Thursday, April 23, 2015

The most significant thing(s) I learned from JOMC 240

Looking back at my notes and thinking about what we discussed in my JOMC 240 class called Current Issues in Mass Communication, I noticed and remembered that during many class periods we talked about the decline of print media. I would have to say, because of the amount of times that we mentioned this, it would have to be the most significant thing I learned.

What happens if print media completely goes out of business and is digital? I personally think print media will move toward digital sooner than we think, but I also believe that people enjoy reading a physical newspaper, collecting them and being able to recycle them. Older generations especially like it and as we get older reading on a computer may become more complex because our eyes would be looking at a screen too long. Maybe by then our eyes will be immune to it because of how much time we already spend in from of screens. When my generation gets older I definitely think that the majority of us will get our news from a news app, an app that specializes in news from all kinds of outlets and is personalized to what we like or just subscribing to a credible online news outlet and being loyal to that news outlet.

This class also talked a lot about the future and what mass communications issues we have now and how we will deal with them in the future. One thing that we did not spend a lot of time talking about was the environment and how eliminating print media may save the environment, but that also might mean more electricity, which can also be harmful to the environment. We were always reminded in this class that we are the generation that will step up and create the next big thing, the next big way for mass communication to spread around the world, and that our ideas will be bigger and better and innovative and forward-looking. Wow, it's kind of a lot of pressure, but I believe that we will and it will be amazing to find new ways of communicating whether it's through new technology or an alternative to print media.

I believe print media will still be around in my lifetime, but it will continue to decline. With things going viral on video and people being able to collect real-time news with apps such as Periscope and Meerkat I learned that video is becoming the next big thing and is something to watch out for in the future. Ever scroll down your Facebook feed and all you see are videos? Yep, it's coming. When I think about, I normally see a video of something before there is a news story about. First there is a video then reporters are quick to report about it. Video sparks news stories and I believe it would do fine without print media.

I remember toward the beginning of the semester we were asked to track all the media we consumed for an entire day. I pick up the Daily Tar Heel every now and again, but almost none of my media diet included print media. It was mostly on my phone, so that told me the direction that my generation is going in already. I enjoy seeing and reading some print media like flyers for example on the back of bathroom stalls advertising for an event, but in 2025 the back of stalls my have built-in computers advertising those things. I think it's interesting to think about the future in this way and how we are so close to seeing these changes. The funny thing is we can never see the future happening it just does.

Oh and another significant thing I learned from this class are the steps to going viral, but I won't share that on here yet, until my content goes viral and I make millions. Thanks for those steps Professor Robinson, I might actually use them, haha. You da bomb Professor Robinson! (Or should I say JR?)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

NDA Nationals in Daytona Beach

My team and I are coming back from our national competition in Daytona Beach and I couldn't be happier. We worked so hard this year and we worked so hard on making our two nationals routines (open and hip hop) the best they could possibly be. I am so proud of what we did at NDA because we performed like a team and felt great about our performances. We did a lot of bonding too and I got closer to some of my teammates that will carry on to next year when I am a senior. Now, the torch will be passed on to 5 seniors, including me, to lead the 2015-2016 team and I am so excited to see what will be in store. I know I will learn so much about myself. Thank you to everyone for your support this year, to our sponsors and most importantly our parents. We couldn't have done it without you. I also want to thank our amazing choreographers for open, Emma and Sara, who are also on the team and our hip hop choreographer Cassandra Pappy! You guys are amazing. Well, now it's time to go back to work and back to reality in Chapel Hill until tryouts next Sunday. Until then, DTL forever and always. ❤️#GDTBATH

Dances Going Viral

We often times talk about mass communication in ways of writing or technology, but dance has always been a language in itself and a way to communicate as well. Dance is a way for people to come together to either tell a story, have a good time, compete or even exercise. Dances such as the Nae Nae, the Harlem Shake, the twist, the dougie, the 1,2 step, gangnam style, etc. have traveled across the world and were introduced in clubs, streets and dance studios as well.

As a dancer I always love when a new dance move is introduced because I think it's so amazing that people can do so many new and exciting things with their bodies and call it anything they want. Most of these dances have a story or originated from somewhere. I remember the crip walk that kids used to do in elementary school, and once I got older I found out it referred to the gang. Simple movements can go viral as well as anything that is funny, scary or ridiculous. Dancing is sexy and that's why it goes viral. It's sexy when old people start dancing to pop or hip hop music and it's sexy when stereotypes can be broken through dance. Most people don't expect old people to "nae nae" or a white boy to "beef it up," so it's great when these videos can change societies views on ageism, sexism, racism and other isms that exist.  

New Apps Are on the Rise

With just about anything you can think about doing there is probably a mobile app for it. Apps are made everyday and their ubiquitous nature is forever growing. There are 5 apps I read about that you should watch out for, Snapseed, Google's photo-editing app, which is revamped with new features, Mixkit, which allows you to make your own mixtapes, Photojojo Disposable, which takes you back to disposable camera days, Something Good to Read, which gives you reading lists based on what your followers post on Twitter and a gaming app called Yahtzee with Buddies. The great thing is that they are all free to download! 

I am particularly excited about Photojojo Disposable and Somethig Good to Read. Photojojo is an app that is forward moving, but at the same time stuck in the past. I picture a lot of older people using this app because it acts just like the disposable cameras that we used a long ago. When you download the app it gives you 27 shots to take and when those shots have been taken the app will send you physical copies of them. Of course you'd have to pay for the copies ($12.99 for 27 shots), but I'd absolutely use it. For people like me who like to have physical pictures instead of stored iPhone and computer pictures this would make my life a whole lot easier. I like to scrapbook too, so this would help a while lot. I also take so many pictures on my phone that I am afraid to delete because I don't want to lose those memories. This eventually causes my storage to be full and me having to transfer my pictures on to my computer. With this app I wouldn't have that problem and it would help me be more cautious about the useless selfies I take on my phone, and would encourage me to take more meaningful pictures. The only thing with this app is just like a disposable camera I can't see the pictures until I get the physical copies, which could be an issue because I wouldn't want to waste my money on a picture that turned out to be a blurry mess. 

Something Good to Read is brilliant to me because whoever we follow on Twitter interests us in some way. We read their posts, retweet, favorite and reply, but usually nothing further than that. I think it would be really interesting to figure out what articles this app would think I would find interesting based on my Twitter feed. It could say a lot about me and my friends. 

When I see apps like this all I can think of is why didn't I think of that. With technology we are always looking for ways to make our lives easier and apps like these show that with the power of technology anyone can create something that makes life a little easier. 

First Proclaimed Hologram Protest in History

About 2,000 angry people took to the streets in Madrid to protest about a "gag law," which makes it illegal to burn the flag and protest outside of parliament. The only thing was they did it in hologram form. The protest was everything a normal protest would be like with people holding signs and chanting. People all around the world sent in 2,000 virtual images to "NoSomosDelito" meaning "We are not crime" in order to put on the hour-long hologram protest. The law will go into effect on July 1. 

This is so cool to me because it literally allows everyone's voice to be heard when they can't even be there to shout for themselves. Even people who the law may not affect can send in virtual images expressing their dislike of the law. This first proclaimed hologram protest is something the policital world could really benefit from, epecially with the 2016 presidential elections coming up. Candidates could possibly show up at your door and speak to you about their platform instead of maintaining that wall between you and the television. It will make it much more personal. 

