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What does it mean to watch TV?

Picture from: https://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-32LF221U19-32-inch-720p-Smart/dp/B07FPR6FMJ

The picture I chose to use was a picture of TV. I chose a picture of a TV because it reminded me of one of our first lectures. In the lecture, we had a class wide discussion of what watching TV means to you. Although it seemed like a fairly easy question, it had many answers. In my opinion, watching tv meant to actually turn the TV on, turn your cable provider on, and flip through channels and find a channel that entertained you. This lecture proved to me that watching TV meant many different things today in media society. Watching TV could mean, watching cable provider TV, watching Netflix, Youtube TV, Hulu, or HBO Go. It has shown that there are so many different media streaming platforms and to watch TV could mean many different things. Today, it is unclear when it means to watch TV. It has taught that media streaming platforms are being revolutionized and are evolving. Growing up as a kid, Netflix was not an online streaming service and to use Netflix, movies were sent by CD’s in the mail. Youtube TV, HBO Go, and Hulu, were not a thing growing up, so watching TV meant one thing, to turn the TV on and flip through the channels. I hope others can learn from seeing this is that the evolution of watching TV, TV, and media streaming platforms have evolved since I was a kid. To watch TV can mean a bunch of different things. Therefore, by saying, I’m going to watch TV is insufficient and that you have to be more specific because of many different media streaming platforms such as Netflix, Youtube TV, Hulu, and HBO Go.

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Are Social Media Platforms a safe place?

One example of U.S legislation which excuses social media companies from liability towards instances of communication that promote hatred and violence today is the Safe Harbor Provisions. In the Safe Harbor Provisions, section 230 was not designed with social media platforms in mind. Hate speech, racial violence, and terrorist organizations use social media platforms to spread their messages. According to Tarleton Gillespie,

“The U.S Congress crafted its first legislative response to online pornography, the Communications Decency Act, as part of a massive telecommunications bill. Passed in 1996 the CDA made it a criminal act, punishable by fines and/or up to two years in prison, to display or distribute ‘obscene or indecent’ material online to anyone under age eighteen. During the legislation process, the House of Representatives added a bipartisan amendment drafted by Christopher Cox and Ron Wyden, largely as a response to early lawsuits trying to hold ISPs and web-hosting services liable for defamation by their users. It carved a safe harbor for ISPs, search engines, and ‘interactive computer services providers’: so long as they only provided access to the Internet or conveyed information, they could not be liable for the content of that speech” (Gillespie 30). Although the CDA had seemed to reach a bill, it was deemed unconstitutional because “the court ruled that CDA overreached in terms of what content was prohibited, it extended its protection of minors to the content available to adults, and it did not deal with the question of whose community norms should be the barometer for a network that spans communities” (Gillespie 30). What is important is that the safe harbor amendment was unchanged. The safe harbor, also known as Section 230 of the U.S telecommunication law, has two parts. Gillespie explains that “The first part ensures that intermediaries that merely provide access to the Internet or other network services cannot be held liable for the speech of their users; these intermediaries will not be considered ‘publishers’ of their users’ content in the legal sense. . . The second, less familiar part adds a twist. If an intermediary does police what its users say or do, it does not lose its safe harbor protection by doing so” (Gillespie 30).

Image from: https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230
Image from Canvas

Tarleton Gillespie’s book chapter called “The Myth of a Neutral Platform” refers to the social media platform being a place for users to be safe from hate speech, racial violence or terroist organizations, but that is not the cause because of freedom of speech. According to Dan and Patrick’s presentation, there is this “Media Interference”. This media interference “makes it very easy to put out an ad that promotes hate speech or promotes your political views. It can be hard to deal with or pick out negative ads because authors are often protected under ‘freedom of speech’” (Patrick, Dan). In addition, according to Dan and Patrick’s presentation, “Many groups of people are attacked every day on Twitter and Twitter is notoriously bad at monitoring it. Women, LGBTQ+, racial and ethnic minorities, and participants of subcultures are largely the groups that are targeted” (Patrick, Dan).

Sources:

Gillespie, Tarleton. Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media. Yale University Press, 2018.

http://www.eff.org/issues/cda230

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Is trolling or flooding used in the US?

