Source Determines Clarity

We are bombarded with information about our ever changing world on a constant bases, but can we trust that our source is giving us all the details we need? Are we being fully informed when we settle for a 2 minute video or should we be sitting through the 5 minute segment of it in our local nightly news, or buying the daily paper? 

In class we learned that 6 out of 10 Americans obtain their current event news from social media outlets. What is typically shared there? Our more cutting edge forms of journalism. It’s buzzfeed, vice or in this case FUSION. These sources tend to be short and concise, especially in their videos. Maybe that’s why we like them? It doesn’t have to take long for us to understand and learn what it is we’re curious about anymore. And sometimes when these mediums show up on our news feeds, we didn’t even know we were curious about them! 

Although many will argue that there are too many dangers in secluding yourself to only these sources. Studies such as the Pew Study published by Knight Digital Media Center seem to prove otherwise. In their article

Social media is not the enemy of journalism, Pew report indicates

by: Amy Gahran | Jun 21, 2011

Amy explains that the “eco chamber effect” is not as powerful of a risk as we say it is. Instead because there are so many sources -conventional and not- we have the unique opportunity of being exposed to information we did not know we were looking for. Including political advise we didn’t know we were searching for. 

The only reality that challanges these new sources is how much information can they really give us in such a short span of time? Are they a good substitute and can they provide information just as effectively? I believe the answer is ‘No’. 

With Trump as our President Elect there are a lot of legitimate concerns on the potential policy changes that may come to be. One being wether or not he will actually abolish DACA.

Undocumented Under Donald Trump
Fusion made a short and concise video explaining to us what this could mean to the hundreds of thousands that are under DACA now. It did a great job of putting in plain and relatable terms what DACA was, how much it means to those that hold it and what the potential consequences of it’s abolishment could produce. 

On the other hand, ABC News published an article titled “What COuld Happen to DACA Recipients Under Trump?” and they went MUCH further in depth. They explained how DACA came to be and why it’s important for those who have it. They went beyond that though to explain how being under DACA now may be JUST as dangerous if not MORE than someone who does not. It appears that the registry of DACA recipients could be used to track down and deport these individuals. 

                  ABC News Article

This information is absolutely essencial to grasping the seriousness and legitimacy of these concerns.  

Our new sources are great and awaken our curiousity and make us more aware. But they do NOT answer all the questions we need to be asking. I believe our good old fasion articles win this round. 


Brand Me

Is self-branding an important part of working in the world today? Many professionals and researches seem to think so.

Meg Guiseppi  wrote that “Your personal brand is a vivid indication of the best you have to offer – the performance, contributions, and value your next employer can expect from you.” in her article titled What’s So Important About Personal Branding? for ‘Job Hunting’. This is a site that gives people advise in writing resumes.

As Daniel Bliley of the parking app Passport says: “Branding today is as much about consistently delivering on your promise as it is about differentiation. You have to position yourself in unique ways in order to stand out from others. You have to meet all of the subconscious expectations and go beyond the mundane to truly impress.”

Our in-class reading titled ‘Self-Branding  The (Safe for Work) Self’ said that self branding was built off of multiple dynamics. One being the production of knowledge as a commodity. This is to say that your education or expertise on a subject is literally a PRODUCT that you are offering that the potential employer cannot refuse.


I have to agree with all that is said above. When we are writing a resume we are literally selling our skills, knowlegde and education as a bundle package for the employer. We are showing them how WE are different, and better than the next guy over. It’s our attention grabbing intro until we can walk in for our interview and do our “But wait! There’s MORE!” spiel…

Even for us college students that have not quite yet sprung into our careers of choice. Some of us still have to apply to Masters or Doctoral programs before we can begin that part of our career endeavor. At this point our brand is built around our transcript. It shows how well rounded we are compared to the other applicants. It tells them how hard working we are when they see the list of extracurricular activites and all of our volunteer hours. Not to mention they can see how smart you are based on your total G.P.A.

