Employability Skills For The Future Part 6: New Media Literacy

By Andrew Hopkins

Our previous understanding of the definition of computer literacy is rapidly becoming obsolete. We no longer have to learn to operate one computer and one work-based application to do our jobs or to forge a successful career.

Understanding a plethora of digital media forms is now the backbone of computer literacy. These media forms include (but are not limited to) blogging, social media, online publications, digital games, virtual reality and more.

The future of employability means that we will all need to have a reasonable level of new media literacy skills. Doing so means that the forthcoming workforce can conveniently transact with customers using any of these new media platforms. So, if you are looking for a new role, a new career or are wanting to up-skill to enhance your professional capabilities, then new media literacy is not something you should overlook.

What is new media literacy?

Historically ‘literacy’ has always referred to a person’s ability to read and write, but with technology rapidly changing the way in which we are receiving and digesting information, the definition of ‘literacy’ is changing too.

Simply put, media literacy comprises of a person’s ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they are sending and receiving.

We are continuously open to a wide array of media sources providing us with data and information. There are the traditional methods such as TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines. More predominantly we now have text messages, memes, viral videos, social media, video games and more. However, all media is bound by one key element: someone created it, and it was created for a reason.

Understanding that reason is the core of media literacy.

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How can you improve your media literacy skills?

The current digital age has made it possible for most people to create media. The problem with this is that we can not always know who made something, why they made something and whether the source of information is credible. This means that enhancing your media literacy skills can be difficult, but not impossible. Nevertheless, media literacy is an integral skill for future employment.

With the amount of media that bombards us every day, it can be difficult to be in control of what information our brains absorb. However, by strengthening our analytical and evaluative media literacy skills we can remain vigilant and attentive.

There are 6 key questions that we should ask ourselves when engaging with any type of media:

  1. Who created this message? Was it a company or individual?
  2. Why did they make it? Was it informative (such as news based)? Was it to influence you or change your mind on something?
  3. Who was the message aimed at? Kids / adults / girls / boys etc.
  4. What techniques are being used to make the message credible or believable?
  5. What details were left out and why?
  6. How did the message make you feel?

Try asking yourself these questions when looking at a social media post or practice these on an article you suspect may be ‘fake news’.

How is new media literacy an essential skill for future employment?

The developments in technology and automation means that we are increasingly carrying out our daily lives from behind screens. Therefore, more businesses are searching for prospective employees who can communicate and transact business through new media platforms.

Having well-honed new media skills means that employees can:

If you’re interested in developing your new media literacy skills or highlighting your current abilities on your CV or within an application, then please contact Whitehead Ross for more information and guidance

Have a question? Get in touch