Reflexive Essay

“Reflexive Essay”

The first I had heard of this new app was from a television newscast warning parents of how it will allow their children to send nude pictures to anyone they wanted. According to the news, the main feature of this app would automatically delete a picture after a few seconds. That was all this story addressed, the dangers of using such an application, and to watch out for if your kids downloaded it.

The next time I remember hearing about this new app was from a family friend at dinner. She said she just received a funny picture from her daughter on Snapchat. I immediately questioned her usage and offered up that I assumed it was meant to be used in a sexual nature like that of the warning from the news. I explained what I heard from the newscast and offered up the corresponding concern about disappearing pictures. She just laughed.

Over the course of dinner that night I was introduced to Snapchat. I was first shown its features, how to send a text snap or a picture snap and ultimately ended up downloaded the app on my phone. Yet to be honest I was still concerned about the previously held notion and what would be viewed with my usage.

Previously up to the moment of downloading Snapchat my electronic communication evolved with the technologies of the day. Like most teenagers, the house hold telephone was the main source of communication when not face to face. The cord stretched from the kitchen down the hall to our bedrooms for us to have a little privacy while we engaged our friends.

The cord gave way to cordless phones, and a base set in each room, but still limited our usage. My first big purchase as a working teenager was a pc. This aloud for email and chatrooms to soon take over as the main way to communicate with my friends and find new ones. AOL instant messenger soon became the standard for personal connections.

While cellphones were around and availed, they at this time were not an option for most teenagers due to cost. But the ever-ambiguous pager was cheap and allowed for communication when not at home. We soon adopted our own codes and knew who and where and sometimes even what the pager message meant.

Finally, cellphones became cost effective and even during my senior year, long before most of my other friends had one, I got my yellow Motorola. I was mobile, and it wasn’t long that my main form of electronic communication was the text message. If I recall right it was something like 15 cents to send a text and 5 cents to receive. Even sending them was a struggle with the old system of multi-push button for each letter.

The text message ruled the day and was even further cemented when unlimited texting plans evolved. The notion of receiving a text or information and deciding when, how and to who you choose to reply made the technology the standard for me. Even today, almost never use the phone to talk on.

But today my text messaging has evolved away from the standard SMS on my phone. It has been replaced and upgraded by that same news stories scandalous app. Snapchat has become my day to day main way to communicate one on one, and also in group scenarios. The added options, embellishments and entertainment that the app offers are the driving reason for my almost constant use.

The app itself has many features like the ability to send a typical standard text message. It allows for picture messaging as well. These pictures are also very customizable with filters, text, colors and stickers directly from inside the app. Videos are also available to be customized and sent instantly too. You can send content directly to one person, group or just post it as a story for anyone to see. The app lets you sneak a peek into your friends, and co-worker’s lives, but also allows for you to see that of celebrities and athletes or movie stars.

The entertainment value alone is worth the use of this app, the face filters, which allow for real-time masking of animals or goofy characters to be placed over your own face can make a phot or video that much more fun or worthwhile to watch. The app recently began to offer more entertainment options with brands and companies being allowed to have snapchats and post their stories too.

It is easy to say for me that Snapchat plays a major impact on my day to day. Even with its annoying “so and so is typing” pre-notification notification I almost compulsively need to see who sent me a message and reply as appropriately. Even when posting a story, I find myself checking to see how many people and who choose to view my posting.

Snapchat is a new communication technology that changed the way I did most of my electronic communications and even evolved with its own innovations and allows for further reach beyond what the SMS text allowed. Many features from snapchat have made their way onto other social media platforms, like that of stories, face filters and brand content. As for me, I don’t see another platform taking its place for my instant communication needs anytime soon.

Feature Story Assignment

“Feature Story Assignment”

Through time and during all the ages that the world has seen, advancements in technologies have changed the way we communicate and live our lives. From the message being sent by Gutenburg’s press, radio and television waves, we’ve been able to communicate faster and easier than just a few years before. The invention of the internet and digital content having played perhaps the biggest advancement so far, it is no wonder it dominates our daily lives today.

