Social Media Literacy
Probably we overstretch the metaphor of literacy when we want to talk about what it means to participate in networked societies. However, as the amount of media that we can use explodes (think twitter, facebook, dropbox, wordpress, or typo3), we see the world through the eyes of a toddler. Questions to think about: What are the limits of specific media in doing specific things? What are the limits of our imagination how we can act collaboratively? How much time should we allocate to learn new modes of interaction? What do we do with the people “that just do not get it?” What does this mean for society? Do we need a 19th Century type of literacy/schooling campaign? Howard Rheingold argues,
I see that the use of Twitter to build personal learning networks, communities of practice, tuned information radars involves more than one literacy. The business about tuning and feeding, trust and reciprocity, and social capital is a form of network literacy that we discuss in my classes. Knowing that Twitter is a flow, not a queue like your email inbox, to be sampled judiciously is only one part of the attention literacy I started to blog aboutÂ knowing that it takes ten to twenty minutes to regain full focus when returning to a task that requires concentrated attention, learning to recognize what to pluck from the flow right now because it is valuable enough to pay attention to now, what to open in a new tab for later today, what to bookmark and get out of my way, and what to pass over with no more than a glance, are all other aspects of attention literacy that effective use of Twitter requires. My students who learn about the presentation of self and construction of identity in the psychology and sociology literature see the theories they are reading come to life on the Twitter stage every day – an essential foundation for participatory media literacy.
Philipp Müller works in the IT industry and is academic dean of the SMBS. Author of “Machiavelli.net”. Proud father of three amazing children. The views expressed in this blog are his own.