I also think this is could be a new form of civil disobedience that Martin Luther King Jr. exercised during the 1960s. However, this time it is virtual. It is a refusal to obey certain laws of the govenment and is nonviolent. How can people hurt holograms? They aren't real people. I think holograms would be something to look out for in the near future. They will be everywhere before we know it, like iPhones. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Ethics of Videos

When was the last time you scrolled down your timeline on Facebook and saw a video that you watched, but were either shocked, terrified or disturbed by the end? It happens to me quite a bit because I am always waiting for something to happen at the end. When the ISIS beheadings of some American journalists happened, some news organizations decided to let the video roll on their websites without people on clicking it. Others had a disclaimer and some had the video at the end of the story where you could choose to click it.

In the mass media world today, videos are becoming very important for how people receive information. Moving images intrigue people, get them to watch a little harder and catch something that someone else may have missed. So many videos were taken by citizen journalists in Ferguson. These videos were often times shown on news organization's websites as well.

The ethics comes in when people can or cannot choose to watch a video. Not everyone wants to see the beheading of a person when they are scrolling down their Facebook timeline or going to a news website. It would be even worse if a child were scrolling and saw this. It just isn't ethical. People are starting to understand more with videos and if this is where news is headed then it must be plan for making readers and consumers choose what they want to watch.


Jay-Z just bought a music streaming site called Tidal and boy it looks nice. I just visited the website and I really considered paying that $9.99 a month because the first thing I saw was a new video of Beyonce that I immediately clicked on, but then I reevaluated my life. As son as I clicked on it a pop-up window came up that had two options, "sign-in" or "Try Tidal now." I decided I'd wait until it came out on YouTube.

I'd much rather wait until the music video comes out to the public for free than to pay to watch it at this very moment. It's just like waiting for a movie to make it to "YouTube On Fire" or for it to go on Netflix. As sad as it is to say, people do not value music as much as they did in the past. People leak new albums and refuse to pay for the music of their favorite artists who have worked so hard to make it.

As far as Tidal being successful, I think some people will use it, but most will not if they can keep getting their music for free. Poor artists, I can only imagine what it must feel like to work that hard on an album just for people to leak it and download for free. I think Tidal would help solve this issue for some artists if they use it the right way. Please please please just don't take away Pandora! I am way too spoiled and have way too many radios. 

Front Page Editorial on the Indianapolis Star

There was a recent law made in Indiana that allows certain businesses to refuse to serve people in the LGBT community as a way to protect religious freedom. The Indianapolis Star, a newspaper in Indiana decided to put an editorial opinion piece on the front of the paper with the huge headline saying"Fix This Now," meaning stop the discrimination against gays in the community.

I personally do not understand the law because it takes away freedom from a certain group of people while it is "protecting" the freedom of religion. It's a very gray area, but come on now, this is not the 1950s when blacks and other minorities were not allowed to sit at the same table or dine at the same restaurants as white people. What happened to America Home of the Free?  I am aware that discrimination still exists, but it seems that we have learned nothing from our past. I feel like religion is meant to bring people together instead of tearing us apart.

The fact that this was a front page opinion story is really different. Everyone has their own opinion, but not everyone is interested in someone else's opinion. I respect the fact that the newspaper took a risk and did that because it represents the community in Indiana. It shows that people really care about this issue more than we think and it gets people talking. If it had of been the other way around and the newspaper supported the law, then I would really question the values of the newspaper and would probably want to know more about their values. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Braketology and March Madness!

Around this time every year, college basketball teams, men's and women's, fight on the road to becoming the NCAA National Champions. People around the country and around the world fill out brackets predicting who will make it far enough to become the champion.

Bracketology is so interesting now because there is a moblie app for it. Just like there is an app for almost anything, the sports world has made it easier for people to see who chose what teams to advance in the championship. The app is ESPN's Tournament Challenge and it shows people who have perfect brackets and how many points they've earned. Even celebrities and their brackets are shown like Obama for example and Kevin Hart.

This is another way for people to connect to one another. This time through sports. It excites people to know that they've chosen the same teams as the President of the United States and involves people who may know nothing about college basketball. Every time a school wins the app notifies people of the percentage of people who put them winning on their bracket. I think that's pretty cool.

Bracketology is way to invite a friendly competition between fans who may be absolute strangers and makes the game and tournament so much more exciting by adding to the experience.

Why Snapchat Works

People have a desire to know what their friends are doing at certain times throughout the day. Social media allows people to share what they are doing, their location and who they are with in pictures, videos and posts. Snapchat allows people to get an inside view of someone's daily life through pictures and video for a snippet of time.

MyStory is something that is in my opinion a great invention. You can keep adding seconds to your story giving people a view into your life for a certain period of time throughout the day. The cool thing about Snapchat is that whatever is on MyStory doesn't last beyond 24 hours after it's posted. People literally can show every second of their lives on MyStory, but who has time for that?

Snapchat works because it allows people to communicate through real time events and it forces people to pay attention. Some may argue that it's no different than text messaging, but I beg to differ. A text message is permanent. You can always go back to a text message to see the conversation again. With Snapchat that is impossible. Once someone sends you a video or photo you have only a certain amount of time to figure out what's going on or what the person is saying.

People focus more and probably enjoy the thrill of having a certain amount of time to look at something. It's fun, it's exciting and it's s new kind of communication that I think helps us to listen and understand a little bit more. I know that when I get a video message and I am somewhere quiet I wait until I am somewhere appropriate enough to where I can hear the message and hear exactly what is being said because ultimately I only get one shot. If not, I just put headphones in because I am too impatient to wait. That could explain people in the digital ages' fear of missing out, but I'll save that topic for another post.

Good Things Never Last Forever

How would you feel if I told you the free music that you listen to on Spotify and Pandora and other streaming music sites are limiting the music you can listen to and adding things like more advertisements forcing you to buy the music? I would be sad at first, but  I would get over it. There's still YouTube.

Music labels are getting angry because they are losing money from these free streaming sites and are not getting enough money from the music they play. In the near future "free music" may vanish and we won't get the luxury of listening to the Justin Timberlake radio that we adore so much.

What are we going to do? Personally, I love Pandora when I am studying and working out, so I don't know how I am going to be able to listen to my stations anymore. I love opening Pandora and it's spontaneity when a song plays that makes me reminisce back to a certain time or memory. It's extremely convenient.

Of course money is the root of all problems and because music labels are losing money they are suggesting that these freemium models start adding special features to buying customers, such as exclusive albums and high resolution sound. Biggie said it best, "Mo Money, Mo Problems," but in this case the money that is not there is causing the problem for the labels while others enjoy the free service.

I knew this was coming one day just like (for my Chapel Hill people) I saw Old Chicago's price go from $2 to $3 pizzas. People always get a little angry when they have to pay more or pay all of a sudden when a service used to be free. This digital age has spoiled us.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The News Media Still Doesn't Get It

I am in this class entitled Current Issues in Mass Communications where we talk about media and the future of media and how it affects how we live our lives now and in the future. Well, there has been one issue that has been on my mind lately and it's about the media coverage of Ferguson.

We all know (or should now) what someone means when they say "Ferguson." It is the place in Missouri where unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed in August of 2014. Some credible news outlets that are known for their outstanding reporting and storytelling telling were irresponsible when it came to coverage of the incident. News organizations such as The New York Times called Mr. Brown "no angel" other news outlets such as CNN didn't even bother to consider the issue as breaking news or didn't cover the story right when it happened. According to the Pew Research Center, it took a full two days for any cable networks to mention the issue and its growing concern on the nation.

