A Meaningful Finish

Victoria Trainer

Journal 1 - Media Literacy

I think that media is any mean of communication that is not just word of mouth. This would include things like commercials, billboards, social media, books, newspapers, and magazines. The television is important because it gives us access to media through news programs, television shows, and advertisements. Computers, smartphones, and tablets are another source of being able access media through the internet. To be media literate to me means that someone can read a newspaper, book, or magazine and be able to get the message out of it. As our technology has evolved rapidly so has our media literacy requirements. I think in order to be truly media literate today, one must be able to understand how to use either a computer, smartphone, or tablet usually in order to access the internet. The internet is has become essential for a lot of people, and a lot of time is devoted into making sure everyone around the world can access it. People have access to any type of news that they could ever imagine though the internet. Some publishers have both print and online versions available, and other publishers have taken it a step further by only publishing online, which makes it even more important that people are media literate. Just like how everyone must practice reading in order to become literate, everyone must practice using other forms of media in order to become media literate. I know I didn’t know how to use a computer when I was first presented with one, and now I am proficient in being able to use computers that run on both Windows and Mac operating systems. Media literacy will continue to evolve as new technology is released, and society should strive to keep its people media literate so they know how to use these tools.

Journal 2 - 24 Hours w/o Social Media


Every day I roll over, turn on the Weather Channel, and pick up my phone. Usually I only have a couple of notifications - new Instagram likes if I've recently posted a picture, a few snaps from German friends or night owls, and maybe a Facebook notification telling me it’s someone’s birthday or a new message from my English friend. Throughout the day I stay connected with people through both Snapchat and Facebook messenger, so when Ms. Lowe posed the challenge of going 24 hours without social media I genuinely wanted to try, but I had a bad feeling that maybe I am little too connected to my phone. The challenge started at 4:00pm, so that left me with almost two hours to get my fix in after school. I chose to first contact my European friends since I knew they were going to bed soon anyway, then I snapped all of my friends in college who I no longer get to see daily. After I finished doing that it was only 3:30pm so I wasn’t too worried. I ate and did some chores to keep my mind off of my phone in general. My sister asked me to take her somewhere so she could get her violin back, and on my way there at 4:10pm I hear a little buzz and see the yellow notification light for Snapchat. I ignored it. I got home around 4:20pm and I took a nap until 5:00pm, which meant that there would be no way for me to be checking social media. I woke up from that and saw 3 notifications: there was one from Instagram, one from Facebook, and one from Facebook Messenger. Seeing as they were not very pressing matters, I was again able to ignore it and get ready for the gym. On my way to the gym, my sister asked if I could play her a certain song, and to do that I would have to go on Youtube, so instead I just played her something I already had on my phone. I worked out for an hour and felt great due to those post exercise endorphins. I was also excited since I found out that my trainer’s birthday falls on February 25th and I really wanted to throw a pizza party for that. We were all giggling and joking about how we would throw him a kid’s birthday party and that’s when I remembered that he had posted a picture for #tbt on Instagram that was both hilarious and cute, and that’s when at about 7:00pm I broke my challenge by finding that picture so we could all get a good laugh in.

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This is the picture that caused me to go onto social media.
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Out of all social media apps, I frequent Snapchat the most.

