All posts by adesloge93

Addicted to Technology

I don’t think there is doubt in anyone’s mind that technology has been a great asset to our society. Cell phones, the Internet, and many other devices and applications have made life easier and more entertaining. However, this has come at a price. Personally, I can say with confidence that a great deal of my time is mindlessly wasting using technology. In fact, I actually sat down to write this more than an hour ago, but before I could force myself to start, I browsed, Imgur, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, my email, and various other sites where procrastination is made easy. I hate to admit it, but I am addicted to technology- and I’m sure I am not alone.

Our society’s current addiction to technology is one that represents a larger tend of addiction to entertainment. This can be seen in many aspects of our media, from the sheer number of reality TV shows to our focus on “infotainment” stories in the news. As of now, this trend is one of a negative nature. Rather than focusing on what is really going on in the world, we choose to focus merely on things that bring us pleasure. By no means is gaining pleasure from media and technology a bad thing, but when it causes us to lose focus of some of the more important happenings in the world, it puts us at a disadvantage culturally and academically. I am plenty guilty of this myself. The pursuit of pleasure through entertainment has definitely numbed me to the current events of the world, which is something that I know I need to work on.

If this trend continues to grow, it will affect not only our current generation, but the generations following. And with the rapid growth of technology in our society, I fear that there is no stopping the trend. Thus, because we cannot combat technology, as a society, we must place a renewed emphasis on the importance of knowledge outside of entertainment culture, as well as the importance of activities not involving the use of technology. We must teach our children that entertainment can be found outside of the computer or television screen and that true knowledge is more valuable than trivial pop-culture information. This will not be an easy thing to do, as our obsession with entertainment is deeply ingrained in our culture, but we must at least start to fight this. As far as I’m concerned, it is a necessary battle.

Sources

http://www.reddit.com

http://www.imgur.com

http://www.facebook.com

http://www.twitter.com

http://www.webopedia.com

Who Runs the World?

With almost 200 million views on YouTube, Beyoncés Run the World has become a viral video hit, as well as a powerful vector of ideology and hegemony. This mass media text is an excellent example of underlying societal power. With prevalent underlying themes of post-feminism and heteronormativity, Beyoncé’s hit embodies mass media’s hegemonic grip on popular culture.

When the song was released, many hailed it as a powerful assertion of female empowerment. And with the main line a declaration that girls run the world, it would appear that the beliefs expressed are a step forward for women everywhere. However, upon closer inspection, it is apparent that the song is rich in post-feminist thinking. The song speaks of the power of women, but according to the song, the way in which women hold power in society is through their sexual appeal. This can explicitly seen in the music video of the song, which features scantily clad women provocatively dancing as a crowd of men stare in awe. The lyrics mirror this. For instance, the line “My persuasion can build a nation. Endless power, with our love we can devour. You’ll do anything for me” is a clear implication that the way women hold power is with their bodies. In this way, the song is an example of perceived power playing into the idea of perceived sexual equality better known as post-feminism. Not only does this text, exemplify post-feminist ideals, but it also plays into society’s unseen heteronormative and patriarchal.

It is not hard to see the upholding of heteronormativity, the invisible ideology which normalizes heterosexuality and marginalizes queerness, in Run the World. The music video illustrates a world in which men are perplexed by women, and women alone. Along with women solely addressing men in the videos, the lyrics also depict a heteronormative scene.  Lines like “Boy I know you love it” and “strong enough to bear children” maintain the status quo of male and female relations as normative. Furthermore, heteronormativity can be seen in the illustration of conventionally feminine and masculine dancers in the music video. Of course the portrayal of only conventionally attractive people in the music video comes as no surprise when the lyrics speaks of sexual attractiveness as the key to female power.

Beyoncé’s song may take a stand for women in society, but in the ways that it does this, it merely reaffirms hegemonic ideals. The post-femininity expressed shows a belief in equality, while under the surface, the sexual objectifying tells a different story. Coupled with the heteronormativity and exclusion of marginalized groups in the expression of power help to paint a picture of the subtle, yet powerful role of hegemony in society.  Run the World is also a prime example of how hegemony adjusts to fit cultural evolution. The post-feminism beliefs in the song reflect this in the fact that the power of women has been recognized at this time, but the power given to women is only that of a sexual nature.

The consequences of this, and other media texts like it, is that those in power are able to maintain control of underlying ideologies with the cooperation of those they oppress. In this way, media texts function to serve those who control society, allowing them dictate what we think and believe. This is dangerous because it means that the few people in power have a great deal of influence over the masses. While this is not inherently bad, there is potential for that power to be used in a way that is far from good for the people. As a society, we need to realize this and be more conscientious in own beliefs and what we experience through the media.

