Media Literacy

Critical thinking in the age of social media: a reading list

  • Posted on: 9 June 2020
  • By: Michelle Brightwell

Hello. My name is Michelle, and if you know me at all, you know that media, digital, and information literacy is passion of mine. I would love to teach the world how to critically consume the media they choose, and to recognize bias and unfairness in what they consume. If just a small percentage of people who use social media would take the time to vet that tweet before it’s re-tweeted, or think twice before sharing a scathing image or meme on Facebook that vilifies someone they don’t agree with, we could fight back against the spread of misinformation. This is the epitome of “love your neighbor”. It is not helpful to spread conspiracy theories or random text-posts just because it’s “interesting to think about” or “food for thought”.

What actually is research?

  • Posted on: 5 June 2020
  • By: Michelle Brightwell

One of the many pitfalls in knowledge as result of the Internet is the watering down of the term “research”.

You can look at the comments of any Facebook post regarding COVID-19, protestors, vaccines, sunscreen, and it’s littered with calls to “do your own research!”

Research has a very specific meaning, and that does not mean “here’s information that backs up what I already believe”.

Why we're prone to believe conspiracy theories

  • Posted on: 28 May 2020
  • By: Michelle Brightwell

This post is part of a series on social media and media literacy.  To see all of our media literacy related posts, please click here.

In a previous post about information overload and it’s issues, we discussed how when our brains are overloaded, it’s hard to decide what’s real and what’s not on a good day. So now, when we’ve been overwhelmed for months with new information every day, it’s easy to fall into common media traps.

How can you tell if a source is trustworthy on the internet?

  • Posted on: 14 May 2020
  • By: Michelle Brightwell

It is easy and cheap to obtain a web address and to create a website to promote any information or product you wish. There are many satirical websites on the web, and some are more obviously satire than others. Websites that create satirical, fake, or embellished content make money every time someone visits their page and the ads load, so the goal of these websites is to get as many people to click as possible. They use many different tricks to convince people to click, including outlandish or too good to be true headlines, unflattering imagery of a polarizing political figure or celebrity, click-bait wording like “facts the media doesn’t want you to know!” or “you won’t believe what happens next!”. Sometimes they try to spoof the name and look of an official website to trick you into thinking it’s a trustworthy source.

Why Do I See What I See in my Facebook Feed?

  • Posted on: 28 April 2020
  • By: Michelle Brightwell

Picture this: you’re scrolling Facebook on your device and suddenly you see a news story pop up with a headline that catches your eye. The channel isn’t local to you, and you know you’ve never seen that page before. It’s possible that above the news story, Facebook has let you know that a former coworker has commented on the news story, and then Facebook shows you the comment your coworker left.

You scroll by, but you read the headline, and maybe even a little blurb and your coworker’s comment.

You scroll past a meme about alcohol consumption during social distancing. You scroll past a meme about homeschooling kids. You scroll past a scathing political meme.

Misinformation, Social Media, and You

  • Posted on: 8 April 2020
  • By: Michelle Brightwell

This is the first post in a series about media literacy. What is media literacy? It’s the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using information in all forms. (source

We’re all doing our part to social distance and to flatten the curve by staying home when we can, and for many of us, that means spending more time on social media to keep ourselves connected to our friends and loved ones. With the increased usage of social media across all platforms during this time, information, both good and bad, can spread incredibly fast, hitting thousands, even millions, of social media feeds within hours.

More Trusted Resources for Information on COVID-19

  • Posted on: 5 April 2020
  • By: Michelle Brightwell

COVID-19 is impacting all of us in different ways. The library provides an easy way for you to get reliable and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. See below for a list of resources to keep you informed.

To read the Library’s initial post regarding information about COVID-19, please click here. (Please note that the links will provide the most up-to-date information).

For global information about COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has created this webpage for their most up-to-date information.