Social Media Assessment

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Feminist Debates has embraced and critiqued social media as a feminist education tool. We have used hashtags on Twitter and the course blog itself. We have taken time to think critically about various other websites to figure out the advantages and the limitations of them. During our time in this class we have broken up into small group discussions and held large discussions as well. Each student must present at least twice to the classroom about a feminist reading or feminist website. In addition to presenting websites to the class, students are required to tweet three feminist sources using the proper hashtag.
This class has effectively used social media as a tool for communication and spreading awareness. The Internet is a great and easy way for us college students to stay involved and engaged with feminism. It's effective because all of us have access to it. It's effective because all of us are asked to explore the different mediums (both course blog and Twitter). This was especially helpful when it came to the diablog assignment. From my own experience I like Twitter so much more than I like blogging. The reason why I liked Twitter is because it was fast, short, and easy compared to blogs, which take longer, are longer than 140 characters, and uThink was not the user-friendliest software. Also when it came to diablog presentations GoogleDocs seem to be a BIG help!! Thinking back I wish every group used GoogleDocs and was required to share their document with our professor at puot0002@umn.edu.
Another way in which social media has been effective in our class is the live Twitter-feed on the home page of the course blog. It's taking the two mediums and combining them, creating a mixed media form of communication on the Internet.
However social media tools in the classroom may be ineffective because of lagging Internet speeds and the learning curve it may or may not have on some people depending on how tech-savvy they are. It takes some people longer than others but once everyone is on the same page it's smooth sailing from there.
One of the biggest benefits for social media and feminist education is that it appeals to a broad audience. Thinking within our countries borders, any person can stumble upon it, any bored teenage girl in Iowa, any curious boy in Texas, any old person in Oregon, anyone, anywhere! We've living in a day and age where people ask the Internet questions instead of friends. Having feminist resources online allows anyone who takes some initiative to be able to learn about these issues free at their fingertips on their own time.
One of the biggest obstacles though is that it's lack of visibility. I'm thinking of Harvey Milk when I say this but people aren't going to be as threatened by feminists if they know one personally. Maybe I'm trying to say that feminists need to "come out" like Harvey Milk was so sure that GLBT people needed to come out. Without visibility it is difficult for a movement to be taken seriously. If the feminist presence is only online under aliases like meownins... what does that really mean? What does that offer? It's important to think about online identities versus real life identities and the roles and impact those directly have on people.
I loved the focus on social media in this class. This is the first class I have ever taken that does so. It's better than most classes because I can take away so much more from it. Instead of having a large textbook to sit on my shelf I have blogs, websites, news sites, hashtags, and YouTube videos I can share with my friends. I can keep revisiting these sources because they are constantly being updated. Lets be honest here, I will NEVER go back to look through my geology textbook but I definitely WILL keep reading Colorlines.com.

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I love that you say "I will NEVER go back to look through my geology textbook but I definitely WILL keep reading Colorlines.com". I feel the same way. In my Social Media Assessment I wrote about the lack of passion within regular academia, but how strong the passion is in online social media outlets. it's an easy way to make current events apart of classroom learning instead of just things that have been published years ago.
And I also really like your argument about online social media aliases. you've made a point there that I never have though about before. I never thought about how a woman can be a feminist online, but in her real life ignore those feminist thoughts and characteristics, but it's so true. It's very easy to fall into an online life and then outside of that be a non-actor. Thanks for pointing that out!

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