Chapter 8 Buying into Participatory Culture?

Critical Media Literacy and Social Media

In: Education for Democracy 2.0
Authors:
Carlos Rodríguez-Hoyos
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Elia Fernández-Diaz
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Ignacio Haya Salmón
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Adelina Calvo Salvador
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Abstract

While a central focus of media literacy 1.0 was teaching and learning about the impact of marketing on children and youth, the new literacies of Web 2.0 have distracted us from this central purpose in favour of focusing on social media in general, and specific social media platforms in particular. We contend that utilitarian and production-oriented exigencies of media literacy 2.0 have displaced core analytical assumptions of media literacy 1.0 and this chapter is an attempt to resolve this divide. To facilitate a critical media literacy approach to social media, we propose a framework that facilitates an analysis of the content of social media in order to unravel the marketing models employed. Despite common perspectives that celebrate the ease of media production and participation in social networks, a feature that reflects their democratic and open nature, we believe that critical media literacy continues to require the capacity to identify and analyze one of its less readily apparent dimensions: its commercial orientation. We propose an open framework, adapted to each teaching and learning context involving social media and social networks, focusing on four main dimensions: a formal analysis of the social network structure and its privacy policy; an evaluation of the main models of audience segmentation used by each network; a critical review of specific media content; and an analysis of strategies used to promote personalization and audience immersion in the new marketing models. In short, we believe that a critical media literacy for social media and social networks requires more than an instrumental view of functionalities and affordances, but should involve the development of more complex analyses of the commercial implications of social media and the management of user generated data.

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