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Media & The Audience

After the circumstantial chaos that COVID-19 brought upon our campus, the school and world took strong steps in adjusting the students and faculty into remote learning structured classes. This was very impactful to me because like every college campus there is so much to be heard and talked about not on the media. Examples of this may be hearing a distant conversation at saga about the CoronaVirus, or even a lecture based class in which you learned stuff that you yourself couldn’t have been aware of otherwise. What I specifically learned was about the sources people actually learn information from and how it differs by age. For example when Trump initiated the first national state of emergency on the news I was watching it on a tv from the inside of a Dunkin Donuts. Two days later my friend told me that his younger siblings sent a link to a Tik Tok in his family group chat to alert them. This is interesting and evidently shows the usage of media in young teens is much different and far less informative than news on actual broadcast systems. Another take away from this is that the steps the media take on CoronaVirus has been targeting those very people, meaning the children and teens home from college aren’t as worried about the virus and aren’t keeping up to date about it as much as the older population. In other words the fear of spreading it should be more prominent than the fear of actually contracting it especially if you’re an able bodied young adult. However this is not the case, so in return the media has initiated ads in snapchat cosmopolitan, instagram, youtube, basically anything that can make you conscious of it for an instant as you scroll down your feed. A quote from one of our course sources called “Now We Know Tech Wont Save Us” by Siva Vaidhyanathan reads “technology as not just a business but a social good—a force that removed friction from communications, “disrupted” incumbent industries and lowered barriers to participation in politics and culture”. This quote is relevant to the concept on how different aged people can be a part of broader things in the media. The example correlates to how I found media to change during the Corona chaos, for instance my friends little sister was only able to learn about this through an app called tik tok which is nothing more for social entertainment. These apps along with other things become vessels for information to users of media that otherwise wouldn’t be acknowledged. This is both particularly useful for vast users of media but at the same time represents younger generations as politically influenced, rather than politically engaged if this is the popular source for information. The image below gives you a greater sense of why this is relative to the audience of media.  

References:

Ehmke, Rachel, and Child Mind Institute. “How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers.” Child Mind Institute, childmind.org/article/how-using-social-media-affects-teenagers/.

Garza, Alejandro de la. “How Social Media Is Shaping Our Fears of the Coronavirus.” Time, Time, 16 Mar. 2020, time.com/5802802/social-media-coronavirus/.

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Everyone freak out: COVID-19

I was working just the other day, when this boy looked at me and said how he was starting to realize he needs in a change in lifestyle, because the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t effect his lifestyle at all. I sat back and thought of just how many people were not effected by this outbreak at all… and then I thought of the individuals whose lives were greatly changed, who don’t have money right now to pay bills.

7 funny cartoons about coronavirus hoarding
I have noticed changes in society and just how the media is being effected by this pandemic. I am most intrigued by the panic of Americans across the country to prepare for an Apocalypse. The fact of toilet paper running out before soap, and normal paper towels blows my mind. One thing which I think the media can do nowadays is sway a public opinion. It is too easy to sway the internet mind, and this is because users think that every source is a reliable source.

In changing from the in class learning model to the remote learning model, it has definitely been an adjustment. One improvement, is my standard of living. The freshman dorms at the colleges are very unhealthy to live in, as time goes on, these non ideal living characteristics can really make you want to lose your mind. Other than that, every other effect seems to be negative. I need to converse with people everyday. Being in isolation makes it so that you are really only seeing your family all day long. As much as I love all of them… seeing anyone 24/7 is too much for me!

I only get one college freshman year spring in my whole lifetime, and it just got erased. When I think with this mindset, it really saddens me to think of all the memories I am missing out on just rotting in my home. Although at this point the pandemic seems semi normal, it was just so hard for me to truly understand what was happening when it was happening. The day before classes got cancelled I really thought there was a zero percent chance of that. Coming home, everyone is pretty confused and asking themselves the same questions: Is this actually happening? What would I be doing if this Corona virus never struck? When I first found out we were moving to a remote style my first reaction was to laugh. It didn’t seem real for a while.

“When talking about the public, one must ask if there is only one public. When United States President Bush addresses the public, he’s not conceptualizing the same public as Zimbabwe President Mugabe(Boyd, 6)”.

