As social media continues to grow in popularity, it has become increasingly impactful in our everyday lives. As it has grown, social media has also evolved from being a handy means for keeping in touch with friends and family to hosting work and academic environments.
While using these apps, there are numerous trends that have a great impact on people’s lives, both positive and negative. With how quickly trends change, this can cause some people to become overwhelmed with trying to keep up.
Stan State's Gillian Gong (senior, Psychology) is a regular social media user. Because she participates in most of the trends that occur on the apps, she frequently sees how certain trends affect people.
“I definitely think certain trends affect people’s daily lives," Gong said. "The whole point of social media is to post things that make you look good or feel good, so people seeing others do these trends can make them feel insecure or overwhelmed that it’s something they aren’t doing, can’t do, don’t look like or dress like, etc.”
Although social media trends may negatively impact the way people view themselves, there are also many trends that have positively impacted people.
One of these trends can be seen within the art circles of the online world. Online art trends are often challenging, as they require consistent and frequent participation to keep up with. The trade off for this is new challenges for participating artists.
Traditional artist and Stan State student Jordan Monteiro (senior, Art) doesn't take part in every single trend that comes and goes. Instead, she looks into participating in ones that provide unique prompts for a new source of inspiration.
One massive example is the popular trend "Inktober," in which artists must create a Halloween themed piece every day for the month of October. Monteiro states, “There are some people that can really just whip something up every single day...and every single thing they come up with is just genius.”
"Social media has become the new artist's space, at least for now," Monteiro asserts.
With social media impacting most things in the world, we see the progression social media has made on the academic side of things. Many professors and students have included social media as a tool in some aspects of their academic curriculum, such as posting lectures on YouTube.
Grad student and Biology professor Jessika Smith believes that there are many benefits to using social media in an academic setting. Social media can be a quick way to share information. It gives students opportunities to engage with course content outside of the classroom, opens discourse between academia and the public, and is a creative outlet for demonstrating mastery of content. Smith explains that she offers extra credit to students using social media in positive ways.
“I use social media as an extra credit opportunity in my class. Students can either record themselves talking about a biology concept or demonstrate lab skills using TikTok, YouTube, etc. The purpose of this is to not only see if students mastered a biology concept, but also gives students a way to express and apply their knowledge in a creative way,” Smith said.
Students like Kendall Camp (Communication Studies) at Morehouse College appreciate this approach to learning. Camp identifies himself as an auditory learner, so Youtube and Instagram work better for his engagement purposes.
“I am more likely to engage, recommendations from the algorithm with the content allowing me more resources to learn and engage,” Camp said.
Social media allows students like Camp to receive sources that help them contact and connect with other students in ways they can’t get in a traditional academic setting.
“Social media helps students to get better help on assignments because of a greater portfolio of content at reach and can engage with people in the comments with different perspectives,” Camp explained.
Many members of the Stan State campus community have grown up with social media, and as the world continues to evolve alongside technology, they have experienced some of these benefits and disadvantages first-hand.