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The Study Hall

Social Media is the Worst...and Also the Best

By now it’s safe to assume that we all engage in social media to one degree or another. And even if you’ve held out this long (congrats!?), it’s still having an impact on your life whether you want to admit it or not (think election cycles, vaccine information, etc…).

What started out as relatively innocuous tools to help us all stay connected, has now DEVOLVED into a cesspool of misinformation, personal data breaching, ad content for needless commercialism, and a network that allows Big Brother to keep tabs on us.

Or…

What started out as a simple way for individuals to stay connected to family and friends has now EVOLVED into a global network that has shrunk the world and enabled the sharing of free thought, critical information, and a platform for amazing creators to showcase their gifts that help enrich all of humankind.

Or, simply, it’s both.

Whatever your criticisms of social media may be, there is likely a good counter argument to be made in its favor. The one thing we can all likely agree on is its ability to engage us and consume a chunk of our free time -- on average, 2.5 hours a day. 

Knowing the aforementioned stat, I recently did an inventory check on my own social media behaviors in order to maximize the good I get out of it, while minimizing the negatives (note: I’m a notorious passive user--more consumer than poster). In short, I stopped following random “friends” or distant relatives bragging about how great their lives are. Spoiler alert: nobody’s life is as great as Instagram would like us to believe. It was truly a Marie Kondo-esque purge. If it doesn’t bring you joy, eliminate it.

Marie Kondo GIF

Today my collective feeds typically revolve around people and things that actually interest me: business, art, technology, news, sports, music, comedy, etc…And, quite frankly, I’ve noticed an uptick in my mental health because of it.

In other words, our social media experiences are what we make of them!

Last year, against my own better judgement, I joined TikTok. Look, it was the middle of quarantine and I needed something else to kill some time! 

Here’s what I quickly learned about TikTok: it’s AMAZING.

This is in NO WAY an endorsement of TikTok, especially not the viral dance crazes and annoying music clips that get played ad nauseum. But hey, If that’s your thing, then great! 

What I quickly learned is that TikTok’s algorithm continually surfaces new content based on what you choose to engage with. So, the less I engaged with bad viral dance videos, the less they appeared. Now I’m left with a continuous feed based on areas of my interest: cooking videos, home improvement tips, chemistry experiments, car and auto reviews, writing tips and even English language oddities, and many, many more.

Bottom line: I’m learning and engaging with content that I didn’t even realize were interests of mine! I’m getting smarter, and even becoming a better cook because of TikTok. Though my wife may disagree with both of those statements.

More recently I read an article entitled: TikTok is a thriving learning community -- and may be the future of education.

Now look, I don’t believe that TikTok itself is the future of education, nor do I believe that is what the author is trying to say. Learning through TikTok or any other platform is great, but education it is not. However, the premise that we learn best when part of active learning communities and through the sharing of interesting, engaging content is something that I CAN get behind!

At ActiveClass we believe in the good of what social media has to offer -- engaging content that  leads to self motivated, intrinsic learning. But we also believe that A LOT of social media needs to be examined and dissected and put into context inside of a classroom as part of a discussion that’s led by an expert. We call it content with context.

ActiveClass is aiming to make it simple to bring those engaging behaviors and the interesting, relevant content from social media into the classroom in order to increase peer to peer engagement and maximize self-led learning and discovery.

ActiveClass plugs directly into the LMS and creates an easy space for collaboration and the sharing of content from anywhere. 

Check us out at www.activeclass.com 
Or schedule a meeting with us