Franchesca Ramsey, or @chescaleigh – the comedy writer, YouTube star with 247,000+ subscribers, host of MTV Decoded, and author of the just-released Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist – could also easily be considered a media literacy educator now. For one thing, she has a lot of credibility with fellow avid users and creators of social media. For another, she has experienced the worst of it and – through her book and interviews about it (like this one with Marie Forleo) – is sharing what she learned in a funny, accessible way. And of course “social” is so part of media literacy now, right? I even checked with my friends at NAMLE and the Center for Media Literacy, and they agree.
Ramsey is the first to say she has made plenty of mistakes in media, including calling out racism online and having that go viral and blow up in her face (“I was being ripped to shreds because I didn’t know how to respond to being ripped to shreds,” she told Forleo). So where does media literacy stop and social literacy (that safeguard against trolling, harassment and cyberbullying) start? How can we separate these two power tools for life and media navigation, or for that matter the third one: digital literacy? And how better to teach our children how to use those safety and social-good power tools (besides active listening and modeling respectful behavior) than to expose our kids to other power users’ stories and lessons learned, especially when the motive is to spare pain and spread wisdom?
“I have been called everything except ‘the child of God’ on the Internet,” Ramsey told Forleo, adding that she also loves the Internet (we can tell). To her credit and for her fans’ benefit, Ramsey shares what she learned about navigating that love-hate spectrum. Here are just two things I particularly appreciated (for more, do watch the 50 min. interview or read her book):
Call-outs & call-ins
Ramsey describes the difference between calling someone out publicly, as people do in social media (for good or ill), and calling them in. With the latter, she explains, you have a personal relationship with the person and feel a private conversation about that thing you’d otherwise call them out for would be more helpful to them.
“The person may have genuinely screwed up or just become confused,” so “you take them aside [DM, text them, take them out for coffee] and say, ‘Look, here’s why what you said was really not ok.'”
In fact, this is one way social media sometimes works better than in-person interaction. You have time to decide how best to respond. Ramsey offers “6 call-out rules” or questions that, to me, represent both media literacy and social literacy (as in where the social emotional learning experts at Yale University teach students to take a “meta-moment” before reacting, posting, tweeting with a call-out): Read more