Journal 3 - Advertisements

Everyday we are constantly bombarded with advertisements. It’s become impossible to escape them. I know that when I used to look at these advertisements I would long to be that 5’10” model who weighs only 115lbs. They always seemed so happy advertising whatever product they were paid to endorse, and of course they always were able to attract men that were just as good looking. At 120lbs I weighed more than a lot of these models and I am usually at least half of a foot shorter than them, so I wanted to know how they stayed so thin. It was not too shocking to find out most of them suffered from eating disorders, but what really struck me was the effects of the eating disorders, especially the deaths that have stemmed from them. Luisel Ramos was a Brazilian model who died from heart failure at the age of 22, and her younger sister died less than a year later. Both deaths were caused by complications due to anorexia. It was when I stumbled upon that case that I wanted no part in being that thin. While some models really are naturally thin, the majority of them do not eat much and/or get help from a team of artists who will then use photoshop once the shoot is over. I believe if society really knew what goes on behind the scenes of these models lives, we wouldn’t glamorize the “thin” look, and instead embrace more sizes and shapes. We have taken some steps to fixing this problem such as banning size zero models, but I highly doubt that the beauty and fashion industry want us to know how edited these models are or else they would not be able to sell their products as effectively. Girls everyday are choosing to risk their lives and harm their health just to look like these models who don’t actually exist in reality. Another thing is that I feel that women in advertisements should get to look just as powerful as their male counterparts. It really bothers me that not a lot of companies are using their brand to break stereotypes. Why don’t high end luxury brands depict a strong independent woman wearing their clothes and accessories instead of an over sexualized model who just cares about doing edgy things like drugs or boys? I feel like they should be the first ones to depict strong women since their stuff is expensive because it’s hard working women that are the ones mostly able to afford it. For a little over two years now I have been very skeptical of advertisements not only because the companies creating them allow for questionable practices, but also because sometimes their ads have nothing to do with their product. While I must concede that I do enjoy funny advertisement, the majority of them do not appeal to me. I do also think the presentation made a good point about speaking up to those making these harmful ads.

Journal 4 - Fact Checking

On February 6th, the GOP held a debate New Hampshire, during which Florida Senator Marco Rubio stated that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton "believes all abortions should be legal even on the due date.” Clinton was quick to respond that his claim was “pretty pathetic,” and Politifact actually looked back to her past statements and found that Rubio’s statement was indeed false. Did some people believe his statement regarding Clinton’s stance on abortion? Probably. Democrats typically support abortion, which is why his statement could potentially be taken as a fact, but obviously a simple fact check could show a candidate's beliefs. Do I personally fact check? Sometimes. Some statements really do sound believable, while others look like blatant lies. Typically I only fact check when the lie does not sound reasonable or if I want to use the fact for something. With the internet, the wealth of information available to the average citizen has exploded, which would make it impossible for me to fact check everything I come across in a day. I have also become weary of the media today because of the sensationalism that has become so popular that it skews facts. If I can google something and it is supported by more than one source, then I have no problem accepting it as a fact. Source credibility also plays a role. It is much easier to trust the NASA website than it is to trust a fact some random school teacher in South Carolina posted.

Journal 5

The October Revolution

WHY?

The Russian Revolution was a two-part series of events that took place in February and October of 1917. After Russia’s poor performance in WWI, Tsar Nicholas II had no choice but to abdicate the throne leaving in place a weak provisional government. The Bolsheviks, which means part of the majority in Russian, were a branch of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party led by Vladimir Lenin. They saw that this provisional government was capable of nothing and took advantage of it by staging a failed coup in July and a second one in October, which was successful. They went in and took over the government buildings in Petrograd, which was the capital of Russia at the time.

WHAT?

Russia is a huge country full of many people. The Romanov dynasty, which had ruled for over 300 years in Russia, was finally coming to an end. Members of the Bolsheviks included Trotsky, who led the coup, Lenin, who would go on to lead Russia during his death, and the infamous Stalin who took Lenin’s place. Russia went from a monarchy to a socialist nation. The change in power would lead to the Russian Civil War and eventually Russia would amass more land and become the Soviet Union. Once the Bolsheviks took charge, Russia was turned upside down. Laws were amended, including those involving marriage, the church became a victim of the Bolsheviks wrath, those who were left of the provisional government were arrested, and the banks were nationalized. Lenin also tried to keep his new government pure and would not let non-Bolsheviks have positions with any sort of power to rule.

TECHNIQUES:

The Party needed immense support. While the Bolsheviks called themselves the majority, they really were not at first. They appealed to the Russian peasants who were oppressed under the Romanov Dynasty by promising land. By using the simplistic slogan “peace, land, and bread” they were able to clearly get their message across and gain their supporters. The Bolsheviks did not shed much blood, though, when they actually took over. They simply occupied the buildings until the provisional government gave them what they wanted.


Works Cited:

"Russian Revolution." Infoplease. Columbia University Press, 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.

