This is the first part of talk I gave in two schools in Paro – the Karma Academy and Tenzin Higher Secondary Schools. I was invited by two of my former students, who are now teachers, to talk about media literacy – an elective subject recently introduced in Bhutanese schools – and also to motivate our youth towards positive thinking about future.
Social media literacy: managing Facebook
The advent of democracy has put one requirement on us: media literacy. This was because no democratic process would be successful, if people did not understand the mass media. Now we have yet another requirement that has come about so quickly: social media literacy. And unlike the former, where one could possibly chose not to (meaning you can live your life without reading newspapers or watching the TV), social media and technology such as mobile phones do not give that choose. It is there with you, it follows you. The choice is you consume, or be consumed.
Yet one could still choose to consume wisely and in which case it becomes a very a powerful tool that you could shape to benefit you and to serve you. Here are some strategies that I adopt for myself.
- Take a break – I make sure that I don’t get addicted to social media and I do that by taking regular Facebook break – sometimes for a week and sometimes for much longer. I choose to control the social media and not be controlled.
- Refresh your page regularly – Every few years I delete my social media accounts and start fresh. This time around there is no much private information – about where I worked, what I do and when I was born. This way the algorithms developed by Facebook and other marketing sites cannot target me that easily. I invite you to do that. Delete all private information from your pages. Those who know you, know you.
- Beware of predators – Do not post pictures of your siblings or children studying in India or elsewhere. You are putting them at risk. Delete any picture of your baby sister or anyone who is under-aged.
- Turn off the Location information- You are making a moving target of yourself. And do not make running commentaries of your flights. Please leave Paro Airport without posting a picture of yourself posing in front of the plane. If you must post any pictures of your travels, do after you have completed your trip. And do not post pictures of your passport and boarding pass. The bar codes have all your vital information.
- Beware of what you say and what you share – Do not make damaging statements even as a joke to closest friends. Statements like “I hate you, woman”, can later cost you a job at some UN organisations. Showing off a travel to certain regions of the world can be a reason for visa rejections to some countries. Simply sharing a picture or a news story of some controversial world leaders may also be costly too. Be careful what you ‘like’, share or comment.
(To be continued: The second part of the talk is titled Brave New World?)
The following are pictures from Karma Academy, Paro