Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lizzie's piece

Elizabeth Wenneman
Argument Piece
How Media is Affecting Adolescent Self Confidence
        An eleven year old girl is a child. They should spend time playing outside, arguing with siblings, or at a sleepover. According to Bullying Statistics, they may spend time considering suicide because their age and gender are at the highest risk for suicide. Suicidal thoughts occur for a variety of reasons, but computers, televisions, and cell phones are on that list. 80% of high school students have been bullied online. Children can’t walk away from the bully anymore. The bully is in their hand, on their television, in their magazine, or is their Facebook friend. Bullying is no longer being done just by cruel people, but by cruel media and young girls desire to use it.
        In the past decade, there has been a 44% increase in the usage of social media. One study showed that 95% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 utilize the internet and that 8 out of 10 teens use social media. Another study showed that 58% of twelve year olds own a cell phone. In the U.S., adolescents spend six to seven hours a day using some form of media. Media is being used excessively. Many studies show that media does not have a positive impact on the confidence, well-being, or self-image of the young people using it. They are constantly being compared to celebrities and one another. According to them, they aren’t measuring up.
        Being compared to the celebrities in magazines, movies, and television is getting harder. The celebrities are becoming more thin, tan, and unrealistic. These celebrities are affecting even young children. A study done on a group of fifth graders showed that they were dissatisfied with their bodies after watching a Britney Spears music video or even an episode of “Friends.” Children as young as ten do not feel attractive because of mass media. A study done on body self–esteem showed that girls exposed to thin model images were more affected then ones exposed to average size model. Media is not only affecting young girls but teenagers and young adults too. In a study done by Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts, 70% of college women felt worse about their own looks after reading a magazine. In the past when people looked at magazines, they often were looking at the hair, fashion, nails, or makeup. Now, they are looking at the body of the person selling the product. Girls feel that their body is not as small as the one on the page and they feel inferior. A study showed that teenage girls that watched models that were unrealistically thin, felt less confident and actual anger at their weight and appearance. Why the sudden shift? Why in the past decade have girls become less confident? It is largely due to celebrities, television shows, and magazines, but it also is due to each other. The way adolescents are interacting on social media has become detrimental to their self-confidence. Their biggest enemy may be their best friends or even themselves.
        The possibilities are becoming endless. Girls are using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many more social media outlets to take pictures of themselves, their friends, and almost anything else. One survey taken by over 1,000 high school girls regarding social media admitted that conversations about appearance were “intensified when done on social media and that they were influential because their peers were a part of it.” Girls are competing on not only what weekend activity is better than another’s but whose looks are better as well. In the previous survey, 80% of the girls weighed in as normal but 46% of them were dissatisfied with their weight. It is hard for young girls to keep in mind that what they are seeing people post is what those people want them to see. They are posting pictures that make them look their best and make their life look incredibly entertaining.  Girls are comparing themselves to one another, not only through looks but through life in general. In a survey of 1,206 girls between fourteen and seventeen, almost half believed that social media has created jealous between friends. Using social media negatively has proved to have an effect on the emotions and mental health of adolescents too. One study showed that online communication was consistently associated with a range of socioemotional outcomes. Social media is not a way to communicate for a lot of these girls, it is a way for them to compete against and criticize one another.
        Some may argue that bullies are bullies and that social media is just making it easier for them to be hunt their prey. What people don’t realize is that how easy it has become to bully is exactly the issue. This article is a real story of a twelve year old girl named Rebecca Sedwick, she was bullied to death. She was told countless times through social media to kill herself from peers until the day she did. According to the New York Times, she is one of the youngest members of a growing list of teens that has committed suicide after being bullied online.

        Social media surely has its benefits. Many adolescents, especially females, use social media to support causes. This study showed that 44% of adolescent said they have become more aware of other’s needs since being on social media. The study also mentioned that 2000, US teens fasted to help Haiti earthquake survivors. Incredible things can be happen through social media but horrific tragedies can happen as well. It must be acknowledged that some are clearly more severe than others. But every skimpy magazine article, every picture that they can’t compare to, every post by the friend that has better vacations, and every subtweet that makes a comment about them is adding up. When you put it all together you get low self-confidence, you get eating disorders, you get depression, and in the harshest cases, you may get suicide. We need to promote wellness, promote natural beauty, and promote confidence to our youth.
Audience: A women’s based magazine, such as Cosmo, Women’s Weekly, etc. I’ve adapted this piece to fit a general, heterosexual female audience by using terms like “ex-boyfriend” and other male pronouns when referring to relationship titles.


