Connecting with the Outside World

Nate Reichard

Journal #1

Media Literacy

Media is all around us and is readily available to us in many different forms. Whether through television, print, or on social media sites, media is our main source of news and provides us with up to date knowledge of our world. In the constantly modernizing world we live in, the accessibility of these resources has never been greater. With assistance of the Internet, it takes mere minutes now for word to spread of any noteworthy events. But with this great power also comes resulting consequences due to people’s inability to use and understand media properly. This is why the topic of media literacy is quite important and why everyone should know what it means to be media literate.

Being media literate goes beyond just understanding the definition and purpose of media, it also includes the ability to interact with media around you and understand the personal image you portray through your use of media. The inability to portray a positive image of yourself can be seen everywhere, whether it’s a professional athlete who is negatively quoted in an article or interview to the most recent derogative tweet one of your friends posted on twitter. It is important to understand what to say and when you should say it. Though media has many positives, the negatives that can derive from what you say can often times to much harm to your image as well. By being able to both understand and comprehend information obtained through media and have awareness and be able to say the proper things to the media you are on the right path towards mastering media literacy.

Journal #2

Social Media Challenge

Upon completing the 24 hour social media challenge I now realize the large role it plays in my life. I typically to not post an abundance of picture or status updates but upon having to go an entire day without it, I never would have realized how often I visit the sites. Often times when there is down time during my day, I will usually pull out my phone and check in on several apps. Usually I will open Snapchat or Twitter and see if any of my friends have posted anything recently. This has become such a habit of mine when I have down time I almost do it subconsciously. That is why while I was completing the challenge, often times, I would almost give in and open Twitter or Instagram without even really putting much thought into whether I would be breaking the challenge. This is a habit that I would like to try to break. Instead of pulling out my phone to check my notifications and updates I would much rather start a conversation with someone or found an alternative outlet to use my free time. Prior to the challenge I thought, “This shouldn’t be too hard. I use social media way less than most people”. But it turns out I was wrong and I do consume a lot of time online. Though the challenge may not have tempted me as much as others, it was still an eye opener and helped me gain awareness of how I should better manage my social media usage.

Journal #3

Gender in Advertising

I feel that historically women have always been treated and viewed in this subjective manner and I believe that it is a positive sign that we are beginning to see a gradual change in what is expected of men and women. Not only are women expected to try to live up to these standards but also men are taught from a young age to look and seek out these physical qualities in women and I believe that both of these mindsets need to be rethought out. The fact that more women are enrolled in college than men today shows the growth and greater independence that the gender has obtained and I believe that this intellectual movement will go long ways to helping improve the image portrayed by the media about the gender. Starting with the 19th amendment which granted women the right to vote, I believe that gradually women began to obtain more independence. The introduction and use of the internet though has prompted greater exploitation of women’s sexuality ultimately effecting the way the media portrays women. One of the main opponents to more realistic views of women’s looks in the media is the beauty industry. In order to sell as many products as possible, they want the bar to be set impossibly high so women buy more products yet never reach the unattainable expectation set by society. I think that it will be very difficult to completely eliminate these views of women but we can, as a society, learn to appreciate non-superficial qualities equally if not more than simply women’s appearance.

Journal #4

Presidential Fact Check

Donald Trump has been accused, by the media, of claiming to hate Muslims. Upon checking the accuracy of the media's statements regarding Trump's opinions toward religious members, I found that nowhere has he formally stated that he dislikes the religious members. He has been quoted though stating that he believes we should limit Muslim emigration into the US. Not very frequently do we, as a society, check our sources when hearing news. Often times we hear it from one source and then we become a source of news for someone else, creating a viscous cycle. Now that I have a greater awareness of the fact that this is a concerning issue, I will begin to double check and confirm the news I hear before passing it along myself.

