Analyzing Society Surrounding You

Tammy Pham | 4th Block

Journal #1 (Media Literate)

The term ‘media literate’ sounds as if it is an easy and straight forward word to describe, but really there are a variety of ways to interpret its definition. The formal definition of the word media is the main means of mass communication. The definition of the word literate is (of a person) having the ability to being able to read and write. When I see the word ‘media literate’ I immediately think of social media and technology and what role it plays in our society. I believe that to be ‘media literate’ it means that one is educated about the media and is aware about their surroundings pertaining to that of media. To elaborate what would be labeled as ‘media’, I would say it would include magazines, newspaper articles, television, books, games, poems and the list can go on. Being ‘media literate’ does not only limit to having knowledge on what’s going on in the real world, but it would also mean that one would have to fully understand what is being perceived. I would assume that being ‘media literate’ is a positive term to be described as because obviously you wouldn’t want to be talked about as illiterate, but also because from being media literate you can infer that those who do read and pay attention to things in the media have a better understanding of broad topics and complex types of different media’s being received. For example, simply learning from reading and writing different works, you can learn different styles and techniques in order to develop reading and writing skills. Being ‘media literate’ has no limit to how ‘literate’ you can be. Your knowledge of the media continues to expand and develop because the more you present yourself with higher level and complex works, the easier it will get to understand media. (305 words)

Journal #2 ( A Day Without Social Media)

On January 14th, Ms.Lowe gave the class a challenge of going without using social media for 24 hours. She said that the challenge is to begin at 4:00 P.M. It started off going well for the first couple of hours until I had some time to myself.

I hung out with my boyfriend right after school until around 5:30, so that kept me distracted for the first two hours. I left since my mom needed me to run a couple of errands for her and I wasn’t done with that until about 6:30. Afterwards, I had to pick up my brother at his friend’s house and finally was able to head over to my mom's house in Norcross in order to drop off some items I had picked up for her. Since I was in my car driving for the first 3-4 hours of the challenge, I wasn't able to use my phone. I didn't arrive home until around 8:00 P.M. After my long day outside of the house, I went home to complete some work. As soon as I got home, I had no time to waste because I need to submit my UGA application immediately in order for it to finish processing on time. I skimmed over my application and touched up my essays and was able to finish around 9:45 P.M. Earlier that day I was up early, due to the fact that I haven't been sleeping much, so by the time it hit 10:00 I was feeling lethargic. I decided to study for thirty minutes and then eat dinner and shower so that I could head to bed a little early. Right before I went to bed, my cousin sent me links and links of Instagram and Vine videos and we were just sending these back and forth. Jenny texted me and asked if I completed the challenge right before I was going to bed (around 11:00) and I felt like a complete idiot! I feel that if I could easily keep myself distracted throughout the day, it would be so much easier for me not to use my phone. I feel that I'm very good at staying off my phone when I have company or I have to take care of my responsibilities.

Journal #3 (Media Messages)

Media messages are so powerful where they can make us so easily influenced to follow trends and to continuously be updated about what’s new all the time. Media messages are impacting society negatively where even in commercials and ads there’s false (or negative) advertising and gender inequality. Some ad’s don’t even make sense or have relation to what their actual message is. To be honest, I’ve always been one to look past commercials and not really give much attention to them until I did my project about social media’s impact on body language and I realized that our society is was influenced the ideas of media messages. People who create these messages want to portray what will attract the most attention and what people typically agree with the most. Things that are aesthetically appealing tend to get more attention. Models in commercials are photo shopped and air brushed and the way these women look is so unrealistic. This makes me really question what is actually legit and genuine and what is artificial and fake in society. I may even be guilty to conforming to having to follow the trend. An example would be that I recently viewed a bunch of makeup commercials promising to enhance my physical features, only to be disappointed in the end because the way they made the women in the commercial look is just so unrealistic. These women looked so great with flawless outcomes, yet when I tried to do the same and it ended up looking awful. I’ve been giving more thought lately about the true messages of advertisement and can use this to be more cautious with falling for sales tactics and to avoid envying the unreachable goals of the standard of ‘beauty’ that media messages portrays.

Journal #4 (Fact Checking)

Donald Trump is often accused with hating immigrants and wanting to stop immigration. One quote I heard that he was accused of was that Trump's slogan of making "America Great Again" is just another code for "Make America WHITE Again". This rumor was cultivated by a photo of White people wearing T-shirts in support for trump that each said "Make America White Again". I have found this rumor to be proven false because the photo was altered, aka Photoshopped, to say "white" instead of "great". It spreaded around the world wide web through facebook and created controversy for other rumors like "Donald Trump is Racist" and "Donald trump hates Immigrants", which is false because it has not been specifically proven of him to specifically say this to the public. This also proves how easily one sentence can be manipulated to make a person look bad and completely sabotage someones image. Personally, when somebody tells me something new or that isn't familiar with me, I just believe it. I don't feel the need to question someone unless it was COMPLETELY outrageous. So I guess you can say I double check a 'fact' once it seems like it was a COMPLETE lie. I don't really question anyone on what they say unless it's really concerning something that relates to harming me personally or someone else personally. I only start conversation with people on something I doubt when I genuinely feel that I may have some knowledge on what's actually true. For Example, when my friends tell me something is due and I wasn't sure about it I would have to get confirmation from multiple people before actually believing it. It all depends on the situation and the topic when it comes to me believing someone before questioning the validity.

