A JMC Conversation: Social Media and Society

JMC Student Voice Team hosted A JMC Conversation: Social Media & Society to an overflow audience of students in Franklin Hall’s FirstEnergy Auditorium on Nov. 19.

Panelists included senior broadcast major Ray Strickland, JMC Professor and Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism Mark Goodman, JMC Assistant Professor Stefanie Moore and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and JMC alumna Connie Schultz.

JMC Director Thor Wasbotten and SVT member Arbrion Chambliss moderated the discussion, which covered topics such as personal responsibility and professionalism on social media, self-validation stemming from social media, and social issues and communities formed through social media platforms.

Wasbotten said he believes JMC Conversations are a great learning opportunity for students and faculty alike.

“To see 80 to 85 percent (of attendees) raise their hands about using social media for self validation, to think that this is how you’re using social media is something (the JMC faculty and staff) can learn from by hearing you approach us with that,” Wasbotten said to the student audience. “We approach our classes in certain ways, and our syllabi, and set up specific learning outcomes but sometimes it’s best if we just listen and learn from you.”

Students and panelists discussed the effects of the ever-expanding presence of social media in the lives of Millennials.

“Today, anyone with a smart device can speak not just to their own community, but to the entire world, with no gatekeeper standing in their way,” said panelist Mark Goodman. “Today more than ever, the marketplace of ideas means exposure to so many views, there is no way we could ever absorb them all. And many of these views are just plain crazy, or racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or any of a thousand other –ists that may make our blood boil and our skin crawl.”

Social responsibility and civility was an underlying concern for student attendees, with attendees sharing experiences of being personally attacked on social media platforms and equating ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ with self-validation.

“A fire can cook a meal and warm a home, but it can also burn it down,” said panelist Ray Strickland. “As far as Facebook and Twitter, it is also a community that can promote ideas and promote social change, but it can also be a fire mob.”

Watch the archived event now.