Bystanders and citizens of the entire United States got the news out on Twitter way before anyone else did. By anyone else I am talking about our news organizations that we rely on for our news. Many people do look to social media for news, which is a whole different story, but it's these people who are actually getting the story right. In the journalism world we call them citizen journalists. These are the people shooting videos of real events, such as the case with Eric Garner in New York.
Phones have allowed people to be journalists themselves and news sources have to step up in order to confirm the claims made on social media.

When the Stonewall riots happened in the late 1960s as an initiator of the gay rights movement, the same thing happened. The New York Times choose to use sensationalized words to describe the drag queens and other LGBT individuals, and news stories made it seem like the police were the victims instead of the perpetrators. Stories were often in the back of the paper, so people hardly saw them and they rarely inserted the voices of the LGBT community.

It's surprising that we have come so far with equal rights for all in this country, yet we still have further to go. For news outlets that have millions relying on you to produce fair and truthful news, I have two words for you, "Do Better." I know you can.

 How Mainstream Media Failed In Ferguson

Friday, March 20, 2015

Monica Lewinsky Talks Cyber-bulling

Monica Lewinsky became very well-known after one of the biggest sex-scandals of our time with then-president Bill Clinton. She was called many things online, such a slut, whore, home-wrecker, bimbo, etc. This all happened during a time when the Internet was flourishing and many people began to use social media on the Internet to communicate with one another.

She went through very tough times because during the late 90s (the digital revolution), information had never been spread as quickly as it did to so many strangers at once. She was the main target for cyber-bullying and as an activist now she can speak for those who have been cyber-bullied.

She said that people are hungry for gossip on the Internet and will sometimes do anything to find out the latest gossip. Today it is becoming easier to find gossip, which makes it easier for rumors to spread and for people to branded in ways they don't prefer to be. The Internet has this amazing way of connecting people from all over the world, but the nonstop information is what makes people so hungry to find out more.

Lewinsky said she was branded as being a slut from people she barely knew. One issue was how the media portrayed her. People don't see the real stories or the real people behind the story because sometimes all the media cares about is traffic on their sites and readership. Lewinsky encouraged people at a TED Talks event to be media "upstanders" instead of bystanders and show the media that public humiliation does drive clicks, but can ruin the person whose voice is often not heard. It's not worth it because it ultimately keeps feeding a society that is greedy for more gossip instead of information that actually matters. We see this all the time today and it's only making media companies richer and us...well...I think it's honestly making us less aware of important news that affects us.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Trusting Facebook with your bank Info.

Facebook just announced that they will be allowing people to pay and send money to family and friends on Facebook just like people do on sites like PayPal. This is a very smart choice on Facebook's part because many people connect with their distant family and friends mostly through social media instead of actual phone calls and texts. Being able to add this to the way of connecting with them will add convenience to paying someone back when you owe them money.

I think a lot of people will use this, however I think some may have a problem trusting Facebook with their bank information. Facebook is way to share pictures, events, videos, posts, news etc. and now money! There have been issues in the past of people not reading the privacy settings on Facebook and often times not knowing that their private page isn't so private when some of their information is sold to advertisers.

Talking about privacy is one thing, but when it comes to people's money Facebook will have to be extremely careful to maintain trust with their users. Otherwise the business could go downhill really quick. I personally will not be using it just because it's new and I'd want to wait to see how it does first. Then if I am comfortable enough it could take a load off my shoulders when trying to send money to someone with confidence that it won't be stolen. Another issue would be to make sure other people have it too, so you can actually send the money. Either way people will mostly want to do it for the convenience it brings to the transaction process.

Read more:

Sugarcoated view of young girls and transgender issues

I recently read a CNN news article about a 14-year old transgender girl named Jazz Jennings being part of Clean and Clear's #SeetheRealMe ad campaign. The article was really positive, focused more on Jazz's story and actually quoted her quite a bit. The article mentioned that the media was comparing it to Ellen being in CoverGirl's ads. The article even mentioned a video of her talking about how she knew she was a girl trapped in a boy's body at a very young age. She even got her own show on TLC about the transformation she went through and how she got used to having sleepovers and being "one of the girls." 

I thought the news article did a good job with reporting this, but there are also some criticisms based on the video that was shown of Jazz. The story included a video of Jazz giving us the general background of her story and included her inviting over her girl friends, playing, putting on make-up and being the normal middle school girl that she always wanted to be. 

This presents sort of a sugarcoated view of transgender individuals because not everyone's story is like that. Yes she is young, the message was extremely positive, but it left out parts that could really inform the audience about the not so happy transgender stories. Jazz is a very pretty young girl who apparently from the video has very pretty friends. After her transition, she is seen living happily being who she truly is. The video glosses over the fact that not all middle school girls are your typical pretty girl with a bunch of friends or that after a transition people, such as friends and family will automatically accept it. 

I think the video should have been a little more authentic with the way it was made. People will probably be more accepting because she is a young girl, but I think the video shouldn't suggest to our community that being transgender is always a happy experience because many trans people are still suffering from violence and discrimination. This story is everywhere and these issues require media and especially mass media to be as authentic as possible because people will be misled by not understanding what living transgender really feels like.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spring Break 2015 and Showing Everyone All About It!

This week will be Epic! It is the week of spring break for some college students. Some students will stay at school, some students will go home, some will go on retreats and do service projects. Others will go to the Bahamas, (i.e. me!) take cruises through the Caribbean, go to Panama City Beach or just to the beach in general. All students will get a break from schoolwork and waking up early to go to class. Yep, none of that this week.

What students will be doing is taking selfies with their best friends, taking bikini pictures and some may be living it up partying on a boat somewhere. I bet 9 times out of 10 these pictures will end up on some social media site such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter of spring breakers having fun and showing it off to everyone who's their "friend" or "follower."

However, not to scare you or anything, but not everyone who sees your epic spring break pics will be your friends. Don't be alarmed if someone who you've never met before comes up to you and reminds you of the time you hung out on the beach at 3 in the morning with your friends or when you were on a party boat living it up. If you post it then really anyone could see it even if they are not your friends and even if your profile is on private.

The discussion about social media and privacy is a tricky one to me because people want their privacy and have a right to privacy, but when they post things up for everyone to see it is no longer there's. When pictures go up on the Internet or through social media I no longer have control over what someone does to it. How often do you read the privacy settings on social media? I rarely do, and some settings say that once you post you are agreeing that Facebook or whoever can do what they want with those posts or pictures. Maybe we should start taking a look at those privacy settings and maybe that app that I talked about in an earlier post that can take texts back should apply to picture texts too because I am sure some of that will happen this week.

Otherwise be safe, have fun and Post responsibly! 

The Key to Survival for Businesses: Create Social Media

Most businesses these days have social media, whether it is a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram or all three. In order to maintain loyalty from their customers they must provide a space where customers can provide feedback on their products and services. Another way to maintain customer loaylty is providing customers with convenience. The customer shouldn't have to work as hard as the company. It is the company's job to work harder to give the customer what he or she needs.

Best Western is a hotel company that provides customers with convenience through their Facebook page. They allow them to book rooms through Facebook and also do the same on their smartphones. By doing this Best Western is thinking about the lifestyle of their customers. Not eveyryone will have access to a computer when they need to book a room right away, so this makes it easier for them to do so. This also and almost always produces engagement on social media, which is something that many business and their competitors need to mass communicate to their target audiences and drive sales.