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. (file:///C:/Users/15854/Downloads/danah%20boyd%20WhyYouthHeart%20(1).pdf)

This quote got me thinking in a different aspect which I felt worth writing for, Countries across the World have always had their own domestic issues. Countries across the World also have different opinions on the many aspects of human life, making each nation unique. Every time a Nation’s leader addresses their people or their “public” it is specialized toward their own problems.

Now, there is a global problem where every single nation has the same problem. When our nations leader goes to address the “public” now, it really isn’t just the United States who the information is concerning, it is the whole World. When media becomes global, it can sometimes create a finer line between ethnicity. However, more times than not I think global media is really unifying the world. Citizens across the world from each other can be watching the same video, hearing the same information. This is why I really hope this global pandemic in the end of it all better unifies the nations around the World.

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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.

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Experience During COVID-19

When COVID-19 became a global pandemic, the power that media holds became very clear to me. I was aware that it held great power, but after being in lockdown, it is very obvious how U.S. citizens immediately resort to it and trust it completely. Personally, the power that social media holds became apparent and it did not shock me. Because no one is allowed to continue with their daily routines, teenagers resort to posting on all platforms of social media, whether that’s Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc. It became very clear that when there is “nothing to do” the youth is immediately captivated by their screens. The quote “Music is cultural glue among youth” from Danah Boyd’s “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” stood out to me because as everyone is stuck home, I have noticed that musicians are using their platforms to stream live performances for their viewers, which is something that usually does not occur when they are allowed to perform in real life. Because of this, the viewers are becoming more connected to their favorite artists and even people who enjoy the same taste of music. The power that social media holds is very powerful and even though it could be very detrimental, some people are using it as something beautiful and causing meaningful connections to occur, which is exactly what needs to be done during this period of time.

Reference: 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.

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Media does solve our problems?

Media. The thoughts that came to mind after hearing that word in the beginning of the semester were platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Youtube, and Facebook. Predominately a source of entertainment. But when the word “media” is mentioned now, entertainment is one of the last things that I think of. Now media to me, is a type of learning style.

Early in March 2020 the United States was introduced to a global pandemic in Covid-19, also known as the infamous coronavirus. The virus prompted schools, businesses, gyms, and public gatherings to be shut down. The biggest affect on me was the move to online schooling for me at HWS colleges. For the near future at least, media is not a source of entertainment it is my livelihood.

News & Updates | Homeland Security
The cell of the coronavirus

Siva Vaidhyanathan stated in her article titled “Now We Know Tech Won’t Save Us” that “We the public have a responsibility, too—to recognize that Silicon Valley can’t just fix itself, and to stop hoping that technology can solve the problems the public sphere exists to tackle”. Siva expresses that society can not depend of technology and media to fix problems that society is faced with but that is exactly what we did when this pandemic struck the community at HWS colleges.

The ironic thing is that we did the complete opposite of what Siva said we have to learn not to do. The colleges introduced an online learning style where students will learn remotely through various media instruction. Classes went from chalk on a chalkboard to a stylus and a screen then to a streaming platform such as youtube. For students and I can only assume for faculty as well, media was no longer for entertainment. It is now for teaching and learning. Youtube, the website we used to entertain ourselves is now used for learning your math lesson for the day. FaceTime is not with your friends anymore but rather is a group faceTime with your class. Podcasts are no longer stories but rather your history lecture for the day. How can we still look at media the same way? How can we not allow technology and media solve our problems?

References “Now We Know Tech Won’t Save Us.” Now We Know Tech Won’t Save Us (2018): n. pag. Print.

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COVID-19: How is it affecting our social media intake?

Over the course of the past month, the only topic that seems to be on anyone’s mind is COVID-19. Whether it is Twitter, Instagram, or Tik Tok, COVID-19 is almost always the main focus of a post. For example, on Instagram over the past few days there has been a variety of challenges circulating such as the pushup challenge. The goal of the pushup challenge is to try to promote people to exercise while in quarantine. Due to the tremendous number of posts regarding these trends, I have noticed that people are using social media even more than usual in this past month or so. People are lonely, bored, or sick of being around the same people 24/7. Social media is the way that people feel like they are still in contact with the outside world. In Danah Boyd’s “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” she says that “Teens join MySpace to maintain connections with their friends” (Danah Boyd, pg. 10). This quote is spot on for me personally because the majority of my college friends live far away from me, and seeing them post things on social media is a way for me to stay in touch. Also, with limited things to do, time passes by much slower. Boyd touches upon this in her piece when she talks about how “Teens often turn to sites like MySpace for entertainment; social voyeurism passes time while providing insight into society at large” (Boyd, 10). This quote stood out to me because whenever I am bored, I open up Tik Tok and scroll through videos until I am no longer satisfied. Although this is not much different than usual, I have become more dependent on apps like Tik Tok more recently because I have less things to do during the day. As a result, I have noticed that social media, especially this past month, has been huge to help people receive news, relieve boredom, and a multitude of other problems they are facing with in their lives.

