Tag Archives: blog5

Social Media’s Influence on Human Interaction

I’m sure if you are reading this that you use some form of social media.  It’s everywhere you look. Social media is a fixture in our lives in the United States. The internet and social media are so embedded in our daily life that it dominates our language. It’s also starting to influence the way we interact with one another.  Social media sites are supposed to bring people together but sadly it seems to be ripping us apart. My goal is to shed light on the issues surrounding interaction via social media and a few simple techniques to mitigate toxic behavior on the internet.

The political climate of the United States is quite turbulent to say the very least.  Everyone has a platform to express their views on the internet without a filter. Our echo chambers are becoming cauldrons of toxicity and it’s changing the way humans interact with one another. It seems as though we are not capable of engaging in debates of any sort without it dissolving into insults, personal attacks and even violence.

How bad is it, really? Well, according to Chamath Palihapitya, former vice-president of user growth at Facebook, claims that social media sites like Facebook are creating “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”. What a terrifying thought.  We are supposed to be more connected than ever but we seem to be disconnecting ourselves from one another.

So what do we do? An article written by John Coate, dating all the way back to 1998 covers many steps to maintain an online community. In his article he discusses free speech. I think many of us in the United States take that right for granted.  Our online communities are derailing into silence brigades.  Individuals with opposing view points are expected to hate one another.  These tools of social media are creating online communities that have no chance to incubate thought provoking dialog between two parties.  Coate goes on to explain in the same section covering free speech that public online interactions should be moderated to ensure that the online community is preserved. However, Facebook has no official moderator. There are guidelines Facebook follows to delete or censor content but it is not a transparent process nor does it ensure a healthy interaction between two parties online. I think the solution to this divisive pattern of social media is to use Facebook less and use other moderated forums such as Reddit.com or Sputnik.org.  It would be foolish to say drama and divisive actions do not occur on other social media sites. However, taking into consideration what Chamath Palihapitya has disclosed about what Facebook is doing to our society, we do not have any other choice but to change our actions to ensure we progress as a society.

 

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Bridge Safety

With the recent collapse of the pedestrian bridge Miami near Florida International University this brings to the spotlight once again bridge and road safety.

With recent reports stating that an engineer observed, “some cracking that’s been observed on the north end of the span.” How safe was the bridge to begin with and why were workers allowed to work on the bridge when there was cracking in the bridge. The cracking in the bridge should have been enough to halt any other work beside the repairing of that crack.

This brings to mind the 35W bridge collapse that happened here in 2007. There bridge was deemed “structurally deficient.” That meant that there was work that needed to be done, more importantly it was deemed, “fracture critical,” and that means that “the failure of just one vital component could cause the whole bridge to collapse.” And that vital component did fail. Again, once there were obvious signs of failure for 35W the work that was going on at the time of the collapse should have stopped. They should have closed at least one part of the bridge to start the repairs.

With the Miami collapse this just shows that there is still so much work to do with the infrastructure in this country. Last year, 172 bridges in Minnesota are structurally deficient or fracture critical. With such a high number bridge safety in Minnesota and this country should be a top priority. We use pedestrian and vehicle bridges every day and we trust that they are safe. But with those numbers, just in Minnesota alone, shows we have a long way to go.

Networking

As communication majors, college students who are ready to graduate, we know the importance of networking. Although it is nerve wrecking and can be complicated at times, this post will serve as ease and show you the significant impact networking can have on your career.

Lets be real..networking isn’t on the top of our to-do lists. It can be intimidating, and some people don’t even know where to start. According to the San Jose State University School of Information networking is defined as, “establishing relationships with people who will often become your friends and community of colleagues as you go through your career.” Connecting with your peers and colleagues is a significant part in the networking process which can help you attain the dream job that you need. As the old saying goes, ‘sometimes it’s who you know’ and not what you know that can give you that job that you’ve been hunting for a long time. In other words, it’s imperative to understand why networking is beneficial when it comes to not only finding a job, but also getting promotions and moving up a ladder in your career.

In the book The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott he mentions that “We should rethink our notions about who can best spread our ideas and tell our stories.”  (Scott 2017) It really comes down to how willing someone is to find people who are interested in your ideas and get your information out. Building on the relationships you have with your friends, colleagues, and classmates can simply be an essential part in advancing your career. As an individual you must get out of your comfort and reach out to people, not only for jobs but it should be a daily part of your career related efforts. You never know when you will need your career network.