According to Tim Wu, online trolling, “seeks to humiliate, harass, discourage, and even destroy target speakers using personal threats, embarrassment, and ruining of their reputations” (Wu 560). 1 example of a trolling technique used by the media in the United States was when IHOP tried to change their acronym from IHOP to IHOB. The famous pancake house took this mysterious change to Twitter which had people wondering and guessing what the “B” meant and why the pancake house had changed their acronym. In the end, after changing the acronym from IHOP to IHOB, the company resorted back to the original name, IHOP.

Tim Wu explains that the flooding technique is considered a, “second set of techniques that is focused on control distribution and propagation, or on the total mixture of what people see and hear. In this sense, they are more clearly targeted at winning the war for attention. At bottom, these techniques depend on the idea of generating a sufficient volume of information to drown out disfavored speech, or at least distorting the sense of how much support any given view has. Whatever form they take, these techniques clearly qualify as listener-targeted speech control” (Wu 565). 1 specific example of the flooding technique used by the media in the United States is when Donald Trump was running for president of the United States. He wanted to control the flow of propaganda of his campaign on social media. He would try to win the election by distributing his campaign and exposing his opponent on social media. Altogether, Trump specifically used this idea of outputting a large volume of his campaign to drown out his opponents campaign views.

I disagree that in the United States the spread of communication techniques such as trolling and flooding should be met with new legal frameworks because both of these techniques restrict the public and society from knowing the full truth. When I say full truth, I interconnect the situation about Vietnam and how it was a coincidence that the number of COVID-19 cases were well below those seen in some other Asian countries. The restriction of the truth has hurt the public to know the severity of the outbreak of COVID-19. On the other hand I also agree that in the United States the spread of communication techniques such as trolling and flooding should be met with new legal frameworks because politicians and public figures use it for an advantage in competitions. It is unknown whether Donald Trump would have won or lost without his control of his campaign on Twitter, but it sure did help.

Sources: https://www.salon.com/2019/11/09/social-media-amplifying-trumps-rants-and-disinformation-more-than-ever-can-society-protect-itself_partner/

https://mashable.com/article/best-brand-trolls-social-media/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-vietnam-security/vietnam-introduces-fake-news-fines-for-coronavirus-misinformation-idUSKCN21X0EB

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Convincing Advertisements

The first advertisement I chose that related most to Raymond Williams’ quote was this advertisement which pictures Albert Einstein eating mentos, that says, “I Eat Mentos, do you?”. I found this humorous because not only does it ask the audience this valid question, but on the right side it says, “the most famous scientist, Albert Einstein”. In addition, it says on the bottom, “Mentos, helping people get ideas”. What is so unique and displays skepticism about this is that the advertisement is trying to get you to think that if Albert Einstein chews Mentos and is the world’s most famous scientist, this is as a result of chewing Mentos. This Mentos advertisement is trying to get the audience to make the connection that if you chew Mentos, it will help you come up with ideas, just like how Albert Einstein came up with ideas that got him to becoming the world’s most famous scientist.

The second advertisement I chose that related most to Raymond Williams’ was this advertisement which pictured Denver Broncos football player Terrell Davis in his jersey showing off his muscles with a milk mustache. The caption of this advertisement saying, “got milk”, is trying to get the audience to know that drinking milk is healthy and provides a good source of protein to build muscles. This advertisement not only displays humor, but skepticism because the advertisement is trying to convince the audience that if you drink milk, that you can become just like Terrell Davis and develop these big muscles, as pictured in the advertisement. The overall connection that this advertisement is trying to get the audience to make is that if you drink milk you can get these big muscles like Terrell Davis because of the protein in milk.

The quote that I chose to use from R. Williams’ text on advertising which argues what makes the change between the two advertisements an example of “knowing, sophisticated” advertising is from page 333. “Advertising was developed to sell goods, in a particular kind of economy. Publicity has been developed to sell persons, in a particular kind of culture” (Williams 333). The two advertisements that I chose are good examples of the quote that I used from Williams’ text because both products, the Mentos and the Milk were both advertised in a time period and a particular economy where they both were not an expensive good, but a popular good among customers. In addition, both advertisements used famous people to sell people on that product to try and buy the Mentos or Milk.

Sources:

Raymond Williams, “Advertising: The Magic System,” in The Cultural Studies Reader, 2nd ed., edited by Simon During (London: Routledge, 1999), 320-336. 

