Mass Media has a huge effect on us

2 12 2011

Before I begin this post it would be fit to read this definition of mass media, as I will be talking about it throughout this post.

Thank you for reading that. So the question that I want you to keep in mind is: to what extent does mass media affect our society?

First there was the telegraph, then the radio, then newspapers and magazines, television and now the internet. At each stage in history, mass media has always had an immediate effect on people. What is effected in the human life by the mass media? All three of these can be based on what we know for a fact, but these are the three biggest things I feel are effected the most by mass media:

1. Decisions – A persons decisions depend on what they believe to be right. The media pushes so many things on us, and they do it repetitively. Having to listen/hear the same thing over and over can in grain into ones brain what is right or wrong. We all make decisions daily, and the media can help us to make that decision. Consider the very near holiday, Christmas. We all are out shopping and looking for the best things to buy and the cheapest things to buy. How do we know what is a great deal? We know, or think we know, what the best prices and deals are because of advertisements and commercials. These advertisements and commercials lead us to think that a certain product presents that best money-saving deal out on the market.

Many people wake up in the morning and turn on the news. Perhaps they may look at the weather to see what decision they should make when it comes to choosing the proper clothing. Mass media provides the channels for you so that you know which decision is the right decision. Another way mass media influences our decisions is scarcity. The media influences decisions frequently by using slogans like “limited editions” and “members only clubs.” Likewise the media tries to make it seem like you are missing out on something if you don’t commit to this, that or the other by using time sensitive ads, fear of loss of opportunity, or having to compete. Our decisions are greatly shaped by the mass media.

2. Beliefs – Mass media affects what we believe to be true or false. All in mainstream media, it is obvious to see many biased or one-way attitudes towards certain subjects. For example, shows on tv are watched by millions of people in which that show promotes racist, sexist, or prejudice views. While those people watching that show are not the actual people in the show being racist, sexist, or prejudice, they do in effect begin to adopt some of those views and morals.

3. Values – Values are greatly effected due to mass media. One of the biggest things I feel that has effected our American culture is beauty. Everyone in today’s American society is so obsessed with looking good, hot, or sexy. This has been because of mass media pushing people and saying, “In order to be accepted by people, you have to look good.” Most actors, models, or superstars are always shown “at their best” when they are shown in a picture or a video. It is hard to live up to that social value of “looking good” because it is nearly impossible to look good all the time.

This is a good video that I felt sums up this post.

-Good day to you


Texting Messaging Changing the English Language?

18 11 2011

Text messaging.

In the world of text messaging, the above sentence is considered to be a full sentence. In the days that we live in now, I think that text messaging is changing our society. There are many factors that I feel have been changed in the English language, but I am only going to address five of them. They mostly have to do with grammar and writing, but it does relate to every day speaking.

1. New words – There have been a variety of new words that have been added to the current dictionary which originated from text messaging language. And some of these words aren’t even real words, they are more like abbreviations or acronyms. For example, WTF (what the fuck) and BRB (be right back) present great examples of this. There are now dictionaries dedicated to text messaging words and symbols. Click here for an example. Words like thanks, you, and be have been altered to thx, u, and b. There are rarely people who do not know of these  new words and abbreviations. So the vocabulary portion of the English language is being changed.

2. Spacing while writing – Now when people write or text they do not need to put as many spaces. Text messaging has been around so long that if you forget to put the space in between words there doesn’t need to be any explanation. Forgetting to put a space in between words is incorrect grammar, however, it is seen as a regular thing. If I writelikethis, isit veryhard tounderstand whatiam saying? See, I bet you had no trouble reading that sentence. That is because you also are so used to seeing words like this. To add to the above, putting two spaces instead one space after a period use to be how everyone was taught to write. But now hardly anyone is taught to do it like that, as you can see from my blog post so far I have one space after each period.