Sources

A-Z Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beyonceknowles/girlswhoruntheworld.html

Feminist Theory: http://0-fty.sagepub.com.bianca.penlib.du.edu/content/7/2/255.full.pdf+html

Gender and Education Association: http://www.genderandeducation.com/issues/what-is-heteronormativity/

Ideology: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz3YNMPMNzU

Media and Society

Post-Colonial Studies- Emory: http://postcolonialstudies.emory.edu/hegemony-in-gramsci/

Vevo-Beyonce: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=run%20the%20world&sm=3

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy

Power of the New Media

With advancements in technology giving citizens the means to become more than just sedentary internalizers of information, the meaning of journalism has been changed completely. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, allow citizens to take charge of information like never before. Everyday people are able to filter through information, create their own information, and share information faster and more efficient than ever. As Jay Rosen put it “the people formerly known as the audience” have taken on a new role in society; that of the citizen journalist. This has had a huge impact on the news and media industry. As Bruns argued, the newfound potential of citizen journalism has completely transformed the role of the “audience” from fairly inactive gatekeeping participants to the much more active role of gatewatching, which allows citizens to have a larger say in what is important in the news world. 

In order to explore this phenomenon more in depth, let us look at real life examples of social media impacting the world of journalism. One of the most prominent examples of this occurred in 2011 when, without explicitly knowing it, a Pakistani citizen with the Twitter handle @ReallyVirtual tweeted about the unusual occurrence of a helicopter circling overhead. 

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 8.45.26 PM 

He did not know it at the time, but these tweets would be the first available information on the Navy Seal raid that lead to the finding and death of Osama Bin Laden. This was one of the biggest stories of 2011 and it was broke not by a professional journalist or media conglomerate, but rather by an IT guy with an affinity for social media. The fact that some of the most important information can be broadcast worldwide be a mere civilian clearly illustrates just how powerful a tool social networking has becomes, as well as how the world of news and journalism has changed completely.

@ReallyVirtual’s tweet immediately went viral not because it trickled down vertically from a hierarchical organization, but because it expanded horizontally due to other civilians sharing the information. This demonstrates exactly what Bruns meant with the term gatewatching. Rather than just accept, process, and evaluate information from the higher-ups, citizens are now able to make the news themselves and share it worldwide within an extremely short period of time. 

As Bruns pointed out in an article addressing this change in media and journalism structure, the citizen journalism movement has many potential implications for the industry. For one, it makes professional journalism far less significant. This is understandable because now that everyone has the ability to dictate and report news, what’s so special about journalism? This is a valid concern from those in the profession, but because of the extreme necessity for information in our society, I believe that there will always be a need for professional journalists. But the larger implication of the citizen journalism movement is the never before seen power of the everyday person. By empowering the individual, social media has created a new interest in current events. Furthermore, now that they have the means, citizens are able influence the world like never before. Because of this, there is unlimited potential as to what anyone can do. 

 

Sources:

http://mashable.com/2011/05/01/live-tweet-bin-laden-raid/

https://blackboard.du.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-505575-dt-content-rid-1677276_1/courses/4538.201410/Bruns%202011%2C%20The%20Active%20Audience%20–%20from%20MakingOnlineNews%20Ch%2011.pdf

http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html

 

Money vs. Morality: The War on Advertising Accuracy

      Living in today’s society, it is almost impossible to escape the constant onslaught of advertising. Print ads, television ads, radio ads, and, most recently, internet ads bombard the brain with extreme frequency. Because advertising is such a large part of and has such a great impact on our lives, its content is a hot topic. Many agencies, such as the FCC and FTC, have formed in order to regulate the advertising industry, but even with regulations in place, there is great debate over the content that advertisers should and should not be able to use. In this debate, there are two main side: that of the business and that of the consumer. 

     From the perspective of the business, advertising provides a way to sell a product or idea. Because of this, it makes sense that I business would attempt to lure potential customers in by the most effective means necessary. This may mean blurring the lines of accuracy and morality in order to make a product more appealing. From this point of view, advertising is not about ethics, but rather the main goal is effectiveness. 

     On the other side of the coin, however, you have the perspective of the consumer. When deciding what products to buy, consumers must place a certain amount of trust in the advertisements put out by the companies selling the products. To the customer, advertisements provide a window into products, ideas, and the companies behind them. Thus, customers desire advertisements to be truthful. 