Engagement means customers writing on walls, liking pictures and sharing posts, but also the company being able to respond in a timely manner to questions and sometimes comments. Beverage company Arizona has done this by offering customers to deign their 20th anniversary can. This shows they are trusting their customers, which works vice versa for their customers to trust them.

In the world of mass communication and business, it is extremely important to maintain positive relationships with customers and continuing to respond to them, so that they keep coming back. Many companies are not using social media, but many are at the same time. It isn't a matter of just having the social media, but it is a matter of how actively engaging their sites are that will give them the results they want against their competitors. 

Hilarious Posters at College Game Day

Yesterday was ESPN's College Game Day hosted at UNC Chapel Hill at the Dean E. Smith Center. Many students and fans filled the stands and got excited for the game against Dook that night. Many fans made posters that expressed their love for UNC and their hate for Dook.

Some poke fun at Dook player Tyus Jones saying he looked like a leprechaun or something from Toy Story. One said "Coach K shaves his legs" while another said "I'm with stupid" with an arrow pointing to a person in a Dook jersey. One woman had a toilet that said, "Flush those dookies back to Durham," while another fan held up a poster of him picking up coach K like he was a baby. Haha.

All of these signs were absolutely hilarious and they all played off of one team. It showed how people in crowds are part of mass communication and not just the commentators on ESPN. It shows how people put time into thinking of the most clever line or the most creative poster or most creative way to get their message across to an audience. People sit at home and see these signs and they laugh because it's funny, but it gives them reasons to choose sides if they didn't care for either one of the teams before.

UNC vs. Dook always brings energy and always delivers. Some people do not know how much we hate each other, (although I think UNC hates Dook a little bit more) but when that time comes around it gets serious and it gets exciting. I actually was in Italy this past summer and at one of the barsthere was the Dook symbol right beside the Carolina symbol. Many people had written around it expressing their thoughts about each. I thought it was very interesting to see this rivalry in a entirely different country, but it is also known as the best rivalry ever, so I was glad to be part of it. 

These signs that can go from College Game Day to a television set in Europe definitely allow this hatred to be known around the world to make it very evident that Dook sucks. Great job communicating it to the world Tar Heels!

Spelman aluma creates app to take text messages back.

How many times have you sent a text message to someone you totally didn't mean to send to or sent the perfect message to the wrong person? There have been times when I would be talking about someone to someone else and send the message to the person I was talking about. Whoops. As college students we all have our slip ups, especially on those nights when we may have had a little too much to drink and we wake up the next morning regretting a text we sent.

Now you can download an app that lets you take your text messages back! Spelman aluma, Maci Peterson, has created this app called "On Second Thought" that will solve all our embarrassing texting issues. It has cool features such as the curfew feature that lets you pick a time when you want your "curfew" to start and any message you try to send after that time won't be sent until the morning or when it expires. This way you can send a text if you wanted to be block the embarrassing texts.

I think this is particularly important because not only will this app be extremely useful, but it sets an example for other female African-American students. In many science and technology fields women and especially women of color are few and far between. I get excited when I see that someone who I can relate to as a woman and as a black person creating new inventions like this. We need more women of color in STEM fields and seeing this means that there is hope for the future.

By the way, Happy International Women's Day!

Check out more of the story here:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What would we do without cellphones?

It turns out that I think about a lot of things when I drive, especially if it's a long distance. As I drove down I-85 back home to Charlotte this weekend, I saw some cars parked on the side of the road sometimes with no people in or around the car and some with people outside of their car talking on their cellphones asking for help. As I was stopped in traffic twice, each because of two accidents that happened, I pondered more and paid attention to the sides of the road. I saw no payphones and I wondered how people got help before there were cellphones if they were stuck on the side of the road.

Maybe I didn't see payphones because today it is assumed that everyone with a car also has the ability to afford a cellphone, but what about people who don't own cellphones or back in the day when they didn't exist at all. It is hard to wrap my mind around how people got help when the only way they could communicate or call someone was from their house phone or a payphone. They had to walk and sometimes far distances.

We are a spoiled and very privledged generation because we have the luxary of calling someone if our car breaks down on the interstate. The most of our worries is if our phone is near death. It's nowhere near walking on the side of the interstate to reach the closest phone or flagging down a stranger who you could maybe trust.

Communication has definitely changed a lot since before the cellphone age. If the luxury of having a phone on the interstate was taken away from my generation then I honestly don't know what we would do or if we could survive. We have learned that one of the most common modes of communication during crises is through our phone, as opposed to other creative options people had to come up with when there weren't  mobile phones. When that privilege is taken away from us I feel like millennials especially could lose their minds.

Andrew Robertson Lecture on 2/23/15

Andrew Robertson, worldwide CEO and President of advertising agency BBDO spoke at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication Monday as part of the Reed Sarratt Distinguished Lecture Series. His lecture was geared toward talking about the "Immediate Future."

He said when he first got into the advertising business, he wanted to be the first to do everything. He quickly learned that being first wasn't a important as learning fast. The future is happening each and everyday, and as media professionals and communicators we must be aware of the new and improved modes of communication.

Robertson predicted that in the future all screens of our lives will be connected from refrigerators to watches to cellphones to television sets. This future, I believe is closer than we think.One thing that will never change is the emotional effect that people get when they watch something like a commercial on T.V. Emotions drive profits, behaviors and business.

The goal of a commercial or advertisement is to create this emotional effect by producing either dopamine, which is a molecule associated with confidence and winning and Oxycontin, which is associated with love, trust and bringing people together.

With these molecules in mind advertisers, marketers and communicators can get people to do a lot of things, such as buying a product, joining a group or using a service. I've learned that people will associate themselves with anything that makes them feel good or will empower them. I think feeling is the most important thing in advertising. If a communicator can make his or her audience feel what he or she intended for them to feel then their job has been done. That includes photos, stories, advertisements, videos, etc.

Let the outpouring of dopamine and Oxycontin drive the world of communication! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ad for world's thinnest phone objectify's women

The UK banned an advertisement for Tornado 348, a phone that is supposedly the thinnest phone in the world. The ban was because of the way the advertisement objectified a woman's body. Critics say the advertisement spent 10 seconds actually showing the phone, while the other 40 seconds focused on the body of the woman in the advertisement.

The advertisements feature the woman ironing her jeans in her underwear only to find out that she ironed the phone over her jeans and features close-ups of the woman's breasts, buttocks and lips. In the company's defense it said that the woman's role was to show that the phone was so thin that she didn't even know she was ironing it. 

We have seen this many times before in American advertisements, such as the Hardee's commercial with the one woman biting into a juicy hamburger on the beach and wonder why the advertisers would make this choice if the focus should be more on the product.

It's about the lifestyle that people want when they think about buying something. This is one of the reasons why women are used in these ads like this. I can see how it can appeal to men, but how does that appeal to women? When the advertisement has nothing to do with the product being advertised then it defeats the purpose of an advertisement.

When will ads start to focus on the product instead of the person using them in a sexually suggestive way. Sex does sell, but I think advertisements will have to come up with more clever ways to sell products without offending a large group of people, such as women and also for the sake of the next generation to know that there are other ways to sell products.