References:

Boyd, Danah. “Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.” 2017, doi:10.31219/osf.io/22hq2.

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Blog post #1

  • The forced transition over the past few weeks was one that was abrupt and still rapidly evolving. The information one gathers about the virus and the state of our world is completely based on what media we look to. While being concerned with a subject that changes so quickly, such as news surrounding the pandemic, it is irrational to think that most of the sources one reads will be fully factual – still, sources are crucial to personal understanding and opinion formation. Much like most of modern media, especially in the US, the outbreak of COVID-19 has been politically taken over by polarizing liberal and conservative media. The influence of politics on both ends of the spectrum, disrupts one’s right to access of facts versus the speculations the political media puts out. A quote taken from the Vox article brings attention to this exact issue, when Jen Schradie states “The internet is a tool and in that sense it’s neutral, but just like other communication tools from the past, people with more power, with more resources, with more organization, have been able to take advantage of it.” Since the outbreak has completely taken over every aspect of the world, politics inevitably have seeped into our news outlets. Traditional conservative media began focusing on liberal media stating they are using the pandemic in an attempt to demonize Trump and his administration and the virus can even be considered a part of “mass hysteria”- a hoax. Liberal media took this time to point to how conservative media spent many weeks reducing the danger we face via COVID-19 in order to protect President Donald Trump. As Schradie points out, the conservative media is extremely powerful and has many believing that serious measures do not need to be taken for the outbreak. If my understanding of the media has been shaped by the past few weeks, it is that the power of a political agenda has the ability to outweigh news concerning science and factual information even in a time of national crisis. 

Crothers, Brooke. “Top Coronavirus Myths, Hoaxes and Scams.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 25 Mar. 2020, www.foxnews.com/tech/top-coronavirus-myths-hoaxes-and-scams.

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Comment Post Visual media

Blog Post #1

My understanding of the media changed drastically over the last month as COVID-19 starting spreading further into the United States. Sources such as the president of the U.S. started to become a joke. Local news started to seem much gloomier and honestly not worth watching. As HWS colleges began to transition to remote education indefinitely for the rest of the spring semester, my stress and anxiety increased. Being at home is fine, but I prefer being in the colleges because I was able to be in the right headspace for work. While I do my work here at home, I look outside my window ever so often; I witness the change this pandemic has had on the City, only feeding further into my increasing stress and anxiety.

How I feel looking at the window

Right now, for me, the only source to escape from the world is online. One study shows that being online only increases anxiety, “Young adults who spend more than 20 hours of leisure time per week on digital devices were 53 percent more likely to have anxiety than young adults who spend fewer than 5 hours a week on digital devices” (Kane 2019). Now the dilemma that I have is what I’m supposed to do? If being online is only being taxing on my mental health, what can I do? I can’t talk to friends due to being in a time zone different from them, and if I want to watch a show to give myself peace of mind, then there is the internet just crashing down. Lastly, I just fear for my parent’s health, in general, they are still at work in the City where cases are just exponentially growing like WTF. Honestly, I look at the positive while the world sort of is burning down. I’m at home in good physical health and good food to eat, and I get a lot of rest. That is my section of the Mixtape what about you?

Work Cited Page

“Donald Trump Backs Away from Official Who Says She Had a Fever.” The Telegraph, YouTube, 24 Mar. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1fha98fip0.

Giphy. “Bill Murray Morning GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY.” GIPHY, GIPHY, 19 Sept. 2019, gph.is/2GCfTqV.

Kane, Will. “Anxiety ‘Epidemic’ Brewing on College Campuses, Researchers Find.” Berkeley News, 19 Apr. 2019, news.berkeley.edu/2019/04/18/anxiety-epidemic-brewing-on-college-campuses-researchers-find/.

“Mayor Says Trump Ignores Coronavirus ‘Facts’ in N.Y.: Live Updates.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Mar. 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/nyregion/coronavirus-new-york-update.html.

