Jenkins states over the past several decades that media literacy advocates have called on schools to, “foster a critical understanding of media as one of the most powerful social, economic, political, and cultural institutions of our era.” He goes on to say that these skills are essential. New Media literacies should be viewed as social skills, as a way of interacting within a larger community, and not simply an individualized skills to be used for personal expression. Along these same lines, McLuhan states that privacy doesn’t have the same meaning as it did in previous time, and that was from an interview he did in 1966.
We are at a time in our cultural where individuals need to be trained on the use of media and technology. Not just how to use it, but when. Understanding the use of media literacy is not just necessary for younger people and children, but adults as well. I have heard and read much discussion on one’s Freedom of Speech. True, this is a Constitutional right in order to be able to have a say. There are times, that this can bring repercussions though.
In Trottman’s article, she discusses workers being fired for bad-mouthing their employers on social media sites. Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers are allowed to complain about pay, safety and other working conditions. The article goes on to describe one firing where a woman called her boss a “scumbag” and an employee of BMW being fired for voicing his displeasure in an upcoming event for the dealership.
Just in this past week, there was an article about a girls’ basketball coach from Idaho. She posted a photo on Facebook of she and her fiancé (who is also a coach at the same school). In the photo, they are both in their bathing suits and he is seen grabbing her chest. It was on Facebook for less than a day and she took it down. However, as we all know, once the digital trail has been created, one may not know who sees it. Someone had seen the photo and submitted it to the school. The school fired her on the basis they felt the photo was inappropriate to have been shared on Facebook. Oddly, her fiancé kept his coaching position, which is a totally other issue. McLuhan states that when you put a new medium into play in a given population, all sensory gets shifted and had an affect on the population’s outlook and attitude. Frankly, the photo was foolishly shared, but not a fireable offense. It is quite obvious that individuals police social media activity.
It’s really difficult to figure out who is responsible for the education of critical media literacy. As I mention above, this is something that is needed for children as well as adults. Even with privacy settings in place, electronic trails are created.
Allen, S. Idaho High School Fires Coach for Facebook Photo of Boyfriend Grabbing Her Chest. USAToday (accessed November 9, 2013): http://www.usatodayhss.com/news/article/idaho-high-school-fires-coach-after-she-posts-a-photo-of-boyfriend-grabbing-her-chest
Daily Mail Reporters. The Facebook photo of a high school basketball coach and her fiancé that got her fired (because he touched her boob). Mail Online (accessed November 9, 2013).
McLuhan, M. (1966). TV as an involving medium. http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com/television/1966-tv-as-an-involving-medium.php
McLuhan, M. (1968). Privacy in the electric age. http://marshallmcluhanspeaks.com/prophecies/1968-privacy-in-the-electric-age.php
Trottman, M. (2011) For Angry Employees, Legal Cover for Rants. The Wall Street Journal. (accessed November 9, 2013):