Journal 6 - Torture & Responsibility

O’Brien may very well have started out as a victim like Winston is right now, but I have no doubt that O’Brien is now a villain. He has tortured Winston to his breaking point, and even though O’Brien has not killed Winston, I believe that what he is doing is far worse than death. How do I know that O’Brien is a villain? He has explicitly stated that “we shall crush you down to the point from which there is no coming back,” and that tells me that even if there is someone ordering him to do all of these terrible things that he knows exactly what he is doing (Orwell 256). O’Brien is a person, and people should be held accountable for their own actions. He firmly believes that what the party is doing is the correct way to conduct Oceania's affairs, and if someone were to be punished for torturing Winston and the countless number of other party members who met the same fate, it would have to be both O’Brien and whoever is above him who either ordered O’Brien to do it or let this happen. In a case like this, everyone is wrong. The only victim is the one receiving the torture. The person administering the torture can me the conscious decision not to. The person overseeing the person who is torturing others is guilty even if he did not order the other person to because it is their job to make sure the other person is acting appropriately. If one is aware of another person being tortured and they are not trying to stop it, I think they are guilty because they are allowing the problem to be perpetuated.

Journal 7 - Reflection

Originally, I thought being media literate was just being able to understand the message of the content one was viewing and knowing how to use technology to access content. Now I place less emphasis on knowing how to use technology, and more on truly being able to see the message. Computers and other technology are becoming intuitive and others around can help make navigating a piece of equipment easier, which is why I place less emphasis on this point. After going through this class, I have realized getting the message out of something is much harder than knowing how to use a computer. For example, almost anyone can pull out a computer, fire it up, and access a news article, but not everyone can accurately read and fully understand the article. I learned that by writing a few precis in this class. While I was definitely literate before entering this class, my ability to analyze a piece of content for its true meaning has matured. Not everything was written for me as a target audience in mind, and some pieces are written so that different audiences may take a message corresponding to themselves away, like something may call for politicians to do one thing and citizens to do another thing. I also learned to try and be more aware of what is happening in the world around us, because it is more dystopian than I thought. I feel like this class was great because there were many opportunities for us to express our opinions and gain insight from other classmates. This whole semester has felt like one long conversation, which I genuinely enjoyed. Other language arts classes felt like they had no flow, because each new unit had little to do with the last one, and in here I felt like they were all connected. The only thing I would change is the way we do socratic seminars. I feel like it would be better if we did them in small groups and rotated in order to make it easier to hear a bunch of different classmates’ opinions. Overall, I really enjoyed the class.

Journal 8

Having gone through a lot of personal growth this semester, I have learned that I was once addicted to social media, but that addiction is so easy to break. People must simply make the choice to live their lives. I got a job this semester to pad my pockets before heading off to college, which broke my addiction. I used to check social media when I woke up, on my way to school, during school, and pretty much all the time once I was home. Now it’s more like once or twice a day. I value the time I have with my family way more now because I do not get to see them as often even though we live in the same house. I cannot imagine how little time I was truly spending with them before. By working every day, I have sacrificed quantity, but I have so much more quality time with them. I feel like people around me are definitely addicted. The easiest example I can come up with is my own boyfriend who prefers to scroll through Facebook at dinner instead of talking to me. It is hurting us because I feel like I only see the back of his phone and feel like I have to text him in order to communicate. It is not healthy, but it is so controllable. All it would take is to put the device down. We need to remember we live in the now or else we will lose the limited time we do have. I will admit I used to be an obnoxious person who takes pictures of their food, but now I have decided that by pulling out my phone I am distancing myself from the moment I am in. I would never say social media is horrible, but there is a responsible way to go about it. When something major in my life happens that I would like to share with those who do not live near me, I post on social media. There is not a need to be on it every day, and a couple of weeks ago, a parent at my daycare asked if I had my prom pictures on me and my first question was “Can I add you on Facebook so you can see?” Her immediate was response was that she was not on Facebook, proving that not everyone everywhere is on social media. Just a couple of decades ago, most people did not even have a computer and certainly not a cell phone. It is mind blowing how far we have come. Social media awards us instant gratification, which makes people feel good, so they post more and stay on it until it spirals out of control. The easiest way to free yourself is just to log out and let go, because for the average user, what is happening on social media usually does not matter once they log off, but the connections you make with those in real life are so much more important.