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MYchangingSPACE in media

Over the last month, many changes have gone on throughout the world because of COVID-19, many of these changes will affect us for the rest of our lives. If you don’t know much about the spread of COVID-19, this will help. I previously thought of media as an alternate way aside from face-to-face contact to communicate with friends. I didn’t really use it for anything informative or educational aside from seeing the top news headlines of the day.

https://www2.hws.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/

Since the transition to online classes and COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, media has become my primary source for not just communication with friends, but also for real news about the virus and its effects around the world. I’m also using media for all of my coursework now, but before, I used it only as needed or assigned for class readings. There is now virtually no way to communicate with my friends or hear from my professors without using media such as Zoom, Canvas, SnapChat, or Instagram. This break from personal interaction has caused my friends and I to resort to other forms of comedy like community forums about games that we play on the Playstation like NBA 2K. Community forums are the modern-day version of the old MySpace. We join forums because our friends are there and we can hang out. Boyd (2007) noted that “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” (10). I think the virus and the impact it has made to our collective online presence reflects Boyd’s ideas that young people join certain networks to maintain and foster personal connections. This certainly reinforces my personal change in attitude about the way I use media.

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

Lesure, Jackson. “A Wunder-Ful Sunday for Odell’s 4: Odell’s 4 End All Be All: Welcome to the Deciding Factor of the Best 2k Player in Odell’s 4.” A Wunder-Ful Sunday for Odell’s 4, Jackson Lesure, 2020, http://www.recleague.net/leagues/odells4endallbeall/posts/5032.

“What You Need to Know about Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).” Cdc.gov, 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf.

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COVID-19. Now what?

The world has faced a large amount of setbacks, from two World Wars to different political and economical problems. The most recent, and the one that has the world shocked, is the COVID-19 pandemic. This world-spread disease has affected every person around the globe, as their daily routine has changed drastically.

Many countries have opted for their lockdown, not allowing non-essential people to go out of their homes. This means schools and universities are canceling their classes and transitioning to remote education. Therefore, use of media also needed to adapt, in order to fulfill all the requirements of the education faculty. As a result, students are using their devices in a different way to what they are used to. Instead of using computers or phones to chat with friends or meet new people, students are using them for their online classes and homework. Since this is not their purpose for most of us (myself included), we are feeling that our understanding of media is shifting from a social place to a work place. For example, danah boyd said in her article that “Teens often turn to sites like MySpace for entertainment; social voyeurism passes time while providing insight into society at large”.

This coronavirus outbreak not only has changed our perception about media, but also how we perceive the world related to media. What I mean with this is that, with schools and colleges closing, not everyone will have high-speed internet connection, or even a device to work on. Also, people can be misinformed about the virus and how to protect themselves from it, since they are not able to receive valid information. We are able to see now that not everyone can afford the necessary technology to be updated, or to work from home, which should be a basic right.

Image from https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/click-for-cash-how-to-make-money-on-the-web-1.3990835

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

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5 blog prompts (#5 prompt is up)

These 5  blog posts will comprise the biggest part of your course grade (25%).

Unless otherwise noted, all posts will include the following components:

1. They will be 200/300-word-long. 

2. They should be written in your best college-level English.

3. Each of them will include at least 2 linked sources in your post (you will need to link your text to websites using WordPress “link” option; copy&paste of links won’t suffice). 

4. It will include the number and type of course sources, as stated in each blog post prompt (i.e. for blog post #1, at least 1 of the readings from March 24/26). 

Use of visuals in your post (images/gifs/links to videos) is encouraged!

You will be graded on substance & inclusion of all required components. If you provide both, you will get 5 points for each post. 

Late submissions will not reduce your grade, but failure to make 5 posts by end of classes – if you fall into the category of students who were not excused from this task – will.

Blog post #5 prompt [due May 3, 11 pm Eastern Time]: 

– A media analysis post. For the final post, your task is very simple. I am asking you find an image which, for you, summarizes your biggest takeaway from this course. This image can be a photograph, a meme, an illustration, a film still, a screen grab from social media – anything. Perhaps you feel like you learned one thing which powerfully resonates with you to this day. Or maybe you feel that some confusing idea is haunting you – in spite of completed readings and class discussions. In any case, the image you will post will illustrate that takeaway. Once you post this image, I am asking you to provide a 200/300-word-long paragraph explaining the use of this particular image. What does the image show? What does the image mean to you? What do you hope others can learn from seeing it? Be sure to answer these questions and provide the source of this image in the image caption. 