Let's face it: We all have “that ex.”
Your prince charming. The guy who gets you weak in the knees and hot in the sheets. The one you thought you'd marry.
But it didn't quite work out that way.
Sure, you've deleted his contact information, but you had those digits memorized the moment he handed you the crumpled “call me” coaster at the local bar. You've thrown out the clothes he left at your apartment, you've washed his smell out of your bed, you've buried your face in a pint of Ben and Jerry's and watched whatever sappy breakup movie you could find. And yeah, you've taken down all the pictures of you two, but let's be real- you've been on his Facebook page more in the past week than you had the entire time you were with him.
Every once in a while, his face pops up on your newsfeed. He's been tweeting more than usual lately and he's even Instagramed a few pictures of his family's golden retriever. You could push “like.” You could favorite his tweets. Or you could get offline.
There was a time where all your ex's lived in Texas and all you had to do was move to Tennessee. In a world of over 2 billion internet users, it's no longer than simple. New York Times writer Laura M. Holson brings up a good point about breaking up in a digital world: when we commit to a network of friends on the internet, we open ourselves up to public interaction, and by doing that, we not only redefine what a “relationship” is, but we also redefine what it means to “break up.”
So brace yourself, because when your ex gets a new beau, you're going to see it- and in big, flashing letters. The new girl might even shoot you a friend request. You'll be reminded to wish him a happy birthday, invited to his band's upcoming show and you'll probably get a few pokes here and there. If you have a Facebook page, a Twitter, Instagram or Spotify account or even a simple email address, congratulations: you're perpetually stuck in your ex's permanent presence. He's online too, and so are his ex's, and her ex's, and her ex's ex's... you catch my drift.
It's hard to realize in the heat of a breakup that you not only need to burn the physical reminders of your previous partners, but your digital memories, too. All of the photos, tweets, videos and wall posts that once flaunted your perfect relationship now haunt you every time you get online.
According to researchers at the University of California and Lancaster University, you'll fall into one of three categories during your breakup blues: deleters, those who delete any reminders of the previous relationship, keepers, who do the exact opposite and selective disposers, those who delete most things but choose to hold onto a few significant keepsakes.
Because people are increasingly logging into the online world, especially through social networking sites, our everyday “possessions” have digitalized too. Personal belongings no longer have to be tangible items; in fact, they can include text messages, photographs, music files... the list goes on and on. Why do we have such an attachment for saved voicemails and old Facebook messages? Researchers suggest that just like physical possessions, digital ones also have symbolic meaning and can trigger the same emotional responses. This idea of a digital scrapbook plays a huge role in separating the deleters from the keepers from the selective disposers.
Perhaps you're a deleter. Deleters simply want to get rid of any memory that triggers a negative emotional response. But be careful- sometimes members of this group become too worked up in the cleansing process and end up deleting more than they would have liked, leaving themselves with absolutely no reminders of the past relationship. After all, relationships are a big component of your life and it won't hurt you to have small reminders of the Mr. Wrong that led you to Mr. Right.
Keepers, however, keep a few too many reminders. You don't want to be this guy. This group is more likely to hold onto anything and everything they can, especially in digital form. This means old instant messages, email threads, saved playlists... anything that will remind them of the happy, positive times in the relationship. You know that “obsessive ex” that your friends refer to? If you're a keeper, they mean you.
And finally, the selective disposers exhibit the healthiest, most adaptive strategy. They hold onto the things that they couldn't bear to part with, primarily physical gifts like jewelry or birthday presents, and disposed of almost every digital possession. This group is the most likely to limit their use of social media during the breakup stage, too. Of course, a little goes a long way. You don't have to delete your Facebook altogether, but if you're not his girlfriend, there's no need to be his Facebook friend.
Whether you're a keeper, a deleter or a selective disposer, breakups are a challenging process, even before the influence of social media- the proliferation of Facebook posts and Twitter updates just seem to make it exponentially worse. Any social networking site, by design, gratifies an always-hungry curiosity.
Alisha Marr, a 23-year old graduate student at the State University of New York at Fredonia recently ended a relationship with her boyfriend of 5 years. After a struggle to keep the long distance relationship alive and exciting, the two split (rather acrimoniously). Four months later, the two no longer speak and have no desire to rekindle their past. However, despite the messy breakup the two remain Facebook friends. Every now and again, Alisha scrolls though his Facebook profile seeking new news.
“It's a scary temptation,” Alisha says. “And I know I shouldn't be checking up on an ex-boyfriend, but I do, even if it's against my better judgment. I want to see who he's dating nowadays. I want to see if his new girlfriend is better looking than me. I want to see if he's traveling or if he's finished up school yet- and even though I hate to admit it, I want to see if there's any sign that he misses me. It's a thought that's always in the back of your head; social networking just makes it easier to figure it out.”
“The thing with social media,” Alisha continues, “is that the relationship never really ended. And it never really will.”

