We as people love looking for meaning. I personally delight in finding for patterns and links. Though liking something does not mean we are any good at it. So there is a question I keep asking: What does this mean? Luckily, our brains are wired to look for connections; so we have the access to information to draw conclusions out off. We, people, are well-suited to understand things like subtext. Everyday interactions inform our understanding. And we also learn through past’s experiences except of course if we have little experience with the subject matter such as the digital world. So do we have skill sets to navigate online? And how can we understand messages we get from the digital media?
Reading intent is important part of daily interactions. Particularly on the internet this becomes vitally important. Without conscience thought we use several cues to help us to make sense of our interactions such as expression, context and tone of voice. Some of these signs are no use to us on digital sphere. Online we are challenged to communicate without the shorthand we use offline. There are simply different ways of interacting. Fortunately, some skills can be translated the digital world though not all. So how do we read information from the digital sphere? Especially, the situations which are unique to the internet. There is a good change you already know how to. As users of computerized machines we have built up a lot of knowledge simply by interacting with the machines and its systems. Though that does not make us experts.
As part of a generation which grew up with increasing access to the internet, I learned digital skills was a part of growing up. However, I never learn how to read the digital media purposely. So can someone be literate in digital information and understand its meaning? Sure, they can be, although it cannot be expected of all users. Especially novices such as children are not up to par. And in some sense we are children due to the rapid change and innovation of what has been called the digital revolution. The change went so rapid and I am not sure we are kept up with the new developments. For context, 50 years ago computers we not nearly as prevalent and in the last 15 years social media has become an increasingly important to someone’s social life. That is a very short time in which a new media has significantly changed our interaction with the world. So are we all up to task to deal with the digital elements of modern life?
Personally, I think the answer is not entirely. Digital sphere is now part of our lives, but we are not all literate. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for to acquire a skill set for an ethereal and ever changing space such as the internet. So like actually literacy, we should be taught about virtual space just like are taught how to read and write. These skills are building blocks for more complex skills. Though understanding of the basics does not impart people with how to extract meaning out of all. It does give us the skill set to do so. Just like learning to read gives us access towards understanding the nuances of the written word and its vocabulary. So why is digital literacy not part of our education? Should we not all be conscience of what we are doing online?
All in all, it is wonderful to have access to the digital world. Though does that really matter if we cannot make sense of content? It is not only about what we do but how we do it. Getting to the heart of the situation is important to be effective. And is that not what we all should inspire to? That is why digital literacy is necessary and should be educated. We as participants of the online world should know how to navigate it purposely. Particularly, because of the increasing importance of our online presence on our offline existence. So I urge everyone to take inventory of our own digital literacy and polish it where we can be improved. And if you remember anything from this blog I hope it is that the message is in how we read something.