A Letter to Help You Understand Media Literacy

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…
  4. 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










Digital Media Convergence: Is it really that important?

So in my textbook Media & Culture: Mass Communication in a digital age, the definition of media convergence is ” a term that media critics and analysis us when describing all the changes that have occurred over the past decade, and are still occurring, in media content and within media companies (referring to the technological merging of content across different media channels– magazine articles, radio programs, songs, TV shows, video games, and movies now available on the Internet through laptops, tablets, and smartphones.)”

Well, in my definition, which involves my entire life, it is a facet that is very important to my day-to-day existence for a very long time.

But like all of the things that I love (cake, cookies, pizza, Dewayne Johnson), too much of it could– ok IS– very bad for you. I wouldn’t call it an addition, it’s just part of my everyday routines like brushing my teeth and sleeping. So if I ever had to be on the negative side of this debate I would point out:

  • It’s the reason for death of too many young people (and the ones who think they’re young) The usage of smartphones and other convergent savvy products have been the main cause of injury or casualty during the task of walking or diving a vehicle. I’ve never known a legitimate reason for answering a tweet, text, or snap immediately after you receive it while performing another task that needs your full attention. Restraining ones self  is something that my fellow millennials and baby millennials, whatever society wants to call them in the future, needs to take advantage of ASAP. Besides, spilling coffee on your favorite suit because you were too busy checking your profile is too embarrassing a story to tell your friends.
  • Dependence on data coverage and Wi-Fi searching  Our cell phone providers have taken advantage of our need for digital media convergence. As of 2 weeks ago, I have run out of cellular data for my smartphone until my next billing cycle begins. This has cause me to postpone my lifelong endeavor of finally achieving world peace to the backburner simply because I need to find a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Hell, my decisions on where I go to eat dinner now depends on if they offer free Wi-Fi. I know call me crazy, but call me the person who “said” that and not the person who “thought” that in their head lol.
  • Losing touch with reality I was recently at a concert, and when the star of the show finally walked on stage, the crowd immediately pulled out their smartphone, selfie sticks, and tablets to get a picture of the singer’s outfit or perhaps posting it on Facebook Live before anyone else can. Don’t get me wrong, I did take a few pictures myself during the show, but majority of the time the camera phone stayed in my pocketbook with little interruption. This is something I wished my fellow concert goers would take advantage of also.

But for my cheerleading side of this debate, digital media convergence is the best thing in the entire world:

  • Resourceful Having access to so much information at one time can be very addictive. When I was a kid, I would ask my mom a random question like “who was our 16th President?” she would point to the complete barely used encyclopedias on the book shelf and tell me to “Look it up.” The question wasn’t dire to me, so I moved on to something else. Nowadays, children only have to ask a robot-voiced female for the answer without any hesitation. And it’s Abraham Lincoln btw.
  • Keeps me up-to-date on current events and entertainment gossip The feinning for the breaking news of who this country is bombing next and what color was Kim Kardashian’s shoes were when she went out for fro-yo, has been an important need in my life. The chime from my iPhone puts me in a temporary euphoria. Basking in the glow of anticipation and excitement. Of course you can say that I’m easily amused, but I’m sure we all wouldn’t be taking this class if you didn’t have the same enjoyment too!
  • Cutting edge technology Months after the release of the Series 2 Apple Watch, we now hear rumors of a Series 3 Apple Watch being released at the end of this year. This is more than enough proof that consumers have a desire for the next big, or new, thing. Take for example my big brother Michael, as tech savvy as he is, he’s always been critical of the gift I give him for Christmas. Tired of the rejection of sweaters and cologne,  I tried to go another direction last year. Instead of my normal gift giving routine of giving him what he needs, I decided to go in the direction of something he always wanted, but didn’t know existed. After much investigation, I purchase a pair of Samsung IconX Bluetooth Fitness Tracker Earbuds. The sheer emotion of his face when he saw what it was reminded me of when Ralphie receive the Red Ryder air rifle in A Christmas Story. I guess digital media convergence can make you feel like a kid again!