College campuses and their classrooms are a shining example of the reach of this new communication technology in the use of laptops by their students and staff. The ease, simplicity and interconnectivity laptops deliver have already become a staple in the academic world and that of the personal lives of the students as well.

Yet with all the seemingly obvious advantages the role of laptops plays in our daily lives, some argue that the more traditional approach to note taking and studying is what is preferred. With speaking to several students and staff from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater the opinion on the use of laptops in the classroom varied from one student to another.

Several students stated the ease of a pencil and notepad made for better note taking and ultimately better retention of the material being covered. Yet it was the fact that having an open laptop could open the user to distractions seemingly being the main reason students choose not to utilize the technology.

Most students agreed that they have seen or even themselves use the laptop during class time for other than class purposes. Mostly the distraction was in the form of social media accounts. YouTube videos, Facebook updates and snapchat dominated the screen times for students who took the chance of being caught.

Getting in trouble for being on social media accounts however reportedly rarely happens. Most professors allow laptops use in their classrooms and don’t really have the time or make an effort to enforce new communication technology rules, especially in large lecture halls, where laptop users could out number instructors 100 to 1.

However, for the most part, as distracting as social media can be, most students who attend class or lectures in the first place made the effort to be present in order to gain the information and take the notes about the topic, and therefore choose to do so. Students want to do well in classes and the ability to use a laptop is not under appreciated.

College classrooms are filled with societies next generation and with that comes the newest and greatest ideas and thoughts. New communication technologies such as the laptop, are only tool. A tool to which the user’s choice for its uses dictates its usefulness and impact either for good or bad. Either way, the choice one makes to use or not, the laptop is here to stay as a part of college campus classroom and of its dorm rooms.

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Blog #7 – Semester Review

“Blog #7 – Semester Review”

This is the semester in review post. The course of New Communication Technologies was an intriguing one to say the least. The way we approach most everyday use of sources from the internet like, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have become so common we take it for face value.

This course went further and looked deeper past social media at face value. Reading works like that of Marc Prensky’s “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” really was eye opening to realize that especially younger generations only know of a world and time with this technology. How this then influences their outlook and beliefs compared with the “digital immigrants” who grew up without.

The debates of weather the internet is making us smarter or dumber, lonelier and or lazy also was interesting to hear, and think about both sides. It is easy to take for granted what good comes from uses such as the internet now provides, yet just with anything, to much can be harmful or negative for the users.

Another topic I found that was of interest is that of our Wikipedia debate. For the longest time, Wikipedia was seen as an illegitimate almost taboo platform for being a source. With age comes maturity, and while Wikipedia still isn’t seen as a source for you to reference directly, it has become one of many peoples first stop on the road of understanding of a new topic.

The “featured story” assignment was probably my favorite part of the course. While I am apart of the campus TV station, I was a Media Arts and Game Development undergraduate, and therefore never really did any real type of news story interviewing, story writing and package creation. I enjoyed the chance to use my creativity in completing this project.

From the blog post, meme project and over all reading each week helped my better understanding of what, how, and why we do the things we do online. This is a course I would strongly recommend to anyone who has not taken it, or did take it as an undergrad and looking for graduate courses.

I am even considering taking this course again, as I believe you can do as a graduate student since the topic does evolve in order to keep up with the trends of the day as well as the current views and theories being applied.

It will be interesting to se how the internet will change based off how the users choose to use it. This course also will be interesting to see how it changes in order to stay atop of the internet and its users changing. I am sure there will be limitless areas of study to which this course will be able to utilize and examine.

Blog #6 – Peer Review

“Blog #6 – Peer Review”

For this weeks blog the topic is the peer review of our final paper. My chosen topic is on the political impact of social media sites, like that of facebook through the agenda-setting theoretical lens of mass communication.