Who cares about the color of that dress. Everyone, except my father

One of the first things I did when I got home Friday evening was hug my dad. I let him know how school was going and of course I had to ask him what color he thought the famous (blue and black) dress was that was breaking the Internet. He looked at it and said white and gold and I disagreed completely. Then he asked me, "Can this dress help you get a job or help you in school?" That  is when I got excited and told him about my Current Issues in Mass Communications class where we blog about interests, new inventions and issues in mass media.

I told him as a matter of fact it does help me in school because I can blog about it, and I can also blog about him not understanding the point on social media. Every time I mention to him about something that happened on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter all he does is look at me and says "Who cares." My father is a very practical and tactful man and things like posting what you're doing on social media and letting your friends know what you're up to doesn't phase him.

He once said, "Why do I need to post on Facebook if I can just call up my friend and tell him or her what I'm doing." Or "If I post my brand new watch on Instagram, how I will I know someone isn't plotting to come rob me for it." Or pertaining to the dress situation he said, "I'd much rather be doing something meaningful than worrying about what color a dress is."

Out of all the people I asked about the dress I knew his opinion would be the most interesting because of how old-fashioned he is. People were going crazy over the Internet about what color this dress was, by changing the lighting on their phones to looking at it again in the morning as soon as they woke up. One girl I knew even said she was concerned that her friend saw different colors.

This is perfect proof of how the Internet has the ability to put our focus on something that we never would have thought of before. Like my dad said, who cares? No one cares about a dress until people start seeing different colors. No one cares about anything until there is a twist to it causing people to go insane on the Internet.

Not only has it proliferated on the Internet, but it also has shown up on major news channels. I asked my mother the same question and she said she heard about it on the news when she woke up Friday morning. I think a lot of news happens this way now, where it starts on the Internet via social media and then is brought up on major news outlets. It truly explains the power of posting and going viral.

I attempted to tell my father the purposes of social media and how businesses use it to advertise and sell products and how it is the way everyone is communicating these days, but he still didn't see the value. It's so hard for me at least not to talk about something that everyone else is talking about online for fear of not being in the loop, but according to my dad, my generation would be a hell of a lot more focused on things that matter in our own lives than worrying about some dress. Have a little fun dad.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stuart Scott's passing and how news covered it

On Jan. 4, 2015, ESPN announced that host Stuart Scott had died at the age of 49 from cancer. NaHaDaily decided to run a story that Fox News had mistaken Scott for ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith. The main reason was because both are African-American. There are a plethora of things wrong with this "story."

Firstly, NaHaDaily is a satirical "news site." They ran this story including this comment which appeared to be from Fox News, "You know all famous black people look-a-like. No harm, no foul." Just because it is satirical does that mean they can say and do whatever they want? Starting out the story with this comment is uncalled for given the racial history of this country and all that has been going on recently with racial issues especially in the U.S. This makes them and Fox News seem ignorant to all of that.

They have a disclaimer at the bottom of their stories that reads "NaHaDaily is a daily satirical news source. Meaning complete fiction." This does not mean that everyone who reads it will know that it is fiction. Apparently not everyone did according to some of the responses on Twitter, leading to my second thing wrong with this so called "story."

They put Fox News in a bad light. Some people on Twitter commented in a negative way about Fox News reportedly making this mistake. Someone said, "Fox News did Stuart Scott dirty. And Stephen Smith. How do you give a man a tribune... Via the face of another man, that's alive?" Obviously some people believed the article, and although some people may already think that Fox News twists its stories to cater to their crowd, making fun of it will only make people angrier and will create more of a political divide between the two major political parties in the U.S. (Democrats and Republicans)

Thirdly, don't play with death. In this situation, it is not funny to mistake someone's death for another person's on purpose. It is not right to do it on accident either, but what makes it worse is that NaHaDaily knew exactly what they were doing. It is disrespectful to the person, their family and the people who loved him or her.

This story fit perfectly with the things we have discussed in my Current Issues in Mass Communication class. Talking about where people get their news and what's real and what's fake is crucial. At least NaHaDaily says that their stories are fake, which is better than newsrooms knowing it's fake, but not saying anything about it, but taking it to this level with death playing a factor is not ok.  

Playful news

I get a kick out of many things I find online that make me want to click and find out more, but I one thing that really interests me is clickbait. Yeah, I fall for it, a lot. When  I see a quiz that says, "What state do you really belong to?" I click on it because I'm just that curious. I recently took a quiz that asked "Which Disney princess are you?" and it turns out that I am Princess Jasmine!I was so excited.

Me and so many other people enjoy quizzes and games that we find online, and news organizations are actually beginning to add more to their websites to produce more traffic and to have more engagement. Games have always had a spot in news, such as crossword puzzles and comics. However, online news allows for more news to seen and more news to not be seen as well. It all depends on what you click on. Popups have this ability to get our attention fast and that's not something we can experience in a traditional newspaper.

I wonder if games will ever reach a level of interest in online news that it will be the main reason why a lot of traffic is produced there. I think it's also interesting that people share their results and get their friends or followers to take the quiz or play the game as well, producing even more traffic.

Not only are games and quizzes thriving online but also on our cellphones. When we want to play a game we always get those annoying ads that pop-up when we open the app or go to the next round in our game. Now that gaming has moved from the consoles in our homes to our mobile devices, advertising has used that as a strategy to get people to buy their products. The freemium model also lets gamers unlock new levels buy paying for them to increase their game experience.

Because gaming is beginning to be more popular on cellphones, it gives advertisers a chance to do what they need to do to reach consumers, putting newspapers at a disadvantage even more.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Does Grammar matter as much as we say it does in communication?

I recently came across an article on that talked about the word toward vs. towards. The only difference is that one has an "s" added to the end of it. I read through the article because I was curious to find out what the big deal was. Apparently you can move towards and toward something. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, the American English version prefers toward without the "s," while the British English version prefers towards with the "s."

I am a grammar girl, which makes perfect sense because I am in the Journalism School. When I use incorrect grammar on accident I get this feeling that I should have known better, as if I am a kid in a store who is misbehaving and my mother scolds me and tells me to get my act together. Well, yes grammar would be my mother and I would be that kid.

I sometimes wonder why do we get so bent out of shape when someone uses the wrong grammar. When I talk to people that I just met and they use incorrect grammar I automatically judge them for not knowing the difference between "well" and "good" or "to" and "too" or "your" and "you're." Especially if it's a guy who I might be interested in, it automatically turns me off. I wish it didn't do that and I wonder sometimes why it's such a big deal because Lord knows, other things could be worse.

I know I am not the only one either. I know some of my peers who feel the same way. Like I said earlier, maybe it's because I write all the time and that's what I was told was "right" or "proper." Even sometimes I feel like an a-hole for correcting people's grammar, but in the world we live in today, I sometimes feel like I am only helping them.

I have brought up this question, "Does grammar really matter in communication?" Communication is communication, point blank. If I can understand what someone is trying to convey that should be the main goal. Yeah, of course there are rules to everything and grammar does matter for people who know it, but it also sets up a barrier between people who know the rules and those who don't. Communication then becomes more difficult between people who know it and those who don't because one could not fully understand the context of other's message.

I think as communicators we should continue to use "proper" grammar, but also keep in mind that not everyone communicates with the same grammar rules that we do, especially in writing.


Social media can do some pretty amazing things. One of which is the ability to make that little sign (also known as the pound key) that you push after an automated message tells you to over the phone a cool trend. The little sign I am talking about is the famous hashtag. Something that businesses and people proliferate from. Oh, what would we do without them...