Works Cited:
Holson, Laura M. "Breaking Up in a Digital Fishbowl." The New York Times. N.p., 06 Jan. 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
Marr, Alisha. Personal interview. 20 Sept. 2013.

Sas, C., Whittaker, S.: Design for Forgetting: Disposing of Digital Possessions After a Breakup. In: Proceedings of the Forthcoming SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing                                                         Systems. ACM, New York (2013).

How Social Media Has Shaped the Music Industry

Zachary Lansing
SpTp: Digital Literacies
Argumentative Piece

Social Media's Impact on the Music Industry and How It Helps the Record Labels

            The music industry is changing as social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Spotify cradle it through major record label crises, such as the extensive file sharing of music over the internet. The breakthrough of these platforms has made the promotion of artists and concerts as easy as sending a tweet or releasing a new music video on the artist’s official YouTube page. With these breakthroughs in the music industry, the record labels benefit from the ever-conductive music scene in social media. It has never been easier for listeners to find music that they love, and promotion has never been easier since the arrival of these social media outlets.
            YouTube is responsible for being one of the biggest promoters of artists. To put the dominance of music on YouTube in perspective, eight of the ten most viewed videos on YouTube are music videos. Six of those videos are controlled by Vevo, a music video website that extensively pushes music videos through the various YouTube channels that are controlled by Vevo. Vevo has ties with artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and several other mainstream artists. But it’s not only in promotion where Vevo helps the record labels, Vevo also brings revenue to record labels as they have deals with labels such as Sony Music Entertainment and the Universal Music Group, and Vevo shares the profit it gets from YouTube video views with the labels.
            Watching YouTube videos may be free to the public, but it still offers the record companies and artists some revenue with YouTube’s ad system that helps distribute revenue to channels. This is much different than illegally sharing music files through open torrents for there is some profit on the end of the record companies.
            Ads are one way that listening to music can be free, while record companies can still gain from it. Spotify is another music service that is completely free to the listeners that has adopted this system. But Spotify takes it one step further by giving the listener the option of purchasing a five dollar monthly subscription to Spotify to rid the listener of the ads, and a ten dollar monthly subscription to share it through all of your listening platforms(such as your tablet, phone, laptop, etc.), all ad-free. At the same time, Spotify pushes new songs onto your playlist and introduces listeners to new artists and essentially helps the promotion of these artists, saving those involved with promotion a lot of money in the process.
            Promotion has always been a big part of the music business. When an artist drops a new album, it is best to promote that album to ensure listeners know of the new album being recorded for the best results in revenue. Before the age of social media, this was done through means of television ads(which were mostly exclusively music channels), radio ads, and in some cases billboards. All of these styles of promotion were costly and lengthy creative processes to pull the customers in. But with social media came the ability to push information directly to the fans. This is both efficient and cost-effective.
            The one social media outlet that could be cited as the biggest promoter of music could possibly be Twitter, where artists could tweet out to their fans when a new album would drop. Artists would even retweet other artists to even further promotion of an artist’s album. Just a few lines of text and potentially millions of fans could be informed of a new list of songs coming out from one of their favorite artists, simple yet effective.
            This promotion is especially effective for the record companies for they tend to keep most of the profit that is made from the albums and songs sold. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Writing Concisely

In-class Practice

Reducing wordy phrases: 

People who have experience as runners should join the first running group, while people who have less experience should join the second group.

Getting rid of "There is" and "There are":

There are a variety of ways to successfully start a career as a writer.

There is a beautiful painting of lilies hanging in the hallway.

Avoiding passive sentences:

The young girl was bullied mercilessly online by classmates.

The field of photography was changed forever by the advent of the internet.

