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.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Public Intimacy: Disclosure Interpretation and Social Judgements on Facebook

After reading the article by Bazarova, I found it very easy to understand and relate to. She discusses her research that examines how sociotechnology shape interpretation of disclosure and social judgments on social networking sites such as Facebook. I would say that the author's perspective on the media is accurate, and she defends it well providing 2 different studies with stats to back it up. The first study experimented with how  a private and publicly shared post on Facebook influenced intimacy. She had two hypothesis, the first Facebook disclosures shared in private would be interpreted as more intimate than Facebook disclosures shared through status updates and wall posts. The second hypothesis was that the Facebook disclosures who shared privately suggest greater relational intimacy between discloser. In my opinion, I thought that interactions between dicloser and receiver would be more intimate in private, the results showed that true. In study two, Bazarova expanded on study 1 and it showed how important the level of attraction and social attraction was. Together, the research and results show how sociotechnical affordances of technology create a new ways for making judgments and how appropriate and personal disclosure is. The reading brought up many topics amongst our class for discussion such as why our generation values approval from others on social media. Such as the importance of the number of people who write on your wall on your birthday or the idea of a relationship not being official till it is posted on Facebook. I think that true intimacy cannot be achieved on social networking sites, although they do allow you to stay connected to people. I still am unsure as to why our generation craves affirmation from social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. 

Monday, April 1, 2013


 The idea of the framing theory is the manipulation, cut and paste or a filtering of information from media to viewer. From the text by Entman on Framing he states that "analysis of frames illuminates the precise way in which influence over a human consciousness is exerted by the transfer or communication of information from one location to that consciousness." Every day we, as consumers of the media, experience framing in our media. We all have a choice to what we watch and listen to, but when it comes to political or controversial subjects, does the media only tell us what we want to hear? Frames work in a way that highlights bits of information about an item that is the focus of the communication, which elevates them in salience. Entman writes that salience is when a piece of information is made more noticeable, meaningful and memorable to audience. In our class discussion, we discussed two articles that discussed the opposing view of legalizing gay marriage. Each article was framed in a way that was highly against gay marriage then an non-direct "pro" gay marriage. The specific use of word choice and attention to detail, such as photographs which lead you to believe which way the writer swayed. But in reality...do we really filter what we want to hear anyways? I think that many people could come to the table with their own view before they are "framed" by information. But then again, those who are uneducated on the possible topic only hear the framed media. I think that framing is used to draw the viewer in and keep them interested. Overall, I would say we had a decent class discussion on the topic, the video from the election was a great visual aide.