Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Call Me(dia) Maybe REMiX

So two weeks ago I had posted about  Carly Rae Jepsen's obsessive song "Call Me Maybe" and how quickly recognition and popularity spreads once things go viral. A significant result of the digital era is where we see the common person becoming producers. With all the various media platforms, average people create, appropriate, and distribute whatever they desire. With the YouTube sensation, people all over the globe create their own videos or appropriate content to make it their own. Consequentially, a fellow badger student created a remix to "Call Me Maybe" and filmed the footage here in Madison. Creator, Nick Luebke, sings his mashed-up verses to the song while the original chorus remains the same. I think this YouTube is a perfect example of how the digital era generates a participatory culture. Whatever the media spits out, people are utilizing social media platforms to express their reaction towards such content. Why do you suppose Nick decided to make his own version of "Call Me Maybe?" Is it because he is a fan of Carly Rae Jepsen or is he mocking the popularity of the song? This type of  appropriation has become prominent in our culture and before all of the new new media, did such appropriation exist?! Check out the video, I think you all will enjoy it and see where I am coming from!

Next in Line!

     So, registration for summer and fall classes is right around the corner.  Since I just recently claimed my major I thought it would be a good idea to take a summer class to get on track with my program.  While looking through the classes being offered over the summer, I found that there is an online course I need for my major.  This class is usually really hard to get into during the school year so I've decided to take it.  I've never taken an online class before so this is completely new to me, and makes me a little nervous.
     I know this might sound weird that I'm nervous about taking an online class, but I truly have no idea what to expect.  I'm used to brick and mortar setting and having to wake up to walk to class every day.  Now, I just have to turn my computer on to view material, and take quizzes, and do my assignment, and take exams!?  This all sounds crazy to me, especially the part about quizzes and exams online.  This is the first time in my life I've felt behind the curve in new innovations.  Education has changed with technology and hasn't effected me until this very day.
     I've been writing about education and technology for all my posts so far on this blog, and thought that this coincidence in my life recently would be a good way to bring up another point on how technology has effected education.  I wrote about online education in my last post, but there is a different aspect I realized about registration that I thought I would share with you all.  Remember in high school when you had to go stand in a big long line for registration.  You'd walk up to the counter, get your packet of information, stand in line to get your picture taken, get your id, and then walk out.  In college we apply, register, and set up orientation online.
     Also, as far as classes are concerned I remember when my guidance counselor made my schedule for me.  Those days seem like the stone age to me now.  But, then my junior year of high school the scheduling system changed to the students making their own schedules.  This was the biggest deal in the world to my 16  year old self.  I had no idea how to make my own schedule.  Looking through classes and figuring out which time slots worked for me, and what classes I needed to take, and what classes I wanted to take was the hardest process in the entire world back then.
     Now, students have to make their own schedules whether they like it or not.  Yes, we have advisors who will help us if we need the help, but at the end of the day it's our responsibility to figure out how we are going to get to take all the classes we need to in order to graduate.  Having to create my own schedule online is easy, yes stressful, but like second nature to me now and I'm only a sophomore.  Even the tiny process of registering for school and classes has changed so much since technology has made its way into the education system. 

How do you remember registration and scheduling before college!?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Break and Social Media

Hey everybody! It's hard to believe that spring break is only a week away. Only one week until midterms are a thing of the past and we're free to to whatever, whenever during one week of freedom from the many pressures of school. So, in the media theme of this blog, I kind of feel that it's my duty to warn you guys of the dangers of having your wild and crazy spring break antics splashed all over the web. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed by this New York Times article that our generation has actually been taking this advice.

The article says that recent reports from spring break hotspots have reported that the once famously crazy atmosphere feels significantly less wild. Our generation has become very conscious of the omnipresence of social media and the repercussions of having the evidence of one crazy night in Cancun scattered all over Facebook of the web. This means that wet t-shirt contests, Girls Gone Wild behavior, and blatant public drinking have all been sufficiently toned down, especially when cameras are around. And when aren't they these days? Do you know anyone who doesn't have at least a camera phone?