(In other news, here's more about linking, particularly in relation to journalism, in case anyone is interested!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Class Activities 9/12

Each group will have one "artifact" (a short reading or image), which I'd like you to bring into conversation with the reading. You have already started talking about the article online in some really interesting ways. Now, in your groups, please continue that discussion WHILE drawing on your group's "artifact" in to discuss the following questions:
  • What is the power of social networking to disseminate information and ideas?
  • What are the dangers of social networking in this dissemination of information and ideas?
  • How do we take advantage of the power while remaining cognizant of the dangers?

Group 1: Skim this article:,8599,1905125,00.html

Group 2: Skim JUST the parts of this article between my highlighted lines (that is, skim the first few paragraphs, between the highlighted lines, and then scroll down and skim the paragraphs between the next two highlighted lines):

(I know it's a lot; skimming is fine!)

Group 3: Please  skim the section on the "Wisdom of the Crowd," which I have e-mailed the whole class.

Group 4: Please look at this image.  While the rest of the class is reading, please do some writing in relation to this issue: What impact did this image have? Did it matter? Why or why not?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Social Networking Story

In Chapter 10, the text discusses the rise of social networking sites. So I'd thought that I'd reflect on my rise through social networking.

My first experience on social networking was with Myspace. I remember thinking long and hard about who my "Top 8" were going to be, and changing my background as often as I changed my lip gloss. I found the "questionnaires" and chain surveys to be a fun way to get to know people in my little group. There was a rough patch as one of my long-lost aunts managed to get in touch with me, but it was a valuable lesson on privacy. I admit to dabbling into AIM Messenger and MSN Chat, but those were some weird times that are best forgotten. 

After Myspace, I found my way over to Facebook in the relatively early days. There weren't many people on the website at that time, and I mainly used it to stay in contact with older friends and friends that lived in places far from home. Many of the Myspace traditions (chain surveys, lax security) carried over into this new medium. I really didn't know what to do with my Facebook, except like pages that I would come to regret several years later and play games. It wasn't until I was well into high school that I really started using it for its intended purpose: networking and staying in touch with friends. I think this was because I started to realize how important retaining those connections were, especially with the people that were graduating and moving to parts unknown.

Nowadays, I do most of my social networking either on Facebook or on Tumblr. I've found that I use Facebook more for people that I know in person. In fact, I know that I only add people to my Friends list whom I've met face-to-face. It keeps my "real" internet self safe, and prevents any unwanted interactions. I've been notorious for deleting people without a second thought for as small of an infraction as whining too much via status. But I use Tumblr to express a nerdier side of myself, one that I'm not entirely sure that I want just anyone seeing. I feel more comfortable expressing this "fangirl" side of me, mostly because this social network has a certain level of anonymity. There are some people who know who I really am, but most of my "followers" only see a URL (user name) and a series of pictures/text posts. It would be a hard for me to say which is more the "real" me, and I wouldn't be able to do it with a gun to my head. 

Is Media to Blame for Tragedy?

I decided to choose to read the article "Should Reddit Be Blamed for the Spreading of a Smear?", and I'm so glad that I did. I remember the day that the Boston Shooting happened and remember feeling so much heartache and pain for complete strangers.  I remember feeling angry and hopeless for our country, wondering how a person had it in them to do such a terrible and inhumane act.  As if having so many innocent people killed and injured was not bad enough, an innocent person was blamed ending in a tragic and unfortunate death.

I don't necessarily believe that Reddit or any other technology is to blame, I believe that it is the user.  If that one person did not post the side-by-side picture of Sunhil Tripathi with the real suspect, then maybe Sunhil would have been found and still be alive.  So many people are quick to judge the source of media, but don't really step back to think that the user is to blame, not the site itself.

There are so many misconceptions and confusion that lead to the events after Sunhil's suspicion, all, in my opinion, leading back to the news reporters, gossip columns and every day users of media.  In a matter of 24 hours, Sunhil went from a boy missing from his home to a boy who was accused of terrorism.  And it is so easy to believe everything that pops up on social media; it is easy to believe legitimate sources such as our national and local news stations.   When a popular source, like Perez Hilton, tweets "news" everyone automatically believes it until it is actually proven. I will be the first one to admit that I am 100% guilty of this, by why? 

The one thing that blows my mind is that the media did not own up to their mistakes.  After Sunhil's body was found and his innocence was finally proven, the same reporters that had spread Sunhil's mistaken suspicion casually spoke about his innocence. 

