Contributing Authors

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge FAIL Compilation 2014

It’s hard to find an assignment that you’re actually passionate about, one that you actually want to work on. However, I found that feeling with this research paper. I don’t know how I came up with my paper topic, but once I did I could not stop researching for it. I honestly had about 30 tabs up at once. Don’t believe me? I tweeted a picture of them! 

Anyways, for my paper, I wrote about social media in a post 9/11 world. Eleven years ago, it’s hard to imagine, but neither Facebook, nor Twitter, nor YouTube had been created yet. Facebook debuted in 2004, YouTube in 2005, and Twitter not until 2006.

There was clearly a lack of communication in a time when it was needed most on that tragic day as people tried to connect with loved ones. In her blog MediaRhetoric, Dr. Janet Johnson actually suggests that social media grew as a way to fill that lack of communication hole. However, I believe it would be incorrect to claim that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were created with 9/11 in mind; but, it is evident that their potentials have been discovered in events that have occurred post 9/11. 

Throughout my paper, I focus on those three social media sites choosing to explain how they’re becoming known as news sources due to their specific affordances. Twitter has been considered a great place to report breaking news. In fact, news of the Hudson River crash actually broke on Twitter. Facebook is a great source for sharing links and pictures, along with providing more detailed messages. When Osama Bin Laden died or when any big event has happened, I’m sure you can remember your news feed being almost solely about that event. Also, YouTube has been trying to get a bigger foot in the news door. Video shot by firsthand witnesses who are most likely not professionals can easily be uploaded to the site. News organizations can then use their footage if they didn’t happen to make it to the scene (with permission, of course). 

Clearly social media has played a large role in our recent tragedies, so it’s probable that the presence of social media would have changed September 11, 2001. With smart phones and the ability to share photos and videos on all 3 of these forums, the day would have been documented much better. Also, victims might have had the chance to say goodbye through a tweet, Facebook post, or quick YouTube video (videos can now be immediately updated from your smart phone to the site). And, all 3 sites would have made it easier to find and connect with loved ones lost in the aftermath. 

Grieving would have been a whole different process as well. Facebook Memorial pages, dedicated hashtags, and picture montage videos would have served as great outlets for expressing thoughts and feelings people were experiencing. This is evident from the way people commemorated the 10th anniversary on social media. 

The technology is changing and social media has grown to new heights. It provides us with a place to express ourselves on all different occasions. Personally, I would not have wanted the option of expressing myself on social media back then. I think the option to hug each other and have conversations about the events was so much for humane and needed for such an impactful day and weeks following. 

My final paper focuses on affordances.  As we all know, the recording industry is not necessarily thriving.  Thanks to file sharing, music is stolen by the public, ultimately taking money from the recording producers and creative directors.  Knowing that record labels are not in a great economic state, it would be ideal to skip the process of obtaining a so-so record deal.  Instead, a musician can share music online and find performance opportunities on his own, hoping to find touring gigs (cuz that’s where starting artists make money in the starting stages of musicianship).  

Record labels provide artists a certain number of affordances, such as image, exposure, global touring touring etc.  In the 21st century, social media affords aspiring artists similar affordances for exposure and image that can be done independently, such as posting music to soundcloud.com, creating a twitter account to interface with friends and followers, and creating a website that houses music, pics & vids of an artist in the making. In real life.  So my paper was somewhat research and somewhat experimental?  But it’s not an experiment. It’s what I was put on this earth to do. 

After I graduate from Fordham I want to go on a grand musical endeavor.  I’m currently writing an album on the piano that depicts and allows me to perform the story of Jesus’ last days on earth, dying on the cross, spending 3 days in hell, and rising up for the resurrection. All through Electronic Dance Music.  Honestly, I just feel like this guy’s story (Jesus’) was incredible.  What he did for us.  He’s my savior and I’ll forever praise him for that.  So I will praise Him with music.  Singing on the piano.  Dancing in the coat of many colors my mom made me.  Creating spirit staffs.  I have an obsession with dancing with spirit staffs and this staff obsession has turned into a cross obsession.  

I’m not here to convince you to convert, to criticize another’s religion, or to even tell you to become a better Christian.  I do, however, believe I have a story to tell.  I have something to say.  

What I like about the being an artist is the chance to be vulnerable.  To be bold.  To stand up for something you believe in.  And I believe in Jesus, the guy who died on the cross for my sins.  All of them.  I was looking, searching, praying for a direction.  A purpose.  And my purpose on this earth is to make music in HIS name.

johnjosephthornhill.com 

@jjthornhill

My paper had to do with Facebook Privacy and the evolution of Facebook default settings to an very ‘public version of privacy. 

I concluded that privacy concerns online are a prevalent topic of discussion in contemporary society. Online the contextual privacy of the ‘offline’ world is collapsed into a single sphere of overlapping norms, and it can be difficult to balance conflicting norms of sharing. Facebook has sought to elevate some of this balance by operating under the idea that the world is evolving to be less private and more open—that people want to share more. Therefore the privacy settings of Facebook have grown to reflect this ideal; the default settings of Facebook are now that almost everything is public, and in order to make personal information private users must ‘opt-out’ of the default settings by navigating through the complex and lengthy options Facebook has created.

