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Summer is a great time for finding new resources to share with students in the classroom. And with that in mind, I want to share a few readings and resources you may find useful to use this fall in your classes, or just may want to stay on top of.
“Where Did Social Media really Matter?” asked whether social media and online expression on social media sites were related to positive political outcomes, namely political self-efficacy and situational political involvement, “More Harm Than Good?” asks whether these media are related to political disaffection. Specifically, we looked at political cynicism, apathy, and skepticism.
While cynicism – lack of confidence or trust in the political system, and apathy – indifference or lack of interest in politics, are both negative, skepticism isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Skepticism falls short of rejecting politics or the process of politics, but it is characterized by a disbelief and thus a need to gather more information about what one learns in the media about political issues, candidates, etc.
So what did we find? Attention to social media was related to cynicism and apathy, and related negatively with skepticism. However, there was a positive relationship between online expression and skepticism.
In short, as our previous research suggests, paying attention to political content on social media may not have played as positive a role for young adults in the 2008 election as some have suggested. The story, of course, is not the same for online expression – so why is that?
We must of course consider all the limitations of the study. And keep in mind that this is 1 study and 1 sample. Please read the study to learn more about these concepts, related research, the sampling design, limitations, and other important considerations.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this paper was presented at AEJMC 2012.
Recently, Karen Freberg (@kfreberg) Tweeted a great article with Infographics from MediaBistro on social media and education. Of course I agree with the article that: “Social media has revolutionised many industries, but it’s perhaps its impact on the classroom, and the education system as a whole, that is the most striking.” There is a lot of interesting data here. A few things that stuck out to me:
59% of students who use social networks talk about education topics online
50% of those who talk about education online talk specifically about schoolwork.
Also, there is a great infographic exploring just some of the benefits of using social media in school for teachers, students, and parents. There is also another infographic showing the uses of a variety of social media tools to enhance the classroom.
Current Events and Social Media
“Twitter user swiftly sabotages Zimmerman juror’s book deal“ on Yahoo news – With the outpouring of emotion and opinion regarding the verdict in the George Zimmerman case, one person turned to Twitter in an attempt to block a juror in the case from getting the book deal. She succeeded. Here again we see the power of social media to rally support for/against an event. I’m not so sure such the effort could have succeeded in the pre-social media age, or at least so quickly (The article claims she succeeded in 6 hours!) The decision by the Martin Literary Agency to seek to publish a book on the controversial trial has certainly left many people shaking their head. The agency was forced to respond to social pressure and did so quickly, releasing a statement. What do you think about how the Martin Literary Agency responded to this situation?
If you’re an old school Internet nerd like me, you’ll appreciate this list of “Things that will make you miss the old days of the Internet” from the masters of the web list, BuzzFeed Rewind. Take a walk down memory lane with classic screen savers, AOL, the comforting sounds of dialup, and much more!
Dr. K Roundup
In personal news, my wife Kelin and I will be getting our very first puppy later this month, a bergamasco! My wife grew up with dogs but this is all new to me! I’ve been reading a lot of Cesar Millan books! I’m considering joining Instagram or another photo-sharing social site to share photos of our new dog experience. My Instagram knowledge is rather limited, so this may be a fun way to get up to date on this burgeoning social network. If you’ve got any thoughts on what the best photo apps are, or have any tips and tools, I’d love your input.
Hope to see you at #AEJMC next week! Have a great weekend.
My Communication & New Media class was talking about the boom and bust of Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and the “cool hunt” – the tendency of young folks to jump from one trend to the next. (Yes, of course MySpace came up. Interestingly, students this semester hadn’t heard of Friendster).
I have asked the same question every semester since 2008-2009, when I began teaching new media as a grad student at Washington State University. “What is the most popular social network?” The answer has always been Facebook.
This semester the answer was clear. Facebook is on the way out.
Is there a shift coming to social media?
A great article posted to CNET last week titled “Why teens are tiring of Facebook” offers an in depth look as to the social networking giant’s troubles. Many of those same troubles were echoed by my students. They can be summed up in this Tweet I posted to a question I got from @richelecole to my original Tweet as to what was in:
@richelecole Both classes stated Instagram and Twitter. Sentiment is that they are busy and want quick and easy. FB is too involved.
Lacks exclusivity – “Everyone” is on Facebook – and yes, that means Mom, Dad, and the grandparents. There could be nothing less cool.
Is too cumbersome – Facebook, the social network that built itself on being sleeker and less chaotic than Myspace, is too complicated for the fast-paced on the go lifestyle. It takes too much time to maintain and participate in. Students said they just didn’t have time for all Facebook demanded of them. Twitter is quick and easy. Instagram is too, and the bonus is – pictures!
It seems my students aren’t the only ones thinking about unfriending Facebook.
As social media professors, are we always part of the cool hunt as well?
In a way. Trying to keep up with changing trends while balancing the many other responsibilities of being a professor may feel sometimes like an unwinnable race. That’s why it is so important that we keep our focus on what truly matters. Teaching students to think.
The tools will change. New trends will emerge. The fundamentals are much less fickle.
I think of them as:
Monitoring: Strategies for identifying, cultivating, monitoring, and analyzing information on the social/real-time web.
Metrics: Strategies for setting goals and what to measure on social media. And measuring them.
Optimization: Strategic use of optimization strategies to maximize potential exposure to communication content online.
Engagement: Strategies for targeting and engaging potential publics online.
When we teach new media, we should always keep in mind that the tool we’re teaching may be gone tomorrow.
It isn’t the tool so much that counts, as understanding the underlying concepts and strategies – the Why. If students learn only two things in my classes they should be: Be Adaptable (apply what you’ve learned to new situations). Be Lifelong Learners. These are platform agnostic skillsets.
Is a shift coming to social media and what does that mean for educators? As an educator, how do you stay current with changing trends in the classroom? What do you emphasize to your students? Do you disagree with my approach? I would love to hear your thoughts and discuss this important topic further. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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image creds: Facebook logo. This version hosted by MarcoPako Flickr page.
A Social Media Education Blog by Matthew J. Kushin, Ph.D.
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