Some Final Project Thoughts

With this class coming to an end, I figured it was important I did a bit of reflection on our final project.

My partner and I did our project on the media’s portrayal of the debates and its bias towards one candidate. By the end of the project, we were able to conclude that the media tends to focus more on dramatics than actual political discourse, and that in this specific election, they had a habit of portraying Hillary Clinton in a more favorable light. What I took from this information was that the media is unfortunately very capable of creating false perceptions of what’s actually happening in the world. The media might not necessarily dictate how we think, but it is a primary source of information, and when they’re providing their viewers and readers with a false sense of security, that’s a problem.

I would say that this project helped me realize what I hope to accomplish as a potential media maker. I might not be interested in being a reporter or journalist, but I am very interested in putting my work out there, and I hope to maintain some self-awareness about how my work can affect others. Through my work, I’m sharing my perspective, but it’s incredibly important that I keep in mind that if I’m given a platform, I need to use it wisely and ensure that I’m not being misleading.

I think there are many media outlets that take advantage of their power. They know people are listening and know that they can shift opinions if they try hard enough. I think this is dangerous, and with our media constantly changing, I hope that others will see this and try to make necessary changes.

Online Activism or Slacktivism?

It seems that just about everybody has an opinion on internet activism nowadays, especially with Twitter becoming a hub for people to spread information and express their views on tension that’s occurring across the globe.

Personally, I think that websites like Twitter are great when it comes to spreading information on events that the news either isn’t covering or is only providing biased coverage of. I think “online activists” get a lot of flack for being overly sensitive or lazy, but I disagree with those claims. While I’d definitely opt for “getting out” and trying to make a change in the physical world rather than being online, I think online activism can start the discussions necessary to push people to do whatever they can in the physical world.

I think there’s a misconception that because something is occurring online, that automatically makes it less important than something that’s happening in the “real world.” The fact of the matter is that online activity IS apart of the “real world”, which means that online activism is just as capable as creating change.

Are there people that are more talk than action? Absolutely, but I think you’ll find that in just about any activist circle, whether it be online or offline.

Voyeurism & Online Entitlement

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the concept of voyeurism online. The first thing that popped into my head while we were discussing this was the strange relationship that many vloggers on YouTube have with their viewers.

Right around the time that we had been discussing this in class, a popular YouTuber by the name of Colleen Ballinger had publicly announced her divorce with another popular YouTuber by the name of Joshua David Evans. Her method of announcing this was by posting an eight minute long video, full of tears and personal information that ended up getting watched by over ten million people. Ballinger’s soon to be ex-husband also posted a video of his own, and suddenly, the internet was involved in this couple’s marriage.

The way that this divorce was announced was almost as if Ballinger was breaking the news to a child of her own. She talked about not wanting to disappoint her viewers and assured everyone that she and Evans would remain civil, but there was something so uncomfortable about this situation to me. The video felt like an apology to her viewers, but it wasn’t as if her viewers deserved an apology, or were even entitled to half the information that she was giving in the video. I couldn’t comprehend why millions of people would be so deeply invested in a relationship between two people most of them had never physically met.

YouTubers put so much of themselves out there on the internet, and as a result of that, I think some of their subscribers feel as though they deserve to know every detail. I’m curious to know why this is so common when identities are constructed online. Could it perhaps be the same phenomenon that causes people to be deeply invested in the lives of actors, musicians, etc.? What about these people sharing their daily routines and participating in silly challenges causes people to feel entitled, though?

Selfie Culture

I wasn’t in class for the selfie discussion, but the topic of taking selfies as a form of empowerment is a topic that’s always been interesting to me on social media.

Personally, I’m not somebody that takes a lot of pictures of myself. In fact, I typically avoid cameras at all cost. However, I know plenty of people that find selfies empowering. It’s a form of self expression, and in a way, an easy way to improve one’s self esteem by getting used to one’s appearance. Websites like Instagram give their users the opportunity to post pictures of themselves that they find appealing. These websites are a way for their users to share when they’re having a good hair day or just generally feel good about themselves. It’s pretty rare for someone to willingly post a picture of themselves that they’re not a fan of, so the power to share images that users feel good about is part of the empowerment. The attention that comes with posting these pictures is another perk, but in my opinion, it can also be considered a bit of a downside to “selfie culture.”

While I think selfies can definitely be seen as empowering, I think it’s important that we remain aware of the relationship we maintain with social media currency, or the likes that comments that come with these pictures. Sharing a picture of yourself because you feel confident about the way you look in said picture is great, but determining your self worth based on the attention that photo receives isn’t. Selfies are a great tool for empowerment, but I don’t necessarily believe they should be the ONLY tool of empowerment that our youth uses. After all, there is more to life than the reactions one receives because of their physical appearance.