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social media for positive change interview

July 13, 2020

Can Students Use Social Media to Make Positive Change?

How can young people use social media for positive change? Use this lesson plan and discussion guide with your students to discuss social media and student activism.

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Social Media for Positive Change: How Can Young People Contribute?

The DigCitCommit conference hosted at Facebook earlier this year allowed many young people to convene and discuss how they leverage social media for positive change. Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. To watch the video on the Student Reporting Labs’ site, click here

  • Tony Weaver Jr., CEO of Weird Enough Productions, emphasized the importance of young people being able to both engage with positive representation online as well as “dissect” the bad representation.
  • Matt Dietzch, one of the co-organizers for March for our Lives, encourages young people to use social media to inform, connect with others and challenge those in power to do the right thing.
  • Social justice advocate Naomi Wadler says social media can be a tool for those with limited resources and support systems to get their message across.

Discussion Questions

  1. Essential question: How can young people use social media for positive change?
  2. How might young people’s social media “footprint” affect them, in positive or negative ways, in the future? What are some ways that you can shape your social media presence for positive personal outcomes?
  3. What are some barriers to accessibility in social media? How might we make social media more accessible for everyone?
  4. Media literacy: In the video, Tony Weaver Jr. talks about “positive representation” (which should be expanded for young people) and “bad representation” (which needs to be dissected). What is good, bad and absent media representation? How often do you see people who look like you in the media? How might we avoid bad or absent representation?
social media for positive change: tony weaver speaks to PBS
Tony Weaver Jr speaks with PBS NewsHour.

Extension Activity: Social Media for Positive Change

Spend 20 minutes reading this comic by Weird Enough Productions. How is it similar to or different than the media you usually consume? Are there any kinds of representation that are missing from this comic?

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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