1. Social media and Media Education in the 2000s
Media Education can be described quite enlightening and protecting sector in the education field. Social media is seen as a lurking, horrible threat, which could make an inexperienced follower’s worldview easily distorted. The victim of social porn is usually thought of as a helpless, growing child, but recently we have begun to pay more attention to the media education of adults too. The subject is more and more on show in public debate and it’s dealt with many decrees of legal system and educational institutions.
The concept of ‘Media Education’ became established in Finland in 2000s as a result of the rapid development and spread of information technology. The field of social media grew exponentially along the breakthrough of the Internet and the mass media became even more major opinion leader in all over the world. Media studies became, as a reaction, growingly important part of the curriculum and critical research of the social media begun to develop in the wake of the general information revolution. The research field of Media Education is multi-oriented by the research done in sociology, social psychology, psychology and economics.
Digital media is here to stay and there’s no turning back. It plays an increasingly larger part in studying and teaching in the technologized school world, and occurs in the future as an apparentally active force in everyday life. The development emphasizes the importance of knowing how to use various different instruments and tools for being able to observe the media. The first job of Media Education is to teach the correct and purposive ways of using digital tools properly, which may prove challenging, especially for the older generation in the fast advancing technological scene.
Taking part in the media world and conversations makes it possible to develop one’s skills of proper critical interpreting of the daily news stream. Information overload is in the presence of modern man’s daily life just through a click away by a number of different technological instruments. The qualitative rating of the information may sometimes turn out challenging, when drowning in the news flood. Market economy has great influence in the mass media guiding children and young people’s social and emotional development, as well as their aesthetic and ethical world-view, through visual and ideal information coverage. Mass media can be considered today as some kind of tool for market, or at least the live in close symbiosis. A certain amount of criticism of such communication and brand awareness are parts of Media Education, and probably necessary for everyone living in the very advertising-filled cities.
3. Media of Ideas
Competition in today’s social media culminates, perhaps the most flagrant, in the websites of tabloid magazines. The news value of the information is often quite secondary in relation to the intended attention-seeking and provocative wording and misleading headlines. The only significant factor in the publisher’s favor is how many cliques the link will get and the populist publications are often politically incorrect. On the other hand, such phenomena cause reactions and public debate and are thus likely to keep the critical pressure and conversation on the media on. The earth is turning globally networked entity. Media guides our way to build our understanding of reality showing ideals and life styles and thereby socializes us into the everyday culture. The Internet provides us an incredible amount of more and less correct information, which makes critical media literacy more and more important when it comes to categorizing information in mind. Text that is dressed in influential and attractively good spelling may just be incorrect pseudoscience in contents, which is a growing threat in the world of open forums and chat rooms.
Especially young persons’ identity construction is partially shifted to the Internet’s social networks, such as various photo galleries and Facebook. “The Internet Me” has become a new reflection on person’s personality into the cyberspace. Internet persona can reflect on people’s personal conception of one’s thoughts about one’s ‘ideal self’ and how one would like to be seen in the public picture. This phenomenon is common especially in the young women’s blog culture, which is strongly saturated by the ideals and life styles from the mass media. The phenomenon is relatively recent, and very interesting research subject in the near future, with it’s psychological affects. Social networks have a huge and growing part of the social interaction of the new generation, which creates even stronger general dependence on the network in the everyday life.
4. Future visions
I would see the predictable development of Media Education bearing fruit and modifying the contents of mass media better and more qualitative by it’s nature in the long run. In the future, an important and challenging task is to try to provide the appropriate media skills for the children in their early childhood, as the surrounding field of media seems to affect younger and younger people’s lives. Media technologies and services evolve so rapidly that even the experts have to struggle to keep up with the trends. The fast development demands more and more self-guidance from the mass, enlightened and active parents and interaction between the generations. Media Education should evolve in an immediate relation with the time and trends, and try to cheer the future media creators into qualitative and ethical media producing.