Have you ever thought about the importance of information security? Do you know how to recognize manipulation? No one today is safe from the media and social media. That’s why all of us need to develop a new skill – media literacy. It will be especially useful for students because it is a skill that teaches you to work with information and to rely only on credible sources in your work. Because otherwise you have to go to write my essay service.
The whole world is involved in a single information system, and it works in real-time. And media literacy is a culture of proper consumption of that information. It is not surprising that according to the Institute for the Future, media literacy was included in the list of future skills required for effective interaction with people.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss the most important principles of consuming media messages.
What is media literacy?
Some people think media literacy is about protecting children from unwanted messages or online abuse. But the truth is that everyone needs it, and not just those who watch TV or surf the Internet. If you turn off your TV or computer, you’re still in media space. Media and information are no longer what influence our culture. It is the culture.
The media have long been a trusted source of information. This is no longer the case, but the old ideas still work: our perception of the surrounding reality depends on how it is presented by the media. Because in the big stream of events that happens every day, it is difficult for a person to develop his or her understanding of what he or she sees.
Media literacy is the skills and habits that will help you critically perceive messages from different media: traditional media, social media, outdoor advertising, etc.
Media literacy will help you avoid inaccurate news and get reliable information about current events. And this skill is based on your responsibility as a consumer.
Should we trust social networks?
Today, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram have taken over the function of spreading news. But they are not always a reliable source of information. You would think that you would get carefully selected knowledge on a certain topic while scrolling through a feed of people you know, but that is not the case. Social media broadcasts a large amount of manipulative and fictitious news.
- Bots and trolls
Business and political strategies, in particular, are played out on social media. They remain invisible to us, but at the same time aggressively interfere in our information space. And we succumb to them without even realizing it.
Here it is worth remembering about bots and trolls. They are instruments of distortion of reality. They are destructive to public discussions, provoke negative emotions in the audience, and violate online ethics. Bots are programs, while trolls are real people who get paid for their work. Their main task is to litter info space so that real thoughts get lost among the comments. This distracts attention from the essence of the issue and creates false impressions of people’s points of view.
- Who pays for likes?
The additional meanings that marketers and PR people put into their messages are also manipulation. It should be remembered that social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are primarily platforms whose main goal is to make money.
A special program keeps track of what you do in your computer’s browser. So Facebook knows everything about you: what publications you like, what pages you look at, what you plan to buy in the near future, what information is most relevant to you, and so on. Access to this information helps you accurately target ads to specific user groups.
The owner of a brand, media, or organization page, especially after Zuckerberg’s recent innovations, has to pay for the publication in order to increase the number of people who will see it. To the user, such advertising looks like a regular newsfeed message. With a good targeting setting, it is likely to interest you and make you like or click.
Social media advertising is comparatively cheap but effective. Remember, only a small fraction of all possible content gets into your newsfeed, so the battle for users’ attention is the main driving force behind ad buying and ad creation.
Media Literacy: Basic Principles
Canadian scholar John Pangente has identified the following key concepts of media literacy.
- Media form our sense of reality. Attitudes toward real-world objects are formed based on media messages constructed by professionals who have certain goals in mind.
- The creation of a media product is a business. Behind every business, there are specific people with their interests. They determine the meaning of what we watch, read, and listen to.
- Every media message broadcasts certain values, explicitly or implicitly.
- Media influence the political and economic situation by provoking social change.
- Media make us think about what is happening in other countries.
All news is not objective
Everything we read, hear, and watch online is media manipulation. And here’s why.
- Selection of information. Media dictate what we think about, even if we didn’t plan to think about what we read. There are millions of events happening in the world every day; it is simply impossible to know about all of them. Ten out of a million stand out, conventionally speaking. When we go from a million to ten, we are bound to lose a lot. This remainder becomes our information picture of the day. We will not even guess at the rest of the events.
- A look at the event. When covering an event that can evoke different attitudes, there will be an emphasis on its positive or negative aspects. Both may be true, but it is the choice of focus that will influence the perception of the event as a whole.
- Simplification of information. With 100% of the characteristics of an event, only a small part can make it into the news. No one is immune to exaggeration, distortion, falsification, or simplification of information.
Six rules of media literacy
Do you wash your hands before dinner, cook with clean water, and clearly know how many spoonful’s of sugar you can eat a day? Then it’s a good idea to make rules for consuming information, too.
- Form your social media news feed dispassionately
In today’s society, everyone can create content. But if you do not like the information product, you have the right to react adequately and refuse it. Do not add friends out of pity, demonstrating online altruism. Do not add people just because they have nice pictures, or are your old acquaintances. This requires good judgment and a conscious choice.
- Remove unreliable sources of information.
If a person posts nonsense, that’s enough of an argument to remove him from your circle of friends.
3. Don’t get distracted by things that don’t matter to you
You don’t have to follow fashion trends, understand politics, be aware of all the fluctuations in the currency market or know the names of Hollywood actors. You have the right not to know something, not to be interested in something, not to follow it.
- Watch the quality.
The information environment consists of simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are digested on the fly, give instant gratification, and are harmful to health. After such a meal, your appetite doubles – you start demanding more until you feel sick. Slow carbs, on the other hand, are difficult to digest. But they are the ones that can give you a feeling of fullness, and content, and should be the foundation of your information menu. These are, for example, quality analytics, informative information, and educational projects.
- Live your life.
Many media duplicate information from other media, which in turn received information from third-party sources, and you absorb it all. Close the feed and live your life to the fullest.
- Take time to think.
Distract yourself from the endless stream of information and analysis. Sit in silence, watch and listen. Don’t be afraid of not understanding something or missing time by not consuming new data. Filter your thoughts by giving them a sip of informational detox.