Thursday, May 2, 2013

Seduction of the Innocent

After reading this article, we discussed the hypodermic needle model in mass society. It refers to how mass communication injects attitudes, dispositions and ideas to vulnerable individuals. It is also known as the magic bullet-the media is capable of swaying minds. We learned how early effects studies were based on 19th century European sociology, which emphasized the breakdown of interpersonal media due to media interference. The PTC female sexuality study was used as an example. It showed the correlation between depictions vs. how they really act and how TV caused them to act that way. For example, with the MTV show such as Teen Mom, you would point fingers and blame the mother for being a poor parent or judge her when an older generation would criticize the media for making it acceptable. Wertham's article hits on the idea of media being able to sway the minds of kids by reading violent comic books-causing them to be violent themselves. This discussion was followed by the explanation of direct and indirect theories. The proposed to dethrone the hypodermic needle model by focusing on the role of interpersonal relationships and avoiding behaviorists claims. The comic book reading kids would be directly effected while indirect media goes from opinion leader to you. We learned about a horizontal leader, who consists of people close to you such as friends, family co-workers and vertical leaders such as celebrities and politicians. The idea that children with weak social ties prefer more violent media. We questioned what Wertham would say about the study of direct effect? It would make more sense that it was indirect because the social ties would be the children's opinion leaders.

The Work of Being Watched

We discussed the interactive media and the exploitation of self-disclosure. When we connect to many social media sites and interact with many websites on the internet are privacy is no longer under our control. People often claim how no one is private these days on social media but when in fact we are allowing it to happen. Just by joining, signing up or become a member of various sites-such as Facebook- you have to submit personal information. This article brought up the question of "are we the products of Facebook?" Are they are swiftly finding new ways to get data from their customers to exploit them and make a profit? We looked back on Lupton's point in the article we had previously read about the embodied computer user and making sure the users has full knowledge of how it all truly works before using. With the ways of society now a days, we feel almost required to have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc account to keep up. We also connected it to hegemony-the fact that we consent and are willing to give info because we feel obligated. There's no choice but to enter your email, age, gender, phone number address etc. When we don't have a choice, we don't have much choice but to act in a particular way. It becomes an act of discipline. We were also questioned if there would ever be a point when people would ever stand up against it or just continue to stand for it. I think that as long as it doesn't directly harm someone, there will be no stand taken. I think people are more cautious but still act careless. In a way, participation online kills our ability to relate on a personal level. I also found our conversation about the government being behind it all somehow and the idea of a perfect prison interesting. I doubt that we have any worry to truly worry, just to be informed, cautious and not careless when using the internet.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Audience Reception Studies

We read Janice Radway's article Woman Read the Romance: The Interaction of Text and Context which was a response to mainstream communication research. It included both direct and indirect effect perspectives. We discussed how mainstream theories place meaning of a text within the context of the text itself. The reading questions what you do with what your given an why: the info such as a romance novel, that the media supplies for woman to read. The study was interested in what the reader does with the raw material and how it effects them. By choosing what influences you-romance you define your reality? We discussed the difference between ideology and hegemony. Ideology is a false consciousness, negative, when you are fooled into thinking, a collection of ideals that motivate an action and the beliefs of a particular group. Hegemony is when ideology becomes though of as the "natural order of things", its "just the way it is", control by consent and living in a particular way because of it. The idea of containment and resistance came up in discussion that addressed how the audience uses elements of pop culture-romance novels so they can be resisted and contained by power relationships. Ending thought was the statement that the act of reading the romance novel-power relationship-is an act of defiance.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Culture Industry: Horkheimer & Adorno

Enlightenment as mass deception. The article discusses how culture today is "infecting everything with sameness." We discussed how the dialectic was the debate and discussion used to advance the enlightenment and how it has come to fool us and give us a false sense of how the world is suppose to work. Adorno often wrote excessively and in a grandiose way which made no sense to appear "smarter". In turn it made the critics look like idiots, but they soon caught onto his "BS" writing.

We viewed the video "cool" chasing hunters where they explored and followed popular trends and found ways to attack them with media tools. We saw how the ICP group showed how the presence of style is the absence of art and truth. The lack of originality strips its natural and original aura and lets it become a reproduced trend or style (Benjamin).

As an audience you become subjected to the ideas imbedded within. There is more focus on the profit and it becomes less "artful" all to mass produce and make more people subjects to power. As creativity disappears, it gets worse and worse. Artist go to producers, make songs, where they in turn all begin to sound the same.

We are not amused, the industry has created a need for amusement. It then proceed to continually promise that the need will be met. But all it gives us is the promise. We are never fully amused-therefore the industry perpetuates its own purpose.