I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of my peers for wising up and paying attention to the affects of social media in this way. Stories like this show that we are career conscious young adults who deserve a bit more credit than more seasoned adults often give us. Keep it up guys!

But of course, don't forget to have fun on your spring break adventures. We are in the prime of our lives and spring break is one of those experiences that really only exist right now. Just be sure to be smart no matter what antics you get up to :)

Stay classy guys, and enjoy your break!


A New Standard for Book Adaptations

Last Thursday I went to the premiere of Hunger Games. I have yet to read the books, but I plan on reading them soon. My friends and I left the theatre with smiles on our faces. We all enjoyed the film, though there were some flaws, and the movie did leave some things out that resulted in a film slightly short of fantastic. All in all though, I thought the film was well-made. Watching the Hunger Games got me thinking about how it seems that adaptations of graphic novels and books have a new standard of expectation. Legions of pre-made fans from best selling books have called for movies that truly stay faithful to the print version, and that will inspire the same level of devotion.

Film and television adaptations have become a huge presence in the industry. With the fan bases and harsh critics of the original work, film and TV makers really need to bring it all to the table as the pressure to live up to the hype increases. TV series' like Game of Thrones and Walking Dead are some great examples. The two shows have amassed a pretty large audience, while both critics and fans of the novels seem to enjoy those shows. These shows have definitely set the bar for future shows with the impressive acting and writing. However, the results of adaptations aren't always as spectacular as these two. John Carter exemplifies one of the most recent examples of other possible outcomes of such an adaptation. The film based off of a book, almost a century old, and didn't do so hot in the box-office. In fact, Disney even came out and said that they expect to lose money on the film. I'm guessing one of the reasons this adaptation didn't do so well is because there was virtually no built in fan base. The book was just too old. I didn't see the movie myself and critics didn't exactly love it. Yet, when it comes to Hunger Games I felt like the film fell in the middle in terms of reception from the audience and the quality. It didn't exactly get to the level of the last Harry Potter movie, but it still did well. Still, in terms of first iterations of the series, Hunger Games did better than Twilight both in terms of quality and financially. 

It seems that adaptations have a lot of potential to be moneymakers, but also the potential to let the fans of the novels down. It's a big risk, but recently it seems to have paid off for most. I'm really excited about the fact that adaptations need to be awesome in order to be able to build a successful franchise. I want more series' that just feel epic. Hopefully the general quality of recent TV series' and films will stay constant. If not, the creators will pay for it with bad reviews and low revenue. What do you guys think of recent films and TV series based off of novels? Did you think they did a good job of complementing the original work? 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Could Life Exist Without E-Mailing?!

So for our online assignment this week, we were instructed to find an article that has yet to be digitized. Personally, I thought it was going to be impossible to find something since it seems like every text can be found online. However, I found an article titled "E-Mail Ascendant on Campus"that was written in 1994. Considering the article was written in 1994, this article focuses on the beginning of the E-Mailing system and how it has become a popular trend on college campuses. 8 years later, it is amazing to think how  E-Mailing has become the norm for college campuses. When applying here at UW-Madison, one of the first procedures is to create an E-Mail account. University E-Mail accounts have become so crucial for students. It has become the prime way of communicating with professors and more importantly a way to reach out to other students on campus. If I do not catch up on reading my E-Mails, I could miss out on important information for classes or even miss an E-Mail from a professor saying that class has been canceled (rare but always the best feeling when receiving them).
 Every single student in this university is searchable; if you need to send a fellow student notes or get together for a project but do not have their phone numbers, all you have to do is simply type in their name and their email pops up. As we compare old media with new media, it seems that  E-Mailing has become the most efficient and instant form of communication between students and professors. If students aren't E-Mailing their professors questions, what other alternative method are they using to reach their professors?! Sure they might come during the professor's  office hours and ask in person the question. But if a student goes to meet with a professor and the professor is not there, the next measure would be to either E-Mail the professor letting them know you tried making the office hours or waiting until the class meets next. My question for you all to think about is, how would our university function without an E-Mailing system?!  Do you think society could go back to a E-Mail free world?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Where do you get your news?