Journal #5 (Researching a Rebellion)

The rebellion I chose to look into was Shay's rebellion. This rebellion was led by former Continental Army captain Daniel Shay and occurred in Massachusetts. The reason that Shay's Rebellion had collected so much power is that he was not standing alone to revolt against something he believed by himself. It wasn't just Shay who believed that he was being unreasonably charged, but many farmers in the are suffered from high debt while trying to start their lives. Many American Farmers who were beginning to get settled in Massachusetts by setting up their own farms were being charged ridiculous taxes and fees and were held responsible for the debt and had to pay it back, otherwise they were arrested. What inspired them all to come together to revolt is that they didn't want to be under the rule of a Monarch all over again. Americans had to resist to high taxes and unresponsive government that was far away. But this time it was Massachusetts's settlers who were angry with a republican government in Boston, rather than with the British government across the Atlantic. Shay wasn't the first to begin the revolts because farmers were already meeting and gathering before his involvement. They have gathered people by calling special meetings of the people to protest conditions and agreed on several different attempts to produce a coordinated protest. This led the rebels to close courts by force and to liberate imprisoned debtors from jail. Daniel Shay is only responsible for uniting those revolting together. Unity makes the revolution stronger, but not necessarily successful. But Shay's power to get people to come together gave the power to the protesting for time being.

Journal #6 (Obrien: Victim or Villain?)

So far, what Obrien seems to be portrayed as if he is a villain. He is the initiator for all the torturing that is done and is responsible for keeping all the citizens in check. To me, he's basically the one who is supervising everyone else making sure they are thinking like big brother and loyal to big brother. He even specifically takes responsibility for being one of the main people to hold power. "We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories" (Orwell 1984). He constantly repeats the word we, which implies he's taking full responsibility for the mind controlling. He's the one who is trying to "fix" Winston in order for him to show his loyalty to the Party and think like minded as those who follow the Party's rules. How he is portrayed in the book, he basically has the free will to either go with what so called "big brother" says or to do what he wants, yet he chooses to follow the party rules to dehumanize the citizens to think and act like the party. I personally think that with torture, you must always take the responsibility when doing a bad act toward another person. The things that happened to Julia and to Winston was under the supervision and hands of Obrien.

Journal #7 (Reflecting on media Literacy)

The way I view media literacy has not really changed but has really expanded to get more in depth behind the understanding of why things happen in real like (or I guess you can say in literature). Things like "media messages" to how we have to ability to come up with topics for Socratic seminars is what media literacy is built off of. To he media literate, you basically must understand what is going on around you in your society and why these are happening. Being media literate is to be able to question what goes on in your life and to those surrounding you to learn by building off on not only what you experience what the media shares and publicizes. Basically, in summary you are simply aware of the society surrounding you. Honestly looking back I really enjoyed this class with our discussions and activities because it was more of an open ended response class to express your true knowledge and understanding of an issue rather than doing just standardized testing. Something I feel I can take from this class, or more of a unit I liked the most, is the media manipulation where you have to understand our world is greatly based off the idea of how can I benefit the most out of interacting with people. You have to be careful when investing in something because, yes it's good to be actively involved in your economy but you also want to think about yourself and your own well being. invest in yourself before others. I feel that this language arts class was work of conceptual rather than factual. Just to elaborate, I mean that there was less reading book after book and more of analyzing life and why things are happening rather than reviewing history and literature analysis and why books are written the way they are. I feel that we could spend more time doing group and interactive work with more Socratic seminars because those units are what I enjoyed the most.

Journal #8 (Prince-Ea Response)

The first time I've ever seen Prince-Ea's video, it really opened my eyes and made me say "wow... this is so accurate". Even then so, I still didn't take his call to action seriously and continued to let technology consume my life. I agree with Prince Ea because instead of connecting people to one another, they disconnect the people near one another and instead 'connect' them to their tiny screens. Texting, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all has allowed us to create an image of ourselves behind the screen and to recreate our own personalities. However, there is a way for things to turn around. As a human, we have the free will to control whether we allow technology to dictate our lives or not and we can ensure that it doesn’t by taking frequent breaks. For instance during your free time instead of roaming on social media, we should try to go outside more or even if you need to use your phone/device use it to try to create plans to be outside to distract yourself. Dinner, lunch, breakfast; no technology. These times should be reserved either for oneself or for one’s family. I feel like the biggest appeal to technology and social media is that we have a subconscious desire to be constantly aware of what happens in our peer’s lives. Though we may not even speak to each other in real life, the fact that we can keep up with them, no matter the distance, is comforting and is why we are compelled to use these sites. This can been seen when In this class we were assigned to be without social media for 24/7 but curiosity killed me because I kept on feeling the need to check other’s Snapchat stories and to look on Instagram to see who did what. However, as time passed, I found myself slowly weaning away from these apps because I found that social media only had an effect of adding on to my stress. In order to contribute to the effort of trying to lessen the technology usage, I've been trying to lessen my time on my phone. I'll check my instagram only a couple times a week and i've been trying to lessen my snapchat use as well. I started going to the gym with a gym buddy and have found a new group of friends to keep me distracted. I try to use my phone for good to make plans with friends and stay off it when i'm in the presence of others. I feel like instead of depending on social media and technology as a mask, we need to find people or things that consume us with compassion and distract us from the fast paced world and take a breather. Finding something to do-whether that be studying or walking or a sport- can help us avoid becoming slaves to our devices.