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Communication in the 21st Century

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Vanessa Alejandre

English 201


February 18 2016

Communication in the 21st Century

        Going back 40 years from today what would people use as their main source of communication? Phone calls, visit or letters, right? Well that doesn’t really apply to us anymore. If we want to get ahold of someone we are likely to send them a message through Facebook (a social application), or send an email, but even now emails are becoming a less popular source of communication. What have been the effects of these drastic changes though? Author Elizabeth Daley talks about similar topics in her essay “Expanding the Concept of Literacy.”

        Going to public places such as a grocery store in 2016 upsets me a lot because you can visibly see the effects that media has had on us; a mother will be filling the shopping cart with groceries while her kid is in the shopping cart with his/her eyes glued to a screen. This doesn’t seem right to me, a kid should learn the values of paper text as well as visuals through things such as illustrated children books. I understand that people like to go with the flow and like to follow trends such as creating an account for the newest “hot” app of the moment. I personally have a Facebook and Instagram account but I got them not too long ago. They’re fun because you can post thoughts, opinions, photographs and talk to people or they serve as a distraction if you feel bored, but the fun ends when apps like these become an addiction.

        Visual literacy is the ability to read, write, and respond to and interpret visual images. I think it’s important that all of us know what an image is portraying or trying to say but only to that extent. When we’re using a form of social media such as Facebook or Instagram we come across all these images, it really isn’t a form of visual literacy though, we are scrolling through images all day but don’t know the meaning or purpose behind them because those apps were not made for the purpose of teaching us anything. Instead, we should read more photo essays and spend more time looking at meaningful photos and the meanings behind them.

        Daley says “The current situation is further complicated by the widespread assumption that students already have an adequate knowledge of screen language and multimedia. No doubt, young people today have less fear of the computer and more technical ability with software for rich media; multimedia is indeed their everyday language… (5).” Daley is saying that media has become an issue due to the assumption that kids grow up learning how to read images, and that kids nowadays are more comfortable working a computer and using it’s complex software than a book; I really agree with her because as a student in grade school I was never taught visual literacy, the teachers main focus was always on how well and fast I could read text. I think that this has a lot to contribute to our current situation, if we had all been taught the values of images we might not have our eyes glued to a bright screen but a book instead.

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