Two Sides to Media and Technology

Can we change?

Media and Media Literacy

Often when people come across the term “media” they often associate it with television broadcasts, news, or TV shows. However, the media is much more than your simple ‘weather forecast’ of the day.

The Media is a home body of tools to access information for almost anything. Information, in the form of videos, articles, books, tabloids, magazines, and just about anything that pertains to “news, celebrity gossip and information, movies, TV shows, and DIY projects, is what’s often associated with media. Media is often worldly or ubiquitous. The media bombards us with information that pertains to all kinds of events and information. The media introduces us to information about many aspects of our lives that we have not come across. Media has opened doors for me to look into different cultures, perspectives, and worldly views.

In addition, what is fascinating about the media is that it can be used for several purposes. For example, media can be used as advertisements, spreading the “word”, giving people access to resources, and much more. It seems as though that the media has grown with the progress of technology. As we begin to expand our horizons, we also expand the tools that are used for media.

To be media literate in my words is to be able to interpret and access information issued to the public. Media literacy is so wide ranging and innovative that it is present in our lives almost everywhere. The basis of media literacy can be rooted towards simple figurative language, usage of words, and symbols to interpret what the piece of “artifact” given is trying to illustrate.

Hands off Technology

What started off as a simple "hands-off" task was unarguably a way to show students of our subliminal addiction to social media. Here is the scenario, Ms. Gray gave students of her 12th grade class the task for students to not touch or access any social media apps or websites via phone, computer, or any electronic device. I, a student of hers, found it overbearingly agitating. "How could I not go on snap chat without watching people's snap-stories?" "Are other people struggling with this?" That's when I realized right, then and there that our, the youth's, world is revolved around technology and its social media. "How could we go on our lives normally without technology?" We have been spoon-fed, for years and years to come, information and absorbed "luxuries" that our previous ancestors and grandparents could not even comprehend. Technology has boomed and is an ever-changing phenomenon that baffles me today with its inner quirks and fallacies. I just keep on thinking, "I can't wait for the "F.R.I.E.N.D.S" re-union on SNL." What a wonderful world we truly live in, Stevie Wonder.

Social Media Distracts Us-1984

As a generation that has grown accustomed to technology, it is hard to separate us from social media. Social Media has encompassed our lives and has created a template to where we can share, tweet, post, and upload images, thoughts, and information about ourselves. As a result to this continuously growing medium (social media), we are increasingly becoming more distracted and more ignorant on issues that pertain to the world today. We are guilty of Murrow’s escapism and we have executed it quite flawlessly, undetected from ourselves. It is hard for us to comprehend just how much Social Media has affected us. To this day, I do not even know the extent to which social media has grown to influence us.

Simply put, its easy to go on Social Media than do homework, ignoring problems.

This trend has become very problematic as "Social media" is not a bad thing at all, it can teach, entertain, and illuminate us on many things, yet it boggles down to us, the consumers on how we utilize this newfound information and what we do with it. When you juxtapose the distractions that we have today with 1984's "distractions" it is quite ironic in that respectively we willingly distract ourselves and in the case of 1984, the government distracts its citizens. In 1984, many of the citizens never have solitude or are alone in their thoughts as it draws in controversy of “thoughtcrime”. As a result, the government has created many activities and community events to “distract” their citizens of what’s happening out there. Even in the prole society where there is less government control, the prole’s have their “lotteries, beer, makeup, and shows.” The distractions that the fictional characters of 1984 have actually relate to us today; we share similar distractions.

The Importance of Fact Checking

Flint Water Crisis: Will the Children be Taken Away?

Throughout the dystopian unit, we have learned the importance of evidence and facts. Often, the citizens of 1988 are submerged in ever-changing facts and history, to the point where citizens have become accustomed to this trend and have shown signs of blatant ignorance. The protagonist often has a battle within himself where he sometimes can not apprehend what is real and what isn't. This is where fact-checking can come of great convenience to us where we can take advantage of opportunities of "double-checking" our resources to get refined facts. Fact-checking is a great tool to be more educated in things that concern many world-related issues. Social Media often provides younger audiences like me numerous information that can often be skewed or exaggerated to grab attention. Yet this can be often problematic as we've seen in "1984", as distorting truths can lead to an addictive routine towards falsified and misled information. Through fact-checks, people can be given an extra reassurance of facts and information, or "reality".

