The internet has given us many opportunities to get different messages across, may it be a personal, political, or social one. However, many people have taken it the wrong way, using it to attack each other's beliefs. What was once envisioned as a platform for connection and idea-sharing has turned into a haven for destructive criticism and online harm. This is because people on the internet lack one important requirement before delving on the web—media literacy, which is described as a user's ability to interpret media and control their uses wisely. Here are a few steps you can take to becoming a media literate citizen!
- You think before you post.
...or tweet, share, or send! A media literate individual knows how to differentiate the right posts from the wrong ones, and avoids spreading opinions that he or she knows will offend other people. Content such as subtweets, indirects, and rants are a few examples of things that don't belong on public cyberspace.
- You don't hate, you educate.
Let's face it, it's hard to "respect" what other people think when their so-called "opinions" are nasty and morally wrong. However, we don't need to insult them for it in front of everyone via the world wide web. A media literate person knows how to approach these situations in a mature way—by making use of the DM feature!
- You believe in the power of facts.
Just like how a good knight walks into battle with his sword, an internet user's best weapon is his knowledge. Make sure you know the full details about certain issues before sharing your opinion. Do a quick fact-check before clicking send to ensure no miscommunication between you and your readers.
- You foresee the aftermath of your post.
Will it educate others? Will it spark their interest in the said issue? Or will it cause an uproar and become a cause for online negativity? Make sure your post leaves a positive message to your readers that will enable them to think critically and be as involved in issues as you would want them to.
- You think of the people affected.
Bear in mind that the people you type about are humans too—they get hurt when they're talked about. Unless you highlight on their good points, don't use the internet to spread rumors and embarrassing stories about others. What may seem like a funny moment to you may be humiliating for the star of your story.
- If it's not your business, it's not your problem.
As they say, "Rumors are carried by haters and spread by fools." A wise person knows not to meddle in other people's online drama by staying in their own lane. We may be particularly guilty of posting our own opinions about whatever is stirring, but if we're not a part of the story, we shouldn't try to take on a role.
- You encourage others to be media literate, too.
The internet is a game-changer when it comes to communication, information dissemination, and self-expression. You find it sad how people abuse its use. With this, you want to restore its state of glory and remind people how to bring it back to what it once was—an accessible haven for anything the world has to offer.
Know of other points to add to this list? Feel free to suggest by leaving a comment below!