Today when I received one of my many text alerts of breaking news to my iPhone, I got to thinking about how other people receive their news. With so many outlets that are readily available, people can get their news from newspapers, television, online websites, social media and even handheld devices like the tablet or a smart phone.
In recent surveys conducted by the Pew Project for Excellence, 34% of people who participated said that they had read news online within the past 24 hours while 41% said they get the majority of their news online. This is 10% more than those who said they receive their news from a newspaper. The 18-29 year old demographic reported that 65% of them get their main source of news coverage online. This means that online news is the second most popular way to receive news, with TV still taking first place. This means that the amount of people who read news from a newspaper is becoming smaller and smaller. If readers are focusing more energy on online reading, this means that advertisers are now shifting to online advertising. From 2009 to 2010 the advertising sector grew 13.9%, which is the first time online advertising trumped newspaper advertising.
Is the shift from using old media news gathering techniques to new media news gathering techniques positive or negative? I think that there are pros and cons to each. Obviously receiving news online or via text message makes life a lot easier. I can get the news headlines right to my phone without lifting a finger, but does this make us loose a sense of imagined community? It used to be that the news was either on the radio or TV at a certain time and everyone sat around to hear what was going on in the world. The paper used to be delivered once a week and people sat down to read what was happening. There are still techniques of old media circling today, but what will happen if the old way of receiving news is completely diminished?
This brings me to give you a preview of what I will explore next week. With the new media becoming so dominant in the way we receive news, there are more opportunities for people to report on news. Who are the journalists of the new media society? Is it just newscasters who are hired at certain news stations or can an everyday citizen be a journalist? Check back next week!  

"Log In" Education Style

Hey all!  So this week in class we started talking a lot about what higher education is all about.  I found this video and thought it was pretty engaging so I though I'd share it with you all!  The difference between brick and mortar universities (like Madison) and online universities like the one portrayed in the video is a good example of what we are trying to get at in this blog.  This difference is demonstrating old ways versus new ways within education.

I love the education I am getting right now.  I love this university and the beat of the city, but I do agree with many of the concerns that students and adults like have about higher education today.  I am paying my own way through school, so will be one of those young adults that are in huge debt by the time they graduate college.  Also, I work and am in two student orgs apart from my everyday school schedule, so I'm not one to take 18 credits a semester.  I know that everyone is different and that everyone's lives are busy, so this is keeping us from graduating in 4 years, unlike how common that was years back.  Because graduation isn't as fast as a process anymore, that adds on more tuition and housing costs.  This is just one concern that is circling around about higher education right now, and it just so happens to hit home in my personal situation.

As far as online education goes, I don't know how I would successful I personally would be.  I think it depends on what you want out of your time spent going to a higher education school, what kind of learner you are, and where you are in life.  Going to college as a young person like myself, I want more of an experience than just learning the specific things I need to start my career.  I want to learn about culture, experience new things, and find myself in a city I've never lived in before.  If I was only concerned about learning specific skills needed to start my career, I would have chosen a different route, maybe even online.  This is my personal view on the difference between online and traditional education and how I think it effects people.  All in all, I think online education is a good idea if that is what fits your needs.  I think it's awesome that a person has the option of what kind of education to get, so that they are able to chose something that will fit their wants and needs.

How do you all feel about online versus traditional education?  Please comment, I'd love to know!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Trusting the Kony Campaign

The Kony Campaign has become a huge movement as many young adults and teens have become interested in helping the Invisible Children. The filmmaking used to create this YouTube video and new style of promoting the campaign deserves much of the credit for the attention it has received. I fully support the campaign's goal of stopping a militant group that has been terrorizing others. However, it's still important to question the goals and actions of the Kony Campaign, and not follow blindly. There is a lot of controversy over the use of donations by the campaign. There are tons of varying statistics online about how much money is actually going towards the Ugandan people, and how much is going towards filmmaking and staff salaries. Some reports say that the amount of money going towards the Ugandan people isn't enough.

