Until this point, the focus has been on using social media responsibly and being aware of its ills, but what about the good, the changes that can arise from social media? For instance, in our 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party used social media in such an effective manner that the youth vote increased by around 11%, after it having been in decline for multiple elections.
Discuss the value of social media with your class.
Some questions to help prompt discussion:
- What are some positive ways to use social media? List.
- What are effective ways to use social media? List.
- Do you ever use social media for political issues?
- Do you ever use social media for social movement, civic-related issues?
- Name some social or political movements that have really taken off as a result of effective social media use, (i.e. LGBTQ2, Black Lives Matter, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women etc…)
- How do you know if the account for the social or political movement is legitimate?
- What are some of the advantages of using social media to help further your cause?
- Are there any disadvantages?
- What is meant by calling social media “the great equalizer”?
- Do you agree or disagree with that?
When the discussion is complete, students will begin to work on their social media, social movement project.
To begin, ask students to pick a social or political movement (this can also include a political party, a reputable organization with a socio-political message etc…) to study/follow via social media for a pre-determined length of time (one week, two weeks, etc…)
Once they’ve determined who they will study/follow, they will now pick two or three social media platforms to follow them on, ensuring that they are choosing legitimate accounts. During this time, they should be paying attention to how their movement is using social media.
Questions to keep in mind during this time:
- What social media platforms did you choose? Why?
- How do you know this account is legitimate?
- How active are they?
- Do they interact with others or simply use the medium to post their message?
- What message are they currently trying to get out?
- Is there a reason for this (ex. Black Lives Matter would be quite active right now).
- Are they effective in getting their message out?
- Do they appear professional?
- Do they have any posts that stand out to you (for good or bad)? If so, make sure to save a copy for your research.
When they’ve completed their research/follow time, they’re now ready to write their analysis, which is to include the following:
- Description or history of the movement they’ve chosen
- The social media platforms they chose and why.
- Description of how this movement is using social media
- An analysis on the effectiveness of social media in assisting this movement
- An analysis on how this movement could be using social media more effectively
- Concrete examples of posts (textual, memes, photographic etc…) to support their analysis.