Category Archives: social media

Here’s to a socially conscious new year: Six simple resolutions for 2016

by Kathryn Levy, MSW

 

 

 

January is often considered a time to start anew; to change things from the previous year and look at those areas where we can improve. Few among us do not make at least one resolution moving into the new year, whether or not we express them vocally. Better health resolutions, whether it be fitness or weight-based, is common. Spending less and minimizing at home also seem to be pledges many take. But what if this year we all take some time to become more socially conscious? Instead of focusing solely on ourselves, we take on a resolution that affects not only one person, but also those around us?

 

Being socially conscious is a sort of social awareness. Instead of focusing on the individual, we develop empathy and responsibility for the problems and injustices that exist within a society. It means paying attention to things that  we have overlooked, on purpose or not, in order to gain a better understanding of the world beyond ourselves.

 

 

image: John Hain Creative Commons CC0 1.0

image: John Hain Creative Commons CC0 1.0

 

 

If we resolve to be more socially conscious, how does one go about doing that? Of course, saying “I’m being socially conscious” is not enough (though a good start). Fear not! Below are six simple ways anyone can be more socially conscious. Committing to even one of these is a great way to step into 2016!

 

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The Age of #DigitalLiteracy and the Media Revolution

By Pat Shelly

 

Where do you get most of your news of the world?
What are skills needed for digital literacy?
Do you use social media for any part of your school or professional work?
Will universal digital literacy lead to world peace?

 

 

The Age of Digital Literacy is Now

 

The University at Buffalo observed the 2016 International Education Week with lectures, film, student events, exhibits and a keynote: “The Media Revolution: What it Means for You” by Geneva Overholser.

 

She has worked as an editor, ombudsperson, journalist at many top papers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. She lived in and wrote from Paris and Kinshasa over a period of five years.

 

Overholser spoke of the radical change from traditional, or “legacy” media – newspapers, radio, network television, cable TV – to new media technologies. These include social networking, instant messaging, blogs (coined from “web” and “log”), internet video (YouTube), digital media sites (Vice, Vox, Gawker), radio podcasts, political news outlets (Politico, Democracy Now!), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr). All are accessible from the palm of the hand through smart phones and other mobile devices.

 

The cost of such technology is becoming less and less expensive. One survey she cited found that Africa is leading the world in the rate of  adoption of mobile internet use.

 

Photo credit: Kainan Guo, The Spectrum

Photo credit: Kainan Guo, The Spectrum

Ms. Overholser spoke to the necessity of being literate in this new realm of media. “[N]ow, thanks to new technology, EVERYBODY owns a press.” We are our own reporter, editor, and publisher. “… thanks to social media, each of us has a limitless, unmediated space for communicating with one another.”
We both consume and contribute to this public space.

 

 

 

 

What’s in your diet?

Living in the digital age also means maintaining an healthy diet while consuming media, and avoiding too much of the media junk food. This diet comes from “countless numbers of sources – a cacophony of information that runs the gamut from useless to reliable, from base to inspiriting.” She warned that anything anonymous lacks accountability. Regulating one’s diet has another dimension: sometimes we need to refrain from consuming toxic elements.

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The big picture: Infographics for social work

by Pat Shelly

We’ve all heard the saying:

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

splashes of paint in many colors erupting against a black background

image: TerrellCotton.com

Aristotle said, “The soul never thinks without a picture.”

Pictures can inform and inspire us.

One way to brighten and broaden the view of social work is through infographics.

An infographic is a visual representation of information or data. It combines data and design in a format that is easy to share and to understand.

Chart showing circles overlapping withthe elements of a good infographic: Data, Design, Story, Sharability

image: Daniel Zeevi – Dashburst

Given the role of technology and the internet in knowledge-production and dissemination, this educational tool is especially useful today.

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