RIP Mass Media

•February 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Mass Media :1 , Erinn :0 . I was defeated, and not just barely, I got my butt kicked.

My Mass Communications teacher gave us a new interesting assignment, go 2 days trying to go without forms of mass media. I tried my best, but media infiltrated my day in multiple ways.

Let’s start with the definition of mass media. “Mass media are the cultural industries, the channels of communication, that produce and distribute songs, novels, newspapers, movies, Internet services, and other cultural products to large numbers of people,” which is cleared up thanks to my text book, Media & Culture: an Introduction to Mass Communications by Richard Campbell, Christopher Martin, and Bettina Fabos (just in case any of you have a huge urge to buy a communications textbook)

I thought this assignment was fairly exciting for something I was being forced to do, so I tried going all out for the two days. In a way, going without media seemed like a way to “stick it to the man” and make my hippie mother proud. I was going to go without ANY contact with mass media, even though my teacher said we could keep our phones.

The first five minutes of my plan went well, but it was downhill from that. My brother apparently tried calling me while I was in the shower on the first day. I didn’t pick up and he noticed that my roommate was online so he instant messaged her telling her that he needed to talk to me. Heather, my roommate, decided that she needed to bang on the door to let me know.

By the time I got out of the shower I already knew that I was going to have to break my stand to talk to my brother. I called him back to see what he wanted, just to hear about how he was driving to school and noticed that they put up a new billboard advertising the new “Big Mac Wrap.”

Part of me thinks that it was just karma that I was trying to go without media so of course I would be told about some advertisement right away. I know my brother was just telling me because we are always disgusted by the commercials when we see them, being the avid Big Mac fans that we are. How could they ruin something as perfect as a Big Mac? Come on McDonalds!

After telling my brother about my homework assignment, he said he would take care of telling the rest of my family that contact with me for the next two days would be limited to only necessities.

Once done talking to my brother I sat down at my desk, and sat, and kept on sitting. Why was I sitting at my desk? The only thing there was my computer, and if I went on it I would have nothing to do but to go on facebook, or play some games, which would inevitably have ads on the sides.

So what was I to do? I had no idea, but I lucked out and it was just about noon so I was hungry for lunch.

I walked down the hall to my friend’s room to see if any of them were hungry, and I was in luck. They had their television on so I waited for them to get ready back in the comfort of my media-free room.

We decided to splurge after being snowed in the dorms; we wanted some food other than campus’ finest. We piled in my car and drove to some pizza place my friend recommended.

The car ride was fairly silent. We had the normal girl gossip, but almost every car ride I take, the first thing I do is turn on the radio. I even got asked to do so, but then I explained my anti-media stance and they understood.

Any time spent outside my room, the accidental run-ins with media just kept piling up. While driving I saw 3 billboards, signs for housing and restaurant specials. Once inside, what I thought to be safety of the pizza place, I realized that it was almost worse inside. The signs on the table showed different community activities going on, and the music playing was hard to ignore when it was as catchy as Imma Be, by the Black Eyed Peas. (Give it a listen…)

I could go on forever telling you how I quickly realized there was no way of getting away from the media invasion, but instead let me tell you what I learned: Media makes the world go round.

If it wasn’t for the signs advertising food, and activities, what would I have done with my day? What I did was sit and think about how bored I was. I read some as a cheat to the challenge but if I hadn’t I would literally have had nothing to do.

So now, I challenge you to this. Go two days without media. If you succeed, I’m accusing you of being a liar – a really boring person.

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When Media Attacks!

•February 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

How do you REALLY spend your days? I wrote down an hour-by-hour journal of what I did, and the mass media I came in contact with, and it was disgusting.

When I’m waking up, when I’m going to sleep, and when I’m doing homework I have the television on, and if not the television then music. I tried thinking of an explanation of that to give to all of you, and I got nothing other than I need the background noise. If you ask me why I need the noise, I wont have an answer for you.

television shows, movies, music (either my Ipod or the radio), facebook, and texting were all repeated in my day.

Do I really need to see the latest pictures of my friends? Had they changed that much since I last saw them? No.

Do I need to listen to the radio when it plays the same 5 songs over and over again? I couldn’t count the number of times I heard Hey, Soul Sister by Train or Blah Blah Blah by Ke$ha. Even though I hear the songs so many times, I turn the radio on every time I’m in the car or the shower.

Facebook is one of those things that I love to hate. The idea of it is revolting to me, why do I need to know what my friends are always doing, and why do they need to know what I’m doing? Have you ever heard of a sense of privacy? Before this experiment I already had my pictures blocked from the public and even my friends, but after this I almost want to delete my facebook all together, but I can’t.

I can’t because I want it. I could give you the bologna excuse that I can ask friends about homework assignments through it, or check on how my family is doing, but it’s a lie. Those are both perks, but its mostly because its entertainment.

Through those two days of writing down everything I do I realized that all of it is for entertainment. Does my generation really need that much help being entertained? I like to think that I can keep myself busy on my own, but the truth is that’s a lie.

When I think of a stereotypical elder (most likely my impression from movies, since I know I have never had this experience myself) I imagine them yelling at kids because when they were a child they would entertain themselves with picking up a soup can then knocking it over again.

Sitting here thinking about this while I’m writing, I guess there is really no harm in the fact that I like to be entertained. That’s probably a good thing since I doubt it will be changing anytime soon for myself, and everyone remotely close to my age.

I wish that I could find soup cans interesting, not because I want to give up on society and all the great inventions it has, but just for the pure satisfaction that I would know that I’m self reliant.

If the world goes through some catastrophe and mass media is knocked out, what would we do?

So that leads me to my Mass communications assignment; go two days without mass media.

Communication; The Evolution

•January 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Figure out this; What is the most endangered species on the planet? It took me, at the most, 30 seconds to find out the answer. Since 1970, the Black Rhino population has declined by 90% to less than 3,000 rhinos. They are hunted primarily for their horns. Trade of Rhinos and rhino parts has been banned for more than twenty years. Although having banned trading of the species, there still continues to be a great demand for these animals. Why would anyone want to know this fun fact? Maybe just to have the knowledge, or maybe they had a school assignment on the animal. Whatever the reason, it was easily accessible thanks to the internet and the personal computer. I watched Media History, the Story of Film, Television and Media, a movie created in 1998 in my mass communications class yesterday. The history of mass communications started when there was practically nothing. The only way to spread and receive information was by word of mouth. To not be able to find out information at the drop of a pin seems almost frustrating to me since I have never had a time in my life when I couldn’t. Being born in the 90’s meant that I never had a time of my life where I could have access to a computer, and inevitable the internet. Growing up my father was an electrical engineer so we had three computers running, and normally one or two that he was working on building. This movie drew a picture of a time that was completely foreign to me and really made me realize how privileged all of my generation is. The movie not only focused on the beginning of Mass Communications but also progressed to the invention of the printing press which allowed reproduction of exact copies that could be distributed from one to many. After the printing press there was the telegraph, telephone, radio, and television. All of these inventions can be used for retrieving information but if that is all we had now I believe that our generation would be bored a lot more often. Everyone I know my age easily relies on the telephone, radio, television, and even game systems and VCRs/DVDs to entertain them at any points of their day. Mass Communication’s leaps and bounds at creating an easier world has made it so that everything we need is within arms reach and to imagine anything else isn’t done by many so watching the video in class was a nice reminder of how nice life really is.