This entire Emergent Media Course has been about engaging in media literacy. But what is media literacy?
In my understanding, media literacy is engaging with media and media messages, whether it be TV, radio, newspapers, social media, or any other type of media. Media literacy is not just knowing whether a story is real news or fake news.
Your media literacy grows when you open your mind to new types of media that you may not have encountered before. If you constantly watch nothing but sports programs and ESPN, you may be literate in that one section of the media, however you are not literate in media as a whole.
Opening your mind to new things is one of the most important parts of engaging in media literacy. Try new things. If you always watch TV for your news coverage, maybe pick up a newspaper instead, or listen to the radio.
Sometimes media literacy isn’t just a matter of expanding your interests and opening up to new things. Sometimes, we must become aware of the firm grip that the media has on consumers.
The main goal of media companies may not be to take over the world, but they definitely want to continue to hold power over consumers.
Some people don’t believe that the media has any effect on their lives whatsoever, and those people are nicknamed “naïve.”
Every time you watch TV, the commercials are tailored to the type of people that watch that show. Social media websites like Facebook and Instagram target you with advertisements by collecting data on the pages you follow. If you are a female who loves makeup, it is no mistake that Covergirl advertisements are all you see on the sidebar of Facebook.
Being media literate means much more than you think. It encompasses all aspects of the media spectrum, and your continuing knowledge of it all.