“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” – Herbert Spencer (“Herbert Spencer Quotes”)
It is a universal philosophy of those in the education system to strive for the fulfillment of scholastic potential and personal growth. In the pursuit of knowledge, we must engage in opportunities to learn with this question in mind: “In what ways is the content of what I am learning going to contribute to the good of others?” Education exists in many forms, but the most common way to receive information is through the media. The powerful extent of social media as a form of education and the attention it directs to current societal concerns prompts the advancement of humanity toward social reform.
In light of recent events, the interconnectivity of social media has proven to be a major source of awareness on various topics geared toward social change, like racial injustice and gender equity. Social media, for this generation in particular, is the most prominent outlet of information, with statistics showing that “96% of students that have internet access use at least one social network” (Wade). Students are more likely to actively respond to information when it is presented to them in a way that is easiest for them to identify with.
Personally, the social media platform that has provided me with the most information is TikTok. TikTok is an app where creators create a wide range of content, including comedy, dance, or education, through 15-60 second videos. The hashtag #LearnOnTikTok was adapted by users who have the intent to share ideas that are learned in the classroom and spread awareness of current events.
Because of TikTok, as well as other social media platforms, I have become more aware of the issues happening in our society and am able to contribute my thoughts and opinions in a way that is effective and easy. The Black Lives Matter movement and the hashtag #SayHerName have brought attention to police brutality and racial violence toward black people, demonstrating the powerful influence social media has on its audience. (“Social Media for Social Change: 5 Ways Social Media Can Create Social Change).
Media platforms have become the spark for social justice movements and have elevated them on larger scales. By promoting on social media what we hold to be valuable for reform, we strengthen our unity as a society to push for change on subjects we are most passionate about.
Social media is constantly changing with the times, and it is the most accessible form of education that exists. It increases the extent of visibility of material vital for social change. While social media is effective in providing copious amounts of information, it is what we do with that information that matters most.
Education is social change. Education regarding current social matters is activism. Victims of social injustice share their stories, and from hearing about these experiences, we are educated about concepts beyond ourselves, gaining the ability to understand our privileges and powers and using them to connect with and fight for the good of others who are marginalized and oppressed in society.
“Herbert Spencer Quotes.” brainyquote.com, BrainyQuote, https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/herbert-spencer-quotes. Accessed 9 Dec. 2020.
“Social Media for Social Change: 5 Ways Social Media Can Create Social Change.” nnedv.org, 29 June 2016, https://nnedv.org/latest_update/social-media-social-change/. Accessed 9 Dec. 2020.
Wade, Lori. “How Social Media is Reshaping Today’s Education System.” csic.georgetown.edu, Georgetown University, https://csic.georgetown.edu/magazine/social-media-reshaping-todays-education-system/. Accessed 9 Dec. 2020.