That’s all she wrote!

And here we are, several weeks after my first post, blog virginity taken forever.

I must admit, coming into this assignment that I had my concerns. I am not the most tech-savvy girl in our class, I’m sure, but somehow I found a new way to express myself and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

New media is a fascinating thing. What we learn in class and what we see in our daily lives and online are now more than ever clearer to me.

My final blog post will comment on new media itself.

With the Internet taking a quantum leap from its humble beginnings to what we see now, media has gone along for the ride and has adjusted quite nicely. Even the word, ‘media’, is used now more than ever. Media has taken over our lives, and there isn’t much objections.

Media has become such an intricate and accepted part of our lives that it is now taught in schools. It is impossible to spend more than an hour in or out of your home without being exposed to some form of media. It is, dare I say, as omnipresent as God Himself.

Call it what you will: Web 2.0, the Second Gutenberg Shift, etc. It is so widely accepted that even older generations are hoping on board the digital bandwagon (no offense, Dr. Strangelove).

All in all, media is what it is and will always remain a constant in our lives. And that is a fact Dr. Strangelove can surely appreciate.

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Add a comment March 27, 2009

Thirty Mile Zone…

One thing is for sure the way we hear the news has changed. Over the years people change the way in which they access their information. When you need to know the weather you use to just walk outside and check, today people turn on their computer and check the weather network. When you wanted to get celebrity gossip you would go to the store and pick up a US weekly, today you turn to TMZ.

TMZ is a new concept of finding media and accessing all the celebrity trash you could possibly want. They were there first to bring us news about Lindsey Lohan’s “fire crotch”, Mel Gibson’s DUI, and in latest news the Rihanna and Chris Brown fiasco. The issue is why television has become the new realm for celebrity gossip. Since 2000 the gossip industry has felt the need to expand its horizons towards Television and online magazines (Ezines) because of the growing demand for everything to be in easy access. people enjoy being able to know what is going on without having to go to the store and buy a magazine, having it on television and online has made peoples’ lives easier and not to mention more environmentally friendly.

Not only has online and television gossip moved away from print for these reason but they have also moved into these sectors based on the fact that it sanctions them to advertise more, which inevitably means makes them more money. In The Empire of Mind, Dr. Strangelove discusses how “news corporations receive the largest portion of their revenue from advertising (usually around 75 per cent). This relationship is so integral to the media sector that the business press regards media and news corporations as a branch of the advertising sector. News corporations do not sell news they sell an aggregation of eyeballs to advertisers. Through this exchange relationship commercial news is inseparably tied to the interests of the corporate sector” (Strangelove, 164). And there you have it, finally makes sense now doesn’t it, magazines have moved to television and online sources based on the fact that it will make them more money.

Add a comment March 27, 2009

Online Dating: The New Form of Looking for Love

New age media has changed everything we do; from the way we cook to the way we talk on the phone and now to the way we date. People don’t seem to care for face to face interaction anymore, its all about time management and getting to know people when it is convenient, preferably on the fly. This is why there has become a growing trend in social networking, virtual speed dating and online dating services. People like the idea of getting to know people in the comforts of their own homes and without the intrusiveness of meeting strangers for the first time. Dating over the internet makes people feel more at ease, there is less to worry about. For instance, not liking your dates appearances or the feeling of an awkward silence. All this can easily be avoided by simply logging out of the web site, can there really be a bad side?

People start to loss out on real communication having to go through a medium such as the internet to connect with the outside world. Not to mention that a lot of the stuff put out on the internet is false, half of the people on these dating sites lie about something in there profile. It might be easier to just meet up with a person in real life see if you like them or not and move on. Instead of looking online then deciding the person is worth the time in meeting, then going through the process of getting together and realizing the person form your virtual reality is not who they seem to be, thus resulting in the process starting all over again. Why bother. Even though today people live stressful lives it seems more fun and interactive to meet with people in person, instead of dating your Dell.

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Add a comment March 27, 2009

Cyberbullying…

Bullying has been taking place for years; it is something that happens in school yards and social circles all over the world. We as a society worry for our children our friends or ourselves and hope that things like that don’t happen, but we are all aware they do. Children can be cruel, and in a group dynamic they can be even worse. A friend of mine showed me a video on YouTube about a girl who was held hostage in a home and beaten for the sole purpose of being posted on the internet. Fifteen minutes of fame, I think not.

“Cyber bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others.”

– Bill Belsey (taken from CyberBullying.ca)

What happened to just stealing kids lunch money on the playground, apparently times have changed?

Add a comment March 27, 2009

Sex Sells!

images1American Apparel is a relatively new phenomenon, from their cute socks and trendy leggings, it has become a cultural fetish; everywhere you look you see people wearing it.

