I’m finding social media to be the newest version of the Great Divide. Some people are all over it, couldn’t live without it, live their whole lives on it, while others don’t want to even consider a facebook page. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with age or gender, either. I’ve seen young adults who embrace social media, while others remain skeptical.
Since it’s such a big part of life in 2014, I thought I’d share how I use it. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts, strategies, or opinions. We can all learn from each other!
First, www.facebook.com: This mostly functions as my personal account. I have family on there, friends from high school (long ago!) and people from the town I teach in. This is how I keep up with what’s happening in my family/friends’ lives. I don’t tend to see a lot of drama on here (I understand others do), and when I do run across a post I disagree with or one I don’t feel like getting involved with, I keep scrolling. I tend to do the same IRL (in real life for those not on social media), so it makes sense to me. I also find, since the small town I live in and the small town I work in tend not to make the news much, when something is happening, facebook is where I get the deets (details). When there was a fire downtown a few years ago, facebook kept me updated.
Our district also has a facebook page which has been invaluable. This single website allows us to put out positive press (again, the local media ignores our town and school district), as well as post bits of information people might need. I wouldn’t want to go back to the pre-facebo0k days, it’s just so much easier to communicate now. We’ve even had people report incidents to us through the district facebook page which have allowed us to avoid bigger discipline problems. Parents can also post questions like what time is an event happening, allowing us to respond quickly and easily.
Second, www.twitter.com: I find this to be even harder for people to accept than facebook. For me, twitter works as my professional account. This is where I have been able to connect with teachers from all over the world. It’s allowed me to find mystery skype partners, get answers to questions my students have and learn about new and exciting ideas in education. Simply by following people on twitter, I am able to stay up on the latest trends in my field. I don’t check twitter obsessively, but I try to scroll through tweets a few times a day. I don’t see every tweet in my feed, but I have found anything worth seeing is tweeted, then retweeted multiple times, which means I will see it eventually. Because the tweets are so short, it’s easy for me to skim over what’s going on and move along.
I also have found a number of good blogs to follow from twitter. I’m able to find these blogs, thanks to my tweeps. I’ve also found a number of articles which were worth reading. Whether I’m reading the article to stay current on world events or it’s more focused on education, I find this is a great way to keep up with information. I may be an old teacher, but I’m often more current on trends than the younger teachers.
Third, www.pinterest.com: This one gives me a little of everything. I have boards on pinterest that I keep pictures of home decor I like. I also have several boards to keep track of sites to use in my classroom. Since I used to tear pages out of magazines (and then have trouble finding the right one when I need it), this seemed like an easy fit for me. I pin with abandon. Periodically, I scroll through my boards to remember what I found that I want to use. I also will add a reminder on my calendar if it’s something I want to use at a future date (knowing I’ll have completely forgotten about it when that date comes along).
Finally, www.instagram.com: I have used this less than the others, so far. I just got an iphone last week (yes, I finally made the leap to a smartphone!) so now my goal is to make better use of instagram. I’m trying to think about taking pictures more often. Trust me, I’m in no danger of being that person who spends so much time taking pictures that I never actually enjoy an event. I spent 10 days traveling in Switzerland when I was in high school and I think I took a grand total of 6 pictures. I just don’t naturally think that way. I’m trying to do more, since it is fun to look back on those later.
How do you use social media? Do you use it with your students? If so, please comment and tell me what you do. My goal is to use it more next year, so any ideas are VERY welcome!