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Disinformation: #midtermmakeup

After reading Katie Benvenuto’s post, Media Truth, I reflected on the media in which I refer to the information and news that I use to keep up to date with the COVID-19 pandemic. One question that came to me when reading Katie’s post was, does the media sources I refer to for COVID-19 pandemic information resemble disinformation? According to Claire Wardle, “disinformation is false information created and shared by people with harmful intent”.  I realized how valuable and important this question is when accessing media sources for news updates because sources on media can be unreliable for the sake of entertainment as stated above. This question should be thought about when reading up on the news, especially about the pandemic. Another question that came to me about the exploration of media to stay up to date on news, is if disinformation is backed with harmful intent, why would someone share and create false information for the sake of harmful intent? A question that I still can not find the answer to. I can truthfully say that I do agree with Katie when getting reliable news updates from my family and a handful of media sources, one being my local news channel.

Sources:

Quoted from, https://datadetoxkit.org/en/wellbeing/fakenews

Pictures from, https://www.shrmonitor.org/tackling-disinformation-counil-of-europe-perspective/ https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/contact-us/168868/

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2020: COVID-19

Image from: https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2020/03/where-is-coronavirus-in-nj-right-now-latest-map-county-by-county-list-march-20-2020.html

My understanding of media has changed over the last month because of Hobart and William Smith Colleges transitioning from in person instruction to remote learning. My understanding of media has changed because of my ability to continue getting an education while learning online. All of my life I have been so accustomed to getting up and going to class every morning. The transition into a remote learning system due to COVID-19 has taught more than just how to use media to learn and keep up with my studies. It has taught me how to reach out to professors via email and Zoom video, which of course was difficult at first, but I can truly say I am settling in nicely. Another way that my understanding of media has changed over the last month is the way I receive and get news updates. Day after day, I have continuously kept up with the updates on COVID-19 through watching tv on the local news channel. Every channel I flip to the same news updates on COVID-19 are being announced by my local representatives or the president. The biggest impact that COVID-19 has made on my understanding of the media is how much internet is being used between my mother and I. Before Governor Murphy placed a “stay at home” order, my mom and I had to rush to our local provider because we needed to upgrade our internet. Not only was I going to use the internet heavily, my mom was only advised to stay and work from home, but on top of that, we had electronics on the side that would be used. With the amount of internet that would be used during this pandemic, it was essential for us to upgrade our internet to higher speeds so we would not be a step behind. Another big thing I have noticed while being home and exploring the media for news is how much attention a political figure can get on social media. While I was on Twitter I noticed that President Trump was all over my timeline due to his popularity and the amount of retweets he got from my peers. I quickly learned that the bigger the political figure, the more influence you have on social media. President Trump’s biggest concern on Twitter was advising the people about COVID-19, the biggest issue going on in our country. After reading Sean Illing’s article, interviewing Jen Schradie, she was right, “‘What was much more common on the right was a bigger focus on national issues, on memes and posting articles with comments. There was less emphasis on grassroots mobilizing. This was a drastic difference’” (Illing). Trump’s main focus was trying to figure out how to cure COVID-19 by posting articles of leads to vaccines and cures by doctors.

Danah Boyd says, “What is unique about the Internet is that it allows teens to participate in unregulated publics while located in adult-regulated physical spaces such as homes and schools. Of course, this is precisely what makes it controversial. Parents are seeking to regulate teens behavior in this new space; and this, in turn, is motivating teens to hide” (21). Teens that have access to the internet are able to explore public places online, such as social networks. What makes this possible is that these kids are accessing the internet while being watched by adults. Although they are not able to go out into public, as a result they are running away and exploring the internet under the eyes of adults. I found this article very interesting because of the stay at home orders that are in place due to COVID-19. Without the access of leaving and going to public spaces, people are forced to connect on the internet, and to socialize with their peers. The more problematic issue, primarily involves teens. Danah Boyd says that, “As a society, we need to figure out how to educate teens to navigate social structures that are quite unfamiliar to us because they will be faced with these publics as adults, even if we try to limit their access now,” (23) and these stay at home orders are restricting the access to public spaces and teens ability to familiarize themselves with social structures.

References:

Boyd, Danah (2007). “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning – Youth, Identity, and Digital Media Volume (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 10

Illing, Sean. “Why Conservatives Are Winning the Internet.” Vox, Vox, 3 June 2019, http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/6/3/18624687/conservatism-liberals-internet-activism-jen-schradie.