 

Our World to Save

Our World to Save

Nobody is perfect and as a population we sure haven’t been making the smartest decisions that we could.  A major issue we have found ourselves in is a planet full of waste. Recycling is an easy and effective solution to keep our planet healthy for future generations. If you create waste then you should learn about recycling.

A single person choosing to recycle does make a difference. An average person could save 1,100 pounds of waste in a year by caring enough to recycle. If 15 people can be reached from this blog and make the switch we are saving 16,500 pounds of waste from sitting in a landfill and harming the environment with toxins. We could be saving natural resources that support wildlife and conserving energy for new materials to be made. When producing aluminum companies can save 95% of energy! It has the potential to save millions for businesses and can then help boost the economy. More job opportunities can be created if the trend continues to grow. Please be aware and take action in recycling.

Items not recycled can and do also end up in the ocean. This can be catastrophic for animals who become trapped or confuse our waste as food. There’s no excuse for not being responsible with our trash besides the convenience of being extra lazy.

Right now is the time to start practicing healthy habits such as recycling so generations following us grow up taking care of their planet without even thinking about it. Just as we want our kids to put their seat belts on automatically to potentially save their lives, we should want them to automatically take care of their world with simple practices.

I am trying to take the approach of mass self-communication by myself choosing the channel of blogging to send my message of recycling in hope that the message will spread. There are a lot of environmentalist around because it is such a vital part of living in the world we do and it could potentially reach multiplicity of receivers. As Castells discusses in Networks of Outrage Opening, it could just be “connecting to endless networks that transmit digitized information around the neighborhood or around the world”. I am using a horizontal network of communication by starting with my classmates and then who they decide to share with. No person is having more power than another.

Image result for not recycling harms ocean animals

#Enough… Calling Students “Dumb”

Audience: Parents and others who support the 2018 Walk Out to remember Parkland school shooting and call for action relating to gun control.

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Thousands of students walked out of their classrooms on Wednesday morning. At 10:00 until 10:17,  they rallied in silent protest and in remembrance of the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting one month prior. Some students held inspiring signs, other students banded together to form peace signs or phrases like the trending hashtag #enough. There were beautiful blogs and news articles highlighting the walkout…others were strongly against the walkout.

Why is it so hard to pass by with a simple click of the like button and NOT read the comments? It never fails to drag me in. How many times on Wednesday did I stop and put my two cents in when someone says “This is so dumb. Why don’t they do something productive that can actually bring change?” ARG! I feel an overwhelming sense of, I don’t know, rage? And just like that my fingers are on that keyboard like wildfire, feeling like maybe I can just change one person’s mind…unlikely I know, but I just can’t help myself!

These protests are not dumb. These students are working to bring about change. People who don’t believe one person can make a change, let alone a whole generation of students, made me think of the Tunisia Revolution of 2011. In Castells Prelude to Revolution, he tells how one person can indeed make a difference. In Tunisia a man ignited the spark of a revolution by literally setting himself on fire. A little more dramatic than we hopefully need here in the good ole USA.

Support our kids who want to feel safe in their schools. They can’t vote (yet!) so they are asking, begging for our help. Stand with this generation. They are powerful. They will not back down. I won’t either. So go ahead– unfriend me, unfollow me, block me. I’ll keep my thumbs on the ready to defend and encourage the students and other fed up citizens who are fighting for change.

Social media depression

Is social media depression a real thing?

social-media-depression

This weeks reading helped me come up with the theme to my next three blog posts that all stem from the power of social media. My goal for this posting would be to shine some light on the darker side of social media. The audience for my postings would be anyone who uses social media, students in this class and the teachers.

The first topic I would like to define and discuss is a term called “social media depression.” According to howstuffworks.com, social media depression can be defined as “depressive thoughts associated with using social media.”

I first started using social media as a time filler until it grew into a daily habit and from there to an almost obsession that I didn’t even realize I had. Before I knew there was an actual term for this I started to notice that the more time I spent using social that I felt an almost sad or anxious feeling after, yet I still couldn’t stop using social media and the vicious cycle continued. I subconsciously started comparing my life to the picture perfect lives that I saw on social media because I assumed that people were posting these images of their ‘real’ lives. Now I’m not sure how many real or genuine posts come from social media. Mendelson says “Social media is not a game played from the sidelines. Those who participate will succeed—everyone else will either have to catch up or miss the game.” I came to find out that a lot of those accounts were coming from people who were so busy trying to prove their happiness to their followers that they weren’t actually happy themselves. There is this pressure to post the ‘perfect’ image for followers that most of us don’t even know.