I am not against media in any way, but when situations are blown out of proportion and false accusations are spread that essentially ruins a person's life, that's when an issue occurs.  It is so easy for rumors to be spread, and all it takes is a simply click of a button.

Chapter 10

    Facebook and Twitter have greatly revolutionized the way people communicate on-line. I agree with this statement made in the book. I remember the hey day of chat rooms. It was easy for contact to remain anonymous, and even flat out lie about who they are. The sharing of information almost required contact to be on-line at the same time you were, unless you e-mailed them.

    Facebook and Twitter not only encourage people to be themselves, vast amounts of information can be shared for contacts to review later without e-mail. 

    The downfall to these sites is that your information is shared with advertising companies and they target advertisements at you based on that information.

    Facebook games are rumored to be loaded with viruses.                                                      

    Remember that what you put on-line stays there until it is removed. Posts can come back to haunt you years later. (Pictures of that wild party could be bad if you wanted to get a job as a kindergarten teacher).    

    I disagree with people that feel social networking sites have no political power, or the ability to shape the political front. Malcolm Gladwell said that social networking sites are unsuited for serious political activism (150).

    This statement comes right on the heels of the revolution in Tunisia in January 2011. The revolution was driven by Twitter. Of course, that took action by the people of Tunisia, but Twitter drove it through shared information of events as they took place. The revolution was not Twitter's doing, just went along for the ride as a useful tool (Ingram), just like a gun or throwing rocks at police. 



Mathew Ingram. Was What Happened In Tunisia a Twitter Revolution. 14 Jan. 2011

   Goggle. com. 10 Sep. 2013. Web.

    I can honestly say I have never heard of Reddit before, and it could be said that it was in part responsible for the death of Sunil. But in his innocence, we point fingers. If he was guilty, we would be applauding.  


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chapter 5: Online Language and Social Interaction

While everyday life and human interaction relies heavily on communication, communication itself relies heavily on the use of proper grammar. The concepts addressed in chapter 5 stress that digital writing, especially through social media-based outlets, actually result in fragmented interaction. When conversing online, there is a lack of face-to-face communication. The book states that, "a smiling emoticon in an instant message may not mean the same thing or serve the same function as a smile in face-to-face conversation..." Further, when the text suggests that social media gives off the assumption that digital communication gives an "imperfect replica" of other modes of communication.

When dissecting the ideas the text offers, I became aware of all the "lol's" and "omg's" that have actually made their way into everyday, face-to-face, physical conversation. Have you ever had a professor tell the class to refrain from using "text-language" in their papers or assignments? I have. And I'm an English major.

Perhaps we use these internet slangs and online language simply because we're so used to doing so. Maybe we speak to our peers differently from figures of authority because we see our colleagues as our friends, the people who grew up in the same time period with the same social media outlets. But does that make it okay? Is it impacting our everyday life to drastic and negative extents?

It has been clearly stated that grammar is, in fact, important.  The book even mentions that "written language still remains our primary tool for communication in online environments." Proper grammar, whether it is through written or vocal communication, is the structure on which we base our everyday lives. Without it, points and ideas could not be addressed clearly and with strong articulation, which leads to miscommunication and confusion.

(I found this article online shortly after reading the text that, I think, proves the importance of grammar in everyday life).

Will online communication and internet jargon have an ultimate effect on our day to day communication skill? Will our use of proper grammar dwindle because of an assumed understanding of the digitally written word? It's an ongoing debate, but one can only hope that a ":)" will never replace the satisfaction of a genuine smile.

Class Activities 9/10

·      Everyone: list all the times you can remember when texting led to a misunderstanding--when someone on either side misinterpreted some meaning.  Then, either:

o   Write about one of those times.

o   If you have access to a text conversation right now (whether it led to a misunderstanding or not; this can be a completely typical conversation), examine it. What features of that conversation are specific to text-speak? What meaning do they convey? How well did they do so in this particular conversation? Was there misunderstanding? If so, why?

o   If you don’t text at all, write about why you have chosen not to. How has the proliferation of texting around you changed your communication with others? What do you observe about texting as a non-texter?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chaper 5 - Martonis

Online Language and Social Interaction

When using grammar one makes choices based on two factors: efficiency and clarity.  Clarity ensures that what is being read can be interpreted in only one way and that the information presented cannot be confused.  Efficiency tries to state what is being said in as few words as possible.  The same balancing act seems to be in place in regards to online language.  As Jones and Hafner point out, SMS texting and social media sites such as Twitter limit the amount of characters that are available to use, so "the proliferation of acronyms and abbreviations in digital text are, from this perspective, seen as attempts to compensate for these constraints" (68).  The limitations cause online writers to place more emphasis on efficiency rather than clarity, a choice that sacrifices the meaning of what is being written.  

