Today, almost everything has to do with social media. If you are not present on social networks, content communities, microblogs, wikis and instant messaging, you will no longer be part of cyberspace. Social media allows companies to reach end users directly and directly at a convenient time and at a limited cost. These conditions make social media useful not only for many multinational companies in the world, but also for small and medium-sized companies and even state-owned and non-profit companies. Using these communication tools is not a simple activity but requires new aspects of thinking.
This article aims to clarify in this regard. First, by explaining the concept of social media and the characteristics of these new communication technologies, he presented a classification of social media in the form of seven blocks (identity, conversation, mediation, presence, relationships, credibility and group) and finally challenges and opportunities. The use of increasing use of social media was examined.
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For some time now, our society and the whole world have been involved in recognizing, preventing and combating the Corona virus, and various news networks and social media are full of news on this important and vital issue. In the conditions of quarantine and house arrest, reading and following the news through social networks has multiplied and a lot of various contents are published every day, especially through Telegram and Instagram.
The diversity and abundance of information targets our eyes and corners and makes us tired and confused. More importantly, if we absorb and believe this vast amount of information without analysis, we may fall into a whirlpool of social phobia.
Although the main mission of media and social networks is to inform and inform the audience, in the crowded and cluttered atmosphere of information that has arisen around the issue of the Corona virus epidemic, what can help us get out of the abyss of confusion is media literacy. Media literacy is a filter or sieve for receiving information and provides a platform for us to assess the depth, credibility of resources and the building blocks of a media message on a variety of topics. Now that social media has become an integral part of our lives, we need to become familiar with the skill of using information in these media and not republish any message to our family, acquaintances, friends and compatriots without assessing its accuracy.
In fact, it is our social responsibility as active citizens to be aware of the effects and consequences of receiving and disseminating news, especially in these tense days of Corona. It should be noted that this social task even includes a normal media audience that has no role in producing information but, as an Internet user, merely republishes and sends information from other media on social networks.
The pervasiveness of Corona in the media reminds us to take media literacy skills seriously. Given the importance of this issue, in this article we have tried to review the principles and various aspects of media literacy to examine practical points that help promote media literacy.
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What is media literacy?
The media is a powerful force in the lives of everyone, especially young people. Music, television, computer games, newspapers and magazines, and all kinds of media all have a profound effect on our view of the world around us; An effect that usually begins in childhood. In order to be able to use the media consciously and be an active audience with critical thinking, we must develop media literacy skills.
These skills include being able to access media, analyzing it critically, creating a media message based on a set of key concepts, and evaluating it based on self-analysis. The process of learning media literacy skills is called "media education".
In many countries, such as Canada, because of its importance, media literacy is included in school curricula to familiarize people with these skills from an early age.
What is media education?
Media education is the process by which people acquire media literacy; Media literate people can critically understand the nature, techniques, and effects of media messages and products.
Media education relies on the positive and creative dimensions of popular culture and uses critical thinking to help people better understand the media and its complex landscape and context, as it is not just traditional and digital media, but also texts and Popular cultural items such as toys, clothes, fashion, shopping malls and amusement parks, etc. are also included. Media literacy does not require media expertise, but requires questioning and thinking. for example:
Who is the audience of a media production and why? From whose point of view is the story told?
How do the unique elements and codes of a particular genre affect what we see, hear or read?
How do different audiences have different perceptions of the same media product, and what are those perceptions?
Because media topics are often complex and sometimes contradictory, if we are to promote media literacy, our most important role is to facilitate this thought process for individuals. Today, the most important challenge is to find the right information and evaluate it and turn it into useful and usable knowledge. Media Literacy - Along with critical thinking, reflection and ethical behavior is a key part of literacy education in today's world.
Why is media literacy important?
Understanding the key concepts in media literacy provides an effective basis for examining mass media and popular culture. These key concepts act as a filter in such a way that everything we see in the media must pass through this filter so that we can critically examine them.
The media are "made" by others
Their media products are produced by people who consciously or subconsciously decide what to cover, what to put aside, and how to present what they cover. These decisions are based on the views of the makers; A view formed by their thoughts, assumptions and prejudices as well as other media to which they have been exposed. For this reason, media products are never completely accurate reflections of the real world. Even the most impartial documentarian must ultimately decide where to place the camera or what parts of the film to use and what parts to cut. Nevertheless, we instinctively view many media products as true and direct representations of reality. Therefore, when dealing with media products, ask yourself:
Who produced it?