At first I thought it was because it is a store that does not in any way support sweatshops and tries to promote a natural beauty and lifestyle for its customers. But then I realized it’s in the way they advertise, American Apparel uses their employees as in store models, as well as in there campaign ads they use regular people just like us. The only problem here is how they oversexualize their models; they try to create an ideal for people through the images of oversexualize beings which presents itself as a form of soft porn. Strangelove argues that “it is intensely ironic that this latest trend in highly customized marketing is celebrated as liberating” (Strangelove, 39). These ads attempt to create a sense of liberation for regular “sweatshop” made clothing by seeming to be more natural and zen but the only thing that comes across to the audience is sex and that is what sells, right?

Add a comment March 27, 2009

Big Brother is Watching

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In today’s technologically advanced world, we see the government lean in ways that to some may seem very intrusive, but could it be for the betterment of society? I suppose time will only tell. I came across something in the New York Times that stated big brother was moving into cars. Not only can people be monitored by satellites circulating above the atmosphere but now we can me monitored in our very own vehicles.

“Mandatory breathalyzers in all vehicles is just one item in a veritable surveillance package that all drivers will be forced to accept if they wish to use America’s roads and highways. GPS tracking and taxation black boxes are being pushed to coincide with the construction of the NAFTA Superhighway, where all vehicles will be forced to use toll roads and will have their every movement catalogued by spy satellites in alliance with a massive centralized database. US citizens will be forced to adopt a de facto national identification card and have their freedom of mobility defined by behavioral fealty to the government under proposals set to derive from NAFTA superhighway toll road system and the implementation of the American Union. Biometric eye scanners that can detect tiredness and deny mobility if the system judges the driver to be fatigued are being proposed for individual vehicle use after being utilized by police in Australia. Proposals are in play to install surveillance cameras in all cars, especially in areas where legislation has been passed that bans the individual from smoking in their own car if a child is also present.”

All these things seem like they would be good for the wellbeing of society, but when does Big Brother start to cross the line? People start to feel like they lose privacy and feel like they are criminals or terrorist and it isn’t fair to assume people will be law breakers.“This echoes Foucault’s insistence that whenever power is exercised there is likely to be resistance to it. Baudrillard describes the globe itself as resisting the hegemonic domination that globalizing capitalism attempts to establish” (Strangelove, 207). In The Empire of Mind we come to realize that people will always have a problem with authority based on that fact that it takes away for their mobility and freedom as individuals but the thing is the government is trying to impose laws that make the world a safer place, so society needs to see how it all plays out.

Just think back a few decades ago when there weren’t any stop lights, imagine the chaos…

Add a comment March 27, 2009

Cell Phones, Gadgets or Toys?!

iphone-apple

So my friend called me the other day and wanted advice about getting a new cell phone. She could not decide what to get a Blackberry or and iPhone. Our generation has come down to the simple option between Blackberry and iPhone based on the fact that it is impossible for people to use a simple phone, one that just dials phone numbers or simply text messages.

We have come accustomed to the neat gadgets that come along with these new phones, from cameras to music to having Facebook on your phones as well as Blackberry Messenger. These tiny inventions do more than just dial a number and connect us to people; they are high tech telecommunication devices far from what they used to be.Think back to the rotary phone people probably never imagined they would ever reach the heights they have today they come in pretty colors and have many features that people have to stress about what high tech features are best, they have just too many options.

I came across an article the other day about the iPhone reaching a new plateau, it now comes with the option of being a medical buddy, not only are people able to do all the fancy things that accompany a regular iPhone but they can now check their blood pressure or monitor their blood sugar level by simply attaching a plug to the iPhone adapter and they are good to go.

What will they come up with next.

Add a comment March 26, 2009

The Reign of Skype

skype_logo1Launched in 2003, Skype has quickly become the new and preferred way to make calls online. It is relatively easy to use, quick to set up and, the best part, free!

With so many telecommunication companies charging extravagant amounts of money to make calls, Skype is a good alternative for the Internet savvy and the Internet dull.

What is truly fascinating about Skype, however, is the fact that it handles more international calls than AT&T.

With reasonably affordable rates, Skype is taking over the telecommunications industry. Its users number in the millions; over 33 million active daily users and over 370 million user accounts as of 2008. And, Skype is adding roughly 30 million subscribers each quarter, according to some estimates. And this success has not gone unnoticed;eBay recently completed its acquisition for a cool $4.1 billion.

What Skype represents, however, is the looming threat of software taking over a traditionally physical market. What I mean by this is that we can expect more applications handling real-world needs in the future. Slowly but surely, everything around us is being digitized (like newspapers, for example).

