Ways of thinking…: 3.4 Social media

Ways of thinking...: 3.4 Social media
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1. What social media accounts do you have before you start?

The rise of social media as an agent of socialization

For decades, television has been the dominant socializing force. Lots of research shows how dominant TV is, especially advertising, and you can see more in this older post of mine here. But over the past 10 years, online social media has increasingly played an incredible role in influencing people. As another factor in socialization, we will examine social media and its role in socializing people.

Social media undoubtedly has both positive and negative effects on society. Whether you want to focus on any one of them, it is clear that social media has had a transformative effect on American society and is a powerful agent of socialization.

Positive effect

Racial coping can be understood through three main approaches: racial and ethnic identity development, social support and confrontation, and anger expression (Brondolo et al., 2009). We argue that social media enables these techniques to be applied in the online sphere as a way to deal with forms of discrimination both online and offline. Thus, social media can be a site of racial identity expression, a place where black Americans and other communities come together to complain, seek support, and condemn those who oppress them. This leads to our research question: do those who experience higher levels of discrimination use more social media?

We argue that social media can be an additional outlet for coping with the negative effects of racial discrimination, as social media enable all of the aforementioned forms of coping, racial and ethnic identity development, social support, confrontation, and anger expression.

2. Not all aspects of social media are inappropriate. In what ways has social media played a role in shaping you in a positive way? Are there any online communities that support your sense of self?

Anti-social media

Use of social networks

Open this link and think about what works for you.

3. Which of the conclusions from the links above apply to you?

Social media is used for “news”
in 2021 PEW study showing social media use and news.

More Americans get their news from social media than from print newspapers. in 2018 one in five adults said they often get updates on social media. And Facebook continues to dominate as the most common social media site Americans use for news: About four in ten Americans (43%) get their news from this site.

4. Which of the platforms in the chart above is right for you often get news from

The growing trend of getting news online is particularly worrying because in 2020 the research conducted showed that:

Americans who get their news mostly from social media are less engaged, less knowledgeable

Those who rely on social media for news are less likely to understand the facts about the coronavirus and politics, and more likely to hear unverified claims.

Social media users were the second most likely group to have little political knowledge.

Social media users were more likely to hear

conspiracy theories about the pandemic.

Social media and you

Have you ever wondered what social media knows about you? Think about the last time you bought something in a store. If the seller were a stranger, would you tell them everything your social media knows about you? Look at this post from Tech News and the diagram they included from clario (below):

Social media bingo

How does this happen?

A social dilemma

in 2020 the documentary The Social Dilemma (available on Netflix) details the impact of social media.
(TEACHERS NOTE: There is a free and easy-to-use accessibility solution is now available to educators who register your event on our website. Since you may have already registered the event(s) in the last few months, we are linking directly to Teacher’s Resources document that provides details on how to access the movie. When you plan to show the film again, please re-register the event to receive permission and an updated screening link password, which changes frequently.)

  • The documentary was created by dozens of tech executives who expressed concern about the influence of social media.

  • The documentary is interwoven with a docu-drama that shows how social media is in the background shaping one family’s life.

The film opens with the question, “What’s the problem?”

Jaron Lanier explains that

It’s not just that “we’re a product and our focus is a product to sell to advertisers. That’s a little too simple. A product is a gradual, subtle, imperceptible change in your behavior and perception. And this is the product. This is the only available product…”

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