How Can Social Media be Used for Critical Thinking Practice?

Critical thinking requires the ability to think deeply and analytically while being flexible and adaptable.

A critical thinker will not necessarily be more rational than another person, but a critical thinker will be better able to make rational decisions that are in the best interest of society and the environment.

Critical thinking can be a valuable ability for many people, and it is beneficial in our modern age. Critical thinking is not necessarily a good thing, but there are some things that it is better than. For example, one critical thinker may be more rational than another, but an irrational thinker is a greater threat to society. An irrational thinker can cause more harm than a critical thinker.

Social Media

While social media can be used for many different purposes, one potential use for it is as a tool for critical thinking practice. Students can hone their critical thinking skills by engaging with others in thoughtful discussion and debate on social media.

The power of social media to affect how we think and act has been well established by psychologists and political scientists alike, who have found that social media can both improve our mental well-being and be used to manipulate and even destroy lives. Teachers should encourage students to participate in the teaching process actively and assign tasks and activities where they have to share their ideas.

social media for critical thinking
Social media for critical thinking

10 Strategies To Help Students Use Social Media For Critical Thinking

Social media is here to stay. No matter how much we lament a loss of privacy, too much screen time, superficial identity, or countless other worries, media has been around since language was invented. We have always sought to make that media as social as locally available technology would be allow.

There are some techniques that may help develop critical thinking using social media.

1. Think purpose, not platform.

Connect students through function and purpose, not technology and gadgets

2. Use social media to establish context.

Use social media to help students establish a context for themselves

3. Model intellectual tolerance.

Show students by example how to interact with people who think, look, and act differently than they do and how to react to viewpoints that differ from their own. And do so from an intellectual standpoint rather than just an ethical one of “be kind.” Learning from everything is a big part of intelligence, and a big part of that is being able to evaluate ideas objectively and consider them in depth without immediately accepting or rejecting them.

4. Illuminate interdependence. 

Help students identify their connections to people and things, both the obvious and less obvious ones. Encourage students to list the various “citizenships” they participate in on a variety of levels both locally and online.

5. Extend conceptual comfort zones.

Use place-based education and project-based learning to help students make new connections to people, places, and ideas outside of the curriculum map

6. Clarify categories of knowledge.

Help students see knowledge in categories–academic vs recreational, creative vs industrial, fluid vs fixed, etc–and how social media emphasize, support or otherwise makes these available. If they can at least begin to see these categories, they can be more aware of what they’re ‘ingesting.’

7. Analyze and compare citizenship and digital citizenship.

Help students see the effects of their behaviour on others and of others’ behaviour on them. Further, offer digital citizenship strategies like “THINK!” so they have a kind of framework for doing so on their own.

8. Amplify cognition.

Have a fresh concept? Share it with people who are drawn to those kinds of thoughts. Record the “process” of that idea, including its origins, evolution, influences, potential applications, and other details. Using social media’s connecting and creative capabilities, expand that understanding.

9. Analyze how the form affects the message.

Perspective is a big part of social media, as is identity and idea form (video versus tweet versus images, etc.) If students can see how the message’s form affects it, they can think ‘around’ and through the platform and see ideas and their roots. Have students concept map their own interdependence in a given context (home, family, hobby, neighbourhood, classroom, content area, etc.)

10. Seek authenticity.

Assist students in identifying authentic roles in a community they care about. To be “authentic,” the roles should naturally exist and allow a visible void when left unfilled, providing the student with a meaningful role that matters.


A lot of people think social media is a waste of time. That’s what we hear when we do a workshop on social media. When we look at the data, we see that most people still use social media as the equivalent of watching television, surfing the internet, playing video games or talking about gossip with their kids.

However, it’s the incorrect lens through which to view social media. We must view social media from the perspective of what it means to you. What does it accomplish? What issues does it address? What does it mean to you? What will you gain from it, exactly? Why ought I to use it? You must frame those inquiries within the context of the social realm. Social media is available. Because of this, it is a social world.

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