It is baffling the way that people adapted and evolved with the use of technology and social media over the past 30 years. Prior to 1991, the extent of social media was limited to having your friend next to you play Luigi and yourself, Mario. Meanwhile, grandmas get the daily gossip through the party line. Although I do not remember these dark ages (as I was not born), I don’t think I would be able to handle the feeling of isolation. Today, I can look at my watch, and check my phone to see instant updates of social media and respond, recieve instant gratification, check the news instantaneously and be aware of the world around me.
I use social media constantly. Whether it be Twitter for professional reasons, or Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for personal reasons. Or browsing the interwebs late at night, chuckling and memes found on Reddit, or learning how to fix my car off of YouTube. Social Media has become an integral part of who I am and how I navigate the world.
Social Media has affected my life both in positive and negative ways. In my personal life, it allows me to stay connected. After I had completed my Bachelor’s of Education, I moved to Ogema, a small rural town in South Saskatchewan. While my girlfriend continued to work in Regina, social media and the ability to have instant communication made our relationship much easier. In addition, it allows me to connect in the same way with close friends and family.
On the contrary, social media causes many, myself included to live a curated online life. The posts you share on social media are usually the “highlight reel”. I believe this is ever so common in spaces such as Instagram, and Snapchat. This curation of online life tends to promote comparison amongst each other, which in turn, leads to depression. Social media has become addictive, whether it be getting more likes, retweets, and receiving the instant gratification isn’t always a positive thing. Researchers at Sainte-Justine Hospital found that the effects of social media and the link of depression were more prominent than other forms of screen time such as video games.
In my professional life, I believe that Twitter has had a positive impact. Social Media, specifically Twitter is one of the ways that I continue to carve and master my craft of infusing technology in classrooms. Collaborating with others across the globe and taking ideas and applying them with teachers and classrooms I am working with. I also share my knowledge in hopes to inspire other educators.
I did something super cool with a class I was working with! Interactive body systems with @scratch and @makeymakey. Inspired by @mraspinall, one of the coolest projects I have ever done. #codebreaker #edtech #edchat #saskedchat #ditchbook pic.twitter.com/Im4DwPbJgz
— Curtis Bourassa (@MrBourassaED) May 28, 2019
Today we are constantly seeing the consequences of your actions on social media. As an educator, you have to be cautious about what you are posting and sharing on Social Media. I have learned this first hand in my last year of undergrad. One of my tweets were highlighted on two far-right websites in 2014. One Anti-LGBT website, The Barbwire, which labeled me as an anti-fascist (now currently shut down), and the other, a pro-Christian/pro-Israel news site, “Israel, Islam and the End Times” labeled me as, (what I thought was) a much more appropriate term, “gay-activist”.
— Curtis Bourassa (@MrBourassaED) April 14, 2014
I stand by these former tweets, but it did inform me how easy it was for people who you don’t know to find out information about you.
I believe that my relationship with social media begins with being aware of the positives and negatives of how it affects my life. There needs to be time to unplug and be present in the moment. Specifically, my moment.