I explained that my topics concern is with the growing use of the internet and social media sites popularity for personal, business and political reasons, it is extremely important to understand what the messages we get are, and maybe even more important why we get them. 

Not having a personal Facebook account myself, I know shocking in its own right, I had not seen first hand how the restricted news feed worked or even looked. Yet I did hear it was raising some users and watch dog groups eyebrows. So why is the news we receive even that important? It all starts with the agenda-setting theory of mass communication.

Agenda-setting theory states that there is a strong correlation between what stories are give higher priority in amount of media coverage and or placement of the media coverage in prominent locations will have an influence for the viewer to believe these stories to become most important.

That doesn’t seem unreasonable at first, place the big news stories or popular ones to the front. Just like the old days of newspapers front page stories! Yet it can be, when you look further into the fact that you can be influenced by the agenda-setting notion, doesn’t that raise an alarm to whom decides and why the certain content appears before your very eyes?

Like most people have noticed, when they have googled an item, or searched for information about something, it seems shortly there after, advertising pops up all around them for that idem. It is no secret that the information you provide on a daily basis, such as search results, likes, reposting and comments all have some type of value to either yourself, or others on the internet.

In the case above, your search results had value to the company that then attempted to adverse and ultimately sell you the item you were looking for. Most recently the data breach of Facebook by a third-party developer collected data on millions and millions of users, which ended up becoming information (or data points) which may have been used to influence political viewpoints.

That is why my final paper will be on the agenda-setting of political messages system such as Facebook. Personal information, data and histories are a top concern for peoples privacy while online, but also the information we receive should also be as critically important to control.


Blog #5 – Field Work

“Blog #5 – Field Work”

This blog is to be about the field work process in regards to the Feature Story assignment. Being not completely familiar with the news package style of story telling, as I am not a Broadcast Journalism Major or even an Electronic Media Major, I found myself stumped on how to begin.

I was intrigued with an article we read for class called “Why I just asked my students to put their laptops away” by Clay Sharkey. I felt this topic would be interesting to examine further with the requirement of new communication technologies in or world.

I myself do not use a laptop for in class note taking, even though I usually have it in my backpack daily. For me writing notes or concentrating on the lecture of the instructor is a better connection and I feel i better retain the information being given.

I know of friends who do use the laptop to take notes and feel I will reach out to them and see if I can use their view on the use of this NCT in the classroom environment. Id like to address their reason for choosing to note take on a laptop, their understanding of multitasking and or distraction of the ability to have they attention on outside sources.

I will also plan to address the same questions for a student who does not use the laptop for classroom notes and or studying. Again addressing the why and hows. Also then touching on if the use by fellow students is an issue.

Finally I will reach out to faculty. Both seek to interview a Professor who allows the use of laptops. Their concerns, beliefs and or fails safes. I was given the name of a Professor who has requested students not be on laptops and seek to hear her erasing and how she works around it.

The story writing and photographs will then be the focus. Once the story is better shaped by the interviews remarks and views, I will then seek to capture it in a meaningful story and visually in the 15 picture requirement for the assignment.

The video creation and audio files editing will then take place. Voice over narration and graphics will add to the news package type feel which I assume will be necessary to complete the Feature Story Assignment successfully. I will plan to focus on the style and high level of production I feel my standards are capable of achieving.

Is Google making us stupid? – Carr

“Is Google making us stupid?”

This weeks reads remind me of a debate I had with a co-worker over the use of wikipedia. He was an middle school counselor and assistant principle. He was stuck in the olden days for sure. This long and impassioned debate all started over him asking to stop at the local visitor center to get a map.

The job was similar to Google earth or maps vehicle data collection. This job took us from state to state and on the road for long periods of time. Ironically the vehicle and skills for this employment was extremely high-tech and expensive technology, yet my co-worker was not in the digital world.

He wanted to get a paper map and pamphlets on the local area. I jokingly said we have all that and way more available to him it was called “Google.” That was the start of a nearly 8 hour debate during the working day. His view was that he was raised that if you wanted to know something, you had to go look it up. Didn’t see value with digital age.