To deny that we are required to self-brand is a total dismissal of our day to day striving to become the best at what we do. From flipping the best damn burger to proving you can create the most innovative piece of technology.

As a species we are all in competition for resources. As employment continues to become a more and more scarce recourse our methods to compete have to evolve. Self-branding is a clear example of how we have began to cope with this reality. As students we compete to create the most appealing transcript. As employees we fight to create the most creative and original resume or portfolio. Even as participants of new media we scramble to be the most popular. In every aspect of our lives we are selling ourselves to another entity. 

It has become important in our world. And we have to get better at doing it the best. 

Brand me.

‘Self-Branding  The (Safe for Work) Self’ 



Disney listened! The live action “Mulan” has a release date of November 2018. Many of us are fans of this great Disney film, so it is with great pleasure that we see that Disney heard us!

The announcement sparked a petition of ‘whitewashing’ the film that nearly 90,000 people signed. Surprisingly the trending hashtag all over twitter and Facebook was the leading force.


“If mulan ain’t the main character or not centered around a love interest there gon’ be dishonor evERYWHERE

Participatory culture went a successful rampage here and clearly affected production. After hearing everyone’s concerns about how they might turn Mulan into a damsel in distressed saved by a ‘white’ love interest Disney responded, according to a source “close to the film,” that there’s nothing to worry about. As they explain:

“The spec script was a jumping-off point for a new take on the story that draws from both the literary ballad of Mulan and Disney’s 1998 animated film. Mulan is and will always be the lead character in the story, and all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese.”

Disney has also officially launched “a global casting search” to find a Chinese actor to play Mulan. So basically a big relief all round. This is also a great representation of how powerful we as an audience have become.  Many are even going as far as attempting to suggest who should play the main roles.

We also see the spread-ability HASHTAGS have taken on. We can see them on multiple news outlets because they are not limited to twitter alone, as I once thought. This means that it is easier to share this news with all your friends on multiple platforms ie: Facebook. If it was simply limited to one social media platform (ie: twitter) I never would have heard about it or even been drawn to it.

Considering all the aspects of participatory culture we can dive deeper into how it is working in this circumstance.

Expression: People are making awesome gifs from scenes of the animated versions. There are also a lot of girls feeling empowered by Mulan’s heroism by doing their make-up like hers and posting picture with the #.

Collaborative Problem-Solving: When multiple people shared their concern and others replied with agreement everyone got together to get their petition signed! We saw something we didn’t like and we got together to let them know. If they want us to ‘consume’ their product, they are gonna have to give us something we like!

Affiliation: The moment someone uses that hashtag you enter the community of people who have an opinion as to how Mulan should be produced. Whether you share the same concerns, agree or NOT, does not exclude you from the conversation.

Circulation: As mentioned above. Hashtags can be on multiple platforms, but beyond that, multiple new outlets could not go without reporting it! thumbnail_capture_2016-10-30-06-31-10-1

NowThis made a video about the entire progression from the Hashtags, to the petition hundreds of thousands of people signed to Disney’s final reassuring response. This case of ‘participatory culture beats studio productions’  went VIRAL.

We may not run the entire show but, this is one great example of how New Media has given us (the audience) power to influence even  corporations like Disney.

What about the Ladies?

thsxybqlrrWe live and breath social media now. Digital natives are born into a world where social media is as necessary or more necessary than food and water.

As human beings we have some basic human needs, according to Maslow’s Eight Basic Needs, belonging and self-esteem are two of the top four. He says that with-out these we lack motivation to continue moving forward or growing, and we become uncomfortable with our state.

CBS has an article titled ‘Living in Live Time’. This article has sub articles, and the one I would like to bring to your attention is the one titled ‘Social Media’s Impact on Girls’. This article is particularly interesting because the severity of the impact on girls is huge. In many ways we all agree with this article in the sense that new media is not all bad, but it is hard to ignore the new social norms it has brought to life.

