Essay continued

Hi and welcome to the 2nd part of my essay, if you’re lost and have found your way here first, click here to read the first part.

According to Kjeld Schmidt, ‘the notion of tacit knowledge is a conceptual muddle that mystified the very concept of practical knowledge’, which is true in a sense, we can’t really define what it means to do something, to be experienced in doing something. Placed in the context of network literacy, how can we really explain what it means to open up a link, scroll through, and to be able to understand what a ‘bad site’ looks like? Trying to explain this explicitly to an individual who has no experience in using a computer or browsing the internet, hence older people who weren’t around when the internet was first placed into production, will probably leave them confused. On this matter, when it comes to age, it can be argued that tacit and explicit knowledge play a vital role in providing new informative knowledge which may or may not help to become network literate, for example, a research conducted by Chansoo Park, IIan Vertinsky and Manuel Becerra found that the ‘transfer of tacit knowledge had a significant impact on the performance of both young and mature individuals while the transfer of explicit knowledge only has a significant effect on the performance of mature individuals’. This placed in the context of today’s modern technological era, especially with the wide usage of the world wide web, it’s easy to tell how hard it is to teach an elderly person how to become network literate. Mainly the reason for this is because they aren’t used to it, they were brought up in a world where the only place you could find information was in libraries and books, the only place where you could seek our social gratification is through mail, phone or even face to face contact and further the only way they could purchase, seek entertainment and do a whole lot of other things is through a physical interaction between each other, unlike this technological era. To just whip out a laptop and give it to them saying that they can buy all their groceries here, they can speak to all their relatives here and so forth would just leave them asking questions because they’re totally unfamiliar with the concept of moving a cursor to direct them. Compare this to how children are brought up nowadays, they’re exposed constantly to things such as computers, phones, gaming consoles, it’s only natural that after seeing it around so much they will eventually pick it up and experiment, becoming more and more network literate as they proceed through the massive entanglement of links online. Just to give you an idea of how much tacit knowledge becomes a necessity for not only just becoming network literate but also a whole variety of things, take a look at the image below.

Overall, it becomes clear that although explicit knowledge helps form the foundations for the things we begin to experiment with, it’s the nature of tacit knowledge that forms the basis for learning through doing, experiencing what it means to do things, in the context of this essay however, what it means to become network literate, there are things online we can’t always explain and document, we have to be able to pick up and recognize things for ourselves, to create an innate sense of understanding about how to go about accessing and exploring this vast web of information, entertainment and gratification. Although some may be more literate than others, in a sense, the majority of individuals in first world countries today are network literate, even if it’s just understanding how to use certain things online, others may have extensive knowledge of how to create a link and how to code a website, but ultimately these things are taught through experience rather than explicitly learning.

References can be found here.


Park, C. Vertinsky, I. Becerra, M. (2014) ‘Transfers of tacit vs. explicit knowledge and performance in international joint ventures: The role of age’ in International business review (online), available at, Accessed: 11th Oct 2014.

Schmidt, K. (2012) ‘The trouble with tacit knowledge’ in Computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), Vol. 21(2), Springer Netherlands, pp.163-225

Brendan, D. (1997),”Conceptual models for network literacy”, The Electronic Library, Vol. 15 Iss 5, pp. 363 – 368

Miles, A. (2007) ‘Network Literacy: The new Path to Knowledge’ in Screen Education, Issue 45, pp.24-30.


The First Part of my Multi-Media Essay – What does it mean to be network literate?

Growing up we as humans tend to find that as we grow older, we begin to learn language from our parents from the very first words we speak, ‘mum’ or ‘dad’. However, despite language being an essential part of our lives, in this technological day and age we’re faced with a certain responsibility of becoming what’s called ‘network literate’. Being network literate can be difficult for those who aren’t that in touch with technology, to be able to become self aware and confident when browsing the huge thing that is the world wide web. One of the key reasons why it can be quite difficult to become network literate is the fact that this sort of knowledge can’t explicitly be passed down verbally to individuals. Sure parents these days who bring up their children within this technological age are more likely to allow them access to the web via smart phone or personal computer, and sure these parents may typically always lecture these children about ‘not going into bad sites’ etc. But will that really stop them? Probably if there’s a parental restriction lock on certain sites that prevent them from doing so, but essentially these kids who are brought up with access to the web are going to find themselves browsing through one naughty site to another. Which brings me to my next point, how to essentially become network literate isn’t necessarily through explicit knowledge passed down from teachers and parents, but rather tacit knowledge undertaken by the individual themselves – experience, after exploring what this massive entanglement of links called the web throughout their lives they become more and more self-aware of what they’re clicking into, they begin to know what to search for and what to avoid.

So in the first symposium, Adrian Miles makes a note of two types of knowledge, explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. In short, explicit knowledge is knowledge that is passed down from person to person in a linear fashion, mostly verbally but can also be obtained through reading. Tacit knowledge however refers to the knowledge that is obtained through doing, through experience such as playing an instrument, being able to essentially train your fingers to move swiftly to reach certain notes. Now these two types of knowledge can be argued whether one is better than the other, but in reality it depends on the context in which this knowledge is applied. In this case, I believe to successfully become network literate requires more tacit knowledge than explicit knowledge. To delve into reasons why tacit knowledge may be better in terms of necessity when becoming network literate, first we may need to understand a bit more about how tacit knowledge works. Tacit knowledge when transferred can be a little messy, however the best way to transfer knowledge like this is probably to do something and have another person watch. For example, when you’re given a job that requires you to do a little manual labor, if you have no experience, you usually ask how to do it and as a result, an experienced worker will show you step by step, expecting you to follow and do the same to build up your ‘feel’ towards doing this certain job. Even language can be tacit, whilst growing up learning language is mostly explicit, we hear it used in certain contexts which influences us as a child to do the same, take for instance, swearing and ‘bad words’, what makes them bad? Michael Stevens over at Vsauce explores this and a video can be found below.

Essentially what makes a word bad can be argued that it depends on the context it’s said in – frustration, annoyance, pain, depression – they’re all negative emotions that influence us to use these words as a way of releasing and venting our negative emotions, and since negative stuff tends to immediately spark a ‘bad effect’ in our minds, it’s quite simple to see how words like these can also be considered ‘bad’. That concludes this first part, the second part will be here so proceed at your own pace.