My Love-Hate Relationship
with Social Media
Let’s Take a Trip Back in Time
Hmm… I guess I would have to say that my relationship with social media is somewhat complex. I am of the age where I grew up alongside social media, learning about it and engaging with it from its early infancy, until what we see it as today. At first, I jumped on board without even knowing what it was. I had an email address at a young age, and of course, MSN. I wasn’t adventurous enough to dabble in online chat rooms that were open or anything of that nature. I played it quite safely. My peers started to jump head over heels into MySpace and Hi5, so like them, I too eventually ended up on those sites. Can I say I remember them well? Not really. I was really young and also not really into it. I was skeptical of a lot of it, and wasn’t comfortable using it, nor did I have enough computer access to really want to dive into it (that took away from MSN time and playing The Sims, remember?).
From there, I remember YouTube starting up and using it sporadically at first, and then more as it developed. I reluctantly set up a Facebook account after a few years of my friends being obsessed and needing me to have an account. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but I let my friend set me up with an account, and I’ve had it ever since (probably just as facebook illiterate as I have ever been still to this day). Then over a short amount of time, social media seemed to really take off and by then I was an adult with a full-time teaching job.
I used a lot of social media sites that were geared towards kiddos, for the purpose of teaching only. I wasn’t too interested in them personally. I also didn’t jump on board with the Snapchat train, and frankly still don’t really understand the purpose of it. I saw a lot of really ugly things with Snapchat as a teacher and it really put the nail in the coffin for me with that one.
I signed up for Instagram and Pinterest. Although, I think that I signed up for Pinterest long before Instagram, the order doesn’t really matter that much. I have to say, I love Pinterest as a teacher, mom, and really through any facet of my life. I use it often, and I find inspiration at the tip of my fingers when I am feeling the most uninspired. I also like the fact that there isn’t a lot of two-way interactions. I can effortlessly scroll through anything from baking to Cricuting all the way back to home designs and parenting tips. It does take some critical thinking and reflecting to sift through some of the information, but I also don’t have to interact a ton with other people.
I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. When I have oodles of time and need something to do, it’s easy to scroll through and to see what people are doing. I find inspiration at times, laughs at others, and a whole lot of mindless time. I can find it overwhelming sometimes to keep up with people’s posts, stories and messages. I often take Instagram breaks unannounced and need to be filled in by my more social media religious people who can’t miss a beat.
And finally, this year, I signed up for Twitter (somewhat reluctantly) for one of Alec’s courses I took in the Winter 2021 semester. I feel way out of my league on this one, but I find myself mindlessly scrolling and picking up information and interesting contacts both for my personal and professional lives. I don’t really what to Tweet, and I’m not the funniest or have the most unique outlook on things to gain followers. Which, to tell you the truth, maybe I’m okay with. And yes…. I know exactly what you’re thinking… she hasn’t even mentioned TikTok yet. CONFESSION! I don’t have it. Friends have been pressuring me to bite on this, but I can’t do it yet. I often get sent videos and think they’re funny, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m pretty much an old soul, that wants to be trendy and hip with the times, but also knows that balance is important. But if you want someone to follow, we had a presentation from Mikey Harris, and he mixes Metis dancing with hip-hop. It’s a must-see!
Impacts of Social Media
Social impacts my life every day. From finding quick recipes at home and inspiration for the latest renovation, all the way to tips on dropping off my child at a new daycare without tears, and then to classroom ideas or working with difficult kiddos. Although I may be resistant to some forms of social media, I am not oblivious or naive to think that social media doesn’t impact me in both positive and negative ways.
Like I mentioned earlier, in my 10+ years of teaching, I have seen some really ugly things come from social media use. From legitimate bullying, manipulation, sexually inappropriate messages, catfish, all the way to videos encouraging eating disorders, and ways to commit suicide, etc. Many of these experiences still haunt me to this day when I think of certain apps and other social media outlets. The pain that these experiences have on a teacher is extremely taxing.
Even though I have seen some pretty awful things in terms of social media in the classroom, there have been some really amazing things as well. Students creating their own content and videos, as well as podcasts, channels, art, etc. have been a really beautiful thing to witness. I find that a lot of students feel a sense of belonging in the social media world that they may not feel in their classrooms (yes, I know that this can go both ways too). I appreciate the connections that we can make to experts or celebrity-type figures that we can access in our classrooms quickly and easily. I also appreciate being able to give students more outlets, although there is a lot of teaching and monitoring that is involved. Some people may think that this is taking away student freedom, but I would argue that students in Grade 6 are still very new to social media and need guidance. They need to be educated, supported, and provided opportunities to practice and learn about the great things and the not-so-great things that the world (and more specifically, social media) have to offer.
Throughout the post so far, you have noticed that I usually use social media in my personal life as a way to find information and engage with people on a pretty minimal level, to be honest. I have a few pictures posted, many that are way out of date, but I use them to feel connected with others, as well as to continue having the ability to reach out to people if needed. Maybe it’s my inability to “single-task” but I don’t spend a ton of time on social media and often take breaks from them (although, Pinterest seems to be the only one that I don’t).
However, I would be a fool to say that social media has not impacted my life. I am somewhat a product of the infancy and development of social media and was a kid who grew up with it, or through it I guess. I think that some of my hesitancy with social media comes with my inability to wrap my head around some of it and understand its purpose. As I get older and living through COVID restrictions and isolation, now more than ever am I really appreciating being able to call someone or better yet, see them in person. I found that through COVID (and being on maternity leave for the first bit of it), I had more time on social media. But I quickly realized how fake it often was. I mean, each to their own, “you do you” kind of a thing, but I didn’t want to get wrapped up in trying to be those people or do those things to seem like I had my life together perfectly. I didn’t want that. I wanted real. I wanted the pictures of the parents/guardians having one of “those” days that called for a box of wine and unlimited pasta and bags of chips, or the ones that were about inexpensive renovations, instead of all the ones about bigger and better or even more so, the sourdough bread trend.
I do have to say that I did jump on board with a few things. I found myself cooking more and trying more recipes, although they weren’t the ones that were trending on social media. I also followed @goclean, before they were overnight Instagram famous, but started cleaning everything. If you don’t follow them, you truly are missing out. She’s sassy, to the point, and doesn’t BS. It’s legit. If you get offended about your cleaning practices easily, then you probably shouldn’t follow her. But to everyone else, give it a go! You will not be disappointed.
So, after all of this rambling and a pretty poor portfolio of social media, I am a part of, I am starting to question if I really answered the questions well enough. Maybe I’m even realizing how resistant I am embarking on being a better social media-er? We’re completely renovating a house currently, and the amount of times people have told me that I should have made an account on this site or that, or that I would have been TikTok famous is unfathomable to me. Like I said before, I don’t find myself interesting enough to be social media famous, and although there are juicy perks and #gifted items, I’m not sure the limelight is something I would be good at.
In Case You Didn’t Know, I’d love to Hear From Ya…
I appreciate you sticky around the end of my post, and if you read the first paragraph and scrolled to the bottom, I appreciate you too. After reading tons of blog posts and writing comments on them, I often like it when people leave a few prompting questions to answer so I don’t feel like I am saying the same things over and over. So, feel free to answer ONE or all of the questions, or leave a general comment too. You do you! Looking forward to hearing from you!
- What are your go to social media outlets? Past, present or hopefully in the future.
- What are the social media outlets you cannot stand? Why? OR What social media outlets did you have a difficult time adopting?
- How do you use social media in your teaching or work practice?
- If you could give a few tips for someone like me starting out with Twitter, what would they be?