The lack of rich cues and contextualization cues create an even more dramatic dynamic between the clarity and efficiency of online language versus face to face communication.  When people communicate, a variety of rich cues are used to help interpret what is being said.  For example, an increase in pitch at the end of a sentence suggests a question, and a smile or raising of eyebrows suggest a positive or playful message.  When using text, the clarity of words is easily lost in translation.  Innovation of formal grammar rules have allowed an interesting evolution of written interactions to occur.  Users have developed a clever use of punctuation, emoticons, lexicalization sounds, capitalization, and acronyms such as LOL and LMAO to combat the lack of clarity in digital communication.  Although reading a stranger's digital conversation may be unpleasant, seeing what factors of communication each individual favors and how the clarity-efficiency scale is balanced is certainly fascinating. 

For better or worse, written and spoken communication are evolving due to the increasingly popularity of online social interaction, a fact that will affect every facet of life.  Writing has become more concise and new social languages have been created, but an issue with face to face interactions has been noted as well.  How will online language impact interpersonal relations long term?  That is something yet to be discovered.

Chapter 5 Reflection

Using the Internet, we can meet and communicate with people from all over the globe, without ever leaving our bedroom. An optimist would look at this as a great advancement in technology, opening an endless amount of "new doors" for communication. Although a pessimist would look at the systematic flaws of this technology and argue the negative impacts it has on society. Cyber bullying is one negative consequence to digital communication.
I think it's safe to say that all of us, at one time, have felt the impact of cyber bullying. Whether it was a "mean girl" on MySpace, an anonymous commenter on Tumblr or a scorned friend behind a text message, most young adults today have had their feelings hurt via digital outlet. These new ways of communicating offer an easier way to insult someone, without ever uttering a word.
My parents always told me growing up, "think before you speak." As I grew up I came to understand how important that advice is. When I was younger, I was just as opinionated as I am now and I felt it was my right to say and defend my every thought and feeling. Through a series of awkward and enlightening adolescent years, I learned that sometimes it is just as important to say quiet, as it is to speak up.
When you vocalize your opinion in a room, and you offend someone, you have to face them and deal with the guilty, awkwardness that follows. This has happened to me so many times, but with each stupid remark I made, I was forced to learn, "think before you speak." Eventually I started to learn my lesson (though I can definitely still say stupid things). But everything changes online.
Online, when you offend someone, there is no actual person to face, and words can get passed by much faster. There is no one starting you down, making you feel like a jerk for saying what you did. When you can't see the face of the person you are offending, then you are much less likely to feel bad about it. Online, making rude remarks is easier to get away with, but it doesn't mean the impact of the words are in any way diminished.
Taking responsibility, admitting our wrongs and learning from our mistakes is how we become better people. But what happens when you aren't made to take responsibility for your key-strokes? It's the digital communication devices we use that are causing this disconnect from what we say and its repercussions. I'm not arguing that digital communication is bad for society, but the issue of cyber bullying  is certainly one of it's negative impacts.

Chapter 5 Reflection

Upon taking the course, English Grammar for Everyone, one of the first ideas that was brought to our attention was that, so long as the text was decipherable, there was no such thing as "incorrect grammar." After having this concept drilled into my head biweekly for an entire semester, it is a belief of mine that those who choose to marginalize a person for their particular way of speech are incredibly finicky and need to find something worthwhile to do with their extraordinary amount of time. When the chapter opened to acknowledge the idea that many find digital language to be for the impoverished, I was slightly upset. However, as I read on, I truly and one hundred percent support the ideas I have read.

There were several different topics within the text that caught my attention, but the main point of everything felt like the text was attempting to teach you how the younger generation uses text language, and in some cases addresses the audience as if we were our grandparents. That being said, it was an extremely easy to digest section of text.