What was the purpose of its production?
What assumptions or beliefs of its manufacturers are reflected in the content of this product?
Audiences are also involved in the perception of meanings
The meaning taken from a media product is not only created by the producers of that product, but also as a result of a kind of cooperation between the producers and the audience. This means that different audiences can have different perceptions of the same product. Media literacy helps us better understand how individual factors such as age, gender, race and social status affect our interpretation of the media. To better understand this issue, ask yourself:
How and how different do different people see this media product?
How much do you feel about this product based on your similarities or differences with the people portrayed in this media product?
The media has commercial implications
Most media products are a type of business and therefore should be profitable. In addition, the media industry (especially in the West) usually belongs to a strong network of companies that influence its content production and distribution. Issues related to media ownership and control are very fundamental; In today's world, relatively few people have control over what we read, see and hear in the media. Even in cases where media content is not generated for profit, such as YouTube or Facebook - content distribution methods are almost always implemented with the profit in mind. Part of media literacy is asking ourselves:
What is the commercial purpose behind this media product? In other words, how can this product help someone earn money?
What effect do these business goals have on content production and how it relates?
If there is no business goal behind the production of this product, what other goals might be behind the production of this media product? (For example, perhaps paying attention to its producers or attracting the audience from a particular perspective)
In this case, how do these goals affect the production of content and how it relates?
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The media has political and social consequences
The media carry ideological messages about values, power and authority. In media literacy, what and who is missing can be as important or even more important as the things and people included in the content! These messages can be the result of conscious decisions, but they are usually the result of subconscious prejudices and assumptions that have never been questioned. These messages can have a significant impact on our thoughts and beliefs as media audiences. For this reason, the media have a significant impact on politics and the formation of social change. News coverage and TV commercials can greatly influence the choice of a national leader. Reflecting on the problems of the world, whether in the news or in movies and stories, can affect the amount of attention paid to them. Society's view of different groups can be directly influenced by how these groups are portrayed in the media.
Each medium has a unique kind of aesthetics
The content of any medium depends in part on the nature of that medium; The nature that includes the technical, commercial and storytelling needs of each medium. For example, the interactive nature of computer games makes the type of storytelling for the audience of these games different from the needs of radio and television audiences for storytelling. To better understand this aspect of the media, we must ask ourselves:
What methods does a media product use to attract our attention and communicate with its audience?
What techniques are used to manipulate the images presented in the media? For example, lighting, makeup, camera and video angles, special effects, and more.
What are the expectations of different types of media from its topics? For example: print ads, TV series or music videos
How to promote media literacy
In this section, we review practical tips that will help educators, parents, and citizens in general in educating and promoting media literacy.
Use the moments:
Sometimes there are moments when it is perfectly appropriate to start talking about the media. Do not miss such opportunities. For example, if you are talking to a friend and he or she is talking about feeling distrustful of the media or is complaining about the media, seize the opportunity and talk about the basics of media literacy and help him or her ask critical questions about Strengthen the media. For teachers, when students have free time, it is a good opportunity to analyze the media, because if you listen to what they are talking about, it is likely that part of their conversation is about the media they are watching, playing or listening to. And so, it's a pristine opportunity to start media literacy discussions.
Start with the key concepts:
Media analysis can be a complex and confusing topic. For this reason, in promoting media literacy, always try to start with the key concepts of media literacy, and if the discussion deviates, return the discussion to them.
When using media, learn about media:
Using the media alone is not enough to teach about the media. It is also an opportunity to learn the media when using the media. For example, if you are watching a movie version of a play or book, you can ask your children or students to analyze the differences between the two using key concepts. You can even raise this issue when you are watching such products with adults. For example, how are the commercial considerations of a film different from a book or a play? What technical differences in storytelling change? What is the difference between the expectations of a film audience and the expectations of a play or book? What are the differences between the values and assumptions of the filmmakers and the values of the original author? How do all these differences affect the explicit or implicit meaning of this product? Asking these questions promotes key concepts of media literacy.
Try to stay up to date and keep up with the latest media developments
You do not have to be a media expert to be media literate and promote it. But in order to be able to successfully promote media literacy, you need to be aware of what children, teens, and young adults are watching, playing, reading, or listening to.
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