Archive | March 2013

May I have your attention, please?

Then Vs. Now

I do not feel more inclined to become a producer, given my experience using the tools in my communications course.  I do not feel like I have the time to keep up with all the latest technologies and tools. I have started a blog at least twice before I took this course, and both times I quit posting after a week because I got so tired of having to actually think of stuff to post.  It’s not that thinking is a bad thing. As a kid, I kept diaries and journals, some of these have semi-frequent entries spanning from the time I learned how to write in penmanship to around the beginning of high school.  Writing is a very therapeutic outlet.  However, there is a thing called: people-anywhere-can-read-your-online-blog. I’d rather have my parents stumble upon my cute childhood diary than people I go to school with, colleagues, teachers, students, extended family I only see twice a year, and anyone else for that matter, read my blog entries.

I gave Storify a really good chance, and I “storfified” (I can invent words in this blog!) over 50 pages for the last assignment.  However, I purposefully added stories, not just added them because I felt like it.  I searched anything I could think of into Google for ideas.  It turned out to be a lot of effort for the assignment.  I asked some school friends if they had heard of Storify, and all the responses were, “no.” This is a media tool that has a lot of potential, but clearly it hasn’t branched out to my generation yet.  Is it worth having an account with Storify if no one I know follows my stories?

I will continue to produce material using YouTube; it has many useful features and in a way, posting material brings me closer to family and close friends, who, for example, would otherwise never get to see/hear me play piano.  However, I still don’t consider posting a video every six months or so to put me in the category of “active online producer.”

I admit I have fun using Twitter.  I made my account for the purpose of this course, but I have recently been “following” a whole bunch of pages.  I would rather read celebrity and news updates than post my own.  Once again, I feel my stories are insignificant and are not worth posting in cyberspace.  I do not intend to use social media for anything else unless my future employment necessitates it.

Sterne writes about how production and consumption coexist, and how those in power know how to manipulate the system for profit.  That point brings the word “advertisement” to my mind.  Gone are the days of big, flashy billboard signs (unless you’re in Las Vegas or New York).  Advertisements target people like me: consumers who spend a lot of time taking in information.  I may not post a lot of my own information, but I spend enough time on my smart phone to know I am surrounded by marketing activities.

I have maintained my opinion since the beginning of this communications course that my problem with our growing dependence on the consumer-producer relationship is that our quality of life decreases.  Yes, that is a really lofty statement, but here’s where I am going with this: Wouldn’t you want, for a day, to go back in time about ten years, and not have to rely on consumption-production? Would you like to experience how it feels hearing the news from the local paper, or taking minutes at a business meeting with shorthand, instead of having to post all work related updates on Twitter to promote the company?  Would you rather play Temple Run and Angry Birds on your phones all day, or go outside and see people? Perhaps I would have less anxiety about making friends if I couldn’t use the virtual world as an escape.

I really enjoyed Rheingold’s article about attention in our media-driven culture, because I felt he accurately portrayed the typical university classroom today.  It makes me wonder how people in our parents’ time dealt with classroom boredom.  I have a personal opinion that technology should not be allowed to interfere with the learning process.  It is very easy to get distracted by cell phones and laptops.  It is very unfair to the professors if you come to lecture and don’t listen at all.  In my first year at Brock, I was notorious for texting during class, because the university experience was new. I’d text my friends from home silly little messages about funny quotes from lecture, where I went that day, etc.  I don’t feel the same way now, though.  I only use my phone for calendar dates.  Treat others the way you want to be treated- I want to be a teacher with respectful students, so I do the same for my professors now.

Most of all, the term “cultural diabetes” as said by Lunenfeld, stands out to me. Most of us are aware that diabetes is about an imbalance of sugar and insulin in the body.  In the context of the Internet world, we must try to balance consumption and production.  In reality, this is an impossible goal, but it’s good to reach for it, nonetheless.  Too much power, from too much production, in my mind, translates to how big corporations can infiltrate our lives via social media.  Too much consumption, and you, me, and the rest of the world have to consciously sort through it all, likely becoming lost in the process.

You don’t have to be a producer to be socially aware of technology and tools as they emerge. I ask you, my readers, do you think our transmedia culture is encouraging us to take part in social action? Or, are you like me and prefer to watch things happen?

Comment and let me know.

Thank for you for reading my course blog.  From now on, I’ll be posting entries relevant to issues in music education.

