What it means to be literate has changed greatly in recent decades. Once we thought of this only as meaning we could read and understand print text. With the rise of the technological era, to be literate has taken on new meaning.
Not only must we be able to read, interpret and analyze text in this day and age, but we must be able to do the same on a variety of medias. Such medias include social media platforms, print and digital images, videos, advertisements and more.
Why media literacy is important
Now more than ever before, people can easily learn all types of information about you. On one hand, this can be a great thing. It is easy to make connections and grow your center of influence. On the other hand, this can be a difficult reality. People lose good opportunities because of how they are perceived on social media.
The response of many individuals is “Well, I’ll just stay off social media.” You can hate social media on a personal level, but abandoning it altogether is not a good idea either.
How to conduct yourself on social media
If you refuse to participate in social media, you can give people the impression that you are “behind the times”. And truthfully, if you avoid social media, you will become behind the times. You may be at the point in your life where you do not care, and that is ok. However, consider occasionally logging into the top social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. Don’t limit yourself to one or two media outlets. Know what’s going on around you, in your community and in the world. Be more educated by considering more resources. If nothing else, you will gain conversation topics that are relatable to others.
You don’t have to share a post or image on social media every day. Be careful of what you do share however. It is ok to share a post that is silly, but always make sure your posts are tasteful. A good rule to follow is asking yourself if something could have a negative effect on you professionally before sharing.
Should you take the risk of sharing something that could “stir the pot”, always make sure you analyze your sources carefully. A major component of media literacy is fact checking. Visit the website to determine the credentials of the author or organization and check to see if other sources report the same facts. People often look silly when sharing a satirical article without realizing it isn’t true news.
What media literacy means for you as a business
Another reason you should strive for media literacy is because of the effect it can have on your business. You do not want competitors to destroy your business simply by taking advantage of easy marketing techniques like having a good social media presence.
You should also desire to be media literate because others around you are media literate including your target market and the younger generations. Media literacy is now a common topic in many classrooms. This impacts you because people are learning to analyze information more critically. In other words, people are becoming smarter consumers.
Once upon a time, false advertisement was as common as truthful advertisement if not more so. In today’s society, it is very important that you are careful of how your business is represented in any advertisements. Be critical of text and images as well. Make sure you are not leading people to believe inaccurate information about a product or service.
Without keeping up with social media, you could also inadvertently create an advertisement that is offensive to others. Such a mistake could destroy a business in today’s day and age. It is all too easy for people to share negative press very quickly.
Use various medias to get to know your market and what they are up to. Stay up to par with trends and needs of your customers. Social media will allow you to know when and where you could/should get involved in community activities. Also, be sure to check your messages/comments and respond to customers.
Make use of valuable resources
If the thought of becoming media literate is overwhelming to you, that is understandable. However, if you have the right people behind you, you need not worry. Make sure you hire individuals who are media literate and have a clear understanding of how you want you expect them to conduct themselves and represent your business.
As a marketing and design company, we consider it our responsibility to be media literate as well. We keep up with trending information and technology so that we are a valuable resource to you. If you would like a consultation concerning your professional presence, please give us a call or complete our contact form. We would love to visit with you!