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.