The conversion evolved over time to his admit explanations of looking it up online or on wikipedia was wrong, cheating and didn’t teach you anything. He was stuck in his ways, and didn’t want to change. Since information gather is changing, it was to him wrong or bad.

I argued why does it matter how you went to gather the information, the end goal was the same. His issue was similar to Carr’s experience in “Is Google making us stupid.” But Carr makes a better argument other than what I saw of change for change wasn’t as good.

Much like the debate of wether Pluto should remain the full planet stats from a few years back. The statements I remember hearing all the time was thats how it was, how it was in my day. Yet when you took a step back and used the evaluation methods newly established, it was as simple as saying if it looked like a duck, quaked like a duck, and waddled like a duck, it is a duck. Having to take emotional attachment and nostalgia out, then it was easy to see what it was.

Carr examines a deeper look at the daily use of new technologies that have already become second place and forgettable use as we all now use it as the default source for the most part. I like how Shirky points out in “Does the internet make you smarter” pointing out the hesitation even dating back to the Gutenberg press. Claims that this new technology will make the young people dumb.

That simply isn’t the case with printed word, or now the digitalization of word.

Making new media make sense – Baym

“Making new media make sense”

While reading this article or chapter, I feel it was very well thought-out. The author’s explanation of the 4 main views of the adaptation and future domestication of new technological sources made sense and was easy to understand. The examples and even visual aids from the New Yorker cartoons help the notion or theme of the views easier to comprehend.

The technological determinism view of new technology and sources he states is when people see the device or machine forcing change onto the society. I can see how this view is so popular with the typical response to change being that of a negativity. It has been stated that most humans are creatures of habit and strive off routines and structure. So therefore, anything that comes along and can change the status quo, allows for people to jump to conclusion, and often focusing on negative ones.

This is a dangerous way to approach things, is there such a fear of being left behind, or having yourself become a victim that one’s mind must reject the good a new technology or innovation may bring? When you look deeper in this view it seems to be the fear one has for change and opportunities of loss that drive this view.

Social construction is the view that people are the main driving force for the technology and seen as the active agent of the change. The movie loosely based off the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook highlighted this phenomenon. In a scene Zuckerberg is questioned with the notion of making money off the newly created platform, to which he is reluctant to as he states that they don’t even truly know what they have yet. Implying the platforms intent was being dictated by its users.

The idea that the users dictate the platform and give the value to the technology is strong. As can be said with the internet as a whole, it is valuable for the information it holds, connections it provides and power it can generate, but all those aspects are fundamentally based off the users, their information, their connections and their power. Without users the technology is dead.

The view that seems to be the best fit is that of social shaping, which sees both the device or innovation and the users as the driving force for change. It acknowledges that the technology is typically a result of a need, and the use is typically the result of society adoption. Much like that of the telephone, the benefits and drawbacks take time to weight and depending on which exceeds the notion over the other it will prevail or fail.

The use of an Advice column readers rebuttal is a good way to understand this point. It basically calls out the idea of the device or innovation as the problem, as with this example which uses a knife.  He states that the knife was used as a tool for good as he had recently had lifesaving surgery, yet a knife could also be used to take a life in a murder. Such a strong way to say there is more than one reason or cause for the direction technology leads us.




Is Facebook making us lonely? – Marche

“Is Facebook making us lonely?”

This article addresses the loneliness crisis in the real world and the online world. It turns out there is not a signal cause and or solution for this issue. Falsely assuming the evolution from real world, face to face connections to online interactions as the sole problem is shown not to be the case.

Dating back to the olden days, where social capital was earned at cocktail parties and the face to face connections with friends and family only, people will have a hard time with change and accepting a “like” as the new capital.

The article begins with the issue of loneliness and seeks to define it and give stat after stat to support it. The story of the death of Yvette Vickers was meant to serve as a wake up call for the loneliness we are heading for. With no one around her, no one to care, she passed away long before she was discovered.

