To the Freshmen Women of Syracuse University:
Congratulations on completing your first year of college! Take it from me, as a previous Freshmen of Undergrad (and the year that was is not that important), adapting to your new surroundings have made you more prepared to handle life in the real world. Making hard decisions, like deciding to study over going to that party, is only the beginning in your young lives.
But something you may not have picked up on is the importance of media literacy and being aware that it is something that will be a major part of you life for the rest of your life.
What is media literacy? I’m glad you asked! Media literacy is the amount of media that you are consuming on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Social media is where we now get our news and information from, but that old saying “Don’t believe everything that you see on the Internet,” is true.
Take for example our now POTUS and his army of “yes” men and women. Midway through his campaign, he did mention several times that the media is spinning “Fake News” and brainwashing his constituents for thinking he’s an untrustworthy guy. With the exception of which media outlets he has accused, he was right. There are several websites that have to goal of spreading lies and calling it “news.”
Don’t worry, I’ll help you maneuver through the good with the bad, and make sure you are getting the right information every time you scan through your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
- Weed out the real news from the gossip news: Many websites, like World Star Hip Hop, The Thirty-Mile Zone( TMZ), and Media Takeout sometimes have true information and but most times do not. These sites are in the business of making money not giving real information. If you have to look at these sites, make sure you check a more reliable site that you trust and feel comfortable with to give you the honest truth about you favorite celebrities.
- If it has obvious grammatical errors, leave the site immediately: There is an unfortunate reality that people, from some foreign countries, plant websites that purposely spreads fake political and entertainment stories throughout the world wide web. The way to figure out one is by reading the headline and the first couple of sentences in the story. If there are any misspelled words or missing punctuation marks, 10 times out of 10 it’s a fake website.
- Focus on your education: Young ladies, social media is a very time consuming past time. Research has shown, the average person age 18-34 years of age spends over 3.8 hours a day rummaging through social networking sites from their computers, tablets, and smartphones. PLEASE take my advice and only restrict yourself to a few hours a day and spend your time doing real life activities, like going to class and volunteering. And finally…
- Oversharing is an addiction: If you don’t feel comfortable with your would be post being shown to you Dad from his fellow co-workers, friends, or another family members, and blindsiding him in embarrassment, DON’T POST IT.
I know I might be sounding like an over protective mother, but think of me as a really wise, yet younger, auntie. Being literate about social media will help you in the long run and help you be a well-rounded person for the rest of your life. If you ever need, I’m a short email or instant message away!
Your friend from preventing you from regret down the road,
Allison Nicole Joyner