Currently, in Flint, Michigan, residents have been susceptible to corrosive lead-filled water. this has brought upon a wide set of financial problems, health problems, and political problems. Many kids who drank this corrosive water have been reported to have higher lead contents, behavioral problems, and many disease causing agents have been linked to this. As a result, many families and residents have refused to pay for this "water" and have been struggling to find other resources of water. Rumors have gone so far as to say that the CPS would remove children from their homes if families continued to refuse to pay. In other words, if families did not "provide" water for their kids, the companies would report this as an act of neglect towards children and warned that the Children Protection Services would intervene. In reality, the article had "extrapolated two unrelated facts" (LaCapria). This idea that the CPS would remove children from families was more of a stretch and misled information. This is a great example of how fact-checking can really have a significant impact as it provides evidence and elucidates any confusion.

When I found out the internet was not as trustworthy as my gullible mind perceived it as, I started to fact-check information more often. Surprisingly, media can really distort information to one perspective. Whenever any novel ideas or news about current events come across conversations I fact-check it. Fact-checking is a great resource that many people should make a habit of using. It is so easy to succumb to what most people say, and people do not check if that is accurate or not. We have gotten so lazy that we trust what others or the media may say.

Fact-checking is very important to make sure your information, data, and facts are up to date and are accurate. In school, college, and anywhere in the world you wouldn't want to present misleading or false information. Not only will it look foolish to present false information, but also will discredit you as a reliable source or resource.

Rebellions- The Gang of 8

Failed Rebellion- The significance and how it would have changed history?

The significance of the “Gang of 8” was that if it was successful history would have greatly contrasted to what it is now. For one instance, the USSR and communist regime would be very much intact. Gorbachev during this time was in power and partnered two novel concepts: perestroika and glasnost. Respectively, the concepts called for political restructuring and openness in Russia’s economy. Many of the countries that the Soviet Union had taken up were rebelling and obtaining independence, such as Latvia, Georgia, and Lithuania. The Gang of 8 saw this as a fall-out with the Soviet Union regime and attempted to remind these rebelling countries of its place by attempting a coup within the USSR’s government by replacing Gorbachev with vice president Gennady Yaneyev. The Gang of 8 wanted to replace the current administration to a more ‘communist” leader, Yaneyev. The Gang of 8 or ‘putsch’ geared support by advocating the need to revolt against Gorbachev to restore “Russia’s hegemony” and dominance throughout the world.

However, their plan had fallen apart when Yaneyev had appeared to be drunk or in a state of unconsciousness at a public speaking. This deteriorated the legitimacy and power the ‘putsch’ had in the government. In addition, the Gang of 8 failed to comprehend one of Lenin’s teachings which stated that communications must be in control during a coup, which they failed to do. As a result, they were not successful in assembling a task force to enforce Gorbachev’s surrender when citizens who were pro-reform assembled against the army tank’s the putsch had gathered. People were actually against the revolution that went against Gorbachev’s reforms.

This just goes to show how easily revolutions can crumble through ‘leaking out information’, as if they did not remember the ‘Guy Fawke’s incident’, and the need for a good support base group. If executed successfully, the coup would have been a huge game changer, it would establish Soviet Union as a greater player in world politics and the USSR would still be hear taunting many independent countries.

The biggest "hiccup" that hindered their success was not keeping their information in control. Anything pro-democracy or civil liberties, people will support. Thus, as soon as citizens found that the putsch were pushing for more control within the government and its citizens. The citizens rendered their whole support for Gorbachev and blocked their attempts, against army tanks, against government leaders.

Edward Snowden and Winston

Currently, we live in a world filled with TV screens, computers, video games, and cellular devices. It seems as though we are constantly online and often unknowingly give people access to our own personal information willingly.