Does Marche suggest this is where we are all heading? Even giving stats how one person house hold has dramatically incresed since the 1950s. Is Marche simply suggesting that we are all moving to a mindlessly zombie one click culture as higgled from the movie “social network?”

Is it change itself that is fueling the pessimism in to (use the term from Prensky,) “digital immigrant” population? One area based off the work of Moira Burke I feel is a solid view of what is really happening. Burke states basically, who ever you are, however you are in the real world, you will essentially be in the online world too. Popular kids will be popular, lonely will be lonely.

I also agree with the notion that social capital is that of follower, likes and comments. The idea of one click likes is good, but the more coveted response is that of the comment. That is reality in social terms, but also now in monetary terms too. Likes and views, and followers can and do equal cash, salary and opportunities.

Continuing on, the artifice explains how Facebook is a tool. with any tool, depending on what you do with it, and how you use it, will dictate your experience with it. The notion of what you put into it, is what you get out of it is spot on.

What i didn’t agree with is still the old school frame of view that real world is better. Even in the section of the tool, a statement was made saying Facebook is a great tool for getting friends connected to go play a game of football in real life, then shooting down the idea of connecting friends to play online or as a substitute for real world play.

Ironically as I engage with this article and write this blog post, I do not personally have a FaceBook. My first had experiences on the platform and the daily uses and maintenance of it I do not truly know, but understand how Facebook is the virtual world, some prefer to live off the grid, some would prefer to live on another plate (Platform or SMS) and some who are lost to both real world and online world experiences.


Digital Nativism, Digital Delusions and Digital Deprivation – McKenzie


“Digital Nativism, Digital Delusions and Digital Deprivation”

As I began to read this article the tone was foremost what stood out to me. It sounded like it was coming from a whiney pompous ass. Reading further the attempt to rip apart and complain about everything and everything became laughable. McKenzie attempted to shoot down thoughts and ideas they felt weren’t complete or viewed as old ways of thinking. Ironically doing the same with their own arguments.

In my head I heard McKenzie as the grumpy old man yelling at the neighborhood kids to “get off my lawn!” McKenzie posting on the “from now on” .org website, which looks as if it is stuck on the 90s geocities template, is slighted as “the educational technology journal.” Granted this reply or honestly it seems more like a rant, was 6 years after Prensky, it still was able to trigger such a strong response is kind of interesting.

What was it that Prensky said to get old McKenzie so fired up? My guess is when McKenzie began reading and realized they did the things pointed out as laughable and old school. My guess is the printing out emails, so they would have a copy of it, or possibly having the secretary do it for you! I’m sure for such a strong mined and pompous person hearing that to which what they do puts them in the category of old or outdated was frightening.

So, frightening it seems that McKenzie just started shooting down anything and everything suggested, even falling victim to the same claims they were making! The part this was glaring obvious was in regard to the notion of video games as an educational tool. Having been a MAGD undergrad, the concept and education value one could get from being immersed in a world to explore and think can go way farther than reading from a text or even watching a video.

Yet, McKenzie, wrongly and naively jumps to the out dated and old school alarm of video games and violence. Showing how deeply the Digital Immigrant is imprinted in themselves, McKenzie foolishly assumes video games are all violent and or can only be seen or used in a negative connotation. That is just impulsively wrong and damaging way of thinking.

The use of video games in an educational environment has been shown to be enhance a student’s understanding and give a deeper comprehension of the idea(s) being conveyed when being actively engaged as a role-player rather than an observer. The notion of violence and video games is numbing. Obviously, the game can and will be tailored to fit the topic and educational need, the use of violence isn’t even suggested, yet that is what McKenzie focused on.

McKenzie’s approach to the work of Prensky was lost in the way it was presented. A rant isn’t a reply. Whining isn’t scholarly. Being called out as a Digital Immigrant isn’t the end of the world.