Still, Skype offers an alternative to those pesky long-distance charges. From a student perspective, Skype is a blessing. Not only can we speak to our parents and friends from back home, but we can physically see them as well!

At any rate, Skype is, at the end of the day, another example of the online world expanding into our lives. And why not? Its convenience is unparalled, its ease is obvious.

Long live Skype!

Add a comment March 26, 2009

The Death of Print

Newspapers beware, the end is near.

More and more daily newspapers are shutting down the presses. The reason? Some will say low viewership, others will claim the global economic crisis is to blame, however I will bodly state that the death of print is a direct result of the birth of the Internet.

In 1981, in MTV’s first music video, The Buggles prophetically claimed that “Video Killed the Radio Star”. The significance being that MTV accurately predicted the decline of radio in favor of the video medium. The death of print is somwhat similar; the Internet is slowly taking over.

CEOWorld Magazine claims that “going green” is another reason why printed media is declining. But the truth is, online news sources have many advantages over printed news, such as storage capacity, accessibility and quick and timely updates. When a major event happens, the newspaper will have you reading about it the following morning. USATODAY.com, however, will be updated within minutes. Our 21st century lives are built around convenience, the faster and cheaper we can access anything, the better.

Another major appeal to online news sources is the fact that, aside from your Internet subscription fee, it is generally free of charge. Whereas newspaper have to charge their readers a fee (albeit, nothing unreasonable, like $1.50), online news sources make up that revenue from advertising and other forms of online revenue generating concepts.

Finally, interactivity is also much more possible in online news stories than printed ones. True, readers can send in their opinions on certain articles in the editorial section of a newspaper. This, though, is very limited and oftentimes your thoughts and opinions are limited by physical space on the newspaper page itself as well as the competition that other readers present in terms of which pieces get posted. Online articles, with the advent of the Web 2.0 era, are seemingly limitless. Most online articles offer an input method on the bottom of the articles where users can share their opinions and are not limited by space and/or other users.

Overall, it is unfortunate that newspapers are going the way of 8-Tracks and VHS, however this is inevitable. While some readers will show some form of attachment to their local papers, the nostalgic factor itself will not suffice to keep these papers going. Perhaps a sign of changing times, the death of print can be viewed as sad, perhaps tragic, however I will argue that we should not stop it. The Internet will only continue to expand into all facets of our lives and to fight it would mean to fight technology itself.

Times certainly are a-changin’.

1 comment March 26, 2009

Love, Rings and Material Things…

Today’s society is so caught up in stuff, all we think about is money and how was can accumulate the things we want. Whether it be through working our way through university and getting our degrees which eventually lead to getting a dream job; which will hopefully make us all the money we could possibly want.

So, we can buy all the fun things we fantasize about while walking through the mall. Or, if that fail we can always resort to marrying rich, I hate to point out the obvious but it does happen. Anyways let’s get back on track. The reason I say everything in life relates to making money and collecting material goods is because that is the way our culture has groomed us. We have become accustomed to seeing extravagant gifts given out at Christmas, as well as our birthdays being a fabulous celebration of our lives through the giving of gifts and money. We come to expect this and when it doesn’t materialize we become upset. There was a show I came across a few years ago that I found appalling based on the fact that it exemplified this to a tee, but who am I to judge. I suppose if I was a 16 year old teenager full of hormones that didn’t get my way I would be just as mad. And so, I present to you, the bane of our modern, civilized society, My Super Sweet 16.

This brings me to the other thing I have noticed. Market researchers bank on the fact they know consumers are gullible that is why the Hallmark card industry is so very prosperous, society feel compelled to give gifts and cards to loved ones on special occasions based on the fact that it is a socially acceptable practice, held by the general public. If we don’t follow the norms we look rude or cheap or what have you.

This is where in chapter one of Dr. Strangelove’s book Empire of Mind came into play, he provides an accurate explanation of society’s general feelings towards material possessions.“More than just suggesting that knowledge of the other and romantic love are achieved through consumption, the market’s persuasion system ensures that a diamond ring is a necessary prerequisite for the nuptial ceremony” (Strangelove, 25).

This hit all too close to home, as you see today was my birthday and both me and my boyfriend have many financial responsibilities living away from home and going to university, so unlike when we lived at home we don’t have a lot of cash lying around. So, we planned to just stay in and not plan any kind of extravagant birthday dinner plans or really anything at all, which may surprise you but was fine by me. Yet the whole day my boyfriend felt horrible that he didn’t have the cash to spend on me he wished he did. And that, you see, is the problem of society today, we hold these high unattainable standards that people have to feel bad about if they can’t do them. We are students after all give us a break!

Oh, and babe, I love you no matter how poor you may be!

Add a comment March 24, 2009

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