The Kony Campaign is a great example of how media can be such a powerful tool. The video captured the American public instantly, and it's very likely that many people did little or no research before donating. The location of Kony's militant group, The LRA, is an example of how research into the subject creates more questions. The LRA have not been in Uganda since 2006. If the LRA are not currently in Uganda, will Ugandan forces be able to move through other countries to arrest Kony? Of course we all hope that they will be able to, but it's important for us to know if they actually can. If they can't then the donations could be put to better use by going directly to the Ugandans that are struggling, instead of the U.S. advisors and Uganda military force.

It's our duty to research the campaign and Uganda to see how we can be most helpful to those in need. Does this mean giving money to the Kony Campaign? Does this mean giving money directly to the people of Uganda? There might be other better ways to help the situation in Uganda, but stopping Kony might be the best. I can't say I know the answer, but it's important for all of us to try and find out.

Summer Jams!!!!

Hey guys! How've you been liking this weather? It's incredible right?! Personally, the carefree spirit of this summertime atmosphere has been making it crazy difficult for me to get any work done, so today I'm going to write about something that I'm been loving lately.

When I think of summertime, I usually think of spending time with my friends, relaxing, goofing around, and just generally not having a care in the world. But another thing I think of is the soundtrack to these summer activities. Music is very powerful for me when it comes to bringing back memories. Some songs just sound like summer to me, for instance, Weezer's "Island in the Sun" and "Summer Girls" by LFO. Back in the day I would've just flipped on the radio for my summer soundtrack, but since I don't have a car here in Madison and don't know anyone who still owns a portable radio, I've gotten a little creative.

Today, I'm going to share with you my latest internet obsession. Its name is, and it is a "handcrafted internet radio" website. It's similar to Pandora in some ways, but in my opinion, it's a much better way to find great music. You can still search for your favorite songs and artists and listen to similar stuff, but 8tracks takes a different approach to finding new, awesome music while listening to old favorites. As the company states on its "About" page:

"8tracks believes handcrafted music programming trumps algorithms. Think radio in the 1970s, mixtapes in the 1980s, and DJ culture of the 1990s through today. DJs share their talent in taste making, providing exposure for artists. Listeners get a unique blend of word-of-mouth sharing and radio programming — long the trusted means for music discovery — on a global scale."

What this means is that you get the best of both worlds, soon-to-be hits and underground gems alike. It's easy to find an incredible playlist for almost any situation, and they have an iPhone app that lets you take it on the go. Oh, and did I mention the best part? No audio ads to interrupt your music. Awesome.

I have been obsessed with 8tracks for a while now, listening to it while I get ready in the morning, while studying, while working out, and before/during my friends and my weekend shenanigans. ;) And with this awesome weather, tons of incoming summer playlists have been cropping up, setting the perfect mood for an awesome time.

Well, that's all I can really say on the subject, the rest you'll have to find out on your own. :) I hope you guys check out 8tracks and end up loving it as much as me! And if you find any extra awesome playlists be sure to let me know in the comments.


Some of my favorite summer 8tracks playlists:

