My Engagement in Mass Comm

When participating in more personal activities on the internet, one is still very much involved in mass communication. The content created and posted by the individual is open to public viewing. This means there is potential for interaction, which is the root of mass communication.

As I sit in the library typing this blog post, I am only interacting with my laptop. By using keys and controls, I manipulate the post as I create it. I can change the font, the color, the length, and the diction used in this post. I am the only one with the power to control this original post. Once I share it with the world by hitting the post button, any user on WordPress.com has access to it.

With my post open for view on the internet, any user has the ability to read it. Simply by reading it, the user it not necessarily interacting with it. If the user reads it and shares it on a social media site, they have created a two-way connection that defines interaction. From their social media post, a second user could see it and post a comment on it. A third user could “like” the comment. If this third user has thousands of active followers, the original post would gain a larger audience. This web of action and reaction is what mass communication is all about.

Of course, this random post is not going to go viral in the way described above. I am not sharing any new or revolutionary ideas that are relevant enough to gain serious web traffic, but by posting this, I create an opportunity for interaction. Mass media is not a given result of personal internet uses, but it is certainly a possibility. This fact is how we coined the term “going viral.”

Usually, we use the phrase “go viral” to describe memes or Youtube videos. It is how we express that an element of media has gained wide and unexpected attention via the internet. In this day and age, anything can go viral.

Since the beginning of 2016, the internet has featured the following viral themes- Pokemon Go, Rio Olympics, deaths of famous figures (Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, etc), Hillary Clinton’s health, Melina Trump’s plagiarized speech, the Pulse nightclub shooting, the success of Hamilton, the release of several comic book movies (Deadpool, Batman v Superman, Captain America Civil War, X-Men Apocalypse), and countless other stories and scandals.

Thanks to social media and the internet, the potential for interaction is great, which causes these stories to spread and accumulate reactions, analyses, and comments.

9/11 Reflection

Today I went to Ground Zero to honor those who were personally affected by the terror attacks that took place 15 years ago. Upon arrival I realized that I was far from being the only person who had this idea. There were masses of people in the entire area. As I wove my way through the crowd, I scanned my eyes over the other visitors. I expected to see a majority of the people crying. Instead, most of the people had phones and cameras in front of their faces. Those who didn’t were busy posing for photos being taken by someone else.

(Now, I want to include a quick disclaimer; I do not agree with the culture of shaming people for using their technology. Typically I find that technology is made to be embraced. Skepticism of new tech is always laughed at when looked at retrospectively. There is no reason to be so repulsed by phones.)

Our culture needs to find a way to draw lines regarding photography around memorial sights. I personally find it disturbing to see people smiling and posing for pictures or selfies in front of these types of sights. For example, I went to the Charleston Church two weeks after an armed man killed 9 churchgoers during a religious service. I went to leave flowers and an encouraging note to the community. Directly in front of the church a group of girls were smiling and posing in a funny way. To reconnect this to my experience today, both instances filled me with similar feelings of disgust, confusion, and even anxiety.

Capturing photos is not a crime (in this scenario anyway), but it needs to be regulated. When people entered the Ground Zero memorial area, they immediately removed their hats. How did this ritual of respect become so widespread and commonplace in our culture? How can we standardize a code for determining what types of pictures are appropriate in certain places?

I do not claim to have the answers to these questions, but I feel it is a conversation that our society needs to start. Certainly I am not the only one offended by these practices, and I doubt I am the only one to ponder ways to change this.

 

Phone Call Usage

Looking through the log on my cell phone, I discovered that 28 calls went through my cell phone in the past week. Of those 28 calls, I initiated 11 of them. Most of the calls were to/from family members. These statistics seem pretty standard for my level of phone usage. I prefer to text, but for communication between my parents and I, calls are more efficient. Also, hearing the physical voice is comforting in a way that a text isn’t.

Social media is flourishing in all aspects of our lives. While the various platforms may have been created for connecting and sharing with friends, they have evolved to be essential in the worlds of education and business. As the use of social media evolves, so must the function. These changes will be useful in making social media productive in our society.

Social media is transitioning to in-app customer service

 

First blog post

Good news! The extensive work toward conservation of giant pandas is paying off. The animal has been removed from the endangered species list! 

Unfortunately, our environment is not in a safe place across the board. Any good news is accompanied by twice the amount of bad news. This “one step forward, two steps back” cycle can lead to hopelessness which, in turn, slows down efforts of conservation and protection. It is important to see news like this and take it as a motivator. We are making progress!