Media (Il)literacies

Through this course I learned a lot about media literacies that I had not known about before, but mostly it refreshed my memory of the many negatives that come with the use of them.  For me it made me feel extremely guilty about the ways in which I use, more so abuse, these platforms that allow for media literacy on a daily basis. With that said from this course I learned 3 things:  I need to share less information online, I need to unplug, and I need to seek ways in which to dispose of my e-waste.

When it comes to sharing information online I do not share a lot of personal information; knowing that social media platforms (such as Facebook) have the ability to use all of what I post online is scary to think about.  While in high school, and my first years of university I would post ‘party’ pictures not thinking anything of it as they were ‘only shared with my friends’ but who knows where they could have ended up as they can be so easily spread once posted online.  Even though I deleted these pictures, and albums a long while back I still wonder if they were actually permanatly deleted.

Now to be sharing this information online you need to be active, which I have no problem doing so, it’s when it comes to unplugging I find it very difficult.  Everyone around me is always fixated on his or her cellphone, so I can’t help but be constantly checking mine.  Despite the world going on around me, I continue to aimlessly to see what’s ‘new’ and ‘going on’ even if it is 99% of the time useless information.  I hope to curb my addiction with social media when at work, and especially out with friends.  I find it incredibly annoying, and rude while out with friends, and they are on their cellphones (and I simultaneously join in).  So I hope to pass this view along to my friends, and actually enjoy quality time with them like when we were younger and none of us owned cellphones (to distract us from what really matters).

Lastly, as mentioned in one of the previous assignments I have several electronics that I have yet to dispose of.  Through the Pinterest assignment though I found so many ways in which I can dispose of my e-waste in the most environmentally friendly way, or ways in which I can help someone in need by donating my still usable electronics.  When refreshing my memory on the toxic chemicals embedded in electronics that are being disposed of  in third-world countries I think it is important to do my part in recycling mine, and making sure that family and friends are aware of ways in which they can participate too.

 

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Digital Divides

After reading Dana Boyd’s Inequality: Can Social Media Resolve Social Divisions?, from the article It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens, I believe digital inequalities are very alive, and well.  I found it particularly interesting that it was thought that with the creation of technology would come the elimination of inequalities.  With the creation of technology though came the creation of endless platforms in which individuals can perpetuate their thoughts, and beliefs that they exercise offline.  This is a problem as these thoughts, and beliefs can be easily seen, and spread to large crowds.  It can also be good thing as people who are against inequalities can easily defuse these negative thoughts, and beliefs.  But then again there are cases, such as Alexandra Wallace, where defusing the situation turned into her receiving death threats, individuals wanting her to drop out of school, and then having to seek protection from enforcement (p. 163).

 

Offline thoughts, and beliefs are easily seen all over the Internet.  For me being enrolled as a student in Concurrent Education, and pursuing a career in teaching bullying is always a concern, and with the rise of technology so is cyber bullying; I often see offline behavior such as bullying being replicated online, and definitely more amplified.

For example being in placement I would often over hear students talking about what he, or she did/said online rather than witnessing bullying in the classroom, or during breaks such as lunch, or recess.  These online platforms allow for students to hide behind a screen, and give the feeling that they will not be caught.  In reality though this online bullying is much easier to track, but also allows for this bullying to be displayed on a much larger level mostly likely affecting the victim on a much larger level as well.

For example I think we all can recall the case of teenager Amanda Todd.  She was repeatedly cyber bullied online (along with offline), which resulted in her committing suicide.

 

In regards to the online class format I don’t think there is as much reinforcement of inequalities as there are on other online activities, but there is some.  For example I consider myself rather ‘tech savvy’ as I have grown up with technology, and owning technology, but even during this course I found I had some difficulties.  For someone growing up without technology, or owning technology because of their cultural, historical, or socioeconomic background this very much perpetuates offline inequalities.  I think the online format does also challenge inequalities though, because during this course we have all remained pretty anonymous; I am unsure of my class mates cultural, historical, or socioeconomic background.  This format allows for students to interact without a certain bias towards each other.

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Wikipedia

Before this week’s subject of Wikipedia, I had no idea ‘wiki’ was an actual term (makes sense as to what is meant by the ‘Wiki’ tab on my Sakai page now).  After learning though that wiki is a tool in which allows multiple parties to contribute to the writing of a webpage, it is clear as to why so many of my elementary/high school teachers, and professors were, and still are completely against the use of Wikipedia as a source material.

 

After reading the article Questioning Wikipedia I began to question my elders though.  If truth of Wikipedia is a myth, why can it not be used as a reliable resource (Carr, p. 193)? I have personally always used it as starting point to inform myself on subjects I myself am not knowledgeable about.  For the most part too the information provided on Wikipedia never seemed to really clash with the claimed ‘more reliable’ resources.  I ran into a problem though, who are these editors of information?  Are these individuals really qualified to be providing information, deleting information, or editing information?

 

Now for me in regards to the inclustionist/deletionist debate, I would be more aligned with the deletionists. I feel to be a true Encyclopedia the knowledge needs to be neutral, with cold hard facts, and come from educated individuals that are knowledgeable on the subject they are writing about (Carr, p. 193). Wikipedia could incorporate the ‘wiki’ factor by having multiple educated individuals collaborate together to write the informative webpage.  I personally feel this is important; the general public should not be fed information that they will read as true despite being untrue.  I say this because I myself could become a Wikipedia user, and contribute but I personally do not feel I could provide quality, and/or concrete facts on a subject.

 

Even though I have aligned myself with the deletionists, inclusionists do have a fair point.  I do believe it is important to have multiple points of view, not just a neutral one.  Certain biases raise questions that the reader may have not thought of before hand; they allow the reader to critically think about the subject rather than just absorbing it.  Adding a comment section to the Wikipedia pages would allow all to collaborate, and could help readers develop their own beliefs/feelings towards a subject through multiple points of view.  Providing a comment section would also eliminate the illusion that there is democracy existing within Wikipedia, and the digital media culture.

 

As the weeks roll on during this course though, these illusions are becoming less, and less alarming, as they are so prominent.   The online world mirrors the offline world; the hierarchy has power, and control over the general public.  Obviously control has been an issue of concern in the offline world as in elementary school, and high school we often (or at least myself through the public education system) have learned about systems of control (ex. Communist governments); this raises the question should digital media control be a new topic in the education system?  It also raises the question that will history continue repeating itself, and will we allow these hierarchies continue having power over us?  When will the breaking point happen, or will it ever?

 

Carr, Nicholas. “ Questioning Wikipedia.” Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader. Ed. Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2011. 191-202.

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