Social Media Literacy Today

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While reading the article Attention, and Other 21st Century Social Media Literacies written by Howard Rheingold, I found the following quote very accurate: “Access to many media empowers only those who know how to use them.” (2010, pg. 14) If people do not know how to use social media it can limit their access to a great variety of information. Like Rheingold, I feel that all five social media literacies are equally important. Attention, participation, collaboration, network awareness, and critical consumption are all intertwined in developing a child’s social media literacy. I also agree that children need to learn how to develop mindfulness about where they put their attention, but I do not think this should be forced. It was a little shocking to me that Harvard Business School and the University of Chicago Law School banned web access in classrooms. I understand that they want students to pay attention to what they are learning, but many times during a class I have used my laptop to look something up I didn’t understand while a professor was lecturing. Just because students are using their laptops during a class does not necessarily mean they are not paying attention to what is going on in the class. I also would have an issue with other students taking notes for me because they could miss something or write in a way that is not clear to me. 

I think that this quote really sums up why people should participate online via social media: “When you participate, you become an active citizen rather than simply a passive consumer of what is sold to you, what is taught to you, and what your government wants you to believe.” (2010, pg. 18) Even though this article was written in 2010, I feel that it is still very accurate today. The only thing I would add would be something about social media etiquette and digital tattoos. Overall, this was a very interesting article to read and I would recommend that anyone, especially those educating children, read it.