Songs To Be Young To

summertime, and the living is easy

Incoming Summer 2012

Hollister Playlist 2012

Beach Bod Swag

it's fucking nice out.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Local schools embrace new technology
by Rachel Davis
8 hrs ago | 312 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students at Maddox enjoy the new freedom  of using their own mobile electronic devices in class. Photo special to the Eagle
Students at Maddox enjoy the new freedom of using their own mobile electronic devices in class. Photo special to the Eagle
This is another article I found when I started looking into the contradictions between new technology and education.  Last week I wrote about college and how professors have begun to ban all media devices from their classroom.  This week I want to switch it up and and show you all the huge difference between what is happening between high schools and colleges.
The above article is about how this high school has begun to allow students, and encourage them to bring all of their technological devices to school with them, also called BYOD or Bring Your Own Device.  Instead of trying to fight the new wave of technology and learning, they are tyring to incorporate this into their curriculum.  I think this is the best way to handle the new obsession with technology.  This high school has figured it out when it comes to connecting with their students and allowing them to connect with them right back.  They have also realized that this new implication has its struggles and problems just like any other new policy might, and are dealing with them to make the new policy better and work for everyone. 
My favorite part of this article is when it discusses how the teachers were pleasantly surprised by the maturity and responsibility of the students and how they have handled the new policy.  Giving the students credit for their maturity is a huge step in the right direction in working on the policy to bring it to its potential.  Also, the credit they're giving to the students is also creating a better relationship between teachers and students as well, creating a better education environment for all.
I found this article to be really amazing.  I think it's awesome that this high school has figured out a way to incorporate new technology into their education plan, instead of banning students from using their electronics, like many college classrooms have converted to.  You can't fight the music, and you can't fight the ever changing technological society either.  I hope that education will continue to connect with new technology and that students and professors alike will grow with it.

For better or for worse?

It used to be that when exciting things happened in people’s lives or if people wanted to talk with their friends, they would walk or drive over to their house, sit down and have a conversation. The next best thing to actually spending time with this person was calling them, maybe texting them. The cell phone used to be one of the only mediated types of communication. Then email became popular, and then Facebook and Twitter emerged. Everything about interpersonal relationships has changed due to the social media phenomenon. It may seem like a long time ago that social media took over, but actually it wasn’t. Facebook didn’t go live to the public until September of 2006. This means that in the span of 6 short years, the way we handle relationships has changed. The question to ask is, has it changed for the better making relationships as meaningful as old face-to-face interaction?
As with any type of question there are two sides and opinions to answering this question. I can see the reasoning in both sides and am going to explore both.  
In terms of relationships between families, old friends, new acquaintances, and people who don’t live near each other, social media and interacting online can be very helpful. According to Jeff Hancock, PhD, director of graduate studies in the Department of Communications at Cornell University, “Allowing people to stay in touch in so many ways can strengthen our ability to have close relationships,” he says. Family and friends who get to video chat with their loved ones through the video chat application on Facebook and other programs, are appreciative that they can stay in touch without physically being in each others lives. It is nice to be able to stay in touch with old high school friends or it can be a nice way to contact someone that you haven’t heard from in a long time. Social media can also connect people on professional levels like through sites such as LinkedIn. This can be a helpful tool to find internships and job opportunities. If social media is used in the right way and doesn’t become something that people obsess about and base their life around, it can be a very unique tool that helps people stay connected throughout their lives.
            When it comes to romantic relationships social media can be more of a negative tool than a positive one. It opens up the opportunity for spying, stalking, jealousy, and assumptions, which ultimately ends in fights. According to experts “Facebook has caused “Digital intimacy,” in which studies have shown that 3/5 men and 4/5 women sleep together sooner than they normally would.” People are starting to confuse digital intimacy with true intimacy. The relationship status on Facebook has changed the definition of what a relationship is. Dating is becoming so publicized that the idea of true honest relationships is loosing value because the instant someone becomes “in a relationship” on Facebook, there are people who “like” it immediately which gives attention to the couple instantly. If there is attention when people start dating, then the attention when a relationship ends is even bigger. Then you deal with the people who stalk their ex’s pictures and get upset because it looks like they are hanging out and/or dating someone else that they know. The idea that we can know so much about someone’s life through one little page on a website changes everything. There is no more calling and asking how things are going, because more than likely people know what is going on in their friends lives through stalking them on Facebook or Twitter. The urge to reach out to friends or people you haven’t talked to in a while is less pressing. 
            I think the only solution to the social media phenomenon is to use it wisely and find the happy medium. Don’t always rely on Facebook or Twitter to catch up with old friends. Make it a goal to talk to call someone who you usually would talk to through text or social media. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Social Games

This past week saw the release of another iteration of the popular video game series called Mass Effect. I am a huge fan of the series, and one of the biggest changes made in this newest game is one that has happened across the gaming industry itself, which is the role of playing with others and being social. This series like many others of the past used to be geared specifically for an individual experience. However, with this newest game the developers finally decided to put in the option of playing with others. Most of the best-selling games today usually attempt to provide an experience that can be played alone and with others, and this has changed how many people view video games.