The good news is that if you have ever felt “social media depression” you are not alone. What I have come to find out in talking to my peers is that many of them also felt this way. If we are all feeling the same way then why can’t we come together and stop? I think a solution for this could be to take a step back from social media. Limit the amount of time spent looking at other people’s lives and being more present in our own. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to post picture of you being happy on social media but I do think there is a strong difference behind the motives of social media postings. Remember that your social media accounts should be for you.

 

Should Charity Work Be Public?

How do you feel about charity work or giving back being public? Should it be done anonymously? Is it okay to say you’ve made a huge donation? Do you think it’s capitalizing on a situation? Does it matter?

This is all relative, everyone has an opinion, but it doesn’t matter too me. Intentions, are important to the issue, no doubt. Although, charity work as long as it helps, it should not matter too much. As long as it helps and there is no ill intent. There have been people in the public eye that have given back, but with diffrent responses.

This past fall, Tim Duncan asked for support and donations for hurricane relief in the Virgin Islands. He donated 250,000 dollars to the cause. He ended up raising over 2 million dollars for the efforts. He leveraged his donation for good. He used it as a way to get more people to donate. He is also from the Virgin Islands. In this case, it comes off as sincere, it was public, but was for the better of the situation.

 

In this case, Logan Paul pledged to donate 1 million dollars toward suicide prevent.  The narrative on this is much diffrent. He made the donation and video after his own controversy. He uploaded a video on Youtube with a man that committed suicided, laughed, and uncomfortably joked about the incident. He only took the video down after being heavily criticized. This situation is blatantly a public relations move. His apology for the incident was made about him and not the issue at hand. From the energy and method he used it does not seem genuine.

Overall, whether charity work is public or not, doesn’t necessarily matter. It is how it is done and the intent. These two instances have similar actions, but evidently diffrent priorities. Publicizing charity work can carry a message further and impact people positively, or used as a self promoting tool, maybe both. What’s most important is the help that is given, but intent does matter. What type of person are you?

Walk Out or Walk Up?

My audience for this blog series is anyone who is (or should be) concerned by the massive number of school shootings: students, parents, and anyone interested in safety and social justice. I will be focusing on the movements made by high school students who have been taking charge of the fight against gun violence. My goal is to make people think about how they can participate in this fight for life.

walk out

If you’ve watched the news over the past few days you are probably aware of the  Walk Out by students across the country on Wednesday. Sick of nothing being done in Washington about gun violence, teens coordinated the first national student protest on this issue. They hoped to bring an awareness of their voices and of the political power that they will soon hold. And politicians should take note- these teens, users of social media for most of their lives, will soon be old enough to vote and make their voices known at the polls. Boomers and Generation X have so far not been as focused on this topic, and it may be because they were not affected by it personally. And millenials, still a voting minority, have not made much progress with it either in spite of being the Columbine generation. Living in daily fear of school violence is a way of life for students, unfortunately normalized by our political climate and dedication to 2nd Amendment rights. But why isn’t anything being done? Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough anymore, and these students want us all to know that.

But of course there are those with the alternative solution. A solution that so far hasn’t worked. Ryan Petty, a parent of a student recently killed in the Parkland shooting, tweeted that students should Walk Up not Walk Out. In his opinion, walking out is accomplishing nothing beyond the students getting some exercise. His proposed solution would include students “walking up” to loners and making them feel appreciated so they don’t turn into school shooters. This post was in turn shared by thousands of parents across the country who thought students walking out was pointless. But I ask- is this victim blaming? If you aren’t successful with converting this potential shooter and it results in violence, is it your fault? Walk Up shows how out of touch some parents still are with the fear that children are facing, and in this case even includes parents of victims.

Walk Up belittles the point of Walk Out. No one is saying that you can’t walk up to a lonely student and talk to them, but that can be done any other day. This walk out was about the fact that these students want to be heard. They want the adults to help them. They want laws to protect them. They want politicians to represent them. On Wednesday, they didn’t need hugs- they needed voices.

This movement reminds me of Castell’s writings about the Occupy Movement, and there are plenty of similarities. Occupy was “rooted in outrage” (p. 166) which resulted in the fast propagation across the country. Students are clearly outraged about their peers being shot, and that resulted in a successfully organized protest in less than a month after the Parkland, Florida shooting. Everyone needs to be wary of the power that these children will one day hold. Their world is built around social media, and they are not limited to classroom gossip anymore.

We need to listen. Really listen to what they are saying. We may not agree with everything that they are asking for, but with what they have been through, they deserve our ears. Instead of thoughts and prayers we need to think about what we can do to make their world a little safer. So don’t belittle their voices by saying that they should be doing something else instead. Listen.

