Key Concept 6: #K12Media

26 Oct

As we continue in our special series of #K12Media chats; this week’s discussion will centre on Concept 6 from the 8 Key Concepts of Media Literacy: Media have social and political implications. Last week we discussed Key Concept 5: Media have ideological and value messages. We looked at kids’ TV and began to think about some of the messages and ideologies targeted at this age group through popular children’s television programs.

For a refresher on the concepts:

http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/teachers/media_literacy/key_concept.cfm

6: Media Have Social and Political Implications

Media have many spheres of influence—political and social change can stem from shifts that occur within and because of media. The sensory input from visual and aural media, for example, can influence people’s impressions of leaders, world events, and catastrophes. New media  has just as much of an impact, connecting people in ways not possible before their advent; shifting how people socialize and form connections.

Hot Topic 1: Sports

Professional sports are widely watched and attended. The live event and the televised event are both commercial. They have many of the same sponsors, but the experience will differ between the two because of the immersion of the audience at the stadium, surrounded by the energy of other fans, loud music, and ongoing advertising throughout the game. How does the modern sporting event reflect society’s values? Is it a potential venue for social and political change? How does an event like the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games differ than an NFL or NHL game in social and political messages?   What does it mean to society when people are fans of a particular team—and how do rivalries between teams reflect political or social messages? Certain athletes are turned into heroes, role models, and even “Cinderella” archetypes within the narrative of the sports season—how does this contribute to the messages constructed? What happens to those messages online? Sports fans don’t need to leave the game at the end of the last period or quarter, they can participate in chats, watch on-demand clips and join forums and other sports-centred social media. Are the messages the same across all platforms? What are the similarities/differences and what do those differences affect the ideological/value messages within sports-centred media?

Hot Topic 2: Twitter

What exactly are the social implications of Twitter? Much has been written about the subject, and yet we’re still trying to figure out how and if Twitter has fundamentally changed the social fabric of our interactions. Increasingly, politicians have been taking advantage of the platform that Twitter offers. The president of the United States has even had a Q&A on Twitter. Do these actions and events change the political dialogue? If so, in what ways? Has Twitter affected the outcome of elections local/national? What kind of effect has it had in the political sphere? How does Twitter involve us in concerns such as civil rights issues (GSAs, homophobia, transphobia etc), famines, natural disasters, charitable campaigns, human rights abuses, protest movements, disease? How is Social Media creating spaces for change within the classroom and school setting? What are some of the challenges within our schools because of these media formats?

Hot Topic 3:  Graffiti

Graffiti, vandalism, street art. Whatever it is called, in many cases, this visual medium contains social and political content.  Many dismiss graffiti as destructive or even criminal, yet it is a constant in most cities. Dismissing it is easy, but what about thinking critically about it instead? What are some of the possible social and political implications of graffiti or street art? Many graffiti artists use this form of expression to converse with other street artists, forming a connection based on the messages conveyed through their personal style and a set of images that link to personal, social, and political messages. How does graffiti create social connections? Is there a space for graffiti in more mainstream spaces/places? How would this shift its message? How does graffiti /vandalism change the social dynamic within our schools? From a “new media” perspective, are hackers like Anonymous creating “graffiti” online?