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“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.

Works Cited

“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.

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4 Comments
  1. Anvita 3 months ago

    Hey Maia, I agree with your writing as it is true that social media may not necessarily be bad. It helps us be more aware of the issues happening in our society and we can contribute our thoughts and opinions through social media. In fact, this article was written through social media which shows that it can also help educate others and provide beneficial knowledge. Everyone currently uses social media in one form or the other and I think it is important to know the benefits of it as explained in the article. Thank you for your writing!

  2. Thano Prokos 4 months ago

    Maia, I love your points about social media, above all, being an accessible mode of education. If you check out some of your classmates’ posts, you’ll see some really good writing about the drawbacks to social media, mainly mental health-related. I think you hit the nail on the head in highlighting access as social media’s greatest asset.

    How could educators, schools, and students take greater advantage of that access? Blogging is one good way, but I feel as though we’re only scratching the surface. For example, #LearnOnTikTok, sounds like a great way to get concise information to a group of people, thus boiling a concept down to its essentials. Social movements, of course, are another impactful way to plug people into conversations happening across huge swaths of people.

    I’d love to read a follow-up piece to this blog that hypothesized what some of these integrations of social media could look like. What are some individual activities or types of lessons? How could integration of social-media re-vamp an entire course, or even an entire school??? I’d love to see where your brain could with some of these questions.

  3. Kenny 4 months ago

    Dear Maia,
    I am satisfied with your post because social media is really beneficial for a lot of information nowadays.Im glad you are helping people understand that social media is a good thing.
    One thing you said that stands out for me is: “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.” I think this is amazing because it raises awareness if anything happens. Its used as a portable news source.
    Your post reminds me of something that happened to me. One time I checked instagram on December 8, 2019. I saw a lot of photos of one of my favorite rappers “juice wrld” aka Jarad Higgins.When I read more into it I was seeing a lot of “rip” captions.
    Thanks for your post. I look forward to seeing what you write next because it was very informative. It can change the views of people who think social media is bad.

  4. Kaileigh 4 months ago

    Maia,
    Your article on social media and social change was awesome!! I really enjoyed how you referenced TikTok, as that is a newer social media app but is quickly gaining traction in influencing the public. When you stated, “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,” it demonstrates the necessity of using social media for good. Especially in today’s world, where social media is used to hide behind a screen and tear people down, I really think it’s important for more people to read this article. Thanks for writing it, and I can’t wait to read more from you!

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Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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