The digital landscape and especially of digital platforms, have grown exponentially over the past decade. As a result, mediated communication, algorithms and big data collection are no longer just add-on features, but integrated parts of daily life for millions of platform users. With every click and every like, there is a new suggestion from the platform – presenting the seemingly most relevant content and nothing more. As children and teenagers are entering the largest social media platforms at a very young age, the notion of digital literacy has therefore become especially relevant. As a result, it may have profound and new implications for the enabling of digital literacy, that the digital platforms are constructed, modified and automated beyond the user’s control and knowledge. On this behalf, children and teenagers constitute a certain demographic of interest in the age of platforms. As a result, the motivation for this thesis stems from an urge to obtain insight into how the traditional literacy concept can be related to a world, where the digital society is subject to an increasing platformization. Ultimately, this thesis seeks to obtain an understanding of how digital platforms can be understood as an implicating factor in the question of digital literacy.
From a sociomaterial perspective, this ambition is carried out by extracting existing understandings of digital platforms and digital literacy from the literature, and combining these in a new reconceptualization of digital literacy in the age of platforms. Using this new theoretical framework, digital platform-literacy, the analysis will aim to understand: 1) How the digital platform can be understood as an arena for digital literacy, and 2) how we can explore the act of digital literacy, and in turn understand how the digital platform can serve as an element in this process. To observe the two distinct elements of the material and the social world, the investigation focuses on a specific target group within the desired demographic, on the digital platform Instagram, during the corona-virus pandemic. The analysis will identify how the digital platform, as a socio-technical institution, creates challenges and opportunities for the digital literacy of teenagers. This, by mediating and automating the perceived landscape of communication, on Instagram during the pandemic. Furthermore, the analysis will reveal how the concept of digital literacy is also challenged by the individual subjective interpretation of Instagram’s affordances.
Based on the findings from the literature review and analysis, this thesis will challenge the existing understanding of the digital literacy phenomena, in the age of platforms. The findings will thus serve as a contribution to clarify the importance of integrating the complex digital structures, which digital platforms constitute, in the question of digital literacy practices in the future.
|Educations||MSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||125|
|Supervisors||Nanna Bonde Thylstrup|