Jeff Shires Ph.D on Social Media Literacy and Terminology

August 24, 2023

Social media literacy serves as a unifying thread among various literacies such as reading, writing, media, visual, and data literacy. It integrates these skills to help us comprehend the impact of social media on our lives and how we can effectively utilize it.

Social media literacy is a critical skill which, like any skill, can be taught. However, there are a number of literacies that need to be developed first. 

Having taught media for several years, I have seen people try to instill social media literacy principles piecemeal, jumping ahead without developing other needed literacies. To make sure learners have al the skills they need to approach social media I believe learners must understand basic literacy, media literacy, visual literacy, and data literacy and that those literacies are taught in order. 

1. Literacy--the ability to read and write. Being able to manipulate the symbolic world of words serves as a gateway to other types of literacy. 

2. Media Literacy--the next step is media literacy since the world is not only brought to us through words, but also images, stories, and video mediated through the media.

3. Visual Literacy--media literacy deals with mediated information. Visual literacy allows us to break down the images, both still and moving. It gives us a deeper understanding of not just what the media wants us to do but also how they put together images to do it.

4. Data Literacy--to understand data is to understand information. The ability to critically judge what data--through numbers of through news stories--attempts to do to us. Being able to manage data and information is key as we move on to the final literacy.

5. Social Media Literacy--social media literacy brings each of the other literacies together. Reading and writing, media, visual, and data all meet in social media. It brings all the skills together and allows us to see what social media does to us and what we can do with it. 

Through this, learners will have all the tools needed to critically evaluate the content and the effects of social media.

#socialmedia #data #technology #skillsdevelopment #ai 

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