3. Loss of the hyphen – many words have been stripped of their hyphen and no longer possess them. According to this article nearly 16,000 words have been stripped of their hyphens. Although hyphens do not seem of much importance, it is still an altering of the English language. This is what Wikipedia has to say about hyphens – “the use of the hyphen in English compound nouns and verb has, in general, been steadily declining. Compounds that might once have been hyphenated are increasingly left with spaces or are combined into one word.” Wikipedia has more information about the hyphen and its use if you would like to do some research just hit this link

4. Brevity – Increasingly more and more, people do not explain themselves well enough; mostly this is the case while texting. I think this is the reason why so many people are texting so much. Since people don’t explain themselves so much, the person replying to the text has to  ask even more questions. Even if someone does know that they are being brief and unclear, still don’t bother to change that brevity. What this brevity does is it makes it so that sentences are incomplete and there are many fragments. Here is a funny book report about the novel “Hamlet” that I found hilarious – “Everyone dies.” Case in point.

5. Spelling/reading/writing – Text messaging has made kids such horrible spellers, readers, and writer. A New York Times study showed that while kids have been getting better’s scores in math they have not shown much progression when  it comes to reading scores. Could texting be to blame for this? We still do have kids winning spelling bees and getting into school such as Harvard or Yale. But do the results show that we are doing something right in math and something wrong in reading? I personally cannot say, however, I feel that texting at least encourages reading. This could be a possible positive side to text messaging.

So as you can see text messaging really does have an effect on the English language. There are many more things to consider when it comes to text messaging altering our current society’s language. Sometime in the future I might address these other effects of text messaging, but for now this is it.


Public Education

13 11 2011

The effect of public education on language today is huge. English class teaches kids essential skills. Some of the things I can think of that are taught in english class are: how to do research, how to document a paper, how to summarize, how to write an introduction, how to write a hook and how to edit/revise a paper. There are so many more things to english then these mentioned here. However, what effect does public education have on modern language today?

Well for the most part, education of language in public schools not greatly affected how people talk. In public education systems such as English class, a person learns what a teacher calls “proper” english. In this current society, though, this language learned in the classroom is not taken out of the classroom. Aside from the english classes that kids are enrolled in, they are involved in speaking the language that is learned through daily interaction with other kids(slang). There is a definite difference between proper english and slang. The language that is spoken outside of the classroom is more “attractive” to use because it presents a looser and more free-flowing way to communicate. Proper english is not like that at all and this is why it is not taken out of the classroom.

Slang is used much more than proper english. The times when proper english is used is during public speeches. These include times when the speaker need a notecards or an outline of his/her speech. So during this time, they are not speaking freely without thought. All of what they are saying/going to say has been thought out before hand. Since they simply read off of their notecards and outlines they do not need to speak in slang. Slang is used basically at every other moment in the day. Education today has tried to change the way kids view the world and to give them insight into important facts and information. But the public education of english/language has not had much effect on the current slang of American children.

                                                                                                 -Bye bye

Grammar the Foundation

4 11 2011

With the start of something new there always is a beginning. I feel like the basic foundation for modern interaction/communication is grammar. Grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules.

Describing grammar as the base for modern interaction means that everything done or said has originated or stemmed off of that central base(grammar). So understanding that all things included in interacting with individuals, such as talking, gesturing, facial expressions, and voice tone/pitch would be nonexistent without the existence of grammar. So I want to go over the term with you and the origin of it. My Analysis comes from a piece of discourse material found on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia breaks down the term “grammar” into different categories. However I am only going to discuss 3 of them:

1. Use of the term: “The term is often used by non-linguists with a very broad meaning indeed.” So many use just to refer to any generic aspect of the English language. However, linguists in a more specific sense.  “Every speaker of a language has, in his or her head, a set of rules for using that language. This is a grammar, and the vast majority of the information in it is acquired not by conscious study or instruction, but by observing other speakers.” As we grow up we pick up language from the ones we are constantly around. Namely our parents and/or older siblings. This is important to review because using the term grammar has become under appreciated. Many may see it as “just another word.” What they do not realize is that it is a word that is of great importance to their language.