Playing a video game alone is definitely not for everyone. Sometimes I love playing games with my friends, and sometimes I just want to play a game by myself. Still, the fact that people have been provided with more choices as to how they want to play has helped video games find an even larger audience. It has become a type of social activity for many, and it's one that's here to stay. If you play games, do you prefer to play alone or with people? 

May the odds be ever in your favor...

Welcome, welcome! If you've been plugged into entertainment media at all for the past few months, you've probably heard something about a little production called The Hunger Games. Personally, I have been looking forward to this movie ever since I devoured the book a year and a half ago, and now that its release date (March 23rd) is fast approaching, I thought I'd share my excitement with my fellow citizens of the blogosphere.

For those of you who don't know, or just never looked into it, The Hunger Games is a new movie adapted from the best selling novel by Suzanne Collins set to release March 23rd, which many people, fans and press alike, are promoting as the next Harry Potter or Twilight. The movie, which is described in more detail on its IMDB page, is set in a future North America, now called Panem, whose government requires two children from each its twelve districts to enter an arena and fight in a nationally televised death match. It's pretty intense. But so incredibly awesome.

Anyway, huge media properties such as this, and Harry Potter and Twilight before it, have always fascinated me. The way that a single story or movie can capture such a huge and diverse audience and bring them together is pretty damn cool. In my personal experiences in various fandoms, movie adaptations which cater to the fans of the books tend to be the most successful, not to mentioned the most beloved. And The Hunger Games is certainly adhering to this model, with a huge internet presence that goes beyond a simple "official movie site" and plastering ads everywhere in sight. There's some really cool stuff out there, and the extra effort made for fan involvement only makes me that much more excited.

Cool Stuff!
The Capitol (this is my favorite):
The official movie page:
On Facebook:
The Hob:
Hunger Games Merch:

So readers, are you excited for The Hunger Games? Do you love or hate media events like this? And, of course, are you Team Peeta or Team Gale? (Team Peeta ftw!)


Call Me(dia) Maybe

 Last week I was hanging out with friends looking at YouTube videos. Sitting around watching YouTubes has become a common activity amongst our generation. One of my friends excitedly asked if we had seen this music video titled "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen - Feat. Justin Bieber, Selena, Ashley Tisdale & MORE! The video captures  Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Ashley Tisdale  hanging out with their friends, dancing and lip syncing to the song titled "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen. When not appearing on the red carpets, these pops stars like to have fun with their friends and do stuff that regular kids like to do, such as make YouTubes. YouTube has become one of the most utilized platforms for self-broadcasting and perhaps finding the next big star. After all, YouTube is the cause for spreading the "Bieber Fever" epidemic. The song "Call Me Maybe"  has become instantly popular, even playing at a couple parties that I have recently attended. This video was only updated 3 weeks ago and has  over 20,367,704 views.

Prior to watching the YouTube, I was unaware of the artist and never heard of her song.  The popularity of this YouTube had me thinking about today's digital social media and how one post or upload of some sort  can instantly change someone's life.  Since I was unfamiliar with Carly Rae Jepsen, I decided to look into her music career background. When I typed Carly Rae Jepsen into Google, to not much surprise, there was a Wikipedia article on her. According to Wikipedia, Carly is a Canadian artist who was a contestant on the 5th season of Canadian Idol in 2007. Apparently Carly has been in the industry for quite some time now. Her second album was released only last month in February, which features the single "Call Me Maybe." As I further read the Wiki article, interestingly enough, Carly is signed with the same manager as Justin Bieber (Scooter Braun). Taking all these factors into consideration, I cannot help but make the assumption that the "Call Me Maybe" YouTube was a simple market tactic to help publicize Carly Rae Jepsen's single and to gain name recognition. In my opinion, it was a brilliant PR move.

