What I Learned In The Past Ten Weeks.

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I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. And I survived.

It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?

Throughout these weeks I’ve been taking Mass Media in Society, I’ve always had the thought in my mind: “What is the most important thing I’ve learned from this?”. It took me some time to think about this, to be honest. Not because I haven’t learned anything, but because there are so many topics to pick from.

The most interesting thing to me was actually one of the first things we learned in this class and is actually in the name of our textbook: convergence. Specifically, technological convergence. The fact that we’ve made so much progress technologically and have somehow merged news media with it is amazing to me. Print news has been around for almost three hundred years and technology, like the internet and social media, has just gotten started with a mere twenty years! The coming together of the old and new- that is what I live for.

By studying this concept, it got me thinking about how media is constantly changing. How everything is constantly changing. It made me ask questions I usually don’t ask because of the complexity of the answer.

And that’s what I think a good class makes you do. Question the world and seek the answers.

I think this class definitely accomplished that.

 

 

 

What I Think of Donald Trump.

Now, I’m gonna address the elephant in the room.

The presidential elections.

Whether you were disappointed with the results or not, Donald Trump is now the president-elect of the United States of America.

Now, I won’t go out right and tell you who I voted for. But, I’m from California.

So, do you ever look at someone and wonder how in the world did someone like them end up in a place of power?

That’s exactly how I feel about Donald Trump.

I remember the first time I heard Donald speak. At the time, I was about nine years old and he was on his show, The Apprentice. I remember wondering why this man was so pinched looking and so very angry.

In my opinion, everything he stood for, and still stands for, is so angry.

His slogan, “Make America Great Again”.

The remarks he makes about certain races and genders.

So how did I develop this opinion of Donald today?

Honestly, social media is the biggest component.

Just like social media helped Barack Obama in his election, it has helped Donald in his.

Social media is not a new thing and it’s typical for politicians to have an account on every platform. For Donald, it’s clear that he is an avid user of Twitter with millions of followers.

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Social media has made it far more easier for advertisers. There are so many platforms to utilize and so many things to say. Politics will always be here and social media isn’t going away.

And, when it comes to Donald, maybe he won’t be a horrible president.

Or maybe he will.

 

 

Is The Truth Always True?

News, truth, and lies.

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These are the three words that pop into my head when I think of journalism.

One is not like the other, right?

Over the years, journalism has changed from being completely objective to integrating the idea of fairness and balance. But, because of this, sometimes, the story is not completely true.

This is where yellow journalism and media manipulation come in.

Coined from a character in the popular comic, Hogan’s Alley, in the New York World, yellow journalism relied heavily on exaggerated headlines and, sometimes, fabricated stories. Back in the 1890s, two newspaper giants, New York World and New York Journal, were determined to be the more popular one. William Randolph Hearst, the owner of New York Journal, decided to take matters into his own hands and, basically, start a war with Cuba. After the sinking of a battleship, Hearst wrote a story with no evidence, blamed the  Spanish, and the rest is history.

I guess this just shows that people can become so greedy they might even start wars.

Media manipulation, a newer term in journalism, is literally what it sounds like. It manipulates everything we read. Everything we hear. Everything we watch. In simpler times, with news manipulation, we only had to worry about government propaganda. But now, because we have so many social platforms, everything posted online can be shaped and distorted  to whatever the creator wants.

Even though this sounds horrible or whatever, I kind of understand. Why?

Because I’m a media manipulator as well. We all are.

In social media, I carefully choose what I want to put out there. I want to project a certain image, not something that will completely show who I am.

Sounds a little hypocritical, right? Well, at least I’m honest about that.

 

 

 

How Far Is Too Far With VR?

Everyday something new comes up in technology. The newest IPhone 7 and Apple Watch from Apple. A new video subscription service from Amazon. Virtual reality in video games. There’s even the new smartphone from Samsung that allows you to experience virtual reality anywhere!

But how much further can we go? Life has become so digitalized, it’s even been able to become simulated!

I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret.

Nanotechnology.

You may be asking, “Ashli, what is this nanotechnology you’re talking about?”

Well, let me learn you a thing.

Virtual reality has widely been used by the public for video games, right? But did you know there are vast amount of uses for VR other than video games? In the military, VR has been used for training techniques, such as aviation. In education, it is used to create simulations to learn and explore new concepts, like in astronomy.

So what am I getting at?

As we all know, virtual reality equipment is relatively expensive and not everyone can afford it. But what if we could experience VR without the equipment?

This is where nanotechnology comes in.

Nanotechnology may be used as a means of pushing the boundaries and entering the digital world, mentally. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Transcendenceyou’ll kind of get the idea. Basically, you’d be uploading your brain into a computer. In a sense, immortality could become a very real thing.

But, if you’ve ever seen any of those science-fiction movies where artificial intelligence becomes sentient, then you’ll know they never have a happy ending.

