Monday, April 29, 2013


A single function device of any kind is virtually obsolete; you would be hard pressed to find one. On June 11, 1997, Philippe Kahn wirelessly transmitted a cell phone picture of his daughter, Sophie and shared it instantly with more than 2,000 family members, friends and associates around the world (Wikipedia, 2013). This action marked the birth of visual communication. Mobile devices are no longer used exclusively for talking; they now allow us to not just talk but talk with FaceTime, an option in which you see your caller and they see you. You can browse the Internet, watch movies and television series, stream music, take photos and video, upload content directly to social media platforms, play games, calendar appointments, and navigate unknown territories with exact precision. All of these functions and more are capable because of convergence.

In 1983, Ithiel de Sola Pool, PhD wrote Technologies of Freedom this was the undoubtedly the first book to lay the foundation of convergence as a force for change (Jenkins, 2006).  Convergence is more than a shift in technology; it alters the relationship between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres, and audiences (Jenkins, 2006). Convergence also alters the logic by which media industries operate and their process.

The New Orleans Media Experience set the tone for the coming decades and
the message was plain. 1. Convergence is coming and you better be ready.
2. Convergence is harder than it sounds. 3. Everyone will survive if everyone
works together. That was unfortunately one thing nobody knew how to do.
These predictions could not have been more decisive as partnerships reign supreme in the success of converging entities.

In our current media landscape, technology and media outlets cannot function successfully without multiple partnerships from various entities. When you attempt to login into various websites or accounts you are prompted with the questions, “would you like to log-in, sync this content, contacts, etc. using your Facebook account?” or “would you like the content you are viewing visible on your Facebook wall?” you see Amazon partnering with PayPal; there are very few ways to escape the convergence of technology and information.

What does all this shared information and technology mean for our futures? In some ways it has enhanced our lives and in other ways it has complicated things. The convergence of technology and media has created powerful, well informed consumers that are eager to participate in this society. 

(2013, 29 April). Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Final Assignment

Week 9: Persuasion

Have you ever felt tricked or trapped into saying yes; contributing to a social cause; or buying something you didn’t really want? Each year, legions of ad people, copywriters, market researchers, pollsters, consultants, and even linguists spend billions of dollars and millions of man-hours trying to determine how to persuade consumers what to buy, whom to trust, and what to think (PBS, 2004). Merriam Webster Dictionary states that to persuade is to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action (2001).
Scientists, doctors, professors and other professionals often appear in ads and advocacy messages, lending their credibility to the product, service, or idea being sold (Media Literacy Project, 2013). We all seek the opinion of specialists or authorities that can provide true, accurate, and reliable advice. The principle of authority is the idea of the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior (2001).

In September 1969, an American medical drama television program premiered on the ABC Network, Marcus Welby, M.D. The primary character, Dr. Welby was portrayed by Robert Young. He was featured in a coffee commercial that stated the benefits of drinking decaffeinated coffee. The ad campaign was successful because Young represented a successful show and he was the nation’s most famous physician. He received a quarter of a million letters from viewers most of whom were seeking medical advice (Cho, Wilson, & Choi, 2011). Young portrayed a doctor and was not qualified to disseminate medical advice.

Beautiful people celebrities or politician attract our attention. When people like you, they are more likely to say yes or whatever it is you are seeking. One component of liking is physical attractiveness. Research and marketing techniques are increasingly migrating to the high-stakes arena of politics, shaping policy and influencing how Americans choose their leaders (PBS, 2004).

 In 2005, Alexander Todorov of Princeton University published the article, Inferences of Competence from Faces Predict Election Outcomes. The published study indicates inferences were made within 1 second of viewing the faces of candidates. According to Todorov, inferences based solely on facial appearance predicted the outcomes of U.S. congressional elections better than chance (e.g., 68.8% of the Senate races in 2004) and also were linearly related to the margin of victory (Todorov, Mandisodza, Goren, & Hall, 2005).                           

As consumer we must become aware of persuasive techniques in order to make rational decisions.


(2004, November 9). Retrieved from PBS:

(2012). Retrieved from Influence at Work:

(2013). Retrieved from Media Literacy Project:

Cho, H., Wilson, K., & Choi, J. (2011). Perceived Realism of Television Medical Dramas and Perceptions About Physicians. Journal of Media Psychology, 141-148.

Dictionary, M.-W. C. (2001). Springfield: Merriam Webster, Incorporated.

Todorov, A., Mandisodza, A. N., Goren, A., & Hall, C. C. (2005). Inferences of Competence from Faces Predict Election Outcomes. Science, 1623-1626.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Week 8: Media Literacy

Media and the manner in which we interact with it changes rapidly. The understanding of its abilities, function and purpose is constantly evolving.  Media Literacy teaches us to access, analyze, evaluate, and produce media.

