Our students are avid consumers and creators of social media (SM) every day, yet they're often unaware of the framework in which media is constructed and viewed. Stacey Goodman gives a great overview of framework to view not just the media we consume, but our own content. The five key concepts are based on a framework that originated in the 1980s to address issues of media consumption. Goodman notes that the concepts work well when thinking about social media, too. Concept 1: All media messages are constructed. Have students analyze their friends' photos on Instagram, or another SM site. How many of them look natural? Do we pose when someone takes our photo? Talk about the impact SM can have on self image, especially for girls who compare themselves to airbrushed or Photoshopped images online. Concept 2: Media Messages Shape Our Perception of Reality. Even though we have incredible content creation tools literally at our fingertips, how many students create their own content? Give examples from your own life of how much you're retweeting, sharing other's photos, posting a link to an op-ed. If you're merely parroting a celebrity, author, pundit, that becomes your reality. Does that matter? Concept 3: Different Audience, Different Interpretation. Students need to be aware that there really is no privacy when it comes to SM. If they're sharing a photo with friends, will their grandmother see it the same way? How about a scholarship committee? What a friend might find funny could be offensive to someone else. Recognizing the diversity of your audience is a crucial skill, and understanding your audience might be broader than you thought is a critical one. Concept 4: Media Messages Have Commercial Implications Students (and many adults) resent when they are targeted by SM ads, often failing to understand that all SM sites are businesses. Sharing freely online, students often fail to understand that their friends and family may not want all that content shared! Concept 5: Media Messages Imbed Points of View Everyone knows the Facebragger, who shares perfect photos of the family, incredible vacations, meals that look like they were prepared in a 5 star restaurant, etc. ad nauseum. Get students talking about what gets left out. Why do we share our successes but rarely our failings (unless they're comical!) Compare how students post on SM with commercials. To some extent, we sell a version of our lives on SM. Especially for middle schoolers, the compulsion to compare can be draining. Students need to be aware that the impossibly perfect life someone is sharing on SM might just be impossible.