This entry was posted on March 20, 2013. 4 Comments

[View the story “I <3 Music " on Storify]

<a href=”[View the story “I ❤ Music ” on Storify]” title=”[View the story “I ❤ Music ” on Storify]”>[View the story “I ❤ Music ” on Storify]

Here is a link to a project about music I created for my communications course.  I gathered a lot of sources related to music, including: youtube videos, articles on copyright, music jokes, and sites pertinent to music education. Take a look! 🙂

My piano journey!

My piano journey in a short video. I made this for my communications course. I thought I’d post it here because it is all about music and piano. 🙂

What is journalism, really?


I have been learning a lot recently about how interconnected we are in the cyber-age.  Looking at online journalism over the past two weeks has made me reflect about my cyber imprint, and the web that discourse creates on both small and large planes.  I have used Storify for the first time and got to really see how everything I’ve done for my communications course has involved integrating various methods of communications (words, pictures, music, audio, videos, other visuals).

Alfred Hermida (Tweets and Truths) writes in detail about how Twitter, a social media tool, can be used for unstructured journalism. His article is interesting because it poses the question: Does the unstructured nature of Twitter make journalism less professional? On the surface, I would say, yes, social media such as twitter makes journalism less professional. Think about all the kids out there posting about celebrity gossip and cat memes. However, my deeper conclusion is that social media makes journalism more professional, because those who are in the profession have to be literate in all of these Internet tools to keep up with spreading information to the masses. Twitter posts are innocent enough until you take a step back and think about the messages we’re constantly receiving from our government representatives and news sources.  I mentioned in a previous post about how social media is the new way to reach young people.  My generation is more likely to become more aware as citizens from what we read on Twitter and Facebook as opposed to television programs (who has time to watch TV anymore, anyway?) Hermida describes being a journalist today as being literate on many levels: integrating written, oral, and audiovisual methods.  Essentially, this is what I have done as a student in my communications course.  I have posted on this blog, YouTube, SoundCloud, and Storify.  I have integrated all these communication methods.  By this logic, I can call myself a student journalist.  Bruns and Highfield (Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news) argue that journalism is now tied to commentary.  All of us using cyberspace to communicate our opinions have no choice but to read articles by other people and engage in online discourse.

I see myself in the Bruns and Highfield description.  While I was completing my assignment on using Storify, I had a difficult time limiting myself to articles pertinent to issues about music.  I changed my prerogative and added a whole bunch of pages to my story that were music videos, TV show clips, jokes, pictures, and miscellaneous things relating to something I love: music.  When you post about what you love/are passionate about, it’s not going to be cut-and-dry.  Thus, my Storify assignment was both a citizen journalism post as well as a commentary on music.  I’m sure that others from my class have already seen my post, just as they have read my blog. We are engaging in the precise citizen journalism discourse all these authors are talking about.

The emergence of these new opportunities for citizen journalism encourages me to participate more directly in social activism.  I want to contribute to the world I live in, accept rapid development for what it is instead of becoming “outdated” for lack of a better word.  Opportunities available to everyone such as Storify are very useful .  I can be an active journalist with a few simple mouse clicks.  I don’t need to have education in the political sciences (or any degree program for that matter) to share my opinions with the world.  Unfortunately, technology does not equal freedom.  Jenkins and Thornburn  (The Digital Revolution, the Informed Citizen, and the Culture of Democracy) reference author Lawrence Lessig, who points out that our actions in cyberspace are always being controlled; this is not democracy.  Further, Lessig says that most of us are so unaware of the transition to cyberspace governance that we are moving from a freedom society to a controlled society.  That being said, I ask myself if I am going to follow through on my goal to be an active citizen.  Does my voice really matter? Peter Dahlgren (Re-inventing Participation) lists problems society faces with cyberspace democracy. First of all, democracy means different things to different countries and cultures.  Second, and probably most importantly- it is easy for corporations to lose accountability in the big Internet world. The line of meaningful versus pointless activism is blurry.  I find this article ties into the Jenkins and Thornburn article through the idea that democracy does not guarantee civic participation.  From my own personal experiences, I’ve only ever contributed to social/citizen journalism through my communications course.  I’ve been an adult and have been able to vote for three years, and I see myself falling into a generation of young people who just don’t know where to look or where to turn to become more socially aware.

In conclusion, being a journalist today is very different from what it was 10, 20, 30 years ago.  When my mother was in school, lessons on how to be a good journalist involved typing classes and rattling off the “who, what, where, when, why/how” with precision. Today, journalism has evolved into a primarily online culture, integrating facts with commentary, text with audio-visuals, and opinions with instant responses.

This entry was posted on March 9, 2013. 1 Comment