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Why Ads Annoy Me On Social Media

So it’s one of those mornings where you have absolutely nothing to do and you grab a cup of coffee to sit down and watch some YouTube videos. You’re scrolling to find the latest video from your favorite YouTuber and, when you finally do, BAM.

A freaking horror movie trailer you can’t skip.

And that’s just one of the many experiences I have had with advertisements in digital media. Advertising has gone through some major changes because of the emergence of digital technology and the same goes for public relations. So while advertising and public relations are two different things, they work together to accomplish their shared objective: selling a product.

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Now advertising has been around for years. From those old 1920s Coca-Cola ads  to Terry Crews yelling about using Old Spice, the evolution of advertising is huge. Before the use of advertising in the digital world, the world only knew advertising through displays, billboards, classifieds, and et cetera. But now it’s gotten so complicated. People have become so fickle and hard to please and, because their interests are the target, advertising had to evolve along with them.

Social media has been the game changer in all this. With public relations, it’s made it a lot easier to find out an audience’s opinion on something. With advertising, it’s made the appearance of ads a lot more prevalent. I don’t know about you, but these unassuming advertisement attacks scare the crap out me sometimes. One moment, I’m scrolling through an article on Forbes and, the next thing I know, there’s a freaking Subaru commercial playing on maximum volume. Even one of my favorite social media platforms have been invaded. I remember scrolling through Tumblr and seeing the same ad six times.

Just please. No. I do not want your ugly silver shoe.

But, while these banner ads, pop-up ads, and video ads are annoying, they are effective. There are many times when I have gone out of my way to go watch a movie in theaters because I saw the trailer on an ad on YouTube. Same goes for ads from cookies. I’ll be browsing on some random site and see that one dress I want tempting me from the side of the screen.

But, even though they are effective, something has to be done about those unskippable horror movie trailers on YouTube. Because, honestly, no one wants to see that at 3 o’clock in the morning.

 

Social Media Is Making Me Go Out More

 

To be honest, I’m a little tired about hearing these baby boomers complain how social media has made millennials more isolated. I mean, sure, you’re correct in some ways. But what are you going to do about it? Social media is here, right now, and will be when you’re dead (which wont be too long for you, you cranky old people).

But, annoying or not, they are kind of right.

We have become less social in real life.

Have you ever went to hang out with your friend at their house and instead of actually doing something, you scroll through Instagram and laugh at dumb memes together?

Or have you lied about your mom not letting you go to a party because you’re too busy watching Netflix or YouTube videos?

Don’t lie, we’ve all been there.

The thing is, our life online has become so much more interesting than the one we live in real life. It sounds kind of bad, but my social life kind of revolves around my social media.

In a way, social media has made me more social too.

 

When I was in high school, I used to stay home every weekend. But now, I actually go out to new places that I see on Instagram or Snapchat. I’ve went to LA with friends to see the new museum that opened up and went to Thailand because of Instagram.  I’m even going to Japan this summer because of this person’s travel Instagram photos. 

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Social media has influenced me to go places I’ve never dreamed I’d go to. I just can’t see how that’s a bad thing.

But let’s be honest.

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I’m still partly going to get that good Instagram photo.

The Love-Hate Relationship Between Social Media and I.

Let me just say this; I love living in this generation.

I mean, we have it all. Instant messaging all over the world, all the entertainment you could ever want on your IPhone (or Android), and everything you could ever want at the touch of a button.

But I admit it. I am addicted to my phone. I remember forgetting my phone at home once and feeling lost and terrified. Sound pathetic? Well, I know I’m not the only one around with this fear.

With technology advancing so much and social media becoming such a huge part of people’s lives, it’s getting hard to catch up. We can shop from our homes without even getting up with online stores and apps. We can read and own dozens of books and movies  that can be stored in a single phone. Nowadays,  even people’s careers are starting to depend on their social media. Businesses are judging their potential employees through sites like LinkedIn. There are even new jobs being created by businesses because of social media!

There are even ways to stay safe without keeping 911 on speed dial.Walking alone at night in sketchy places isn’t as dangerous anymore thanks to personal safety apps like bSafe. Apps like these feature alarms that automatically alert the police if you don’t check in at a certain time. Personally, I use this app all the time because it makes me feel that much safer. I mean, I still carry around pepper spray because you never know.

So, yes, social media is a very good thing. It’s easy, it’s accessible, and it is here to stay. But let’s not forget what happened in the movie, WALL-E.

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Remember, too much of a good thing can always become a bad thing.

 

 

 

How Photography Has Evolved In This Age.

Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

The five basic senses of a human. Out of all of them, my favorite has to be sight. (Even though I’m literally half-blind.)

Why?

Well, that’s where photography comes in.

Right now, we live in the era of vision. Media is chock full of it with Snapchat, Instagram, and Youtube. Having the ability to capture an image and having the tools to do so has become taken for granted. In the past, it would have taken so much longer to take a photo with all the equipment it required. Now, we have cameras everywhere. It’s all about how good the quality of the camera is. Even now, the camera is slowly evolving from DSLRs to the newest IPhone. Photos back in the 19th century would also take much more time to process. Imagine trying to take a selfie and having to wait fifteen minutes to do it. No wonder no one smiled in pictures back then!

