Emma Vaz is a fourth year student at Ryerson University, studying Professional Communications. This program is a part of the school's Faculty of Communications and Design, which is the heart of Canada’s media, design and creative industries. Emma currently works in the healthcare field in administration for Lakeridge Healthcare’s Emergency department. Since the COVID-19 epidemic Emma has truly been tested in her skills of problem solving in crisis situations such as creating risk management plans within her department, also dealing with health and safety planning during the N95 masks and PPE shortages. After graduation Emma had planned to change her career path into the creative industries but will continue in healthcare for the time being while we are dealing with this pandemic. She hopes to start contract work in communications, public relations, and social media management when life returns to normality. Being in a frontline worker in an emergency department during this pandemic has been more constructive and educational than any capstone project.
Media literacy is the skill to critically analyze information that is consumed from social media or other online sources. Because of rapid technological advancements, social media is heavily ingrained in people’s everyday lives and consumes a lot of its users’ time and attention. This allows users to have access to all kinds of information, making this type of literacy crucial. However this skill is rarely taught, despite the evident need for conscious information consumption. Current research on this topic focuses on how media literacy should be taught in schools for children and teenagers. Upon analyzing current research, it seems that the youth that have grown up alongside with the development of technology is the most knowledgeable about how to use it, and how to interact with technology and social media. It is the adults who have had to adapt to technology and integrate social media into their lives in a short time span that need to learn media literacy the most. The research conducted in this study is to understand how to use efficient communication strategies accounting for social and cognitive determinants behind massive digital misinformation to account for current perceptions of social media as an information source and inform future discourse.