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In 1963, polls showed that more Americans relied on television for their news rather than newspapers. Today, I think most Americans feel the same, but the sources for news is now immense. Americans still use newspapers, but many may look to the television first for news.  However, now with the use of social networking sites and all these vast sources on the Internet, there is more opportunity to become informed about what is happening around the world and many people take advantage of it.

In Operation New Media, the author discusses how Obama used the Internet to make his political agenda known.  Politicians now use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  The Likud campaign took notes from Obama and is now using not only newspapers and television, but are also planning on contacting voters through e-mail, SMS, and social networking sites to get their message out.  They have also created a website that resembles Obama’s website in hopes of getting the same kind of publicity and reputation Obama has. The Operation New Media article feels that in the coming years political campaigns will be focused on the Internet and they are preparing for it.

Media today is similar to what it used to be in the sense that everyone wants to use what is new and more convenient.  In 1963, sitting in front of a television and having your news being told to you was more convenient than reading it in a newspaper.  Today, this is still true.  However, it is even more convenient to get your news on your computer or have it sent to your e-mail or cell phone.  I think it is American culture to want the newest, most convenient, and entertaining sources of news.

I took a Media and Gender course during my freshman or sophomore year (about two to three years ago) and I learned so much. This is the one media course I analyzed advertisements in. As well as advertisements, we analyzed films and television shows. In an advertisement or scripted show, nothing is every done by accident. If there is something in the shot, it was done so on purpose. I think this is important to remember when looking at these types of media because often we notice something and think it must be a coincidence but these are controlled environments in which everything has a reason. 

I think it’s important to have to skills to analyze images because a lot of what we see is unconscious; we don’t realize we’re seeing something and we’re not processing it in our conscious mind. I believe we have to stop mindlessly consuming media and these messages. In this day, children are often sat in front of the television or given electronic games. It’s important to monitor what your child is watching because even though it may be a children’s channel or a children’s television show, children are still susceptible to these types of messages. 

The readings in this module didn’t really change the way I will perform internet searches. I did learn a few things, for one boolean logic. For example, I wasn’t aware that in most general search engines a space is the equivalent to “AND”. However, most of the time when I’m googling something it’s just a quick little question so I just type in the question and find an answer. Yahoo Answers usually helps me the most and that’s always one of the first results so it’s useful for me in that way. However, if I need real information I do need to choose my words wisely. One thing that seems so obvious but I never realized was to search for not only the topic you are looking for, but for words that may appear in an article of the topic. 

In regards to the readings for this week, I didn’t really find Internettutorials.net to be useful for me. I feel like it wasn’t very user friendly and I didn’t really know what I was looking for although I found some of the search strategies helpful.

I’ll definitely stick with Google in the future because I’m comfortable with it and I can use it in a variety of ways. I also use Google Scholar and Adelphi databases when researching scholarly articles.

Before resuming posts for class, I feel the need to address the natural disaster that occurred over two weeks ago. Although I still have a home, I was not able to live in it for two weeks due to not having power and temperatures going as low as 30 degrees. I have minimal house damage but I do consider myself lucky. On November 10, I joined the School of Social Work as well as the Center for Student Involvement on a trip to Long Beach. First, we stopped at a church to help organize clothing and then about half of us split up into two groups and went to help clean out houses. Out of about eight houses, we were able to help four people because most people weren’t home. The first house we  went to we had to clean out a shed. I couldn’t imagine being in this woman’s position: watching strangers come and clean out her life putting it on the ground for her to survey what was damaged and what was not, what was salvageable and having these strangers carry her belongings onto the curb. In the shed there were a lot of bins that had toys or clothing in them. A few bins of clothing were saved but the bins of toys were filled with four inches of water and everything was drenched. It was truly heartbreaking.

I will never forget the face of another woman who was so excited for us to be there. She jumped up and down and was so grateful for some help. She had a small home but was only about 10-15 houses from the water. For being so close to the water, she only had about a foot of water in her home. We went through everything with her and she was able to salvage a lot of her belongings. Since it was such a small home, only about six of us stayed and the rest of the group went on to another home. The few of us got to talk to her while we were cleaning out her home and she was just so appreciative to have us there. She was also in good spirits even though some of her belongings were damaged and her storage unit was also flooded so she lost most of her belongings in there as well. When we were finished, she hugged all of us and was so grateful. After leaving this home, we went to another house that was quickly cleaned out. By the time we got there, only a few things remained: a wall unit and a cabinet. The water line in the basement was about six feet high and there was sewage all over the floors and the cabinets and all over the bathroom and the smell was something I could never describe. The man was so grateful he asked to take a picture of all of us before we left. We then went to help another woman whose house was also quickly cleaned out and it was mostly big furniture in which most of us could not help so we were given a job to go around and ask people if they needed anything from the donation center down the block. No one really needed anything or said they would rather people who need it more receive those items. One woman however said the only thing she needed was ice for her daughter’s medicine that needs to be refrigerated. We went down to the donation center and asked around if any place in the area had ice. We were told the Knights of Columbus across the street had ice. We went in and explained the situation and a man gave us a full bag of ice. We went back to the woman’s house who was in such shock that we had brought her something so small as a bag of ice. I will never forget that woman because I had not expected to help her that day. We went around the neighborhood asking if anyone else needed help and everyone who was home seemed to have help so we got back on the bus and went back to the church and then drove back to school.

