I use the above slide in my presentations over and over again. It is a message I repeat in various forms:
Just because you use social media doesn’t mean…
you know how to use it well.
you understand how it functions.
you can use it to accomplish goals.
you understand how it impacts yourself and others.
The reason why I come back to this quote again and again is that a lot of people do not take the time to step back from their use of technology and explore the “why” and “how” of their use of it. It is a fallacy to jump from “doing” social media to “understanding” social media. If one cooks, one would not necessarily proclaim oneself to be a chef, and yet with social media, there is a tendency for people to make this leap.
Most of us were never taught to use social media. We just picked it up and learned it on our own. It is very rare to find individuals who set goals for their social media use before they logged on. And even if individuals do set these goals, social media evolves just as we evolve, learn, and grow. Learning about social media and how it fits into our lives is a process, not a product. It is something that everyone needs to constantly renegotiate throughout their lives.
When I speak with students, I encourage them to step back from their screens, reflect on their usage, set goals, and reexamine and potentially change their behaviors. For some, this may mean using social media less. For others, this may entail using social media more. Above all else, it requires that they be more reflective about their use of technology, their life goals, and how the two fit together. It is a skill that we could all learn to be better about.