Social Media 101

Written by Josh Spector - Digital marketing consultant. Collector and sharer of ideas.

It’s time to teach social media to high school students.

While some adults who don’t understand social media — ironically because they were never taught it —still dismiss it as a novelty or distraction, the reality is social media has become a force of incredible power, change, and business.

It’s changed our world and its importance is only growing.

So much so that I can’t think of anything more important to teach our next generation of leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and working class citizens than how to create and interpret social media.

If the job of our education system is to prepare students to succeed in the “real world,” then teaching them social media skills should be a prerequisite.

While most teenagers already use social media, I doubt many understand the intricacies of how social media works.

We’ve handed a world-changing technology to a new generation without giving them any instructions on how to use it.

For example, how many teens understand the impact their social posts can have on themselves, others, and the future?

The class could explore everything from self-image to bullying through a social media lens, and help kids understand the impact their news feeds and notifications have on their perception of their life and world.

In learning why people post what they post, how people react on social platforms, and how habits (good and bad) are formed, students would acquire a set of skills to help them understand and deal with the scenarios they face on a daily basis.

Taken a step further, the class could also explore the role social media plays in marketing and advertising — how social platforms use psychology to attract and retain users, and how advertisers use those platforms to reach and influence consumers.

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It’s important for kids to know who Henry Ford was, but it’s just as important for them to understand how the things they use every day came to be, why they’re hooked on them, and what they mean for the future.
shan palmer