My Social Media Semester

How Smart Are You Online?

What It Means to be Media Literate

Being “Media Literate” to me basically means that you are smart about what you post on social media and also knowing how to use the internet in a positive way. I think the Media is anything on the internet and also people who take pictures, interview, and write blogs that are then posted on the internet. I also consider paparazzi as media, but they honestly don’t care what they post as long as it gets them their pay check. Most people nowadays have at least one social media account, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any of those dating sites. With that comes with responsibility and being smart about what you post and share with others. Being “literate” means to be educated, or being able to read and write. To be properly literate online, people must understand that what they post is out there forever. We must be smart about what goes out there and realize that any small negative post can ruin reputations for a long time and sometimes even for good. Don’t get me wrong, there is no problem with being social on the internet and having different accounts online, but being educated about the safety precautions and conscientious of what you post is very important. Since technology and social media has grown so quickly throughout the past 30-40 years, as important as it is to be smart about posts, its also important to be able to use the internet and social sites in a positive way.

Could YOU Do It?

My Experience With Going 24 Hours Without Social Media

24 hours, 1 day. Didn’t seem like much to me without going or posting on social media, a challenge we were given in Language Arts class. This challenge to me honestly seemed like a piece of cake, until I actually had to do it. As terrible as it sounds, I couldn’t do a whole day! Not because I was so desperate to post statuses, pictures or see what everyone else was up to, but because I realized that clicking on the Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat application on my phone had become a voluntary motion for me. I’d unknowingly go on to Twitter, start scrolling through my timeline, and then remember the challenge and quickly get off. It was like this for Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat as well, I couldn’t believe it. I did however catch myself every time I was about to post something, so I got that far! This little experiment was a true eye opener, technology and social media controls our lives! I’m definitely going to focus more on not being so consumed in my phone and on social media. It’s sad that if you really aren’t careful, you could really end up on the internet for hours without even realizing it. Technology is always improving and new sites and apps are always coming out for our entertainment and, what we don’t want to admit, sometimes out undivided attention. I challenge you all to try and go a full day without using social media, you may be surprised at the results. Could you do it?

Social Media Controlling Society

Are We Shielded From The Bigger Issues? (Life of a Prole)

"They were born, they grew up in the gutters, they went to work at twelve, they passed through a brief blossoming period of beauty and sexual desire, they married at twenty, they were middle-aged at thirty, they died, for the most part at sixty. Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer and, above all, gambling filled up the horizons of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”

This is a quote from Georgia Orwell's novel, 1984. As you can see, that society is pretty messed up. Our society today is nothing like this, thank goodness. The question I was asked today is "Do you think that social media, sports, movies, reality TV all play a part of 'controlling society' so we don't have to think about the bigger issues that affect our world today." Truth is, I don't agree with this to a certain extent. Movies, songs, and social media all in some way or another portray the real world AND a fantasy world. There are plenty of movies that are real-life stories, plenty of songs that talk about real life struggles, and social media has plenty of news articles and blogs about real things going on today.

As most humans do, we all dream of a fantasy world where everything is perfect in our eyes. As far as movies, songs, and social media goes, the same can be said for those. There are plenty of fictional movies, books, articles, and even songs that sing about fictional events in life. I believe that writers, producers, and artists can express whatever they want to in their works whether it is true or not and I honestly believe there is a fair balance of both topics. That's what's so awesome about America, we are able to express whatever we want however we want to do so. With all of this being said, I don't think that we are trying to "control society" to sway one way or another. Big issues are discussed and made known to a certain extent on social medias. Yes, sometimes society could do a better job with making these things known and actually acting on it, but as far as media is concerned, I truly think that we are doing just fine. :)

FactChecking America's 2016 Presidential Candidates is a website created to check the truths on any article or fact that is exposed on social media and/or TV. As the race for the President of the United States continues, candidates will say and do just about anything to get your vote. A way that you can see if what you're hearing and seeing is the REAL deal, is to go check out this awesome website.