Lets break this logic down: Justin Beiber and Selena Goemz are one of the most famous and idolized pop stars of this time. Specifically, towards the young tween female demographic.  Justin and  Selena have massive fan followings and the fan loyalty is quite over whelming. Since Carly Rae  Jepsen is an upcoming, young pop star, why not take advantage of Justin and Selena's fan loyalty!? Of course their die heart fans are going to watch a video of their favorite stars singing  and without a doubt, they are going to share the video with all their friends who are just as obsessed as they are. Not only are the fans going to watch the video, but they are going to download and search for the song "Call Me Maybe." There you have it:  Carly Rae Jepsen is now rising to stardom and social media is a huge thanks to it. Ten years ago, most stars would rise to fame by airing on MTV or in entertainment magazines. Better yet, the radio would be one of the first mediums to promote a new artist and hit single. With all the social media mediums, it seems that TV and the radio is not the most effective way to promote music or up coming stars such as Carly Rae Jepsen. So what I am I trying to get at is how much influence does the new media have over the old media? With the song becoming popular through YouTube, do mediums such as the radio or TV rely on the digital social media mediums for content?  I can only imagine in a matter of time, "Call Me Maybe" will be blasting in car radios and the YouTube will be talked about on some entertainment show. What are your thoughts on old media relying on new media and what do you think of the YouTube being a marketing tactic in general!?

The YouTube for your pleasure :
Wikipedia Article:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Facebook VS. Twitter: Contradictions?


           When I came across the demographics from 2010 about the usage of Twitter and Facebook, I got to thinking about what each of their purposes are and if they are in competition. Are there contradictions between the two? What about the contradictions between interpersonal communication and the communication that is going on within Facebook and Twitter.
            Last week I attended a presentation given by a representative from Twitter, and he touched on the topic of whether or not they are in competition with Facebook. He explained that there really is no competition because Twitter is interest based and Facebook is more based on your social circle and who you are friends with. He made a good point because if you think about it, do you really know EVERYONE that you follow on twitter? More times than not, you don’t know who you are following on twitter. For example, I follow UW-Madison. I don’t know who is writing these tweets, but I am interested in what’s going on with UW-Madison. This is different compared to Facebook because everyone who I interact with on Facebook, I have some sort of personal connection to. Whether or not it’s a friend from high school, class or college I know who they are and have most likely met them at least once. So if Facebook and Twitter are not in competition with each other, who are they in competition with?
            In my opinion they are in competition with inter-personal communication in the offline world. Shouldn’t we know if someone is in a relationship because they called to tell us? Shouldn’t we be informed that someone got into the University of their choice by them running over to our house to celebrate? Since when is it okay to write on your cousins “wall” who you haven’t talked in a few months, instead of calling them? I guess I am asking these questions because I wonder how far the online world will take us. I worry that we may start to loose the value of interpersonal communication due to media. I am guilty of using both of these social networks a lot, and don’t get me wrong they are fun and easy to use, but where do we draw the line?
            Within the next few weeks I am going to focus on the contradictions between how Facebook and Twitter have interfered with interpersonal communication in the offline world, which is what our world used to be built on before the online world came to be. I will be discussing contradictions between what is trending in the print newspapers vs what people are talking about on Facebook and Twitter, how relationships suffer or thrive from online social media use, along with many other interesting topics! Check back next week! 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Are all Oscar-nominated movies the same?

Last week I came across the above video, Trailer For Every Oscar-Winning Movie Ever, and instantly loved its premise. First of all, it's hilarious, but more importantly, it's undeniably true. Yes, on the surface the movies nominated for Academy Awards have different genres, actors, directors, and stories, but if you think about it, how different are they really? It seems to me that at some point in history, someone came up with an equation for the perfect Oscar-winning movie, and decided that for a movie to be deemed worthy of that honor, certain requirements have to be met, such as "inspirational speech that douchebags will quote on their Facebook profiles," or "using tough love to help this Latin American teenager believe in himself," as mentioned in the video. These are characteristics that we all have come across in our movie watching lifetimes. In fact, the only reason we laugh at this video is because we recognize them from our own experiences with film.

