I was given a challenge to explore a new social networking tool to help determine how such tools can serve us as educators and learners. With the ongoing accessibility of social media and networking, anyone can have voice. However, filtering through those millions of voices to find ones that are credible and relevant to your interests and field can be challenging.
I decided to dig a little deeper into Snapchat. I’ve come to the conclusion that some sites, or social media platforms, are designed to be used socially and have many limitations to be used professionally. Snapchat, in itself, is very personal. Communication mostly relies on photos, with the optional filter, videos, and sometimes standard messaging.
You can subscribe or view featured stories as a user of Snapchat. Organizations and communities such as National Geographic, MTV, People, and BuzzFeed have been intentional about maintaining their social media presence. However, most of what I found for “Stories”, Snapchat’s way to allow individuals or groups to update a large following, revolved around celebrities, gossip, or similar ideas. I can’t imagine going to Snapchat to find credible, well-written, information. The two just don’t seem to align. Plus, aren’t we used to exploring books or research studies to find the most relevant information? The other thing to note is Snapchat’s anticipated audience. Users don’t expect to use this platform for networking, expanding ideas, etc. For the younger generation, Snapchat has actually replaced your standard messaging and phone calls. Snapchat can be used almost anywhere and is compatible with multiple devices and operating systems.
I’ve discovered that it is really difficult to find professionally advantageous users and resources on social media platforms. It is much easier to begin using these accounts for professional development when the users are recommended. For example, my instructor offered a list of users to follow on Twitter, which was highly useful in the beginning to make connections on what to expect and what to look for when following an account for professional reasons. It can be overwhelming to find useful accounts. Overall, it is difficult to have the discipline to use social media that is productive professionally. It is even more difficult when it feels that the platform itself is not designed to be used for professional development.