"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Digital Literacy: Social and Academic

     I enjoy digital literacy.  I pay bills on-line, I manage my academic blog, I own a Kindle, and I regularly e-mail friends and family.  What I don’t do is tweet or “friend” people.  For years I have weighed the value of joining social media for purely social reasons.  When my youngest child went to college, I figured I would “join” her socially.  She graduated last month without me lurking.  When a dear, true friend moved to Cairo, Egypt to teach, I figured I would finally “join”.  I didn’t.  She came back to visit this past weekend, a year away from each other, and I was still the one she turned to, asking for a little party to see everyone (that she saw on Facebook).  After reading the article JG shared this week, I even pondered experimenting by “joining”.  Yet, I’m still on the fence.  I think I have concluded one thing; I’m not against social digital media.  I’m actually glad people enjoy it.

    I guess my modified version of social media is a family e-mail that I send once a month to the closest relatives.  They all respond, and their always glad I started it or so they say.  We only see each other once each year, so we can keep in touch this way.  Many of them have “joined”, and sometimes I miss out on pictures I guess.  I guess I’d have more friends if I “joined”, but that might also change my definition of friend.  I enjoy lunch out with my friends, but I also see this is sometimes risky.  In many ways I think we like to avoid risks.  Maybe someone won’t answer when I call them on the phone, caller ID allows me to screen who I want to talk to when.  Chatting with someone on-line might be less risky, but then I don’t really want to chat with my friends – I want to see them, interact and know what they are thinking, as much as what they are saying.  Again, I’m not against social digital media, it’s just not my chosen form of interaction.

     Time might be a factor in my decision too.  I don’t want to be tempted to access something when I’m standing in line waiting – It might make me less angry that I am waiting, but then I am waiting for a human interaction.  Paying my bills anymore, doesn't even require me to stand in line for stamps.  That statement proves I’m not physically writing letters either – so maybe some part of my literacy skills are suffering by not joining socially.   Sometimes when I attend joyful (name changed to protect the innocent) hour after work on Fridays, people walk in knowing what others have done all week because they are connected.  I do at times feel left out, and I sit and think “maybe I should just join”.  When I get home, I’m over that thought because I have just connected socially with a fun group of people.  Now, I’m home with family and I want to connect with them, not with the internet. 

      Still, I’m not against this stuff.  This blog right now allows me to interact socially with my peers, but then am I doing this for academic reasons?  I’m not sure; maybe I’m just weighing things in print, an act of social literacy, because it is an academic expectation.   Perhaps I’m proving another author correct, learners use literacy in two complementary ways, socially and academically.  I’m feeling “squishy” to steal another author’s term.  Maybe social digital media is in my present after all.  Maybe when my kids get married I’ll officially “join”.


  1. Hi Lisa,
    Years ago almost seven now, I decided to take the plunge and join FB. I had many misgivings and suspicions about this new social media platform. Basically, I wanted to keep my privacy and also try to reach out to old HS classmates within an environment where I felt I had some control. Once I got my feet wet and decide “how” I wanted to use FB, by confidence level with it grew and I found myself exploring more with it. For me “knowledge is power”. I must know all the ins and outs of whatever I am using or so that I can feel more in control (a relative term, I know). I also aware that by making a conscious decision to leave a “digital footprint”, I’ve made myself vulnerable in an environment that we are still learning. Yet, my understanding of FB and many other social platforms and digital tools that I use now help me to feel like I am a part of what is going on, (on my own terms) to the best of my ability. I will do what I can to never stop learning about it, work with it, and use it to open doors for more ways of being connected in any arena that I move through. I loved your post!

  2. Lisa & JG - I'm reading your post and comment and realize one of the things I enjoy about social media, FB in particular, is the opposite of what you both describe. For me, it's the unknown and the unexpected that draw me in. The unexpected 'friend request' or 'like' or comment from someone can make my boring day more exciting. Thx for sharing.

  3. Hi Susan, I think you misunderstood my point about how I choose to use social media. I am always excited to learn, to discover, and be surprised, by what digital platforms can do, and how they can be used and adapted to the user. However, there is a "how to" with these platforms - the mechanisms behind the scenes, that interests me as well. Understanding how these platforms run and how I can cater them to fit my needs is essential for me to feel comfortable when I use them. *Anything unknown or unfamiliar brings a level of discomfort to the user until they begin to explore and adapt it and themselves to each other, (or not). ;-)

  4. Right now I am reading all of your interesting comments on blogger, while responding to text messages from a student in DC and waiting for my daughter to call from California. How much more social media can I add to my life? I do think that to facebook or not to facebook is a great divide of a certain demographic. It is truly a litmus test of some sort I think (with no wrong answers, just some discursive walls that divide us).
    But teeny boppers are moving as fast as they can into new social media that is obsolete by the time I even know its out there. Talk about the great divide.... :)


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.