What I'm really interested in is why. Why do we as a society value certain movies, especially ones with the stereotypical Oscar-winning characteristics, as better than others? There are myriad possible explanations that I could give you, but my personal opinion is that we as people like to listen to ourselves talk. We love it when big shot Hollywood types seem to agree with things that we believe, therefore, the movies we value the most basically echo our own thoughts. People also want to be able to relate to the characters in these movies, to be able to picture themselves in that situation. I mean, if you think about it, how many science fiction or fantasy movies have won the Academy Awards' top prize? Sure, Avatar was nominated the year it was eligible, but in the end the Best Picture was deemed to be The Hurt Locker, a gritty, realistic drama about the war in Iraq. But what makes bomb diffusing soldiers so much more impressive to us than the creation cutting edge CGI blue aliens trying to save an entire planet? Personally, I think they're both pretty damn incredible.

But what do you think? Do we only love these kinds of movies because we've been brainwashed? Are we forced to like these movies because all of our alternatives just suck? Is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences full of old people who don't like change? Do you totally and completely disagree with everything I've said? Please, be a doll and let me know in the comments.

See you next week!


Is 3D Better Than 2D?

3D movies have started to become pretty popular in the theaters today. So I have to ask if watching a movie in 3D makes the experience better. Personally, I don't think so. I strongly dislike 3D because I think that all it really does for you is make you pay a couple extra bucks and put on some glasses that don't even have that desirable stylish affect. But then again maybe I'm just biased because 3D movies just don't make my eyes pop. 

It would be really unimpressive if I didn't have any research to back up my argument, so here it is. A study was done by L. Mark Carrier of California State University on 400 film viewers. The participants watched one of three films either in 2D or 3D. They were then asked to explain their responses to the movie using a list of 60 words. For example, words like "enjoyment," "anger," and "rage" were on the list. The responses varied very little from the people who watched 3D and those who didn't. Carrier's study resulted in the conclusion that, "3D movies do not allow viewers to experience more intense emotional reactions, are no more immersive, and do not offer any advantage over their 2D counterparts in terms of enhancing the ability to recall a film's details." These results didn't surprise me because 3D movies have never really improved the experience for me while watching a film. In fact, the only movie I can remember specifically seeing in 3D is Avatar. I know I have seen others in 3D but unfortunately I don't remember which ones. 

Also, this study along with several others had results that pointed to the effects of 3D causing headaches and eyestrain in a small amount of viewers. In fact, my mother has this problem. Whenever we see a movie in "glorious" 3D she gets a headache. It doesn't happen to me, but I've heard from other people that they have this problem too, so I think it's definitely another factor that should be considered. It can really ruin a movie if while watching you feel like someone is dropkicking you in the head the entire time. 

I also dislike the way that producers are bringing old films back to the theaters with the biggest hook that, "It's in 3D people so now it's completely different!" Beauty and The Beast, Star Wars Episode 1, and The Lion King are just a few examples. I feel like they are just trying to make a few extra bucks by exploiting the 3D train. My biggest fear is that producers will see how financially risk free re-releasing a movie in 3D is, and end up turning film into an industry in which less original content is created because films that have simply been converted to 3D dominate the market.

Really, I just think that 3D doesn't make a film better. It's all about what the movie brings to the table in terms of dialogue, action, comedy, and suspense; not whether random objects pop out at you a little bit. If theaters didn't charge more I wouldn't care about seeing the movie in 3D over 2D, but even a couple extra bucks seems totally unnecessary to me. Do you like 3D more than 2D? Does 3D provide a different experience for you?  

See you guys next week with another post... in 2D!


Also, if you're one of those people who get headaches from 3D movies, the guy in this video has something that may be able to help.
My source: