I think social media is a bad influence. You’ll hear influencers tell you how amazing a platform it is and how incredible friendships are formed, and education is accessible to everyone. Although that may be true, I’m concerned about the legitimacy of it all.
In the fitness industry alone I’ve seem so many young girls become authority figures on the subject, by posting images of their body as billboards for their knowledge. Correlation does not equal causation – meaning that if you have a nice body that doesn’t mean you know anything about it. Some people are very educated, but the educated enough know how much of a strain it is on your body’s systems to keep it lean and in “shape” year-round. I put shape in quotations because social media has also skewed our vision of what a healthy body looks like.
Though there are many educated professionals using social media for good, the open-source, many-to-many communication model puts no filter on information. Meaning, we can all be experts are there is no divided line between information. We are all consumers, all creators, and we are all equal (or are we?)
Who has more authority and power now? 1 PhD, or 1 million followers?
I see social media as an entertainment source, like a video game or a TV show. It’s new media, it’s smart media, but it’s just media.
I also see social media as an incredible business opportunity that can be leveraged by anyone, what a great way to support free markets and small businesses, right? But I’m concerned about the education system because of this. Anyone can run a successful business online with a little research, a little time, and maybe a little cash if you have it. But what is this going to do to our education system? Is it going to crumble? Will the University degree become obsolete? Probably not in our lifetime, but it’s an important consideration or the future.
I enjoy social media, I use it myself, and I see the many benefits. However, I also see what it’s done to my motivation, my expectations, and my productivity. Social media is a tool, it’s entertainment, and it’s fun. It doesn’t need to be any more than those things.
This is also not to bash social media, as I think it can be a powerful way to disseminate information. But we should also be aware that social media has disrupted the way we gain knowledge and share information. Is this a good thing? We may just be a few clicks away from finding out.