Blog post #1 prompt [due March 29, 11 pm Eastern Time]: 

-A reflection post. How did your understanding of media change over the last month, when the HWS colleges transitioned to remote education and COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic? I am asking you to reference at least one of the readings for this week (March 24/26) in this post because they all explore how youth use media. You will pick a quote from these readings that stood out for you and explain why it stood out for you. Syllabus readings published on Canvas in dark bold color are your key readings. 

All referenced sources should be properly cited at the end of your post. 

Note: I understand that many of you might be overwhelmed by the amount of news about the virus and how it has changed your lives, but consider this post as an invitation to organize your thoughts, find an anchor, and breath. Just over the past few weeks, we have been witnessing many changes in the world of media which can be addressed without directly speaking about the virus. I.e. did anything in your surroundings make you think about access to high-speed and steady internet? Can you stream your favorite shows as usual? Do you find yourself reading more or less news? These are some of the questions that will help you start thinking about this post. 

Blog post #2 prompt [due April 12, 11 pm Eastern Time]:

A position post. Raymond Williams argues that creators of contemporary advertising embrace existing valid criticism of advertising. As a result, these creators use this awareness to create more sophisticated and, at times, even light-hearted forms of advertising: “… the development of a knowing, sophisticated, humorous advertising, which acknowledged the scepticism and made claims either casual and offhand or so ludicrously exaggerated as to include the critical response… Thus it became possible to ‘know all the arguments’ against advertising, and yet accept or write pieces of charming or amusing copy” (Williams, “Advertising: The Magic System,” 331). Your tasks in this blog post are the following: 

  1. Find 2 examples of advertising that demonstrate this development toward “knowing, sophisticated, humorous advertising, which acknowledge[s] the scepticism” regarding the advertising industry. These 2 examples can be print commercials/ video commercials/ posters/ radio commercials, etc. You will make your job easier if you look for advertisements about a similar product or service. Alternatively, you can compare and contrast advertising by the same entity (company, industry, campaign, country, etc.). Some very helpful resources for you are these databases of advertisements: http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/; http://www.adflip.com/; Library of Congress Printed Ephemera database ; Marchand Archive at the UC Davis. 
  2. Post the two examples of advertising you have found (images/videos/links to audio files, etc.), along with links to the places where you found them (note: links should be hyperlinked, like in the above example of the Marchand Archive). 
  3. Using at least 1 quote from R. Williams’ text on advertising, which is a quote other than the one in the prompt, argue what makes the change between the two advertisements an example of “knowing, sophisticated” advertising. Your post will include the page to R. Williams’ quote you are using.

Blog post #3 prompt [due April 19, 11 pm Eastern Time]: 

-A research post. In course slides for April 16 class on Free Speech, you will find a breakdown of the ways contemporary forms of speech control contrast with past forms of speech control. This contrast is discussed in Tim Wu’s 2018 article “Is the First Amendment Obsolete?” (pp. 558-568). Wu’s main argument is that direct censorship (i.e. banning of specific forms of speech, such as criticism of authoritarian governments) has been replaced by the weaponization of speech (Wu, 560). Among examples of this weaponization are the deployment of trolling and flooding campaigns. Wu defines the techniques of trolling through examples from Russia: obscuring of the government’s role in trolling activities; defamation campaigns; harassment & humiliation of targets. To find examples of flooding, Wu turns to China and argues that one example of flooding is the domination of discourse through the publishing of huge quantities of information that has no basis in reality. Whereas Wu’s lessons on trolling and flooding come from outside of the US, he argues that these lessons are relevant to the United States. Your tasks for this post are the following:

  1. Based on your use of media, briefly describe 1 example of trolling technique and 1 example of flooding specific use of media in the United States. Discuss how these examples illustrate Wu’s arguments on the weaponization of speech and contemporary changes in speech control. Be sure to reference relevant page numbers from Wu’s article.
  2. Find and post at least one relevant illustration for each of the examples (i.e. a screen grab, an image, a video, a meme, etc.). Make sure you provide linked sources of your illustrations.
  3. Based on class slides, explain whether you agree or disagree that in the United States the spread of communication techniques such as trolling and flooding should be met with new legal frameworks (laws, codes of ethics, updated Supreme Court interpretations of the First Amendment). Why do you think so? You may find it interesting that starting with this week, Vietnam is introducing fines for spread of misinformation on the COVID-19 crisis.