I recently read an article on titled, "FactChecking the Seventh Democratic Debate". As it is known, the last remaining senators for the Democratic Party are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. On March 6, the Democratic debate was hosted by CNN in Flint, Michigan. Many accusations, "facts" and "promises" were thrown out of both Clinton and Sanders' mouths. But from that dialogue, what was actually true? This website listed out 6 big "wrongs" of the candidates, 2 of those being Hillary's "claim" to have "scolded Wall Street executives for 'wrecking the economy', and Sanders' PROMISE that "the US would no longer have the world's largest prison population by the end of his first presidential term". FactCheck's articles on these two topics give the real scoop on what's really going on behind these bold statements. Back in December of 2007 when this Wall Street conversation was happening, Clinton's actual response to her audience was, "Now these economic problems are certainly not all Wall Street's fault- not by a long shot" Hmm, doesn't sound very much like a scolding to me Hillary! Second, Bernie's "promise" to reduce the prison population is just simply unrealistic. Unless Bernie has figured out a way to predict the future, I don't even consider believing this statement. FactCheck assures us that this is unreasonable because a chart (on the site) shows that our incarceration population has been well over 2 million since the early 2000's (currently 2.2 million), nothing like that is going to drastically change over the course of one presidential term. Sorry, Bernie.

As you can see, it is very important to check your facts if you can. Especially on those people running to try and become the leader of our free nation, we don't want liars or promises that can't be kept. Don't get me wrong, it's important for candidates to think and dream big, it's important for us all to do that. But, every now and then a little FactCheck never hurt anyone, just brought out the truth!

The Cuban Revolution

On March 10th, 1952, General Fulgencio Batista overthrew president of Cuba Carlos Prìo Socarrás, and canceled all elections. At the time, this deeply angered young lawyer Fidel Castro. For the next 7 years, Castro led many attacks to try and defeat Batista and have him step down as leader. In July of 1953, Castro led a big attack against Batista's military barracks in Santiago. Castro was defeated and sentenced to 15 years in prison but Batista let him out after 2 to show his power. However, this did not stop Castro and finally on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro defeated General Batista, forced him to resign, and Batista fled the country. Castro named himself "President for Life" and was willing to punish anyone who tried to take that away from him. For Cuba, this revolution was a turning point in history. Cuba became an important source of support for the global power of the Soviet Union.

This revolution is significant because it shows the power of will. If you believe something is wrong, don't be afraid to make a stand. Even though Cuba is a communist country, which I don't support, I do applaud Castro in his dedication to making a change.

Technology and Surveillance....Getting Out of Hand?

In 1984, the country of Oceania is completely overtaken by the idea of "Big Brother". "Big Brother" being the know-all see-all be-all of this society and making all citizens live a rather robotic lifestyle. Constant surveillance every day as well as a numerous amount of restrictions. Winston does not enjoy living this way and the whole book of 1984 is him breaking the rules daily and trying to figure out a way to put an end to the madness.

You may be thinking, "how does this relate to Edward Snowden?" Well, Edward Snowden was a member of the NSA and worked closely with the government. He is known because of the decision he made to leak out top secret disturbing information about the NSA and their ability to track and listen in to US citizens daily lives and businesses. Snowden was around something that disturbed him and something that was wrong, so, he decided to speak out about it. Winston is the same was except he has not found the courage to speak out in public about his society, because if he were to, he would be vaporized. This is what makes the two different, one found the courage and the other is still looking for it.

Mr. Kaku's video, "The Dark Side of Technology", really opened my eyes about how dangerous technology can really be these days. If we are not careful, technology will continue to get into the wrong hands and we could end up with some huge problems in our world. I think this relates to both 1984 and Edward Snowden's case. Snowden was trying to warn us and bring alarm to the amount of power technology has given the NSA. While Winston's society has already been taken over by rulers who've chosen to use technology in a negative way.

O'Brien and Winston: Victims or Villians of and for the government

In 1984, O'Brien is definitely a villain for the government. In the beginning of his role in the book, he acts has a great friend to Winston. They both had talks of the "brotherhood" and Winston felt he could open up to O'Brien about his feelings of hatred toward The Party. Little did Winston know that later on O'Brien would be the rat who got Winston sent to the Ministry of Love to be unbearably tortured. Towards the end of the book, we come to find out that O'Brien is completely brain washed by Big Brother and there is not turning back for him. This leads me to prove my point that O'Brien is more of a villian than a victim of the government because he chose to willingly give himself up to the Party.

