of privacy. I think privacy is going to be one of the biggest topics and issues in the coming generations. You might find this surprising, but one of the most valuable commodities today is your online data. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc. are free because the users are the product. Something that many people are unaware of is that Apple recently updated their Appstore terms and conditions to make it so companies are required to disclose what information they collect on you when you download their app to your phone. I encourage everyone to explore this. You can do this by searching Facebook or Twitter, for example, on the Appstore, click the app and then scroll down until you see App Privacy. Click the See Details button and there you can scroll through all the data the app collects. I highly recommend watching “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix if you haven’t seen it. It discusses the issues I lightly touched on in a lot more detail.
The second major reason as to why I deleted most of my social media is the spread of disinformation and hate groups. “Fake news and false rumors reach more people, penetrate deeper into the social network, and spread much faster than accurate stories.” It seems like instead of moving forward as a society, we are moving backwards. Polarization of people is a huge issue right now, and I blame that largely on social media and the spread of disinformation through these platforms. A study by Forbes recently found that “Facebook Allows and Recommends White Supremacist, Anti-Semitic And QAnon Groups with Thousands Of Members.” These types of issues need to be addressed before I consider social media a net gain on society instead of a net negative.
Having said all of this, I do think there are some benefits to social media and EDTC300 is largely highlighting these benefits. Things like #saskedchat are made possible because of social media and that deserves to be recognized. As far as using Twitter and social media in my classroom, I think most of my instruction would revolve around social media literacy and recognizing how to distinguish between real and fake information.