Sharon Kehl Califano

Director, General Studies Strategy - Western Governors University, General Education

Sharon Kehl Califano

Director, General Studies Strategy - Western Governors University, General Education

Biography

Sharon Kehl Califano, Ph.D. (English), Director of General Studies Strategy at Western Governors University, has 19 years in higher education, overseeing the development of 100+ online courses and ensuring curriculum quality. She has presented at MLA and AWP national venues, and on topics related to digital storytelling and thought leadership.

Disruptive Literacy in the Digital Age: Global Audiences, Data Analytics, & Social Media Strategy for the Future of Work

This presentation examines online global readership, data analytics tools, and the complex algorithms found in social media channels that personalize reading content for the digital native. The transformative, disruptive power of online reading via global platforms can impact everything from the individual’s ability to earn money in the future of work to influencing national elections or even catalyzing political movements.

In the age of digital information and online platforms, the disruptive power of tech tools and social media has already had a far-reaching impact from voting (e.g. Brexit, the 2016 US Presidential Election) to emboldening the previously disenfranchised (e.g. #MeToo, #InTouch), destabilizing what constitutes truth and the ethical use of information (as seen with the advent of “fake news”) through disseminated and widely consumed content. Blogging platforms and social media channels offer new power to individuals once unable to reach global audiences, revealing a hyper-connected, digital world readership via mobile devices in even the most unlikely of places, such as Nigeria, Kenya, & Ghana (where mobile penetration rates have reached 80%). By self-hosting through providers like BlueHost and collecting user data collected and trended by Google Analytics, Twitter, and WordPress “Stats” tools, bloggers can curate content for niche audiences in specific ways, using social media channels like Twitter where one user’s followers can number tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands).

Informed by the research of Heimans and Timms in New Power and Ross in The Industries of the Future, this presentation will offer attendees insight into the complex world of readership supported by the Internet of Things (IoT), catalyzing emergent new forms of narratives for and from digital natives, boosted by personal branding and image-crafting on a global scale. Participants will learn how user demographic data collected via clicks, likes, and site visits fuel complicated algorithms related to socioeconomic position, geographical location, personal interests, and even human behavior, influencing content creation and curation in monetized ways. Such advancements require rethinking of what readership and literacy mean in an ever-changing digital age; this presentation will explore seminal questions and contribute to discussions about how to approach these new forms of literacies.

All sessions by Sharon Kehl Califano