Media literacy is the ability to point out different media types and understand the messages they’re sending. It helps us understand the media’s role in our society and teaches us to ask critical questions. Media literacy provides the tools that enable us to determine for ourselves which sources are reliable and how we want to use them. You should be aware of five key concepts of media literacy if you want to become media literate.
Media Messages are Constructed
First, it’s essential to understand that all media messages are constructed. To say that all media messages are built means that someone—a single person or a group of people—produced them, and they had some intention when constructing their message.
Depending on their purpose, they’ll use different approaches for constructing their message. Realizing that all media messages are constructed will make you more aware of the messages you consume and the ones you create.
Media Platforms Use Creative Language with Their own Rules
Comprehending media’s grammar, syntax, and metaphors will help you be less susceptible to manipulation. By learning to identify these subtleties, you’ll become a more intelligent consumer of media messages who knows how to interpret them independently.
People Experience Media Differently
Differences in age, gender, education, cultural upbringing, sexual orientation, and several other factors can mean different interpretations of the same content.
And if you’re the one generating the media, it’s essential to keep this in mind because different audience members might respond differently to your message.
Media Have Distinct Values and Perspectives
Because media messages are constructed, they are embedded with the creator’s values and point of view. In film and literature, the choice of characters (their age, race, sex, etc.), setting, and conflicts reflect who and what is essential to the person or people creating the story. In any case, the people behind the media will impact the final message that the consumer receives.
Many Messages are Developed to Gain Profit and Power
You’ve probably noticed that many newspapers, magazines, websites, and television programs are sprinkled with ads all over the place. Because these platforms make money from advertisements, some of their content may be adjusted to please their advertisers and better reflect their views. Other incentives might include increased website traffic or more subscribers. Being aware of this will help you make better-informed decisions about what you click “Buy Now” for and what you post.
The digital age has made it easy for anyone to create media. With so much information and media consumed daily, media literacy is more important now than ever.