However, this people became more vulnerable in the case of privacy, as technology was still a new concept and quickly growing. When Edward Snowden published works of the NSA’s massive data collection of people’s locations, phone calls, transactions, and interactions, this came as very shocking and revealed the lengths the government would exercise domestic surveillance among America’s citizens. Since technology was a broad and novel-playing field, the NSA was able to collect data of people’s activities without any limitations.

Winston and Edward Snowden are very similar in that they both are exposed to the truth and lies that their government conducts. In 1984, Winston has the knowledge of all the government’s lies and manipulation they put people under. Winston’s job consists of fabricating documents and media to corroborate with the government’s statements and claims. Unknowingly this grants him the luxury of having information of how the government is changing ‘history’, the facts, ‘the past’, and overall media manipulation. Edward Snowden has access to all NSA’s disturbing surveillance of the public and how they executed it.

Although both figures find the flaws within their own government, Winston fails to expose and divulge the information given. Edward Snowden, who was a subcontractor for the NSA, was able to leak government secrets about the NSA’s current domestic surveillance. Snowden conducted his big “show and tell” under a safety net, as he sought refuge in Hong Kong, China. In contrast,

Winston lives in a society that is constantly monitored through telescreens and hidden microphones that are hard to escape, thus Winston has no privacy.

In addition, Winston has no rights to protect him for the government, as the government consistently changes the rules and past. Edward Snowden was able to expose information pleading to the first amendment granted to every American citizen.

The big moral or message to what this reflection piece is supposed to show is the dangers of technology and how Orwell had cautioned the public of how easy the public would be able to manipulate, control, and monitor through the use of technology.

1984 theme

Throughout the dystopian novel, "1984, by George Orwell, the audience is immersed in a world of oppression, deceit, and inhumane citizens. One of the biggest underlying themes throughout the book is the matter of information, independent thought, language, and freedom as manipulated. Many examples of how the government distorts the truth is through the Ministry of Truth which rewrites history in accordance with the Party, the children's history books that teach of the Party's upbringing and what the past was like, distortion of "freedom" in the minds of Oceania's citizens,and the New speak language, which limits the cognitive ability of Oceania's citizens through the simple elimination and range of words. This debunking of words renders independent thought even more elusive by the citizens of Oceania. As it is specifically stated by Winston's friend Syme, "Don't you see the aim of New speak is to limit the range of thought?... The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now" (Orwell 52-53). This statement corroborates the Party manipulating it's citizens by creating a new language that profoundly limits the citizens vocabulary. The whole elimination of words is to eliminate the need for people to think or further elaborate on their words. This creates an ignorant society in which is more malleable through the hands of the Party. Surprisingly, the theme of information, media, and literature manipulation pertains to China today. China's government has had a history of tight control over its citizens and it still is in works today, as access to information on the internet is heavily monitored. This includes one of the most horrific actions that China's government had executed in 1989, the infamous "Tiananmen Square Massacre." To this day, many of China's citizens either have no idea of what events had ensued.

Prediction of Winston's state: The Victim or the Villain

Winston will be a victim of the government. Once Winston succumbs physically and mentally to the torture and punishment; Winston will forget all his beliefs and ideas. Winston throughout the torture begins to believe all the Party's claims and statements, thus Winston is giving into O'Brien's brainwashing. To this point, Winston believes in the government but does not love it. His love is towards Julie, which O'Brien acknowledges and decides that it is not enough for Winston to believe in the government but he most love Big Brother. The final straw is when Winston goes into Room 101 and faces his biggest fear. Winston finds himself distraught and defeated; he no longer finds the meaning in love, relationships, or Julia. Winston had betrayed his love for Julia by simply requesting that the punishment of rats be wrought upon her as Winston screams "Do it Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care what you do to her! Tear her face off! Strip her to the bones! Not me! Julia! Not me!" (Orwell ch.5). Winston has sucessfully become brainwashed and betrayed all meaning of defiance against the government. Winston had abdicated his state as "the Last Man of Hope", as he rendered his relationship with Julia no longer existent.

