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The Importance of Media Literacy in a Social Network Society

Artist Travis Scott’s picture of him and another woman went viral after many viewers accused the rapper for cheating on Kylie Jenner. After days of numerous posts about the situation, it was revealed that the picture was fake and used to show how most social media users will believe anything they see online.

Social media allows its users to post about what’s going on within their lives. They can share another person’s post to spread it on the network. Since most of the posts are made by people, some of the posts are hard to determine if they’re accurate or not.

Even pictures that are posted can be inaccurate. Someone can assume that a picture of a city with tall buildings is New York City when in reality, it’s a picture of Trenton. In Scott’s case, they assumed he was cheating because he was with an unknown woman in a picture with what looked like a very “close” encounter.

In order to prevent from falling for these different types of posts, one must know how to become media literate.

Media literacy is an umbrella term encompassing a variety of approaches that develop critical thinking skills around all types of media build an understanding of how media messages shape our culture and society, give people tools to advocate for a changed media system, according to Media Literacy Now.

By using media literacy, social media users can learn how to research certain information that doesn’t seem right. For example, in order to tell if the picture with the city buildings is New York City, a person can look up when, where and who posted it. Even using Google to look up the location of the picture can help.

With certain information online, it can be difficult because most of it seems accurate. Using multiple sources can help determine how accurate an informative piece really is. Demographics help too when one discovers a post that uses data to make their point on a specific topic. For example, like the number of mass shootings or number of teenagers who drop out of school.

Just looking at posts and assuming they’re correct isn’t enough to satisfy the hunger of having or trusting the media. In the article, “Media Literacy: Learning Not to Hate the News”, we are slaves to the news. But there are things that we can do as conscious listeners, watchers and readers of news that can make us more effective and knowledgeable about the world around us. Media literacy is important, especially if we’re planning on advancing with the internet.

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