In the 1960s, Media Literacy 1.0 was in reference to how mass media was being used to persuade and convince its audience to think in particular ways, buy certain products, and otherwise influence their behavior (Ohler, 2010). During the Media Literacy 1.0 era, the ability to produce content was not readily available to the average citizen thus we were only consumers of mass media. According to Ohler, the primary difference between versions 1 and 2 is that media literacy has been expanded to encompass production (2010).

The accessibility and relativity low cost to secure technology has made virtually everyone a producer of media content. We take home movies and photos recorded with our mobile devices, add music and post them on various Internet websites for family and friends to enjoy. Platforms like, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, SocialCam and others have become the breeding ground for Internet celebrities. The fade seem to be working. It’s not unheard of for an Internet celebrity to have several hundred thousand followers and views well into millions. People are literally producing content in their homes, uploading it to the Internet and people around the world are tuning in to enjoy it.

However the videos and celebrity styles are not only limited to people. Animals are getting in on the game as well; like “grumpy cat” and “Tuna” the dog.

Grumpy Cat is actually Tardar Sauce, a female cat and known for her grump facial expressions. She has appeared on Anderson Live, Good Morning America and has photos and interviews in Time and Forbes magazines.

Tuna is an Internet hit for his overbite. He recently appeared on the Today Show.

It is interesting that with the Internet, people and even animals can rise from obscurity and become celebrities. In the early days, there was Lassie, Morris the Cat, Benji and actual movie and television actors and actress that were paid to do a job. Now we are surpassing reality TV stars and it only takes a $35 web cam, Internet connection and social media account to put you on a trajectory to stardom. I’m interested to see were this phenomenon of self-broadcasting will take us and how allowing strangers into our normal lives will affect us in the years to come.


Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital Community Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Week 7: De-Tech-Tive


The purpose of a technology assessment is to investigate, analyze, and make recommendations about how to address the personal, social, and environmental impacts of technology (Ohler, 2010). I will use the “de-tech-tive” process to assess Google Glass.


Google recently announced a new product, Google Glass. This headgear will be available to the public by year’s end. It consists of a small display situated on a frame that resembles eyeglasses and will project text or video into your field of vision.
The Glass pairs with your smartphone using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to access the Internet. You can use your voice or your finger to take photos, record video, initiate video or voice chats, send messages, search Google and translate words or phrases.

CNet has list 5 potential uses for Google Glass:

TV enhancement: users will be able to look up athlete’s stats, view the IMDb page of an actor, or get more information on products or services offered during commercials.

        Biofeedback: in an effort to get healthy, users can monitor their heart rate, calories burned, and steps taken superimposed during your exercise regimen.

         Face recognition: during that awkward moment when you can't  remember an individual’s name Google Glass will prompt you.  

         Instructions: cooking, baking, or assembling furniture.

        Navigation: whether users are driving, biking or hiking they will have a constant image of their surroundings and directions to their destination.


The use of Google Glass is not without controversy. Google Glass will destroy the notion of public anonymity; everyone potentially could become “big brother.” Also, anywhere cameras and other recording devices are unwelcome; the same would most certainly go for Google Glass (CNBC, 2013). One of the reasons is because the camera lives at the wearer's eye level. It will have the ability to take photos or video without a red blinking light alerting others.

As responses to Google Glass, some establishments have already said, “you are welcome, but your Google Glass must stay outside” (CNBC, 2013). Some of these establishments include: gentlemen’s clubs, casinos, and movie theaters. According to the CNBC article, “they encountered a lot of that as they made calls for this piece: From the TSA to Bank of America, spokespeople were not yet ready to speak to the particulars of Google Glass but reiterated general statements about protecting the privacy and personal information of staff and customers alike (2013).


There are already concerns about mobile phone usage and brain cancer because of the microwave frequencies that are emitted from mobile phones. I’m sure scientist and researchers will be interested in studying the effects of having a small computer mounted near the brain and the possibility for cancer. Privacy is another issue because of the inconspicuous manner in which photos and video can be captured and conversations recorded all without the knowledge of any of the parties involved.  Another concern would be operating a vehicle while wearing Glass because it will project text or video into your field of vision. So, there is the potential for distraction just as texting and driving. While the technology has the potential to provide functionality some safety and privacy measure must be evaluated.

Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital Community Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week 6: Mantra

I make a concerted effort to stay abreast of new media technologies but last week I was introduced to something new by the intern in my office. It is called Snapchat. The idea behind this relatively new phenomenon is a conversation through images (i.e., photos or piece of paper with something written on it by the sender; photos of them or a group; or even just a random photo). Often it is up to the receiver to deduce the meaning of the message; that is only available on their mobile device for 10 seconds, then disappears and cannot be retrieved. I had so many questions about the medium, why it was so popular and of course the deviant uses; none the less it was fascinating and interesting to watch photos pop-up. I would ask, “What does that mean?” and she would interpret the things I didn’t understand.
Then this weekend, I discovered a new social media platform, Pheed (Feed) and it is giving Facebook quite a scare (  I quickly downloaded the app, began to browse and quickly saw why it was becoming such a hit. Their catchphrase is “A new way to express yourself" and you can do so in text, photos, videos, audio, voice or live broadcast (Kanalley, 2013). It is literally a convergence of every social media yet it’s intuitive and well designed. I sent a text to the intern to gauge her interest but surprisingly she knew nothing about it. So, I took the liberty to inform her and she has now signed up.
Pheed started in October of 2012 and quickly has become the preferred social media platform for youth demographic. Facebook has publicly admitted they have a problem with the sector of their demographic (
Media and technology are all around us; we are engaged and yet disengaged all at the same. I believe a great way to learn, educate and retrieve valuable information is a conversation or exchange of thoughts, perceptions and ideas. The manner in which each individual manages the overwhelming amount of information and technology that is flooding our lives daily differs from person to person and from generation to generation and to understand the differences it requires a conversation. It is these kinds of conversations and exchanges that provide a framework for education and enlightenment for all.
My Mantra
To educate and enlighten by providing a fun and intellectually stimulating platform to discuss our media and technology reach society and how it impacts us.


Kanalley, C. (2013, February 25). Retrieved from Huffington Post:


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week 5: McLuhan's Tetrad


The tetrad describes four effects (enhance, reverse, retrieve, and obsolesce) that all technology/medium has on society. McLuhan believed that the introduction of new technologies/medium into a society has a determining influence on how that society is organized, how its members perceive the world around them and how knowledge is stored and shared (Collections Canada, 2007). McLuhan argues that media are languages, with their own grammar and structure, and that they can be studied as such (Collections Canada, 2007). McLuhan saw the goal of technology/media studies as making the invisible, visible.

McLuhan viewed all technologies as extensions of our bodies: the phone is an extension of the voice and the pencil is an extension of the hand. He believed these extensions altered their respective environments.


I find myself tethered to my mobile device. Communication today is moving at a very fast paced. There was a time when you could work at a slower pace but not anymore.  My mobile device is essential for my professional environment. It allows me to constantly be accessible. I can transfer my office phone to my mobile; participate in conference calls; draft and respond to emails; view and approve documents it all happens seamlessly and regardless of where I am and what I’m doing.

McLuhan’s tetrad examines the effects on society of any technology/medium (put another way: a means of explaining the social processes underlying the adoption of a technology/medium) by dividing its effects into four categories and displaying them simultaneously (Wikipedia, 2013a). The tetrad presents four questions: 1. What does it enhance? What is enlarged, amplified or increased (or minimized) or accelerated (if previously slow) or retarded (if previously slow)? (Ohler, 2010) 2. What do it make obsolete? What is displaced, pushed offstage, or sidelined? (Ohler, 2010) 3. What does it retrieve? What is renewed, reactivated, updated, comeback or revived that had been obsolesced earlier? (Ohler, 2010) 4. What is the flip? What happens when the medium is pushed to extremes? What does the subject turn into when its enhancement process eventually becomes the norm instead of the unusual? (Ohler, 2010) It is important to remember all four laws happen simultaneously and not in sequential order. Every technology enhances, obsolesces, retrieves, and flips, all at the same time (Ohler, 2010).

1. What has my mobile device enhanced? My mobile device has enhanced my ability to get work done. I’m able to work anytime and anywhere. I can respond quickly to issue via phone, text or email that will allow things to keep moving rather than sitting still and waiting for me to arrive at the office.

2. What has my mobile device obsolesce? It has made my physical presence obsolete. I can be anywhere and chime into a conference call, respond to an email, send an email, forward documents, etc. There was a time when you couldn’t sync your email to your mobile device. So there were limitations on how productive you could be especially without access to email during transit situations (i.e., commute to the office, walking from one meeting to another or in my case shuttling from one building to another, etc.) but now those limitations are removed. I can be more productive regardless of my location or activity.

3. What has my mobile device retrieved that was lost? It allows me to retrieve awareness, omnipresence. There was a time when town/cities were small; everyone knew everything about everyone but with modernization we outgrew walking a few blocks to work or living in the loft space above the office. Those were the days when as you walked down the street you were told all the latest neighborhood gossip.

4. What is the flip for Facebook when pushed to its extreme? Rather than working 40 hours week, I find myself working 60-65 hours a week because I’m always connected and accessible. I’m always “on.” There was a time when I left the office now I take the office with me, wherever I go.


Ohler holds high-regard for the tetrad and says, “It provides much grist for the mill even for novices who are trying to see the impacts of technology more clearly (p.134). He also believes the tetrad benefits students because they can use it as an investigative tool for modern technologies.

(2013a, February 18). Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Collections Canada. (2007, March 6). Retrieved from
Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital Community Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.