While using hashtags in our daily colloquial conversations, such as saying #tbt (throwback Thursday) or #tbh (to be honest) there has been a business surrounding the idea. There are websites that analyze the popularity of certain hashtags, the use of a certain hashtag and how a hashtag is used across different networks. Sites like, RiteTag, Tagboard and Trendsmap are all services catered to analyzing hashtags.

I imagine that businesses would use these sites more than every day people to see how their competitors are doing, see what people are saying about their products and to see how the hashtags they use are used in different ways. Hashtags would also work great for content analyses for advertising and public relations research because it shows the engagement (retweets, replies, likes, comments, shares, favorites) that consumes have with businesses.

Hashtags are not only useful in the business world. They entertain, inform and unite us. In this way, a small symbol that started on Twitter and moved to Google Plus, Instagram, Facebook and Google search has value when it is added to the end of a post.

I always find it interesting when one hashtag is meant in a completely different context than another. I remember one day I was talking to a friend who was searching different hashtags on Instagram to see what would come up. The hashtag she and her other friend searched was #biggirls. She said she found women who were proud of their bodies and showed it on social media, but there were also mothers who had taken pictures of their little daughters and used the hashtag. There was also the women's volleyball team from FSU who took a picture after practice and they used the hashtag among many other ones. This just shows how hashtags can be used in many different contexts.

The #Chapelhillshooting and #DeanSmith trended not only in the local area, but across the nation. It had the ability to let others know what had happened even if they had no idea about the two situations. When I log on to my Yahoo account, I always see the top stories trending whether it's Kim Kardashian, Barack Obama, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or anything. It lets me automatically know that many people are talking about this one thing, and most of the time it's about what someone did or something major that happened. When people see this they are more likely to click on it to see what the story is about. This is how hastags inform. Given that many people get their news from online social media and websites, hastags are very valuable because it helps people choose what they want to read about.

Hashtags also get me excited! When it's Monday, I know people will post their man crushes for #mcm (Man Crush Monday) or I can't wait for Wednesday when I can post who my Women crush is for #wcw (Women Crush Wednesday). I especially can't wait for Thursday for #tbt to see all the embarrassing or cute photos of my peers when they were younger. Hashtags always give me something to look forward to throughout my week. Of course these things can be distractions, but nonetheless are great reasons for study/work breaks. I wonder how long people will continue to use them.

To me, hashtags are like URLs without the proper address. You can search with them, find the thing you intended to find and things you may not have wanted to see. Thus, giving the world access to more necessary and unnecessary information.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Some don't hold back while using Yik Yak (see what I did there)

I think it's very interesting what people will say on anonymous social media sites such as Yik Yak. Once someone posts something offensive they feel like they aren't connected to their posts because no one knows that it is them. The main issue with this is that people, especially young people who use the app the most are not holding themselves accountable for their posts. Young people often don't think deeply about the consequences of their actions until after it happens, which I get. It's part of living young and wild and free. Although as Americans we all have the right to free speech we should be smarter about the choices we make on social media and be careful not to abuse our right. Yes, we are young. Yes, we feel invincibile at our age and yes, we feel as though we should do everything we can now before we are older saying we wish we should have done something when we were younger (I hear my parents say it all the time). However that is besides the point.

I do not think it is necessary to ban the mobile app because then the issue with free speech will come into play. Yik Yak isn't the only social media site that people say what they want to say. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are loaded with comments that may be offensive, that people may disagree with and that may be threatening. This makes it way easier for police to not prevent but to investigate crimes such as the recent shootings in Chapel Hill when the shooter commented on his Facebook page about religion and something hinted toward his neighbors.

We should also realize that these posts on Yik Yak are not really anonymous. There are a number of ways that investigators can track someone just by the cell phone or computer they had when they wrote the post. In this day in age with the Internet and social media we have to be smarter about our decisions. Otherwise we are bound to frighten our communities and the people we love. Once it's out there it is out there. People want their voices heard, so I think banning it would make people angrier.

Yik Yak can have a positive side though as with any social media site by bringing the community together, entertaining people and encouraging others. Cam Mullen, Yik Yak's lead community developer said "What people often don't mention is all the other ways you can use it for good and how Yik Yak had united communities." Yes it has it's ups and downs like a committed relationship, but it is nonetheless a step forward in our abilities to communicate as human beings and to study how people do it.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The media's job to shape public opinon

There was a question in my JOMC 240 class today that struck me. My professor asked us if it was the media's job to shape public opinion. I thought about it for a minute and thought to myself well it is the media's job to report news fairly, but what people do with that information and how they interpret it is up to them. Now, I do think the media has a role in shaping public opinion based on societal norms and biases that people in a certain culture form about certain things and certain people. Journalists and the media should be careful about how they write their stories and how people will receive it.

For example, given the recent shootings of the three students in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, some of the media covered it focusing on the student's religion more so than the fact that they were students. Some headlines wrote "Three Muslim students were killed in Chapel Hill shooting." Others like CNN read "3 students shot to death in an apartment near UNC Chapel Hill." CNN's headline is more appropriate in my opinion because it creates little bias. However, I think we should not totally ignore the fact that they were Muslim knowing it could have something to do with the murder.

I also think the headline about them being Muslim was newsworthy because despite the fact that people are killed everyday, the fact that it was Muslim students and that it could have been a hate-crime makes people more aware of the issues we have in this country with race and minorities. I know we say that their names should have been mentioned before the fact that they were Muslim or that they should have been referred to as just students, but no one would see the significance behind the story. People will read it because for one it is a tragic story but secondly it points to this stigma that Americans have toward the Muslim community. I think the mention of them being Muslim even before the news media found out their names is important for people to know because it was Muslims as victims instead of Muslims as assailants. Names are very important in a news story and I think race and religion would have shown up anyway just because of the views that the American society has about Muslims.

This story and their legacy represents good Muslims who were not like the radical Muslims killing innocent people in foreign countries. If I were writing about this story in a newspaper I would make it very clear that these were people first. They wanted to live their lives, be successful and serve others just as any other human being would. Then I would point to he fact that they were Muslim and proud of it because that was a huge part of who they were.

So, back to whether media shapes public opinion or not. It certainly does. People are very quick to listen what the media says whether it is on Twitter, ABC news, The Daily Tar Heel, etc.Going back to the way the media handled the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, they said it was a gay-related disease, so that was what most people thought. Even to this day older generations who grew up during that time still think of it as a gay disease because that's how the media framed it.

People trust in media so much that they begin to think what it says is true. That's what media companies strive for (aside from social media). They strive for truthfulness and honesty, so informing the public on something like this by focusing on the way it is phrased forces media outlets to work harder to not twist public opinion in a way that will be detrimental to the country and possibly the world.

---Rest in peace Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. You will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The British don't really trust Journalists

According to a poll given out in Britian by the Bar Standards Board, journalists are among the least trusted professions at gaining 3% of the public's trust. They were down there with bankers, estate agents and politicians. Lawyers gained 24% of the public's trust, which is surprising to me because I would think that most people wouldn't trust lawyers before journalists (however it was the Bar Board giving out the survey). I know someone who hates lawyers just from one incident that happened when his parents were going through a divorce. Lawyers unfortunately have a reputation for working around the facts and proving things by twisting situations. Journalists on the other hand have one main goal, to report the news fairly, accurately and truthfully, among other things as well.

