“Public opinion can be influential, the media can be influential.” — Noam Chomsky
By Alestra Menendez
Media is essentially a means of communication. The exciting thing about media in the 21st century is that it is in the hands of the beholder, as opposed to being transmitted by few to the masses, as is the case with traditional news, television and radio.
Through access to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or other social media, we can instantaneously broadcast our ideas through the written word, still images or video. Depending upon the individual, we may communicate with a few dozen friends or followers, or to an audience of millions.
As Chomsky put forth, the public has a great deal of influence. This is particularly true today when the public is media literate. A media literate person understands that media messages are constructed and economically, socially, politically and aesthetically contextualized. They also understand that the unique language of any media — be it a blog, tweet or video — serves to communicate to an audience. Ultimately, the representations of media serve to shape an understanding of our social reality.
Though some media can be partisan, racist, sexist or just morally wrong in the opinions of many, the solution is not to get rid of the media. Instead, become a participant in it. As singer/songwriter Jello Biafra urges, “Don’t hate the media, become the media.” This is especially important for today’s youth, since Edison Research reports that youth between the ages of 12-24 are the largest group of social networkers.
Today’s young people are undeniably more technology savvy than many of their older compatriots and regularly use social media to communicate. This is powerful. One Hawaii local, Ryan Higa of Hilo, began his career at the age of 14 while still attending Waiakea High School. Today, Ryan has the second most subscribers to a Youtube channel with 5,683,654 subscribers. In an interview with Leslie Wilcox on PBS’s Long Story Short, Higa remarked, “I just want somebody to make these people realize, these studios and stuff, that new media is important, and it’s continuously growing.”
Higa also shared his dream of starting a YouTube school to teach others. He asked an important question, “So why isn’t there a YouTube school where you can learn how to blog?”
Well, The Molokai Art and Media Academy will be holding a Media Literacy Academy for youth ages 13-18 during the fall intersession. The purpose is to guide youth to analyze, evaluate and yes, create their own media. Participants will create YouTube and Maui Tube videos, post blogs, tweets, and photos. Now, if only we could get Higa on board.
As with all education, it takes a village, and the Molokai Arts and Media Academy will join forces with Akakū Molokai Media Center as well as the Molokai Arts Center, to offer a five-day Intersession Academy from Oct. 1-5 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Molokai Arts and Media Center is located in Mapulehu at the 15 mile marker. Youth will also be working out of the Akaku Molokai Media Center in Kaunakakai. The cost is $100 per student. The QLCC and Alu Like are providing scholarships for enrichment.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-646-0340.