     In this battle, I side with the consumer. This is due to the fact that I am a consumer and expect a certain standard from companies attempting to sell to me, as well as my overall believe that there are moral values companies should be compelled to align with. Because so many citizens have this same opinion, the FTC, FCC, and other agencies help hold companies accountable for their advertisements for the benefit of consumers. Issues these organizations address include, the accuracy of the information advertisements provide, ethical concerns of the advertisements, and amount of advertising time. Although business’ may be constrained by these rules, such as not being able to have the most effective advertisements because of time or content restrictions, they provide numerous benefits for society overall. For one, each of us, including those in the advertising and business industries, are consumers. Thus, each of us benefits from more accurate information when deciding what to buy. Furthermore, regulations regarding ethical issues, such as advertising to children and advertising for certain vices (tobacco, alcohol, etc.), are beneficial because they reduce the possible negative influences advertising can have. Because exposure to advertising is so constant in our society, the ideas expressed in advertisements have a huge impact on our thinking. Therefore, the less detrimental ideas we are exposed to, the less of an impact they will have on us. Thus, although regulations are not favorable for companies, the services they provide are crucial for consumers and society as a whole. 

Sources

Media/Society by David Croteau and William Hoynes 

 

The Scope of Media: Time Warner’s Broad Target Audience and International Presence

     For this blog post, I chose to focus my research on Time Warner Inc.. Time Warner is one of the “big 5” (or 6) entertainment conglomerates and they own a wide variety of companies prevalent within the media industry. Although many people are familiar with the name Time Warner, few people, including myself until doing this research, are familiar with exactly how wide the company’s reach extends. In order to give an idea of just how powerful Time Warner is, I will list some of the company’s assets below.

Time Warner Inc.

Home Box Office

–       HBO

–       Cinemax

Time Inc.

–       Fortune

–       Health

–       In Style

–       Life

–       Money

–       Time

IPC Media (U.K.)

Grupo Editorial Expansión (Mexico)

Turner Broadcasting System

–       truTV

–       TBS

–       TNT

–       TBS

–       Cartoon Network

–       Adult Swim

CNN News Group

–       CNN en Español

–       CNN Latino

–       CNN International

–       CNN Radio

Warner Bros. Entertainment

–       Warner Bros. Consumer Products

–       Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures

–       Warner Bros. Pictures International

–       DC Entertainment

  • DC Comics

(Extensive list of companies can be found at http://www.cjr.org/resources/?c=timewarner)

 

     While researching the corporate web of Time Warner, there were many interesting thoughts that popped into my head regarding the relationship between the companies and the influence they may have on the public. First, I was surprised at how many international companies are a part of Time Warner. Before realizing this, I had only been thinking about the effects of the “big 6” on citizens of the United States. However, seeing the number of foreign outlets on the Time Warner list makes me wonder just how far reaching the influence of large media conglomerates really is.  With American corporations controlling media in foreign countries, it is not outrageous to assume that those countries could be influenced by any American culture included within the media. Furthermore, the American owned outlets could be giving off a pro-American bias. This bias could be shedding America in a more favorable light, which would benefit the U.S. making the global view more positive, but in a less-than-truthful manner.

     A second major idea that came to mind during observations of Time Warner was the audience range within the variety of companies. Time Warner owns media geared towards children, adolescents, and adults. From cartoons to news, Time Warner feeds information to all ages. This means that any agenda the company has, be it a set of ideals or simply an opinion on a certain matter, could be directed towards each age group. This would be a powerful tool in the sense that it would be received by an even larger number of people than if it were directed towards only one age group. It could also have the potential to be more effective because it would get everyone on the same page, ingraining the idea even deeper. I think the notion of children and adults alike being influenced by the same company is a frightening one  because it really bring to light the fact that from youth through old age we are under the thumb of media conglomerates.

     On a similar note, having to take an in depth look at one of these media conglomerates has given me greater overall knowledge of just how broad the reach of the media stretches, as well as making the concept of media influence all the more real. Seeing the sheer number of assets possessed by Time Warner all laid out in front of me forced me to think more critically about not only the influence of Time Warner, but how I have been influenced over the years by companies and products in general. Concluding my thoughts for this blog, I just wanted to express how doing this exercise has improved my critical thinking by giving me the tools to look deeper into the world around me. In the future, I will be better prepared for the daily bombardment of media.

– Andrew

 

 Sources

http://www.cjr.org/resources/?c=timewarner

http://www.timewarner.com/our-content

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assets_owned_by_Time_Warner