The recent events regarding Brian Williams releasing conflicting statements about war stories in Iraq shows how the public can lose trust in journalists in just a snap. I was talking to my friends today about this topic and one friend said they don't trust the Daily Tar Heel (sorry Jenny) just because of one time they messed up on a story. They said that content was what was most important to them. They understood the small mistakes that journalists go through such a misspelled word or an extra space, but if the story is completely wrong then that does it for them.

How will news outlets like the Daily Tar Heel gain back the trust of my friend. From when we spoke he said that if a newspaper or outlet loses his trust once then it is likely that they will not gain it back. This makes it even harder on journalists to fact check as thorough and as much as possible. Newspapers are already on a decline and when they cannot report trustworthy news then will there be any hope at all for print news?

At least in America, I think despite journalists, such as Stephen Glass, Janet Cook, Brian Williams, etc. who in some way violated basic journalism ethics, are more trusted in different mediums than in Britain.

Still no diverse emojis?
I am a bit frustrated that the first black emoji will not be released until June 2015, according to developer Unicode. I feel like by now there should have been other skin-colored emojis that would best represent the population. I understand how the normal yellow emojis are not very particular to any race and that they are generic faces. However, they still point to the lighter skin as an indicator of dominance over other races. These which I provide above are the emojis I am referring to.

I am surprised however that the girl with her hands in front of her face (below) is just one race. It probably would be easier for one race to represent all people because when other skin complexions come into the picture, developers must be careful not to stereotype or exclude other races.

Unicode is trying to avoid the problem of not representing all skin types by basing the six skin types on the Fitzpatrick scale, a recognized scale for dermatology. This is what it will look like.

View image on Twitter

My whole point is that people want to see emojis that will best represent them. Just like in video games and other moblie apps that allow people to make themselves into cartoons, most people choose features that are representative of them. My question for emoji creators is will they be able to give people a chance to create their own emojis, so that it would be more personal to them or just have a standard set like those in the above picture.

I think that having this diversity will allow for better visual communication among people and will set the stage for similar developers to follow suite at the start of their inventions and not midway through. When more people feel involved and invited then more people will use the product/service.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

ATMs in India

I was sitting in my Sexual Minorities class last week when the professor was talking about current news in the media. She said that there would be ATMs in India that would be able to look at you and automatically recognize your face and you would be able to pay that way. I wonder what the issues would be regarding this new invention. What happens if there's a glitch in the system and the technology recognizes the wrong person? What if a picture of face goes somewhere else and you were followed around the moment you left the ATM?

This presents new issues in the world of mass communication that our generation will have to deal with. New laws will be made and older laws will have to be amended or struck down. Information will be at our fingertips and like it is easier to pay by face recognition, it could be easier for someone to take that same information and steal it from you. With new inventions there is always new discussions about how it would be implemented and regulated. Be careful what you put online and now how you pay for things.

Dean E. Smith, a phenomenal man.

Because of the passing of legendary college basketball coach and hero, Dean E. Smith, I think it's only right to dedicate this blog to him and to how fast information spread on social media about his death.

Coming to Carolina three years ago I did not know much about Smith other than the fact that he was the head coach at UNC before Roy Williams, coached basketball great, Michael Jordan and left a huge heelprint at Carolina. I did not know however, that he was not just a coach who led the Tar Heels to 11 Final Fours, 13 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles and 2 national championships in 36 seasons, but he was also the first coach ever to integrate African-American players to the ACC. Like Coach K said, Smith was way ahead of his time when it came to social issues and in lieu of the racial issues currently going on in the country and on our campus and I appreciate this man who had the ability to make a difference in the world of basketball.

I have much respect for Smith as he set the stage for Carolina to be a school that is beloved around the world and to teach individuals the importance of being well-rounded and dedicated. When I heard of his passing I had not looked at a TV or a newspaper at all. The way I found out was through Instagram. As I scrolled down my timeline I saw special tributes from current and former UNC students, UNC fans and basketball fans.I then got updates on my phone from my ESPN sport's center moblie app.

All I had to do was pick up my phone to find out about his death and learn all the amazing things he did for basketball and for people while he was living. In a previous post I talked about how social media causes issues for many people regarding privacy, harassment and the things people do when they are deemed "anonymous." However, Dean's passing shows the power social media has to bring a community together to remember someone who impacted us all. I have seen in posts "The Chapel Hill community is mourning the loss of a great legend," which this community can mourn without physically being near one another. We mourn as we watch videos on the Internet, see quotes from Smith and his players and see the overall impact he made.

Seeing this on social media encourages me to have a bigger heart and I image it would for others as well. So, social media and media and general has its pros and cons, and although it is a sad day in the Chapel Hill community from the fast spreading news about his death, it is always a great day to be a Tar Heel because of people like Dean E. Smith. Rest in peace Tar Heel.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Make the abuser pay not the abused

In my "Current Issues in Mass Communication" class, we have been talking about the trolls and abusers who live online harassing others from the comfort of not being seen while behind their computers. In the past more women have been harassed on social media platforms like Twitter than men, and they have had to pay the costs of reporting abuse, which can take up a lot of time, be difficult and expensive. Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo admitted that he and his team have not been doing a great job of keeping abusers off of Twitter, so he decided to make the cost of people making hate speech more than the cost the abuser has to pay to avoid it.

This makes a lot of sense and should have already been implemented. The problem with this is that Costolo believes in free speech, which is probably why there hasn't been much change. Misogynists and bigots thrive on Twitter and any other social media platforms, such as Yik Yak,where they can supposedly be "anonymous." Anywhere where a woman can express how she feels about anything and it is open to the public to see is bound to get comments from those who disagree and sometimes those who threaten to kill her. Men also can be harassed online as well, but in the society we live in, woman are usually set at a lower pedestal than men, and this is why they are mistreated more.

This new plan to make it harder for abusers to abuse online will change mass communication for the the betterment of society. It will get rid of the losers who target awful messages at those on Twitter and will force people to confront others in public. This in-person contact could be good or bad, but making abusers pay for their unwanted and unnecessary comments, I think is a step in the right direction for safer communication whether it is online or not. I am curious to know how this will be implemented, with the right to free speech getting in the way of stopping abusers.

Where's the individuality?

As we use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other forms of social media to express ourselves, we really are becoming more like one another. It's like seeing someone with the newest iPhone and wanting it just because everyone else has it or taking a selfie with just the right amount of lighting because that's what's "cool." We all see things that we like and we copy it creating less room for personal creative thoughts about who we are. When we spend this time looking and seeing what everyone else is doing we tend to want to be on the same level as our friends, co-workers and family members.

Some may argue, well isn't that how society works anyway? Aren't seeing these things helping people by motivating them to accomplish their goals just as their friends are? I would agree, but it also has its downfalls like creating a more polarized society (politically speaking). We choose what we want to look at on social media and this reinforces our current beliefs even more without challenging them. We tend to agree or "like" things because most of the time we already thought that way. If you don't like something on social media it's just as easy to block or unfollow as it is to follow. What this does is it keeps our society closed-minded. Because many people get their news from social media they often miss other points of view from different audiences, unless maybe their account is public.

All I am saying is that we don't know that we are doing it, but we are losing our individually on social media from selective attention. We all have different voices and we shouldn't let the voices of others shape or simply reinforce ALL our thoughts. Diversity is important even on social media, but it is our job to seek it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

McDonalds asks you to pay with Lovin'

Maybe the digital age isn't taking us away from special human interactions and moments after all. As the Super Bowl gets closer, people will be expecting to see funny, meaningful and memorable advertisements when the game is not on. One of which will be from Mikey D's, which hasn't had a Super Bowl commercial in eight years. From February 2nd through the 14th customers who come in and order during pre-selected times will be able to "Pay With Lovin" and will get their meal for free. In a 30-second preview (sorry, I am about to spoil it for you) different people where asked to take a selfie with the employee or the person they were with. They were asked to call their mom just to tell them they loved her. One mother and her son were at the register and the employee asked her to say one thing she loved about her son. Some even danced for free food (Heck, I would too).

