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Media Analysis

Above is the image I chose for this final blog post. It displays two people, acting as machines, transferring information through differenent social media platforms/uses to one another. One of the biggest takeaways I had from this class has been the influence of social media on people. How it shapes our views, beliefs, as well as our own self perspective. With an endless amount of information at our fingertips we can receive and put out information into the virtual world that can either positively or negatively impact another person(s). When looking back at everything we’ve gone over this past semester, much of it stems back to influence that media has on us. For instance in the presentation myself and Jaylon gave, we discussed woman in the technological workplace today. It displayed how media shapes influences and shapes our own views of what we “should” believe or act on when dealing with or discussing a certain topic. Another example is the male gaze in movies, it displays how it influences viewers to create this objectified perspective on woman. People also have the ability to post hateful things on the internet as well, as said in the last blog post, which can negatively infliuence and discriminate others. With all of these negative impacts, media can influence others in positive ways. Supportive posts and helpful videos can benefit others and help them learn and become better individuals. So, overall the influence that occurs is extremely important given the impact social media has on our society today. Especially during a time like this, technology and media is more important than ever in mending our society and being there to inform and help others.

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Safety Of Social Media

Social media allows people to share a lot of information or how they feel, even if the content isn’t appropriate. Terrorist attacks, hatred towards minorities, and other negative motives have been streamed or videos posted on platforms such as Reddit and Youtube. An example of U.S legislation which to this day excuses social media companies from liability towards moments that promote hatred/violence is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Basically, this act protects the websites when an individual does post something inappropriate, the website is not liable for this. The website (whether Youtube, Reddit,etc..) can also take down any videos that they may believe is promoting any hate, violence, or anything negative.

In “The Myth of a Neutral Platform” by T. Gilepsie, in other words the title means that no matter what content an individual puts out there, your opinions or views ok for one to post because they’ll be accepted or everyone will be “neutral” about everything. This is a myth because there are constantly people out there getting by with posting negative things or doing wrong to others. Yet it’s still difficult to identify certain ads or posts online that are negative, as Patrick and Dan said, because these people have protection through freedom of speech. With all the benefits and access to information we have at our fingertips, it also allows the creation of hate and violence that the rest of the world can see.

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Trolling and Flooding Today

The First Amendment has allowed individuals throughout the United States to speak their mind and have their voice be heard. Yet, over the years there’s been manipulation through this. The easy accessibility to the internet has created a platform for people to use techniques of trolling and flooding to influence the way we view different topics. First, a troll on the internet is someone who basically responds/comments to something in a confrontational way in order to upset others or get an emotional response. In “Is The First Amendment Obsolete” by Tim Wu, he describes trolling as a technique that will “seek to humiliate,harass, discourage, and even destroy targeted speakers using personal threats, embarrassment, and ruining of their reputations”.

A great example of this today is Wendy’s fast food restaurant trolling other fast food places. Fast food restaurants love to take shots at each other through social media(especially twitter) and this was just another example. Wendys is know for trolling other resturaunts, and Burger King called them out for it. Burger King posted a picture on twitter of the King(mascot) standing outside of a Wendys with a sign saying “Don’t burn people just because you can’t flame-grill”.

Wendy’s responded by saying “Honestly expected better, but you’re probably pretty use to hearing that”.

For more on Wendys vs BK: https://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/burger-king-tries-to-troll-wendys-doesnt-work

Secondly, Wu describes the technique of “flooding” as mainly focused on “winning the war for attention” and that they’ll be able to produce enough information to “drown out the disfavored speech”. By doing this, the main goal of the strategy is to “distract the public and change the subject”. President Trump displays a prime example of this through his own social media activity during the presidential election. Trump’s twitter became a central part of his campaign as not only did he “flood” information about himself/campaign but also negative outlooks on his opponents. By doing this he was able to take the attention away from his opponents speech’s and become more of the center piece within the election.

Lastly, I do believe there should be some limitations or legal framework set in place against the use of trolling/flooding. We’re at a time in society where social media has an incredible impact on our daily lives and how we shape our own reality. With the creation of fake news or misinformation, it could cause mass confusion and isn’t beneficial towards people today.

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Advertising Today

Over the years advertisements have changed and molded into what the consumers want to see. Many of the commercials and ads have little to do with any details of the product, but rather create an image that persuades the audience to buy that product. In other words, after seeing an ad/commercial we then may associate an image or idea whenever we see that product making it more attractive. Yet consumers often have skepticism towards these advertisements, as they can be hard to believed or far fetched at times. So, it’s important for advertisers to keep this criticism in mind and be able to create better advertisements from this. A great example of this are the commercials done by Dos Equis, a Mexican beer. It portrays an extremely adventurous and mysterious man who’s had great physical achievements, and is “the most interesting man in the world”. He also end these commercials with the slogan “Stay thirsty my friends.” Here are a few of the commercials:

By displaying this masculine and adventurous mentality, it makes the audience interested in the individual rather than the actual drink at first. His great achievements and quiet way of going about himself makes him an intriguing figure. Then to end the commercials, he simply endorses the drink and approves of it. This makes the audience look towards the drink as of high quality and if they drink it they’ll be like this guy, which is completely untrue. A great quote by Raymond Williams in “Advertising: the magic system”, says “Advertising is ‘magic’ because it transforms commodities into glamorous signifiers”. This is displayed through Dos Equis as the drink itself is transformed into an object of prestige and adventure. Williams also says how “Promise, large promise is the soul of advertisement.” These commercials in a way are saying if you drink this beer then you can be just like the guy in the commercials. This is obviously false and relates back to skepticism, as to how these advertisers may take criticism of these commercials and have to figure out how to create better ones. Overall, skepticism plays a large role in how advertisers want to deliver and portray an image of their products through ads and commercials.

Sources:

Raymond Williams “Advertising: The Magic System,”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZwrY861tdc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugn_qmQ0NFo

Youtube

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The Impact of COVID-19

I still remember watching ESPN as news reports came out about NBA players Rudy Robert and Donovan Mitchell having the Coronavirus. Sitting in a hotel with my teammates in Virginia just after traveling through numerous airports, we were confused and uncertain of the whole situation. In the past few weeks so much has happened that’s impacted the entire world. The use of media has now become an essential use of communication and entertainment for people worldwide. I’ve found myself using my phone, watching Netflix, or playing video games much more than usual lately. Without the presence of face to face human interaction, I feel like we tend to look for other outlets as a way to take up time. This missing connection is depicted in Danah Boyd’s article “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.”, he explains how “the popularity of MySpace is deeply rooted in how the site supports sociality amongst preexisting friend groups. Teens join MySpace to maintain connections with their friends” 

Although with all of the social distancing, I’ve noticed that it’s motivated people to get outside more often in any way whether it’s hiking, running, going for a walk, etc… So even though there is an increase in the use and importance of media, it’s also allowed people to realize what they need to do to become better people. This can be shown through spending quality time with family, reading more, or spending time outside. Overall, the past month has showed me how important and essential media is in our own development as well as the role it plays in keeping in touch with our family and friends.

Works cited:

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