It was such an amazing experience to be able to help those people and see the smiles on their faces knowing they weren’t alone. It was also great to see the communities coming together and helping each other. I hope to go back and do more volunteer work over the next month whenever I can.

(The pictures above were taken by my friend, it conveys the amount of garbage that was piled up on the curb in front of people’s houses)

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I choose to experiment with Veri since I have never heard of it before. When first going to the site (veri.com), I was unsure what the purpose or aim of the site was. I say “learn, teach, play” so I figured it had was some sort of educational tool. I signed up and scrolled through the “courses”. I settled on “Outsmarting Breast Cancer”. I clicked on it and it brought me to another page with quizzes. There were about four to five questions with four possible answers. You received points for getting questions right and consequently lost points for getting questions wrong. But there’s a catch! You can click “I don’t know, teach me!” and it brings you to a site with information related to the question. You can read the section, answer the question, and you get full points. Veri made learning into a game. You can link your Facebook so you can play with friends and try to outdo each other’s high scores. It seems like a good premise, however there are not a lot of categories that I was personally interested. In order to take full advantage of the site, you would have to have friends who are also on the site to compete and play with each other. Overall, the site is a good idea, but I don’t think it’s there just yet. People tend to get their information from internet search engines such as Google and not by playing a game. I did find it interesting since I didn’t know it existed but I don’t think I’ll continue using Veri.

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This past Tuesday, I finally joined the iPhone world after being stuck with my BlackBerry for years. Of course, the first thing I did was download all of my social networking apps and that included Instagram. I quickly became obsessed with taking pictures, adding filters, and posting them waiting to get comments and likes. When I’m bored at school or my internship, I find myself scrolling through my Instagram newsfeed rather than my Facebook newsfeed. Come to think of it, I’ve hardly been on Facebook since getting an iPhone, except to post pictures, statuses, or when I receive notifications. Instagram makes it so easy to see what everyone’s up to, but some people call it “twitter for people who can’t read” because all it is is pictures with fancy filters and captions. However, I do love it because I can not only view my friends’ pictures but I can follow celebrities and find other accounts that I like. One bad thing is that there are a lot of spam profiles. Since getting a few likes from inappropriate profiles on my first day on Instagram, I made my profile private. However, I still get follow requests from a lot of fake accounts but I’m willing to fend off the inappropriate accounts while enjoying pictures from all over the world.

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Whenever I come across any type of advertisement or picture with a model or celebrity in it, I have to wonder whether or not the person actually looks like how they are portrayed. Photoshop is used in virtually everything and is typically utilized to alter the bodies and faces of models and celebrities. When you see a picture in a magazine, you’re not looking at a naturally beautiful model; you’re seeing a heavily Photoshopped, touched up, and/or airbrushed image. What does this mean? This means that our perception of beauty is distorted.  It also means that these images create an ideal that is impossible to reach. There is so much pressure to be incredibly thin while also being toned and having the perfect body proportions and being beautiful without trying.  How are we supposed to reach this ideal if the models themselves don’t even look like how they are portrayed in these images? This can trigger eating disorders and other emotional problems because these ideals are unattainable.  It is very important for people, especially adolescents, to learn that these images are altered. 

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Above are two Ralph Lauren advertisements featuring model Filippa Hamilton. One that presumptively has been retouched and one that has clearly been Photoshopped.  Standing at 5 foot 11 inches tall and 120 pounds, Filippa worked for Ralph Lauren since 2002 until she was fired for being “too fat” and was told she did not fit in the clothes. In the ad on the right, Filippa was Photoshopped to Barbie proportions with a seemingly large head comparative to her body. Filippa was outraged at this altered image, which many people would be. It is disheartening to see that so many celebrities and models have to specifically ask that their photographer not use Photoshop because when you’re at a photo shoot you just assume that Photoshop will be used to alter your body.