2.Development of grammars: “Grammars evolve through usage and also due to separations of the human population. With the advent of written representations, formal rules about language usage tend to appear also. Formal grammars are codifications of usage that are developed by repeated documentation over time. As the rules become established and developed, the prescriptive concept of grammatical correctness can arise. This often creates a discrepancy between contemporary usage and that which has been accepted, over time, as being correct.” I feel this is a big part of the development of language today. I feel that these created discrepancies that have been accepted could be described as slang or modern jargon. Since over time it has been accepted as correct, this creates a new type of language. This quote goes along with this idea as well: “Constructed languages (also called planned languages) are more common in the modern-day. Many have been designed to aid human communication. Each of these languages has its own grammar.” Each of these languages having its own grammar means that each language has a different way of defining certain words/phrases.

3. Education: “Prescriptive grammar is taught in primary school (elementary school). The term “grammar school” historically refers to a school teaching Latin grammar to future Roman citizens, orators, and, later, Catholic priests.” Being taught grammar in school is a way to conform to society. Even though in everyday language most people do not use the grammar that they have been taught in school, going to school and learning these “official” rules still play an essential role in modern interaction. “Recently, efforts have begun to update grammar instruction in primary and secondary education. The primary focus has been to prevent the use of outdated prescriptive rules in favor of more accurate descriptive ones and to change perceptions about relative “correctness” of standard forms in comparison to non standard dialects.” Although they have begun to try to rid the outdated rules in grammar, there has not been much success.  Everyday jargon or lingo proves this to be true.

So Wikipedia describes the word “grammar” very thoroughly. Knowing the real meaning of the word and the facts unknown by many will give you a much more insightful view on modern interaction today…i hope. There is still much more to talk about when it comes to grammar, but for now this is it.

                                                                                 -See ya!



28 10 2011

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language.

Many people do not know the definition of this word. Linguistics is the basis for speech. Without it we would live in a world where none of us could communicate or know what to do. We would just be mindlessly wandering around, kind of like zombies, having no purpose for living.

As we can see in this picture here, they do not have the intentions of fulfilling a purpose.

So from this illustration of “people would be zombies without linguistics” we can see that this world is in utter need of it.

I have always wondered where we got out language, or where it came from. So I did some research and stumbled upon this website that had five theories in which language could have come from. All these theories were very interesting to me, because I personally believe that God created us with the ability to speak and to be capable to learn.  The reason I mentioned this website was because I wanted to show how confused some people are when it comes to subjects like these.

Even though people are confused and become flustered when asked about certain subjects as these, some scientist understand the importance of what we have today, such as linguistics. The founder of Aaron Wall blogged about linguistics that, “Looking through economic history and the history of linguistics enables you to realize opportunities when others are not being honest or consistent in their policies, and it helps you form an argument which enables you to sound logical and reasonable while reframing the debate at an appropriate time. ”

I completely agree with Aaron because this world works through the means of logical thinking. If we are left without logical thinking, we would be in a world of trouble. So linguistics is what makes this world what it is, and without it, us human beings would be nothing.

Analysis of “Understanding Society”

24 10 2011

As you all have known, my intentions for creating this blog is to further my and your knowledge about the art of interaction. This has been attempted by trying to analyze the basic principles of jargon and syntax. Also I have tried to go deeper into the subject of how today’s modern society uses language, gestures and body language. While I was looking for similar blogs to analyze for the benefit of my blog, I came across this blog entitled “Understanding Society” created by a man named Daniel Little. Its focus is to better understand the large social forces that affect us today. This blog was very similar to the objective of my blog, but with a little more scholarly activity and purpose.  While my blog serves the purpose of better understanding how we as human being interact with each other, this is a site about social progress and social change. It discusses all aspects of the topic of social progress of change within our society including language, which relates back to my blog. However, there is a major difference between our blogs. The major difference is the effectiveness to attract and maintain an audience. While my blog has attracted little to no viewers/commenters, “Understanding Society” has attracted and kept a large-sized audience. What makes this particular blog so successful in this aspect of blogging? Well there are a multitude of things that contribute to the successfulness of this particular blog.

The first thing that caught my attention on “Understanding Society’s” blog page was the number of tabs and links available to the viewer. Just on first glances of the home page, available to the viewers are twenty hyperlinks/tabs to click on. What this does is it makes the website easy to navigate from page to page which attracts people who look at the webpage. Also, the fact that there are so many hyperlinks and pages keeps the audience interested in the things being spoken about. Seeing this many pages and links make one want to click and explore. It feels like going through a maze, but in a website. While in a real life maze there are many turns and paths to follow, likewise navigating this blog site puts one through an adventure on the computer. Going along with the use of hyperlinks/tabs, the website is very friendly to the eye. While not so flashy or showy, it presents a simple theme to the viewer. It makes it easy to find exactly what the viewer is looking for. The theme choice compliments the topic of the blog nicely because the colors of black, grey, and white suggest that the webpage is not for fun, but for educational reasons and goals. Look at the comparison between “Understanding Society” and this other blog:

If Daniel Little had chosen to use bright colors, similar to this “Stuff White People Like” blog, then the viewer would find it as a joke and only for the entertainment of themselves instead of learning about society and furthering the discussion presented.

Hyperlinking and themes fit into the category of multimodality. By using much multimodal features, “Understanding Society” attracts the audience and keeps their full attention. When someone searches through the tabs they find a variety of multimodal features. This includes pictures, slide shows, videos, and audio. Talking about the subject of changing society presents many topics of discussion. These topics are included in videos of interviews of scholars and professors.  The site very flexible in the sense that if you don’t prefer to watch the video, you can perhaps click on the audio link and close your eyes to listen to the same exact interview. There are also many interviews to look through. While the videos and audio can be long, they give much insight and ideas to the topic of change in society. The interviewees talk about many topics which contribute to the blogs main questions of the blog, which are, “Can we think more clearly about the basic conceptual and methodological assumptions we make about social science inquiry? And can we arrive at more compelling foundations for thinking about what social progress in the twenty-first century will require?”

The different topics brought up by these scholars and professors do something that keeps the blog alive. It creates discourse. The ongoing discussion in this blog has been happening for more than three years. This shows that the discourse in this topic is has been thoroughly discussed. What these interviewees have done is further the discussion and spark more interest in the blog site. This is a huge aspect in keeping the viewers to come back to the blog and to participate in the discussion. Within this discourse community, we find interesting people supporting all types of topics and sharing their viewpoints, positions, and ideas. To have a contributing audience is big in the blogging world because it keeps the blogger engaged in the discussion. Being able to read others ideas makes one want to give feedback. The viewers start wanting to write more and more and start wanting to come back more and more until the blog becomes a worldwide site. People included in this discourse community are scholars, teachers and professors.

Something that comes from any discourse community is voice. Every person that participates in the discussion has a distinct voice. Through this voice, bloggers are able to create an online personality that distinguishes themselves from other people. In chapter one of Aaron Barlow’s book Blogging America: The New Public Sphere Kenneth Burke is quoted saying, “When a superstructure of certainties begins to topple, individual minds are correspondingly affected, since the mind is a social product, and our very concepts of character depend upon the verbalization of our group…” Here Burke is saying that voice is affected by our discourse community, and using this voice affects individuals minds. So the blogger in this case, Daniel Little, has an immediate effect on the audience reading his blog posts. The voice that Little presents has an inviting feel to it. As you read the introduction to the blog on the home page, it seems as though he is speaking directly to you personally. For example, after posing questions that the blog purposes to answer, he writes, “I invite you to join in this emerging international conversation.” The viewer can see from his voice that he is a serious person that is looking for feedback, making them want to join the conversation.

