Julia Feerrar: Digital Media Literacy | Doing Well #27

In this episode, host Lu Ngo is joined by Julia Feerrar, who is an associate professor at the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, an academic librarian, and a digital literacy expert

The world is becoming more interconnected, making the internet and digital media everywhere in daily life. While it has a lot of potential benefits, there are just as many pitfalls that one can easily fall into without proper digital media literacy knowledge.

Meet Julia Feerrar

Julia Feerrar is an academic librarian, the current Head of Digital Literacy Initiatives at Virginia Tech, and an affiliated faculty member. She has written several academic articles intended to help readers learn more about digital or media literacy.

About the episode

Host Lu Ngo and guest Julia Feerrar primarily open up the episode with Julia’s definition of well-being. She defines well-being as having a sense of growth, hope for the future, and a reflection of your past. Julia also emphasized the multifacetedness of well-being and highlighted the importance of recognizing its different sides, including digital literacy.

As an extension of this, Julia believes that the biggest misconception people have about well-being is that the responsibility for it relies solely on the individual.

She believes that the external world also affects personal well-being. Macro-level problems, international events, and other similar things are all part of the puzzle of wellness.

This is exacerbated by the increasing interconnectedness of the world. Various platforms on the internet constantly bombard individuals with negative news, depressing statistics, and other systemic issues. The discussion then turned into how individuals absorb this information, leading to bad responses that can impact well-being.

Digital literacy is a way to navigate through this. Julia Feerrar believes that the skills and knowledge one can learn from digital literacy can also directly impact personal wellness, especially as people deal with the internet more.

She introduces a specific branch of digital literacy called digital wellness. This branch is more focused on teaching skills and maintaining mental health in the digital world.

They then move on to tackle issues regarding the quality of connections in the age of social media, privacy, and security concerns over your data, and how interconnectivity can be a catalyst for mental health issues. Julia also emphasized practices and habits for ensuring well-being amidst the challenges caused by digital technology.

In conclusion

Digital technology is advancing everything rapidly: culture, entertainment, and even how humans process information – everything is being revolutionized. Navigating these changes healthily requires digital literacy. The skills, knowledge, and practices discussed in this episode point you in the right direction.

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