One hundred years ago even just fifty years ago it was not so easy for us to be instantly connected. Within the last two decades the fast progression of technology and its new media outlets that allow a participatory culture, we have joined a world of instant connection. And with that we are now becoming more aware of its instant consequences.

CBS makes an extremely powerful statement when they say “Social media’s incomparable reach and the ability to post images like these (sexy pictures) have left today’s young women increasingly hypersexualized, cyberbullied and more body conscious with each passing post.” 92 percent of American Teenagers surveyed report going online daily with 24 percent saying they go online ‘almost constantly’. Our youth has gotten access to smartphones and personal laptops earlier and earlier with each coming generation. New Media has found a way to make itself increasingly accessible, meaning our youth finds it easier and easier to access social media networks, sing up and log in. Their survey also discovered that girls were overall more likely than boys to use these sites.

Maslow tells us that our need for self-esteem is part of our fundamental requirement of respect. We seek out others to establish our sense of fulfillment and success. As we develop mentally we describe it as feelings of industry or feelings of inferiority. As teenagers that feeling is fed by our peers. This article points out that the way teen girls receive these affirmations is via likes, shares, tags, mentions, positive comments, retweets, followers, or FB friends.

Our need then for belonging has been necessary for survival. For example, we needed to be part of a tribe to be protected from the wild, fed and cared for as children. In this world of new media, we are looking to be part of online communities. How do we know if we belong? Well by the number of followers we have, or by the number of Facebook friends we obtain. Our new world is becoming more and more online but, that world has its conditions and asks us for things in exchange for our sense of belonging.

For young girls those conditions are sexy pictures, or derogatory conversations. With privacy becoming a looser term every day, it is harder for parents to protect their teens from this, or social media outlets to prevent it, and much less for young girls to forget about it and put in their past. Instead they are constantly prayed on and then haunted by the consequences of their compliance.

Maslow’s eight basic needs and the eight stage devlopmental model

Living In Live Time: Social Media’s Impact On Girls

Facebook is the Message

Fame and fortune are only made via advertisement. The only reason we buy that really cute purse or are interested in who Kylie is dating now is because we were told to. But how do we decide what matters? When do we get told what to buy and what to consider important? Is it all provoked by an arbitrary fistful of companies and business, or does your big sister’s boyfriend’s cute friend have a part to play in the conspiracy too?

Facebook skyrocketed shortly after college students crowded the web to talk to one another virtually. Then their family and friends joined in, until we all wanted a piece of that virtual community. Advertisers caught on faster than Mark Zuckerberg and his crew could yell “We’re RICH!”.

We don’t have to pull up a different site to find out what’s up with the Kardashian’s or find that super cute dress is on discount finally at a Store Near You! The advertisements are merged in with that picture of someone’s new baby and how your aunt Lucy dressed her pug up for Halloween. And your aunt Lucy may even be the one who SHARED that piece of information for the New York Times or that coupon for Macy’s.

McLuhan’s thinking around the message of media is strongly supported by the functions of Facebook. He said “Many people would be disposed to say that it was not the machine, but what one did with the machine, that was its meaning or message. In terms of the ways in which the machine altered our relations to one another or to ourselves…”

Digital Stat Articles has a site with 400 Facebook statistics showing that since June of this year there are at least 1.71 billion active users every day. That is almost a quarter of our world’s population that is constantly participating in this medium. At this time 91% of millennials (15-34-year-old) are part of this participatory culture on Facebook. And with an average of 245 friends per Facebook user we have an extended reach of influence that goes beyond our everyday lives.

On Facebook it is more about how we REACT to what we see then what we see. I think this is what McLuhan meant, I could share something and express my disagreement or support of it and my reaction to the message is as important if not MORE important than the message all on its own. Your response to that message would add or remove value to my opinion. That is how the medium becomes the message and how participatory culture allows us to be the medium as well. Facebook is one of the best examples of how we can contribute and influence how our friends read or interpret messages.

Facebook is the Message.

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