Media Literacy Alphabet – Part I

by Salem Saberhagen and Hamster

A – Anonymous

Can anyone on the Internet be anonymous? We can try, by making our accounts private and shielding our accounts – but how anonymous are you really? And how effective is this shield really? Google your own name, for instance, and find out how ML2anonymous you actually are.





B – Buzzfeed

A website that very often crosses people’s Facebook timelines is Buzzfeed. It can be a source of entertainment and procrastination for many. One must take into account, however, that its articles have been suggested to contain barely noticeable advertisments.

C – Censorship

Not everyone is free to use or produce the media they like. In some countries the government prohibits you from visiting certain websites. Facebook, for example, is blocked in a number of countries. This causes people to only receive news from inland sources, and decreases global citizenship and world awareness in general.

D – DownloadingML3

Any media can be readily available to you, if you know where to find it; if you know how to find it. Being able to download something is one thing, but to download the right thing is another. Remember downloading from LimeWire? The material may look trustworthy when you judge it by the title, but before you know it you can be listening to a reggae cover of “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

E – E-mail

As UCR students, we are quite familiar with using e-mail to communicate. How well protected is your e-mail account? Do you know how to detect e-mails with dangerous links in them? Perhaps you have received one before, clicked one, and have been hacked or had a virus as a result.

F – Followers

Have you ever thought about why, sometimes, people from all over the world want to keep track of what you are doing? Does it seem strange, or not at all? Often it becomes a sort of competition – who has more followers? But does having the most followers really make you happy?

G – Google

Google is possibly a main search engine for a lot of us, but we must not forget that it also contains our dear Google Scholar, as well as an infinite amount of other services. However, we also must not forget that Google tracks your search history, and, for example, provides you with advertisements based on that. It also provides you with search results based on your search history.ML4

H – Homepage

Everyone has a homepage: it is the start of your quest on the Internet every time you open up your browser. However, your homepage can be toxic. For instance, if you have Facebook as your homepage, it can be hard to ignore the feeds popping up and focus on your actual reason to use the Internet – to study, for example. Choosing your homepage is actually really important and has a huge influence on your internet behaviour.

I – Instagram

You can use Instagram to post photos about you, your life and your friends and follow your favourite celebrities with Instagram. But where do these photos we post end up? And why do want to see Cara Delevigne pulling weird faces or Miley Cyrus in minimalistic outfits?

J – Junk(mail)

Mail that seems shady ends up in your junk mail box, such as advertisements for products you have never been interested in and are not likely to ever be interested in or messages from people you have never met who want to be your friend. But where does this junk mail come from? Your email address is information that is available for everyone and it can easily be taken advantage of.ML5






K – Kittens (cat videos)

Videos of kittens playing around is a joyous experience for many of us. But apart from making us laugh, is it really valuable to our lives? Can we not use the time we spent on looking at cat videos more efficiently?

L – Literacy

It is very important to be aware of the role media plays in our lives, so that we can be aware of the pitfalls and use our social media more carefully.

M – Media

Media is everywhere. We can use media to share ideas and communicate with people from all around the world. However, we must not forget that the media also uses us, and can manipulate us by only showing one side of the story. Every source can have its own (political) agenda.


Salem Saberhagen is a student who wishes to remain anonymous for this issue of TR

Hamster is a student who wishes to remain anonymous for this issue of TR

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