 The confusion of Facebook’s privacy policy, which is now longer in length than the U.S. Constitution, often leaves users with a better perceived knowledge of privacy settings, rather than an actual practical application. Therefore the desired privacy settings of users are often not the settings that are used when they share posts or upload pictures and videos.  Finally the growing necessity of Facebook in our society has made it so that users are forced to weigh the costs against the benefits, and most lean in favor of Facebook. Facebook’s user base. of over a billion, makes it a convenient way for individuals to keep in touch with family and friends—this enormous benefit is seen for many as worthy exchanges for the privacy concerns that are created. Even individuals who have personally discovered the pitfalls of Facebook privacy lapses, find themselves back on the site time after time, because the pressure to have an online persona in today’s ‘plugged in’ world has become too great, that one cannot afford to not have a Facebook. 

In my paper I looked at the relationship between branding and social media. I concluded that there were four circumstances to be evaluated: brands that use social media effectively, brands that use social media ineffectively, the positive effect of social media on brands, and finally, the negative effect of social media on brands. Brands that utilize social media effectively include Virgin America Airlines and Procter and Gamble. The examples of companies using social media and not promoting brand values are Kenneth Cole and Motrin. Two  brands gaining popularity largely due to social media are Dollar Shave Club and Fifty Shades of Grey. Two examples of brands that tarnished images from social media are Urban Outfitters and Domino’s Pizza. The way that the brands with positive outcomes achieved this was through their use of social media being consistent with the values of the brand. Whereas the companies that suffered sent a message out via social media that was not congruent with the idea of their brand that they provided to customers. 

Hello everyone! I just read through everyone’s posts on their final papers, and all those topics a) seem really interesting and b) are things I would’ve never thought about writing about.

Anyway, my paper (which I never ever thought I would finish, so writing finishing my 25 pager will be…interesting) was actually inspired by Prof. Marwick’s research! I wrote about fashion bloggers, who are both creators of fashion content and consumers of fashion. Some of you may have heard of some really popular bloggers like Kendi Everyday and Brooklyn Blonde. They’re really fancy.

I didn’t want to write about them though, because that’s boring. Those are the bloggers you always hear about, and they write books and get to be in online ad campaigns and blog full-time and half of their wardrobes are “c/o” or “courtesy of.” (I mean, I really like Kendi, but she’s been talked about to death.)

ANYWAY.

I decided instead to focus on the opposite end of the spectrum, with budget bloggers. I always curious as to how they play into consumerism, since they focus on thrifting and “remixing” (i.e. being a normal person and wearing a dress more than once). I was also curious about how being thrifty and budget-conscious plays into their online identities.

For my research, I read a few studies on fashion bloggers and consumerism. I also interviewed three bloggers on the phone. (Side note: it’s really weird to read about someone for months of even years and then speak to them on the phone. Weird.)

In case anyone is interested in following these awesome bloggers (seen above), I interviewed (L-R):

All of the blogs are hosted on Blogger which I thought was interesting (my blog is on Wordpress) and I’m pretty sure I was going to mention but forget. Anyway. One of the most interesting things I discovered was that when it came to thrifting, the bloggers didn’t believe that $5 Michael Kors dress (true story!) was worth bragging about or a “status symbol,” but something that should be “shared.” Interesting distinction.

I think that’s all I have to say without rewriting my paper though (LOL). You all rock, and so does this class. It even has me considering grad school, but then I remember how much I procrastinate so…

Merry Christmas! :)

With everything going on with the Westboro Baptist Church, Anonymous is as timely as ever. They’ve been extremely active over the last few years, so I decided to take a look at them and the history of hackers and if they can be compared at all, or if they are totally different.

Hackers have existed since nearly the birth of the Internet and have played an extremely important role. Original hackers were around to find ways to improve on clunky, slow-paced systems. As the popularity of and access to the Internet grew, hackers morphed into trolls whose sole purpose was to mess with people for entertainment. 4chan and, more specifically, /b/, played host to a number of these trolls who donned the name Anonymous. Eventually Anonymous began trolling people who irked them, such as pedophiles and animal abusers. This eventually led to Anonymous becoming hacktivists in the name of social justice and information freedom. Some did not like this approach and offshoot groups, such as LulzSec and AntiSec reverted slightly in order to troll again.

The purpose of my paper is to evaluate the history of hackers and how we have gotten to the state we are in today with them and to ask the questions of whether or not Anonymous and it’s offshoots, such as LulzSec, serve a higher purpose then gaining “lulz” and whether they are a benefit or detriment to our society.