The one thing that hasn’t changed about photography is its ability to tell a story. We all know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and it’s true. Humans have been using pictures to tell a story for centuries. They were there before even written language existed! It’s why our professor tells us to add pictures on our blogs and why photography museums exist. They tell us stories of the past and convey emotions, without even using words.

In our age, we still use photography to tell stories. On Instagram, we post pictures of ourselves, our friends, our family, our activities, and etc.. Yet, unknowingly, what we’re doing is telling the story of our lives.

Throughout history, we’ve seen all these iconic photos. Just like the photo of Audrey Hepburn, holding a cigarette holder between her lips. Or the kiss in Times Square after the war ended.

It really makes me wonder if one of my selfies would be featured like that. Like some priced relic in a museum way into the future.

Let’s be real, guys. I’d be the new Mona Lisa.

Humans are such visual creatures. The way we perceive photographs, has so much to do with who we are as a person. For example, one person may see a dog and squeal at how cute it is, while another might see it and associate fear with it. Our interpretation tells us the story of the photo while, simultaneously, telling us the story of ourselves.

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So my question to you is; what story does this photo tell you?

 

 

Why Aladdin Isn’t As Great As I Thought It Was.

I remember, as a child, sitting on the floor of our ratty old apartment and watching Disney movies on VHS tapes. They were a huge part of my childhood and taught me, and so many other children, that dreams do come true and true love exists. But, recently, I’ve been re-watching old movies from my childhood, specifically, Disney’s Aladdin. And, honestly, I was a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I still love that movie. But, now that I’m more informed as an adult, I started to notice all the racist and misogynist things in the movie.

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The Disney movie, Aladdin, is centered in a place known as Agrabah and was released in theaters on November 25, 1992. There was much praise for it but there was also a lot of criticism coming from the Arab community.
In the opening scene of the movie, an Arab merchant comes in, singing a cutesy song called “Arabian Nights“. As a child, I loved singing a lot to the catchy song but, now, as someone who I’d like to think of as having their stuff together; I was cringing a bit. I mean, the lyrics itself were not the best sounding: “..where they cut off your ears, if they don’t like your face. its barbaric but hey, it’s home.”

Yeah, I know. Racism written all over it.

Fortunately, Disney later apologized for those lyrics and changed them to something else.

But that’s not the end of the stereotypes. There’s a whole list of stereotypes, including the over sexualization of women. In the movie, women are portrayed as these seductive dancers. This also includes Princess Jasmine. The way she’s dressed is way off from the cultural norm.

Disney has this tendency to paint the heroines in the story as someone who needs saving. Princess Jasmine, for example, is saved from her rich, sheltered life by a simple thief. And it’s seen in other classic Disney movies as well. There’s Cinderella being saved from a life of toil by her Prince Charming. There’s both Sleeping Beauty and Snow White being saved by their princes with a single kiss.

Come on, Disney. I can save my own ass.

What we don’t see is the effect these stereotypes being portrayed in Aladdin have on children. Everything seen in media has an effect. I know for sure, when I was a kid, I thought all girls, including me, were going to be rescued by their true love. It’s the same thing with the gender and race stereotypes in Aladdin. They’re teaching kids that this particular race is only this way. And that’s just not true.

 

The Dividing Line between Interpersonal and Mass Communication.

I am what people call a digital native.

I grew up with it all. The phones that can be taken anywhere. The computers that are smarter than Einstein. We share our life on the Internet with images or videos. But when does sharing our life become too much information? How do we know where to draw the line between  our real life and our Internet life? And is the line between interpersonal and mass communication dissipating?

Some people have made their livelihood on the Internet. People have made a living posting videos on Youtube. Content creators on Instagram have also joined the game and post sponsored images for revenue.

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Media has definitely expanded the horizon for careers. But how about the average Joe? How has living in this digitalized world change his life?

Let’s look into the life of an average person. Every morning, you wake up, punch in the address of their workplace on their phone, and drive to work. At work, you type on your computer and send out emails. At lunch, you hear your workplace buddies talk about the dinner party you weren’t invited to. You scroll past the dinner party pictures on Instagram without liking them. At home, you decide that you’re hungry and decide to order takeout on the Postmates app. You eat your Chinese takeout while you watch Gossip Girl on Netflix and fall asleep to your favorite song on Spotify.

If your average day looks something like this, then, chances are good that the line between interpersonal and mass communication in your life are blurring. Today, we take the technology we have for granted. We don’t realize how much media has changed our society. We send texts at lightning speed and access news at the tap of a button without batting an eye. It’s all about accessibility and convenience.

So, yes, the division of interpersonal and mass communication is finally coming together. The question is; is it a bad thing? That’s up to you to decide.