Journal #5

Orange Revolution

Ukraine's government was holding an election in 2004. The current president had a successor that he wanted elected while majority of the people preferred another candidate. It was clear that the support for the people's candidate was far greater than his opponent's yet when the results of the election were announced, neither candidate got enough votes to win, as both candidates received around 40%. The people responded by protesting in the main square of the Kiev in mass numbers. All wearing orange, around 500,000 people arrived in the square within the first week of the news. This number would swell to around 1 million people after around a month of protesting. The main reason the rebellion was so powerful is due to its non violent nature. Because the protest was so peaceful, the Ukrainian military had no justification for breaking it up. After being pressured by the vast number of people outside of the capital building, the Parliament eventually took the side of the people and chose to vote out the current prime minister allowing for the peoples candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, to take office as president. The success of the protest showed that not all rebellions need to involve violence, when in fact large scale non violence events such as this one tend to result in less deaths and more peaceful turnover in the long run.


"Ukrainians Overthrow Dictatorship (Orange Revolution), 2004." Ukrainians Overthrow Dictatorship (Orange Revolution), 2004. Max Rennebohm, 9 Sept. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.

Journal #6

O'Brien: Victim or Villain?

O'Brien is portrayed as the main antagonist in the third book of 1984, acting as a pawn for the Party. Convinced that what he is putting Winston through is necessary in order to maintain peace throughout Oceania, he shows no remorse or hesitation for his actions. O'Brien should be looked at as a villain because all of his actions are done in order to maintain one thing... Power. As one of the inner party members, he has any luxury at his disposal and obviously will continue to try to influence society in order to maintain his power. Whether he truly believes that he is helping Winston or not, his main motive for the entire operation is to keep his power intact no matter how many people he must torture and brain wash in order to do so.

Journal #7

Reflection

At the conclusion of this class, I will take away multiple things that will help me in college and beyond. First, I was reminded of the dangers of social media and the electronic footprint that we leave behind with the photos and posts that we put on the internet. I learned to always try to look at how your daily actions will affect the big picture, no matter how minute they appear at the time. This was the message that was conveyed in my independent reading book, The Compound Effect, along with the lessons learned in our social media unit. In our Advertising unit I learned about ways that companies try to deceive and subconsciously try to draw us toward their products. I enjoyed our unit on totalitarian states and how they surpass the media and ways that people learn about things. I also learned about satire, in its many forms, and ways that it can be used positively to invoke change within our society. I would not consider this class conventional in structure. We did not take any written tests, nor were we required to memorize vocab or sharpen our grammar skills. We were given opportunities to reflect on our lives and were able to improve our habits that we use while interacting with media. Because of this class I truly feel that I have become more media literate over the past semester. Overall there would be few things that I would change about the course. I enjoyed the interactive activities, the movies we watched and the novel that we read. After taking three and a half years of standard formatted classes, I found it refreshing to take a course that was not conventional yet still taught me life skills that I can use while in college and in my post schooling days.


Journal #8

Slaves to Technology and Social Media

I find it ironic that a device that was created in order to better the ways of communication amongst humans has actually done quite the opposite. When we want to ask someone something or tell them something, we no longer vocally do so but rather us text messages. Texting lacks the element of emotion that is present when holding a normal conversation with someone, and no matter how hard we try to add emotion into electronic messaging, with the use of emoji for example, we will never be able to replicate the same effect a normal conversation has. Social media has proven to be a very effective way of spreading news and keeping up with those around us and for this reason it has gained much popularity. The drawback of it though is our growing obsession of having to know what everyone else is doing as almost every instant and by doing so inadvertently hinders us from doing anything ourselves. This is why we must make a conscience effort, as a society to discontinue our bad habits of overusing technology and social media and reverse this negative trend. When you have ten minutes of down time, instead of immediately pulling out your phone and playing a game, start a conversation with someone around you and who knows, maybe that single connection will help you out somewhere down the road. Bad habits can be very difficult to break but once you become aware of the issue and make a whole hearted effort to begin to break the negative actions that bind you, you will begin to feel much relief in knowing you did the right thing and will ultimately be thankful looking back that you made that initial effort to change for the better. By weakening the stronghold that technology has on you, you can do just that.