Hey everyone! The mission for my Final Paper was to try and redefine the troll, because I feel like this term is often associated only primarily with deliberately provocative, flaming behavior. Instead, I to argue that trolling, when it is truly done carefully and expertly, can enter into the realm of “stealth parody,” meaning that the audience cannot tell whether the person in question is trolling or not. Those who excel at stealth parody are adept at crafting an online identity that mimics the social norms and behavior of the community that they are parodying, and their success largely depends upon how good they are at performance art and interacting with the target audience.

The bulk of my paper focused on three case examples of people I thought had achieved this level of sophisticated trolling. I first looked at MirandaSings, who I have already talked about enough throughout this semester. I then analyzed Laina, a.k.a. the girl behind the popular Overly Attached Girlfriend meme:

By parodying crazed Justin Bieber fans, Laina was able to convince many that she was really a creepy Bieber-obsessed fan, allowing her to achieve a moderate degree of Internet fame. Lastly, I looked at the (now-defunct) Twitter account of another pretend Justin Bieber fan, Amanda Bieber (Twitter handle: @MandaSwaggie), who annoyed many with her asinine and ignorant Tweets, including one that said that Justin Bieber was more famous than Kurt Cobain because he had more Twitter followers (lol).

Ultimately, I concluded by saying that trolling is not just a mindless activity done by 13 year old boys with nothing better to do. Rather, trolling, when done properly, is truly an valid form of artistic expression, and those who have mastered the art of stealth parody have contributed something worthwhile to the culture of the Internet. 

Well, there you have it! Like Cheyenne said- if anyone is curious to read my paper, let me know and I’d be more than happy to send it your way. Or, if you’re ever bored, just look up “Amanda Bieber” on Tumblr and you will find plenty of her old Tweets; needless to say they’re a hilarious read. Happy Holidays everyone!

My topic for my final paper was social media marketing. I narrowed down that topic by analyzing 6 social media campaigns, three that succeeded and three that failed. Some of the companies included the Boston Celtics, WalMart, Cheerios, and Old Spice.

I compared and contrasted these campaigns to determine what made each campaign successful or unsuccessful. In the end I found that successful campaigns embraced the affordances and social norms of the social media platform they used. They understood their customers likes and dislikes and catered their social media campaigns to these preferences. Unsuccessful campaigns ignored or misunderstood the social norms of the social media platform, which resulted in angry or distrustful customers and ineffective social media campaigns. The most important of these ignored social norms were transparency and authenticity.

I enjoyed writing this paper and analyzing what differentiated a good social media campaign from a bad one. (It was enjoyable to be sidetracked for an hour by the games on Old Spice’s Facebook page)

I hope everyone has a great winter break and enjoy the holidays!

                          

Wow, I cannot believe this moment has finally arrived! It seems like this semester flew by, but finals sure as heck slowed things down. ANYWAY…back to my paper. Since we have all witnessed (and some of us may as well could have been apart of) behaviors of Facebook jealousy in our lifetimes, I decided to write my final paper on this ideal. My thesis was designed to explore the ways jealousy erupts between individuals who are currently in relationships because of the lovely social networking site.

With Facebook, partners are exposed to more information about their significant other’s relationships and interactions than they may not have been able to access in the past or in other online methods of communication. Facebook affords the formation of a profile, friends list, wall, comments, photos, etc. A partner who accesses this information could easily misinterpret the content and develop jealous tendencies. Gershon, one of the women I cited, stated that “Facebook offers potato chips of information - you get a tantalizing taste that somehow doesn’t quite satisfy, and so you keep seeing a seeking a sensation of fulfillment…” What Gershon meant was that the information we have access to on Facebook may be too vague to really draw any conclusions. Therefore, we become insecure and anxious in our relationships.

In my paper, I also talked about how Facebook’s affordances allow us to modify and manage our pages. Although our intentions may be good, the fact that we are removing something from our page may seem suspicious. I also mentioned how a partner may NOT monitor their profile, showing their partner that they may be being inconsiderate of his or her feelings. Therefore, a partner may be more likely to show territorial behaviors, such as writing on their lover’s wall right after someone of the opposite sex has.

Next, I discussed how this jealousy could lead to some pretty serious behaviors such as technological addiction, stalking, and forming a fake profile, amongst others. With addiction, we may become so wrapped up in Facebook that we may lose sight of what is real and important. With stalking, we are able to view our partners pages undetected, and therefore our partner could have no idea that the other may be searching for hints of their partners infidelity (even though they may be extremely loyal). Lastly, forming a fake profile is an extreme measure to take to seek out information about a partner or their partners connections. 

Finally, I mentioned that Facebook does not only cause jealousy between partners who are in a committed relationship, but if the couple was to break up - these jealous tendencies could continue. My last paragraph offered the idea of opting out of Facebook all-together to avoid any harm to both current and future relationships.

For my paper, I used many terms from class discussions. Some of them include: affordances, context collapse, media multiplexity, impression management, and the persistence/scalability/searchability nature of Facebook. 

If anyone is interested in reading it, I’d be MORE than happy to send it to you :)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!!