various social media platforms which can be mastered through vlacs online program

Social Media: Online High School Program of the Month

Editors Note: The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School has a fantastic collection of courses, but often an online high school program deserves further explanation. While our on-site course descriptions are informative, we think highlighting the impact, importance and implications of our online high school courses will give students a better idea of the opportunity. Knowing what you can be expected to learn in an online high school program is important, but understanding why the study is relevant and how it will affect your life is something of even greater value. The Online High School Program of the Month series is our way of sharing our passion for learning. Keep an eye out for next month’s online high school program!

Using social media is easy enough for those growing up in its presence. The language, concepts and mechanics of sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter are second nature—a native tongue for those having grown up with it. But their implications can be tricky and the consequences of misuse harsh. A smart user can gain and support important personal and professional connections. But on the other hand, misuse is dangerous. So, what better way to become an educated user than by taking a course to learn more about social media? The Virtual Learning Academy’s Social Media Course aims to create mindful users of social media platforms—a discipline too often overlooked.

Why Study Social Media?

Every language, be it French, Japanese or German, has its own study. Even native speakers study their language and how it’s used. Gaining a deep understanding of the history, subtleties and uses of a language is critical to its practice. And as such, the ever-prevalent and constantly changing language of social media cannot be ignored. A language so complex should be studied and mastered. A practiced and educated user of social media can make better thought-out choices and recognize what is real—a challenging hurdle in a space where you can be anyone you want.

Now, more than ever, social media can define a person. When someone visits your Facebook page, they should see who you really are. What you share should reflect yourself accurately and respectfully. More and more, employers are paying attention to virtual footprints. And virtual footprints are larger, easier to make and harder to reduce than you might imagine. A 2013 Pew Research Study termed this mindful social media presence practice, “reputation management.” Such a skill is indispensible when using social media.

History in the Making – Be a Player

At this point, social media is becoming a part of our history. It has become an entirely novel space where relationships, ideas and movements come to existence and fruition. And no matter what language you speak, social media acts as a subset of that dialect. Shared photos on Instagram and Facebook, Tweets and Pins—they say one thing in the words you choose—but they imply a slew of other, often unintended messages simply based on when, how, why and with whom they are shared. Clear and effective use of the language of social media relies on deep understanding. Reputation management is dependent on being an informed user. Being on the smart side of this time in history means understanding how social media is used on all sides. The Pew Research study states, “Insights from our focus groups suggest that some teens may not have a good sense of whether the information they share on a social media site is being used by third parties.” Such a gap in knowledge is just one step to social media abuse—intentional or not.

Social media is a milestone of our age and so, must be understood in its entirety. We must know why and from where it came, why and what it is, where it is going and why it’s going there.

What You’ll Learn

The beauty of studying social media through an online high school program is simple: Immersion. In taking this course, you will learn about, among other things:

  • Meaning vs. Intention
  • Online you vs. real-world you
  • The impact of social media on the psyche
  • Cyberbullying
  • How to use social media for positive change
  • Citizen journalism
  • Crowdsourcing

Perhaps most importantly, though, you will constantly see how you will change social media. After all, you own it.

For more information on our other online high school programs, browse our full course catalog.

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