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.

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