This may not be a major advancement in media or technology, but it is more so a reminder that we should take time away from our digital devices and constant daily reminders and focus on what really matters in life: love, hugs and smiles that make our day other people's days special. I personally think I do not tell my mother or father that I love them enough and part of the reason is that I can be caught up in so many different types of messages, whether they are on my phone, my lap top, my music or walking down the street. This advertisement will serve as a model for improving the relationships that we care about. Plus, who doesn't like free food?

What a great idea from McDonald's public relations and advertising team.

Apple just made history...Not surprised

When apple released it's quarterly earnings for 2015 on Tuesday, it reported earnings of $74.6 billion in revenue. This is more than any company has ever made in quarterly sales! It also is more money made than the entire S&P 500 list combined! The company was highly successful from its sale of nearly 75 million iPhones last quarter. Most of the earnings came from China where the revenue increased by 70%. Wow, is that enough facts for you all? Apple isn't stopping here either. CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple will be releasing the highly anticipated Apple watch in April.

Now that I know all of this, I am amazed yet not surprised. In the world we live in today most people own or have owned some kind of Apple product whether it's an iPhone, iPod, iPad or Mac. As an owner of Apple's stock, I am a happy shareholder, however I do worry if the hype over Apple will last long enough for the stock to continue to grow. Almost 69% of the revenue that Apple got from its quarterly earnings were from iPhones, which have been around for quite a while. As long as Apple keeps on pleasing its consumers and coming out with innovative products that lead up to the expectations of consumers, then they will continue to make more money.

This is also huge for technology because in the past, oil companies have produced the highest earnings in quarterly revenue. This quarter, Apple beat out a Russian natural gas company GazProm and the previous record holder from the US, Exxon Mobil.Now the question is, will digital technology control how we get gas and how we drive our cars?

What does Google Fiber mean for the Digital Age?

Now that Google fiber is coming to the Raleigh-Durham area, there will be more opportunities for people to engage in educational, digital and research projects. It also opens room for competition from other companies such as AT&T's U-verse broadband internet, which attracts business. Google Fiber would provide broadband internet to areas that is 80 times faster than the national average speed. This major business move is essential in a college town, such as Chapel Hill because students are always demanding faster internet or just internet in general, and there are many professionals here that would research its effects.

One way I think it would have an impact would be on our youth. As children start to become digitally smarter than their parents they will learn at a young age, the power of digital communication and how it can benefit them. When I was a kid, I played outside all the time and hardly spent much time on a computer or tablet. Now that all of these products are coming out for children to play with indoors provides an opportunity for them to learn new things on their own, experiment and maybe even discover something new. I think this high-speed internet situation will implicitly encourage youngsters to become innovators as young as possible. It also could mean less physical activity and childhood obesity, but we will save that discussion for another time.

The photo below shows the speed of Google fiber compared to today's average. It's a huge change.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Is privacy on social media possible?

I have been thinking the past couple of days about what we post on social media and privacy. Some people will post so much about themselves on social media such as where they are, what they are doing and who they are with very frequently throughout the day. Others post when they have received a special award or accomplished a goal or simply are bored and post a "to be honest post." All this posting that we do puts our lives on the Internet for anyone to use for their own benefit.

Last night I actually met a guy who said he saw me on Instagram and I barely knew him. We had mutual friends, but my account is private. I wondered what all that he knew about me. There are also times where I think I know someone who has requested to follow me and then realize I added someone I didn't know. Let's be real. How many of us actually read the privacy statement on these social media sites? I know I surely don't.

We put so many things on there that third-party users could get a hold of. Even if you know all of your followers/friends how do you know they are your real friends and aren't sending information to third parties. One lesson that should be a take away from this post is choose your friends in life wisely and choose your friends on social media wiser. You can't trust just anyone these days.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy Tweets mean Healthier Communities

Nowadays everyone and their mothers are using social media in some sort of way. Some use it as a way to let people know what they are up to throughout the day, businesses and organizations use it to promote themselves, and people use it to network with people they may not see every day. People are now finding more creative ways to utilize social media.

Research has shown that using Twitter could increase mortality rates from heart disease. This study was done on a county-by county basis. Of course some levels would be higher than others based on income and whatnot in specific communities, but social media may not be so bad for us after all if we live in places with happy people who post happy things.

Thinking about this could benefit mental and physical health, but does this mean that Twitter should be used in hospital settings now? Those who are dying from heart disease are usually not the ones using Twitter. Those dying are older generations who mostly likely have never seen a Twitter feed. If this study holds truth, how will Twitter and doctors find ways to market Twitter to elderly people and get them to use it for the purposes of creating and viewing positive content to increase their mortality rate? Is it worth putting in hospitals? I would like to hear your thoughts.

Are our phones and social media ruining our relationships?

Yes if you allow it to. We often times forget about the social interactions we could be having with real people instead of people on our phones. In this article a 31-year-old woman, not teenager is addicted to her phone so much that it caused a break-up and led her to writing her own book about it.

I am not surprised by this woman being addicted to her phone because she is still young. 31-year-olds may have stable careers and a family, but they are still not oblivious to the technological opportunities that the world provides for them. However teenagers and young adults, who I am surrounded by on a daily basis are constantly on their phones. Even at times where we shouldn't be on our phones we are, such as crossing the street for example. You would think that when you cross the street you would want to be very aware of what is going on at that intersection, but half the time we trust that cars would stop and we use that opportunity to check a text message or see that latest snap story of one of our friends.

By paying so much attention to our phones and apps on them we miss out on things that may not be super important to us, but may mean something to us. Who knows maybe if we didn't walk looking down at our phones so much we would make eye contact with the guy or girl who could be our future spouse or maybe, if you're on UNC's campus, you would pay more attention to the brick monster instead of tripping and possibly embarrassing yourself.

The bottom line is this: Opportunities are missed because of the amount of information we feel like we have to consume each and every day. I challenge us to take one day out of the week to turn our phones off and put it somewhere where we can't look at it for at least 4 hours. I am sure it'll feel great knowing that we do not have to be so reliant on our phones and can interact with real people instead of picking up our phone during awkward silence for example. Embrace the awkwardness! We are human and our phones shouldn't control us!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

LinkedIn creates two new products

LinkedIn is known for its great networking platform that helps potential employers find employees and for people looking for work to network with others to land the job of their dreams. Not only is LinkedIn helpful for employers and people actively searching for work, they are moving toward being active inside the workplace by connecting coworkers.

This makes sense to me because people who work for huge corporations such as Google or Apple do not know everyone who works there. What LinkedIn is doing is first creating a database for employees to network within the workplace. It is called InMail for coworkers to provide their contact information. The second is content sharing, so that company administrators could send out information about a position that needs to filled to a bulk of employees who may then share it on their personal LinkedIn accounts in hopes that it will attract potential employees.

These developments are making information easier to access in the workplace without having to do much work. In a positive sense people will be able to come closer together, but one con or loss may be that people will be too reliable on computers for information that genuine human interaction may alter in the future.