Winston, in my opinion, is a victim of the government in 1984. All throughout the book, Winston rebels and talks about his hatred for the government. Although it's his own fault for getting caught, Winston remains a victim because of all of the horrible things the party members put him though in the Ministry of Love.

1984 Smore

"Sex, love, and loyalty are ideas eradicated by the Party."

Seen throughout Orwell’s 1984, is a common theme of “sex, love and loyalty are ideas that are eradicated by the party.” In Oceania’s dystopian society, The Party and “Big Brother” are the only two things that any person should have love for and be loyal to. Citizens are brainwashed to display zero humanistic qualities, emotions and feelings are not to be shown whether they are positive or negative. “Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy or living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves” (Orwell 256 Bk 3, Ch 2). As we know, our emotions and feelings are what make us individual and human. With that being said, we can see throughout 1984 that the main object of The Party is to strip away all signs of humanity in a person and replace those thoughts into someone who is utterly loyal and expresses unconditional love to Big Brother and no one else.

Reflection One

Reflection on my Media Literacy Course, 2016

After looking back on my very first s’more, “What it Means to be Media Literate”, I’d have to say I couldn’t agree with myself more! I feel that I’ve always been one to be smart on the internet as well as being conscientious of what I post and how it can effect others. I feel that my views have deepened in aspects such as speaking out about something you feel strongly towards on the internet. After learning about Edward Snowden, I was amazed at his courage but also could not believe he leaked top secret information! To me, it is more than okay to speak your mind and beliefs on social media, just in a way that is appropriate and doesn’t cross any legal boundaries.

I learned a lot in this class, I enjoyed talking about up-to-date topics and learning about people such as Snowden and reading 1984. I think 1984 fit in perfectly with this class because it was such an unusual book but and although it was written several years ago, at the same time it related to topics in our world today. This class is definitely different than any other language arts class I’ve taken throughout my schooling career. I enjoyed the seminars, videos, s’mores, and projects we did to help us better understand the social world around us. As I mentioned, I really enjoyed talking about more current, up-to-date subjects instead of reading through an old literature book and taking written multiple choice tests that I never really knew how to study for. This class’s “testing” came at a different approach and I enjoyed being able to write more and debate on things in seminars as a test grade.

Staying aware of what I post on social media and encouraging others to do the same is the main thing I will take away from this class, as that being a life-long lesson.

Some things that could be done differently in this class would be maybe a few more different essays and possibly another book to read! As I enjoyed 1984, it may be fun to start reading a more up-to-date book! I thoroughly enjoyed this course and the lessons I learned will definitely benefit me throughout life!

Prince Ea: "Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?" (YouTube Video)

Over the course of the last 10-15 years, society has become obsessed with technology and it is hard for us to just disconnect sometimes. Where exactly did this come from? We can’t seem to pinpoint the exact time that social media has completely over taken our lives, but in fact, it has.

We’ve come to have a very unhealthy relationship with the internet and social media. The internet has so much more to offer us, and yet we choose to be engrossed by things such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. It is amazing how it is so hard for us to talk in person or hangout and do something besides sit in silence while our faces are buried into our devices. It’s hard to say what can be done about this now because it seems society is just so far gone. You can’t force people to change, it has to be willingly or else it would not work.

Although there are many benefits of social media and exploring the internet, we have become more often than not addicted to it all in the unhealthiest way. It cannot be said for certain whether or not this “addiction” can be controlled or not, because not many people have tried! Since addictions usually follow under the category of drugs and foods, we don’t pay much attention to this one because we may look at it as harmless. However, this sometimes seems just as much harmful as any other addiction. People who continue to be addicted to social media will find themselves to be utterly alone and sad. Why would you want to waste your life away buried in a computer or phone screen when you could be spending quality time with family or friends? Instead of wondering and watching what their doing on the internet, wouldn’t it be greater if you could just go be with them doing those fun things you always see on their Snapchat story?

I truly do not think I am a slave to social media or am I addicted to it. Yes, I do have all the accounts on Twitter, Facebook, etc, but I would much rather be outside with friends or be in the company of things/people other than my phone! I will encourage people to do the same, to get out more. Every now and then I can “tweet” or post something about this matter because I know most people will see it. We can really become a much more educated society if we start using the internet more for research and educational purposes than just something to sit on the couch and do all day long. Society needs to be more inspired to get up and go and I want to help make that change!