Blog post #4 prompt [due April 26, 11 pm Eastern Time]: 

A reading comprehension post [TW: violence; mass shooting]. For this week, Dan & Patrick made for us a very informative presentation and shared their script on content moderation in the digital era (you will find both on Canvas, under April 21 class). This presentation is based on Hasan Minhaj’s episode on content moderation & free speech. The episode in question summarizes why technology companies like Reddit and You Tube frequently escape legal accountability for the content which can be found on their websites or easily settle lawsuits against them, such as the recent lawsuit against Tik Tok’s use of minors’ data. I.e. a number of terrorists behind recent white supremacist attacks across the world have used You Tube to promote hatred of minority groups. One example is the terrorist behind Spring 2019 New Zealand mosque attacks, which left 51 individuals killed. Notably, he managed to live stream his mass shootings. Videos of his attacks circulated on You Tube in various forms “long after the man and other suspects were arrested.” Many media scholars and critics have noted that if media companies like You Tube had to account for violence promoted on their platforms as much as U.S. media companies have been historically required to account for sexually explicit content, we would have very different conversations about the internet as a neutral platform for the spread of ideas. Using the slides and the script Dan & Patrick made for you, explain two following things: 

  1. Name at least one example of U.S. legislation which to this day excuses social media companies from liability towards instances of communication that promote hatred & violence. Briefly explain the essence of this legislation. 
  2. One of the readings for this week, T. Gilespie’s book chapter, is called “The Myth of a Neutral Platform.” What does this title refer to? Explain your response & provide at least one example stated in Dan’s and Patrick’s presentation to support your argument.

Slides & script you will use to complete this blog post can be found on Canvas, under April 21 class. 

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Welcome to our blog!

Welcome! For the rest of the semester, this blog will serve as our virtual classroom. We will maintain it to summarize remaining readings, reflect on these readings, and answer any emerging questions. 

In media studies, blogs are not new. They have been around longer than current college students, with the first notable blogs dating back to the 1990s. Blogs predate Silicon Valley’s social media corporations and the push for the monetization of our online connectivity. Blogs are important because they have a legacy of vocalizing new voices and transforming information distribution. They also teach us about the ability of the mainstream culture to absorb marginal cultures. Once this happens, media users often are the ones to lose (consider changes to Google search algorithm in 2011, which categorized many blogs as insignificant sources of knowledge).  

In light of changes the COVID-19 virus is having on education, this blog will pursue several goals: 

  • It will help you finalize an understanding of key terms in media studies. To this effect, we will keep using Pecha Kucha presentations and I will regularly provide slides to walk you through key arguments in assigned readings. 
  • It will help you work collaboratively as a community of learners. In time of intensified social distancing, this blog can become one of your lifelines and a way out of familiar social networks. 
  • It will help you refine your research skills through a series of written posts.
  • It will help you experiment with a range of media production skills (the writing of this blog itself is a form of media production). 
  • It will help you reflect on your  personal media encounters with critical awareness. To enhance this goal, an option will be given to you to bring your experiences of using various forms of media during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So, how do you create a post on this blog? Here is a clear breakdown of steps you should take.

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Set up a WordPress account & create your first post in 9 steps

[Note that the first steps work best on a device other than your cell phone. Once you set up the account, can use the WordPress free mobile app for creating your future posts.]

  1. Using the link you got in your email, set up a WordPress account.
  2. Accept an invitation to become an author to this blog. Once you do, you will be taken to the WordPress author interface. Note that you can choose what name you want to be publicly displayed as the author of your posts. Go to My Profile/ Public Display Name.

3. To start writing your post, go to Posts / Add new post.

4. You will be taken your workstation. You can create the title, text, and insert a range of elements as “blocks” (images, gifs, videos, etc.). The system saves any changes you make to your post in Drafts.

5. When you are done with the post, simply press “Publish.”

6. Before you publish your post, be sure to add at least 3 tags to your post, these tags help organize the information on the blog and help search engines find the content you create.

7. The interface will ask you if you are ready to publish. If so, go ahead. In the case provided to you as an example, the post is titled “Test post.” Once it is published, the system pops up the dialogue “[title of your post] is now live.” Note that you can always edit your posts even after these have been published.

8. You can view the post by pressing “View post.”

9. To go back to editing, press the top left section “My Site.” When you go back to your Author interface, under Posts, you will see all of your posts and drafts created to date.

Congratulations, you have created your post on WordPress!