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Debate #4: Do teachers need to use social media to promote social justice?

When the pre-debate poll was first presented, without fully thinking this issue through, I was on the agree side.  However, after processing this information, I realized how I do not use my social media to promote social justice.  I hardly use social media at all.  I teach digital literacy and social justice, but I do not believe using social media is something that is required of me for this issue.  The only social media I have is Twitter, and I have one account for this class, and I have a personal account that is protected and private so only my approved followers can see.  Do I have anything to hide?  Absolutely not.  I follow news outlets, sports teams, and I never Tweet, besides on the one I have for university classes.  Some may wonder why I never tweet.  Well, the answer is simple.  I do not feel like what I have to say is important enough for anyone in the world to care about.  Yes, my students, caregivers, and coworkers’ value my opinions.  However, I do not feel like I need to broadcast that for the world to see just to get a point across.  I would guess all my students have social media, with the exception of one or two.  However, there is not one of them who have a Twitter account, and I was told, “only old people like you have Twitter” by pretty much all of them.  Their social media accounts are on different platforms, so if I felt the need to post something on social media, my students, guardians would not see it, therefore I would be Tweeting to no one who values my opinion. 

I am thankful for those who do share their views and insights on social media, whether I agree with what they stand for or not.  It helps me form my own opinions on how I feel about a particular topic.  Posting one’s opinions is a slippery slope, and it has gotten many educators in trouble in the past and will continue in the future.  I am sure there were educators who had anti-mask beliefs during the pandemic and did not agree with the school wide mask mandate.  I do not know any teacher personally who posted anything negative about this, but I am sure someone, somewhere posted something about it.  With it being such a controversial topic, I am sure that would have upset and angered many caregivers who are being educated by that person. 

I believe educators can promote social justice without the use of social media.  Some may agree, some may disagree, but ultimately, I do not believe it is our job to share every tidbit of our beliefs on social media to spark change.  So, the answer for me is simple: No, teachers do not need to use social media to promote social justice.


5 responses to “Debate #4: Do teachers need to use social media to promote social justice?”

  1. Reid, I agree with you in terms of the uses of social media to spark change. I feel that those who choose to use it to spark change seem to jump from movement to movement (being involved is great) but they hardly provide any meaningful actions with on boots on the ground actions. Just like you, I hardly post on social media unless it revolves around coaching football, sports or funny videos. I just don’t feel it is an avenue I am comfortable with expressing my views.


  2. I agree with your last statement. I think that educators have an obligation to teach social justice in their classrooms, but I don’t think that it should be a requirement to do so on social media. I rarely use my own social media for personal reasons, thus using it to promote activism wouldn’t be an authentic form of change in my opinion. I also think that there are different levels of activism, and everyone is at a different point of engagement or a readiness to dive right in or not. Forcing activism isn’t authentic, thus not sustainable. Great reflecting in your last paragraph!


  3. kaylahenderson Avatar

    We live in such a polarized society; it seems like, nowadays, people will argue with you even if you say that the sky is blue! I use Twitter every day, but I rarely post on it. That’s because I do not feel like engaging in a fight on social media. Social media is both a blessing and a curse; it’s a great way to advocate and spread/learn information. However, it is also a breeding ground for trolls who are emboldened by the public audience that the platform allows. With it being the onset of June (Pride Month), I’ve been happy to see that many companies have changed their logos to rainbow colours and have posted it on social media. Yet, I’ve also been absolutely disgusted by the hate spewed in the comments section. It really is quite demoralizing. I have to remind myself that it is the people with the strongest (and most bigoted) opinions who are the ones to comment, yet sometimes I wonder if it would be better for these companies to turn their comment section OFF so that these trolls are not given a public platform.


  4. Gunpreesh Kaur Avatar
    Gunpreesh Kaur

    I appreciate your thoughts, Reid. Bringing social justice and teaching about it through social media is not everyone’s choice and supporting or showing interest in social issues by just clicking the like or share button should not be educators’ duty or responsibility.


  5. Well, I believe that social media is an excellent resource for staying up to date on current events. Staying informed via social media could be a useful strategy. I would be exceedingly cautious about encouraging students to participate in internet debate or action.

    It’s debatable too whether encouraging children to speak up about their opinions, modelling proper behavior, and approaching the inevitable internet troll as an educational moment is a good idea.


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