We feel the need to consent, because those who do not conform are treated as outsiders.

There is so escape-we lose individuality and are replaced by pseudo-individuality. The same kinds of false differences as between the media and artifacts produced by the industry.

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Media

In class, Mary and I lead the class discussion topic New Media. We discussed an article that discussed four computer mediated communication channels and how they affected trust development in a business environment (specifically supplier-purchaser, student-teacher, employees-company relationships. In the article, they focused on 4 forms of communications- face-to-face, video, audio and text chat communication situations. The experiment was a social dilemma game played between the subjects that involved money investments and trusting others or keeping to yourself. This brought up making questions.
"Long-distance collaboration is a fact of life for an increasing number of workers. More relationships are being formed and maintained online than ever before." We asked the class how many relationships they maintain solely through CMC. We talked briefly on hegemony-control by content and how society is being controlled by feeling the need, for example, to buy an iPhone for group messaging.
"Interpersonal trust is an area that is likely to be affected by mediated-communications...Handy asserts that 'trust needs touch'." We had a great class discussion on the idea if trust needs touch or if it could be fully achieved through a screen. We connected it to Mcluhan's argument that new technology becomes an extension of ourselves.
"Previous research has shown that text-based (emails, text messaging, instant messaging, etc.) CMC increases the sense of social distance between participants, reduces pressure to conform and may encourage uninhabited behavior. These characteristics might make trust agreements harder to maintain." They also explained two forms of trust. Delayed trust is slower progress toward full cooperation with the absences of body language, facial expressions and subtle voice inflections. Fragile trust is the vulnerability to opportunistic behavior. It brought up the question if it is okay for relationships to only be reliant on fragile trust. After the article and discussion, I think that you can only achieve true trust by touch but it can be maintained through CMC.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kennedy: Beyond Anonymity

We briefly discussed Kennedy's article after we viewed MTV's show True Life: I live another life on the web and found connections between the two. I found this new media topic very intriguing. We discussed Radway's article on the theory of gratification and how media is used as a tool for power within society. It was interesting to see how each of the three girls from MTV's True Life show made use of different social media platforms, such as Second Life, to achieve and maintain power socially and culturally. Media both finds ways to contain and resist hegemony-the control by content. It was interesting to see Judy's case pan out when she felt comfortable on the internet because she sensed she had control...but when in reality did her website control her? It helped pay her rent, filled her with confidence and made her feel important. Her social disorder, anxiety, depression and insecurities may be where the issue stems from. Kennedy article on anonymity or personal identity makes an interesting point. It brought up the question if you are a continuation of your online self in the real world or if your online identity is separate than the real world. After thought, I really do think we are the same person, we just spread pieces of ourselves all around. We fragment ourselves and act in different ways on different social media sites. I don't think that a social media site can ever reveal your TRUE self.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Embodied Computer/User-Lupton

In class today, we discussed the article written by Lupton that questioned the relationship we share with our personal computers. She makes the point that people now a days have an emotional relationship or love affair with their computer. Reflecting this on my own life, it is hard to imagine going about my daily routine without any interaction with my personal computer. I think our PC can be interpreted as our smart phones, ipads, tablets, laptops now a days. We discussed how back in the 90s, right when the PC was popular you would have a desktop that you would go to or you would use them in a lab or library. Today, the computer goes with us instead of us going to it. Growing up the computer was always a privilege or an educational tool. I would play computer games-educational and recreational. Today, I use my phone to stay connected with all my friends via text and through all the social media apps. My iphone tells me the weather, works as a GPS and lets me do online shopping. We were able to make a connection as a class to the McCluan reading referring to the medium serving as the message. How it transforms us mentally and physically and lets the iphone become an "extension" of our hand. Lupton states that it blurs the boundaries between the embodied self and the PC. The question was asked if we "cut off fragments of ourselves" into the social media sites we invest in such as Facebook or Twitter. I believe that you can in a sense loose yourself in the social media world because it can never be as pure as knowing someone in person. You can be anything you want to be online and that can have its pros and cons. We watched clips of Lawn mower man that showed the idea of becoming a "cyborg". I think that we live in the same world, just in different circumstances than before, while others in the class stated that we live in a new world or the same world with an extra demension-6th (cyber world). I also found it interesting on how Lupton make a point that despite our dependency, many people who use their PC everyday have very little knowledge on how it works. I think that it is important for us to have an understanding on how our smartphone, laptop or Google search engine works so we can trust and be aware of any biases. For example, the Google search engine works in way that once you search something, it pulls up what is the most popular-it is dependent on others interests which can create a bias. Google becomes a part of the culture industry.