Who is Julie Smith?

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College Professor



Social Media Apologist

Media Literacy Evangelist

Control Enthusiast

Diet Coke Addict /  Boy Mom

Media literacy has been my passion since 1997, and I will talk about it to anyone who will listen.  Worst thing ever said about me as a professor?  “She took the joy out of watching ‘Jersey Shore’ for me.”  The best thing?  “I never played games on my computer ONCE during her classes.”

I teach media courses as an adjunct at two universities, (Webster University  & Southern Illinois University -Edwardsville) which means my office is the dining room table.

I also travel around preaching about media literacy and digital citizenship.  Why yes, I do have a box of my books in the trunk at all time!  I’m like an indie band selling CDs.

My current passions are researching how/why people share false information online.  In fact, I think the “verifying before sharing” idea should be a huge part of digital citizenship education.

Many people ask me to do my “internet safety” speech.  I don’t do an “internet safety” speech.  Even calling it “internet safety” implies that the internet is dangerous and something we need to fear.

Instead, I advocate less preaching and more coaching when it comes to digital citizenship education.

Whatever you call it – media literacy, digital literacy, digital citizenship, news literacy – it all boils down to one thing:


Some Favorite Things:

  • Genealogy (ask me about my ggggfather who was born July 4, 1776!)
  • Watching my three teenage sons play in their bands
  • Netflix binging
  • Buying groceries and then buying more groceries
  • Collecting fakes posted by my friends on Facebook
  • My Dad’s 90th Birthday Party
  • Seeing Omaha Beach in Normandy with my boys
  • Diet Coke

And in the Spirit of Keeping Things Honest Online….Things that Didn’t Go Very Well Last Year 

  • Planned something I thought my students would love but they just stared at me blankly
  • Gave a talk on digital citizenship to some high schoolers and then spent the next week reading nasty tweets about myself – from them
  • Went to give a talk to a parent group and only two people showed up (who weren’t even parents!)
  • I fell for an online hoax because I am so liable to believe bad things about cable news
  • Had my laptop freeze up during a presentation where the keynoter just HAPPENED to be there
  • I received a scathing email from someone about how much they hated my book (ouch)
  • A brilliant student emailed me after class to tell me how I missed a perfect chance for an important discussion (and she was absolutely right)
  • An online student failed my class and missed graduation
  • The moderator at a conference lost track of time and so then I only had seven minutes for my talk

But the glass is half full, folks.  Always half full.


Professional Affiliations: