Digital literacy and social media phobia

Blog entries with the category “ONL 192” will be a place where I post reflections that are part of my participation in the Open Network Learning course (ONL 192), October – December 2019.

Topic 1: Digital literacy

Starting this course, I am intrigued by the usage of social media for teaching, really intersted in learning exciting tools that I can then utilise for creating great examination forms and inspiring learning environments for my students (e.g. instagram, twitter, blogs, padlet, prezzi, etc.).

Yet, the new way of teaching online is also guided by a seemingly self evident understanding of social media literacy as the new normal. For me, personally and professionally as a lecturer in Gender Studies, this is not the case. Personally, I have a lot of anxieties when it comes to participating in social media spaces, facebook or even twitter. I stopped commenting on my facebook shares all together. This mostly just leaves me sleepless the night after, pondering whether or not I should have formulated my comment differently. Now, thinking that this is what I will be exposing my students to, as a requirment in my future online courses, makes me doubtful whether it will live up to my idea of feminist and norm-critical pedagogy. Included in this pedagoy is a strong sense of ethics, of accounting for student vulnerability, of different social challenges and it is driven by the aim to make the learning environment as inviting as possible to different students. A social media driven classroom, that, e.g. requires students to write blogs or tweets, might not be appropriate for everyone.

Looking briefly through the web with the search word “social media angst” I came across this post. Despite its slightly confusing and patronising reference to “girls” it is informative on how little is know regarding the fear of social media and how rarely it is accounted for. I wonder how we, as teachers and online facilitators can accommodate these fears in our prospective students (if not in ourselves as well 🙂

Image by David Clode, Unsplash

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Teacher and researcher in Gender Studies with a specialization in the field of Transgender Studies!

4 thoughts on “Digital literacy and social media phobia”

  1. Hi Wibke!
    Thank you for your sharing your reflections and thoughts on course design, social media and norm-critical pedagogy! I really hope that we can use the coming weeks to have discussions regarding this! And by doing so, I hope that together we can find a solution to align your aims with adequate tools and online teaching practices.
    From your point of view, is Facebook and blogging the same?
    For me it is something completely different. Two things in particular. First, on your blog, you can stay rather anonymous, if you wanted to. Certainly, if the goal was simply to fullfill the ONL course requirements. Second, YOU “own” your blog and more or less its data.
    Have a great weekend and really hope that the blog doesn’t cause any Angst on your end. If it does, please let me know. You know where to find me.

  2. Hi Wibke,
    Thank you for posting your thoughts! Your heading caught my attention on the ONL-homepage, and ethics is also something that I have been thinking about quite a lot lately. I agree that it is important to consider the normative practices which emerge through our apparent immersion within digital tools and social media platforms. What and how much can we really ask of ourselves or require of our students on courses? We can practice together with them and seek to create a safe (online) learning environment for our students and also rase awareness of the various problems of such environments, but I agree that we need to take into account the vulnerability of students as well as of ourselves. We need to remember to critically evaluate even digital practices and the emerging norms of such environments. We can find many useful tools for our students or for ourselves online, but these can also be used in many ways which are either destructive or which reiterate the norm of the digitally literate. Not all wish to expose themselves or build their identities through social media, for instance, yet somehow we all need to learn how to do that, anyway. I aspire to challenge the norm in that and I am happy to read that more people also consider such ideas important.

  3. Dear Wibke, thanks for sharing this post. I didn’t even know that there were already reports about social media phobia. I wonder if that is something completely out of control. Where are these phobias comming from? what are the triggers? I guess there will be different triggers for different people? I wonder if there is help available, copying strategies identified? I wonder if the phobia is more directed toward private social interaction or if it also extends to the professional field? I find this topic extremely interesting and intriguing. You inspired me to read more about this. Thanks

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