The rise of social media has allowed scholars and students to connect and discuss texts, events, and issues in ways that were previously unimaginable. Synchronous and asynchronous discussions can spark at any moment and connect learners across time zones and disciplines. But each new tool comes with its own set of challenges.
Rates of popular participation in discussions of society, culture, media, and social justice online are astounding, but many of the tools used to foster those discussions seem to encourage sound bite replication instead of dialogue. Those with unpopular views are sometimes silenced through network attacks or even violent threats, and users are likely to only follow and participate in groups of those with whom they already agree. How do we foster meaningful dialogues and promote critical thinking skills for students in the middle of a tl;dr culture?