The way in which the text describes the difference in communication between the face-to-face phone-to-phone was very interesting, as within this description, I realized that I fit into the ideas that were perpetuated in many different ways. The differences between synchronous and asynchronous communications are two concepts that I constantly find myself dealing with. In many cases, I'd rather approach a friend in person and talk to them about absolutely anything, but when I'm crunched for time, I'd shoot a friend a message and yet, still anticipate the instant response that I would receive if I were to talk to them in person. This idea also plays a bit into transaction cost (and a bit of laziness as well). It is more convenient for me to briefly ask a single question without getting into the whosits and whatsits of daily conversation that I might not have time for at that moment.

Another idea that the class briefly touched upon was discussed in the text under the idea of "media richness." I standby whoever it was who claimed that the difference in grammar, emoticons, and punctuation dictate a language tone all of its own when speaking person to person. Communication and the tone of everything in written text becomes so absolutely individualized that sending the text, "Where are you?" to one person may simply be asking a question, whereas to another person may sound angry. The tone of texting is so particular and confrontation is almost inevitable, even when the intent of the author was not intentionally confrontation in the least. On a personal note, if anyone ever sends me ROFL or LMAO, I automatically assume they cheerily breathed air from their nostrils and did no such extreme expression of laughter at all. They could have been laughing, but that's simply how I perceive the abbreviations.

Texting has given the modern day user the ability to communicate more quickly with less hassle, but at the same time, it is all too common place for one to become solely reliant on such a technology. As a result it is possible to become a social hermit, but a word of advice: don't do that.

On Transaction Costs

One of the biggest topics that stuck out in this chapter was that of transaction costs.  Reading those couple paragraphs I thought, “Oh my God, this is me. I’m the asshole who doesn’t want to talk to anyone for excessive amounts of time.”  Then I sat back and thought a little more.  I had just had a phone conversation with my best friend last night.  Something had happened earlier in my day that was too exciting to convey in a text message, so I called her.  What would have otherwise been a three-message-text conversation between us turned into a twenty minute long phone call; my exciting news was done being talked about within the first five minutes. 

What kept us on the phone so long was that we both weren’t comfortable hanging up without asking about certain parts of each other’s lives: “Did work go well tonight?“… “Are you feeling any better from yesterday?”…“Oh my gosh, I forgot to ask you about your dog!” “How was your family cookout this past weekend?” Just little things that we could have discussed in text messages, but those messages would have been sporadic throughout the week. 

Finally hanging up was a minute long process in itself.  A lot of sighing, a lot of “okaaaaay”s and “weeeeell”s, just verbal cues that give a feel that we were done talking, but allowing enough pauses to ask or talk about last minute things.  I feel like goodbyes are so awkward nowadays on the phone regardless of whom I’m talking to.  Funny thing is, her and I were texting as soon as we got off the phone to say goodnight.  I’m laughing at this right now.  Seriously, I sound so pathetic; actually “shallow” is probably a better word. 

At the same time, my boyfriend and I barely talk on the phone unless it’s something that needs to be discussed ASAP.  He gets busy, and I get busy, so when we text sometimes we don’t reply for a while.  Phone calls get the job done: “Hey babe, what do you want for dinner?”… “Let’s just do tacos.  I took the meat out of the freezer this morning to thaw.” …“Awesome, I’ll have it ready for when you get home, I love you.”  “I love you too, bye.” 

And that’s that! A text message would have been ignored for however long, and the question of dinner would still be an ongoing issue—if you want to even call it an issue—probably until we were both hungry and just getting home together.  Texting for us gives us little things to look forward to in the day.  I’ll send him one in the morning, he’ll reply around lunchtime, I’ll send another one after a class, and he’ll get back to me after he’s out of work.

The way communication has evolved is definitely a lot to let sink in when I actually sit down to think about it and compare my own means of communication to how it used to be.  Before texting or even cell phones at that matter, I would have had to call my best friend’s home phone to get a hold of her or wait for her to get online on AIM, or my boyfriend and I would have had to either guess what the other wanted to eat or somehow got a hold of each other on a work phone or a maybe even a beeper (that’s what they were called right?) Everything really is changing, but I also agree with the book that it makes those “richer” means of communicating that much more special.  Sure, my best friend and I have less to talk about during the week now, but it was nice catching up in a phone call for once and hearing her vocally laugh instead of an “LOL.”  And the little notes that my boyfriend and I leave for each other to find is a cuter way to let us know we love each other rather than just saying it in a text message.  I guess it all comes down to how we really use everything that’s provided for us in this technological age along with the “outdated” ways of communication that really aren’t that bad once you remember how big a part of your life they used to be.