Reflection One - Media

In the beginning of the course, media came across as only a tool of pro innovation that could not be used for anything else than to present information.

Now, my views on media have changed substantially. Media, to me, is still innovative and ever changing; however, I understand how manipulative technology can be and how the use of media can be distorted to someone’s advantage. Media can be used as a tool of control and manipulation. Never have I ever thought media could be used for bad; through the analysis of many dystopian novels, I saw the use of media to coax others to a certain viewpoint. This becomes very alarming because most people revolve and depend around technology; therefore this proves how easily manipulated people will be if technology is ever used to distort the truth or facts. What’s worse is that our generation has become so dependent and addicted to technology that people have adopted a habit of ignorance and a sheltered culture. Many people do not understand what’s going on outside of their devices.

I found that literature, although it may have been written in the past or present, is a great harbinger. Throughout the course, dystopian novels have cautioned its audience of the dangers of technology and government control.

Colleges and universities do not give you the leniency and flexibility that high schools give you. This class has really prepared me for how colleges perceive students and what they expect from them. I understand now that to obtain the grade that I want I really have to examine the requirements and work to my best abilities. I understand through all the various comments on my précis and essays that I need to be more concise with my words and that often I do not need to write a detailed background of the assignment. Most of my language arts teachers have noted this fallacy of mine, yet I have failed to acknowledge it till now. I understand how college professors would want my essays to be and I understand what my revisions should be about.

Even though it was hard to keep up with assignments, I understand what was expected of this class. This class was pretty challenging because I was a senior but I understand that is no excuse. To be honest, this class had the right amount of work that would be expected for a Pre-AP language arts class. This class has taught me to become a better writer, I have seen a huge improvement from my previous grades till now. I understand that through hard work and perseverance I can get a better grade and become better at that skill. In the future, I would love for the future students to have more Socratic seminars it really opened up our class to interpretations and different perspectives, and we did it in a respectful way. The seminars helped us really engage in the book and go deeper to what the book’s underlying meaning may have been.

Reflection Two- Addiction to Technology

We have an unhealthy relationship with technology; originally designed to keep us connected, it has done the exact opposite and I whole-heartedly agree. To ensure that this does not become permanent we need to change our attitudes and behaviors. We need to see the change in ourselves. We can start off by making suggestions to friends and families to better improve our relationships with them not through calls, texts, or videos but by physical interactions. We need to set a goal within ourselves to limit the use of technology and its devices. We should all download a program that would limit the amount of time we engage on the ‘social sphere’ and actually make relationships. We can unite and engage in more group activities, help within the community, and establish new relationships. We are much more than a status update, a post, or an online friend; we can efface the use of posting “present” things and engage in it. We have abused and overused technology.

To cut off this addiction, like most addicts, we have to recognize that we have a problem and assess the situation the best we can. So we have to truncate our dependency on technology and its devices. We need to become more innovative in how we address information, people, and resources. This will help in the long run for most job interviews, relationships, and transactions; for they all start with a simple encounter and conversation. We can start off by accessing information from different sources apart from our phone. To further prevent any more media ‘overstimulation’, we can start with the future, the children who would carry on the legacy of the present generation. Children should engage more in the ‘outside’ world and constantly use imagination instead of letting devices or technology steer the wheel. At a young age, Children are afforded the luxury of innocence and the idea of invincibility. Technology can rob children of creativity and render them mindless drones to a box.

I have highlighted many fallacies and shortcomings with technology and its devices, yet social media does have its ‘perks’. Social media can be utilized to raise awareness, stay connected within the community, establish relationships, and most importantly, unite others to a cause. Social media can be used to invent purpose or meaning for an event or activity by expounding details of the event and its background; this illustrates the cause for awareness to the event.

We can harness the power of social media and its limitless audience to make a change in the world. Social media can grant people the access of learning more information about events. To prevent myself from becoming a victim of media overstimulation, I could limit my acesss to it by only granting acess to it for few intervals of time. This way I can use most of my time to accomplish work and get things done.