Reminiscing On My Digital Discoveries.

As the semester comes to an end, I must say farewell to my time spent learning and exploring digital communications.

My finals thoughts about digital communications revolve around what I believe it means to be “digitally literate”.

My generation has grown up in a world where technology is constantly becoming more complex, diverse, and cutting-edge. The digital realm is a space almost everyone has frequented.  I believe having digital literacy means you are knowledgable, experienced, and adept with digital media in today’s society. Glynda Hull, professor of Language and Literacy, Society and Culture states in her definition of digital literacy, “Ours is an age in which technologies for multimedia, multi-modal authorship proliferate, challenging logo centric habits of mind…”

Throughout my journey working with digital communications, I have embraced the perspective of the “inside-looking-out”, rather than the “outside-looking-in”. By this I simply mean that I have experienced an insiders-view on being the creator of the media, instead of being the audience. To be a successful media producer, there are certain elements that build the framework for digital literacy:

  • Self Branding
  • Editing 
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • User experience
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The About page for Ashley’s Appetite. Photo taken by Ashley Trice.

How you choose to brand yourself plays a major role in the development of your digital work. This is how you let your personality shine through your work. You are the designer, the planner, the visionary. You get to decide what you create and how to go about doing so.

For example, in my blog, Ashley’s Appetite, I designed it in a way that felt fun and light-hearted. I wanted my food blog to be friendly, and inviting. All of the food images on my blog were taken by myself. I think is an important aspect of my blog, because it not only shows that I am just focused on food and nutrition, but I also want to be creative and document my love for food.25587274613_63340c8fa0_o

Editing is also a huge aspect of media development and requires a large skill set to do so. There are a plethora of different editing tools found in different multimedia programs that allow you to enhance your work and sharpen it up for your audience. Great quality is admired, whereas poor quality is instantaneously noticed.

In both my personal video and my group video, the majority of the time spent working on the project was devoted to editing. My teammates and I wanted to created the best work we could offer. In order to do so, we were constantly making changes by fine tuning the audio, video and overall quality.

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An insiders-view to the editing process. Image taken by Ashley Trice.

I believe SEO works hand in hand with user experience. Now that I have been a user of media as well as a creator of media, I understand the importance of making sure the media you display is accessible, easy to navigate, simple, and enjoyable. In my blog and website, I made sure to include multiple hyperlinks so that reader/viewers could explore the topics I was addressing. I also included tabs at the top of my sites so my content is clearly organized.

Throughout this course I have gained an abundance of skills that will be beneficial in my future endeavors. I have learned how to use a number of different tools such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Premiere Elements, WordPress, and more. I had experience prior to the course with video and iMovie, however, certain assignments gave me the opportunity to improve my skills further.

Although I am not a communications major, I plan on continuing to advance my skills with digital media and apply it to my passion for health sciences.

 

Who Faces Digital Inequality?

“Digital equality means bringing the world of access and opportunity to every person, no matter where they live.” – Melissa Greene 

Digital inequalities exists among all ages, races, and genders in society.

In Digital Inequalities And Why They Matter, by Robinson et al, this information is presented categorically.

First, age.

As technology continues to evolve, usage is also spreading to younger generations. In today’s society, it is not uncommon to see a child using some form of technology. Parents share information about their families on their social media accounts as a way to stay connected with their friends, and distant relatives. However, depending on a number of different variables, not all families have the same access to certain technologies.

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source: google

Socioeconomic status plays a major role in digital engagement. Individuals faced with economic disadvantages tend to have limited access to resources. Children who grow up deprived of digital use have a harder time in school and struggle later in life when applying for jobs.

The level of digital skills an individual acquires can either be detrimental or advantageous when it comes to entering the work force. Some jobs require experience and knowledge of different programs and devices necessary for particular jobs.

Next, gender.

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source: google

Studies have shown that women have a lower frequency of use, lower intensity of use, and weaker internet skills compared to men. Over the years as technology has advanced, women have been filling the gap between male vs female digital use.

Recent studies have shown that men are more likely to have jobs that involve technology. Also, women are more likely to use technology for communication and social support due to underestimating their skills when they compare themselves to men.

Finally, race and ethnicity.

Studies have shown that disadvantaged minorities in the United States have less social capitol and smaller networks. On a global perspective, digital inequalities come from the division between the Global North and Global South. For example, only 3% of the world’s internet users live in Africa.