At the beginning of this course, it never occurred to what other platforms were considered “social media” like YouTube, Pinterest, and even Linkedin. I won’t lie, I genuinely thought it was Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, four social media platforms. Therefore the concept of social media is changing and expanding. As much as I am an active participant in social media, I have always looked at it negatively, because of all I have learned through this course. Such as digital culture, know how to use and benefit from social media properly and effectively. Am I using it mindfully? It has broadened my view of social media and I have realized that I have learned so much through it, even the smallest things like finding how to play Among Us through a YouTube video, yes, I needed to watch an instructional video on the game.

Social media supporting a culture of meaningful connections and meaningful learning or a culture of superficial connections and superficial content has been a question that has been risen quite a lot recently in the midst of the information age. On one hand, Social Media platforms are supporting a culture of meaningful connections and meaningful learning. Social Media platforms like Twitter are connecting different people from around the world with a simple post reflecting their personalities, values, causes, and ideologies. For example, the recent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement was largely driven through Twitter with the hashtag “#BLM”. This small, yet meaningful hashtag has connected people from around the world to stand up for a cause they believe in. Without Twitter, the Black Lives Matter movement wouldn’t have reached as many people as it has today. On the other hand, Social Media platforms support a culture of superficial connections and superficial content. Facebook has been in the news recently regarding supporting superficial content, or in layman’s terms “fake news”. A lot of “fake news” content has been supported on Facebook that includes radical ideologies and false information that is then spread fast through the social feed for users to see. This falls within the territories of the First Amendment, the freedom of speech, which to me is the only defense for the spread of superficial content. This is in fact is dangerous for the casual user. For example, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, around 649 Facebook posts were reported for “false cures, anti-vaccination propaganda, and conspiracy theories around 5G ”(BBC) regarding COVID-19. This is dangerous because the spread of this superficial content could persuade people that the virus is something not to be taken seriously when in fact it is a deadly virus. You can go online and find many videos of people who are anti-mask because they believe the virus is a hoax when we know that the virus is in fact real and a mask is a great safety measure to protect yourself from COVID-19.

For me, I think that Social Media supports a culture of meaningful connections and meaningful learning and a culture of superficial connections and superficial content. It really depends on what platform you are using and how you are using it. Generally, I believe Facebook and its algorithm heavily support superficial content and connections. Facebook is more susceptible to superficial information than Twitter is (I think mostly because of the age gap between the two groups). If you use a platform like Twitter, it is less likely that you will run into “fake news” and it is more likely that you could make meaningful connections through its algorithms. If I want to support a cause or voice my opinion, I would lean towards platforms like Twitter and Instagram. There is no right or wrong answer, rather I think it is largely dependent on the situation.

Social media firms fail to act on Covid-19 fake news. (2020, June 03). Retrieved October 25, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52903680