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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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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