#7: skeptical interaction with the digital is critical for democracy

February 19, 2017

Today’s media consumer cannot trust the internet, its news, or networks—fake or otherwise. Given the wretched state of today’s internet, skeptical, self-aware interaction with digital data is a critical foundation for maintaining democracy.

A self-aware attention to the current conditions of the internet must become a most important self-evident truth to move forward. A very serious project of digital media literacy is critical for our democracy, and is a crucial place where scholars and our students, regardless of our fields, can make pivotal contributions. As citizens, we need to understand how the internet works—technologically, financially, legally, socially. We scholars and educators need to teach and learn how to better read digital media, to understand who makes it, owns it, and circulates it. We need to ask how and why it is structured and visualized as it is, and what truths and mistruths it states. We need to learn how and where to demand real and better news. We need to produce context for the rudderless fragments of information that circulate online, as well as the forums where we can share our findings, activities, and practices.

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