Although he presents a pleasing voice, how can the audience be sure that they are not simply wasting their time visiting the site? How does the blog’s creator establish credibility? Although the author presents his own ideas and opinions, he establishes credibility by supplying his audience with the research tab. In this tab, the audience is able to see where he gets his information from. He has numerous amounts of hyperlinks that are given to the audience, which he bases his opinions and ideas off of. This creates trust between he and the audience because the audience gets to know the source of his ideas. Also they realize that he is not just making things up out of thin air, but creating them logically by analyzing the content of correct information. Going along with this use of ethos, the author makes his site public for all to see. If the site was private, then it would affect the number of people who visit the site. Being a public website allows the viewers to realize that it is a website that is open to all. Contrary to that of a public website, a private one is put together by someone who only wants personal opinions to be a focus point, and probably only made the site for friends that agree with the creator of the blog. Making the site public invites those of opposite backgrounds to help contribute to the helping the cause of the blog.

With the blog being public, it tends to make the blog have allot more views and comments then that of a private blog. This blog has some comments on certain posts here and there, but the big achievement is the views. This has attracted an audience of over 23,000 viewers. Don’t believe me?

Now this is a big feat to accomplish. Maintaining an audience of this size is difficult, but the author is able to do so without a problem. How? Well in chapter 3 of Blogging America: The New Public Sphere, we find a list of facts that makes a blog successful. On page 75 list number 2 describes one rule as this: “…bloggers do best when they post early and often…” “Understanding Society” is a blog that presents this “post early and often” rule very nicely. As we can see in the blog, the latest post is only one day old. So this proves to be true because the blog benefits from this use of posting early and often by attracting a large crowd of scholars. Also going along with the postings, the author uses Twitter to connect with his viewers and to stay engaged in his discussion. Using such online social networking has proved to be useful because almost everybody has some sort of system such as Facebook or Twitter which allows these viewers to see the most recent updates and statuses. He uses twitter to tell his viewers about current news updates that relate back to the main purpose of the blog.

Daniel Little feeds his blog with the vital necessities it need to grow and stay alive. Many things have contributed to the success of “Understanding Society.” One thing that makes the blog successful are the multitude of links and tabs the viewer has available to them. Likewise, Daniel Little puts multimodality to good use providing videos, audio, and pictures. By using his voice in order to create the discourse necessary to sustain and maintain an audience, he attracts many people who make the blog even more of a success. His uses many of the rules presented on page 75 of Aaron Barlow’s book Blogging America: The New Public Sphere that help him in making his blog as successful as it can be.

The Silent Treatment

21 10 2011

Everybody is familiar with the silent treatment. However, what some people do not understand is that this is a form a communication. I find the silent treatment as one of the most powerful forms to get a point across.

For example, when you do something wrong and a parent does not talk to you. Sometimes the silent treatment can go ono for days (if you have done something that the parent really disapproved of). It makes you feel like you are abandoned. Also you do not want to have this feeling anymore. Then you just beg the parent to talk to you.

In this above example, what was the benefit of the silent treatment? Well one thing it did was that it helped the child that did a bad thing to realize what he/she did wrong. Secondly, it made him/her think about what they did, helping them to not make that same mistake twice. So in this silent treatment case, saying nothing was more powerful than saying nothing.

The reason why I bring this silent treatment topic up is because even though this seems like a little bump in the road in the field of the communication field, many people abuse the silent treatment. Take for example this video:

I agree that this is a hilarious video. The man in the video using the “silent treatment” gets a kick out of it, playing a practical joke on this employee. However, the use of it in this type of context takes away from the greater usage of it.

Case in point, there is a right way to use the silent treatment believe it or not. Some people choose to use it the right way, and others choose to misuse it.