They will not forget.

Benefits of Social Media On: Visual Media

It is obvious by now that social media has taken over the way that people and companies advertise and communicate, but how? The changes are significant and have their benefits. In this three-part blog series, I will be explaining the benefits of social media’s influence on three major subjects: visual media, music artists, and businesses. These posts will hopefully be informative to those who don’t know about the benefits in relation to these topics, as well as entertain those who do know the benefits, and hopefully teach them something they don’t know. 

Welcome!

In this first post, I will be reflecting on the benefits of social media with relation to visual media. So what is visual media? Duke Trinity College of Arts and Sciences says that it includes “photography, television, film and video, new media and games” (Duke University, 2018). I am sure that it could be argued that there is more to visual media than what Duke University stated, but for the sake of this post, lets go with that.

Traditionally photography, television and film, and video games, were reserved for those who had the funds for expensive hardware, a long-term or deeply-rooted following, and years of experience in their respective fields. Now with the rise of social media along with social media sites and applications becoming more accessible, two great things arose. There are now more people creating content, and more people communicating with content creators.

As I mentioned, now with apps and sites such as Instagram and YouTube,  people can more easily take and share their photography and video. This allows for more content to be created, resulting in more niche content, as well as more people sharing their artistic vision. This good for both creators and consumers.

The second benefit of social media for visual content was very well said in The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, “The web allows organizations to deliver the right information to buyers, right at the point when they are most receptive to the information. The tools at our disposal as marketers are web-based media to deliver our own thoughtful and informative content… We also have the ability to interact and participate in conversations that other people begin on social media sites like Twitter, blogs, chat rooms, and forums” (Scott 2017). The point here is that there is now greater communication between content creators and content consumers. This allows for content that is tailored toward the consumer and makes for some great content to sprout.

These were just two simplified ways that social media in the modern age has improved the quality and personality our visual media content, and how creating content as become more accessible.

Next blog, I will talk about the positive impact of social media on music artists.

The American Dream?

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House For Rent: $1,000/month

I have to gripe about something that I think many of my classmates and other students and working-class adults of any age, can relate to. My goal is to address the issue of fair wages and the cost of living in the United States.

This feels a little like a “first world problem” but it is one that I believe many can relate to. As I stated, I am like many, a working adult, returning to school, hoping to buy a house in the next ten years, and trying to save money while paying astronomical rent, paying for college (again) and changing my profession because my job in the healthcare industry wasn’t paying the bills for me.

I feel that the goals of my generation differ immensely from those of my parents, but there are still similarities. I will tell you I definitely never predicted ten years ago that I would finish one degree and then have to pursue another just for a little increase in pay (or hopefully more than a little; fingers crossed!) so I can afford rent on a single income, or that I would have to change careers multiple times by the time I turned thirty in pursuit of something that makes me happy or at the very least makes me not dread getting up in the morning. At the risk of sounding like a total millennial, why does it have to be so darn hard?!

Honestly, I would be thrilled to death with a tiny house, close to the city, with a little green space for my dog. It seems like now more than ever, that is a lot to ask. The housing market is especially challenging for my generation and those that follow, as there is a serious lack of habitable homes in a price range that is affordable for the average human, as wages are not increasing at the same rate as home values, rents and the cost of living.

The minimum wage in Minnesota recently rose to $9.65/hour.  According to the Huffington Post, at this rate, the average American worker would need to log 117-hour weeks for 52 weeks per year to afford a two-bedroom apartment or rental home, in ANY state (known as the “fair market rent”).

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-much-you-need-for-rent_us_5942cc92e4b0f15cd5b9e2ee

My good friend finished her master’s degree over a year ago and makes $15/hour working for a major school district in the Twin Cities; she barely gets by with a small studio apartment that doesn’t even have a full kitchen, in St. Paul, in a slightly less-than-safe neighborhood, for a grand a month!

My hope is that more, frustrated individuals like myself, will join in the fight for fair wages, and eventually bridge the gap that exists between the poverty line, the working middle class and the (now less than) 1%.

I found it amusing, in our reading this week, Mendelson explains his belief that we don’t influence each other as much as we think we do, but more that the media influences us first and we just pass it along (Mendelson Chapter Ten, Page 62).  I would have to agree with that statement.  I think we need to speak more from personal experience in certain situations and just be truthful with ourselves and each other; cut the bullshit.  Because I, for one, am fed up with living paycheck to paycheck while I work my tail off and throw 30% or more of my hard-earned income renting some dumpy place in St. Paul.  I know I’m not alone and that is why I want more people to speak out and call it what it is.