Read, Write, PUSH

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About the Book

A book that has truly changed my outlook specifically, on pursuing my goals and dreams, would be the novel, Push.  It is written by Sapphire and is a novel based on fiction.  The novel, in short, is about a young and overweight girl, Precious, who lives in Harlem, New York. The book narrates how she struggles to overcome her family and financial issues and fights to learn how to read and write.  The girl must rise above her sexually abusive mother and father and learn in order to succeed in life.  I originally heard about the novel from my AP English teacher during my senior year of high school. She said it had gotten awards and that I should look into reading it. I bought it at Borders in my home town and ended up reading the entire book in two days.

The Hardships

 The poor girl in the novel is constantly put down by people at school as well as her mother for being heavy and is called stupid because she truly just doesn’t know how to read. The sad part is that she was just a child who slipped through the public school system without properly learning how to read or write. Her illiteracy obviously held her back in all other aspects of life as shown in the novel. For example, She can’t participate in other classes or read about how to protect herself from pregnancy and sexual abuse.

The topic of sexual abuse was extremely graphic within the book.  Precious’ mother would constantly sexually abuse her as well as her father starting from the time when she was just a little baby. This of course not only was the reason she had two children by the time she was sixteen but it was also the reason why she was not stable on an emotional and psychological level.

A learning Experience

The book was extremely inspirational. It showed me that even in the most difficult of times that anyone can strive for their dreams; anyone can succeed if they just push forward and focus. Her determination to learn in order to gain a better life for herself as well as her children is a model I think of now while going through college. The novel highlighted to me the importance of an education as well as the importance of keeping a good focus when it comes to striving for my goals and dreams.

I still, to this day, talk about the book whenever someone wants a quick read. I like to suggest it because I think someone else should be inspired the way that it had inspired   me. Even though it is a very depressing and graphic novel I still believe it’s worth reading. The lessons learned out of the book most definitely out weight the gruesome topics discussed within the novel. I hope to read many more books like this that I can connect with my life in a deep and meaningful way. I mean, to me that is the whole point of reading books in the first place.

Disney Desire

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When I was a little girl Disney movies were always my favorite movies to watch. I loved the storylines that included animals like The Fox and The Hound, The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, or Oliver and Company. I remember saying to my parents, “wow, I wish my dog was as cool as the ones in those movies.”

 I also loved how Disney movies always had a story about romance involved. I remember idolizing the beautiful main female characters and hoping that when I grew up that I would look just like them and fall in love with some handsome man.

What I never realized was how unrealistic those concepts were. I also never realized how much of an impact those movies have really had on me until now. Were those movies really okay for me to watch? Were they too unrealistic with the real world?

With that being said, I decided to look up the issue on the idea of being a princess pushed through Disney movies and its impact on young girls. I found an article written by a very disturbed mother. She was experiencing how her daughter always wanted to play dress-up and how people in her life, such as teachers, her dentist, and even the grocery store check-out clerk were treating her in a gender biased way. For example, they were calling her princess and assuming her favorite color was pink.

After reading this I really took into account how when I was growing up I was never really treated as a total girly girl. Yes, I wore dresses and enjoyed playing with my barbies, but my parents balanced that very well with the importance of playing outside and being independent.

I sometimes wonder if I would be even more independent if I had not been subjected to the “princess” idea and how being pretty in pink with submissive behaviors was the way to get a man’s attention.

Unfortunately, because I’ll truly never know why I am the way I am today I suppose even I will have my future children watch Disney movies. Even though Disney has hidden messages I personally doubt my child will really see them. I know I didn’t even know about them until high school and if that’s the case what harm is really causing.

I have come to figure that if I enjoyed watching the movies with my parents and if I learned some positive values then Disney can’t possibly be that bad. In fact, I think I would rather have my child watch that than some of the TV shows they air like The Jersey Shore.

Popularity in PR: Twitter and Facebook

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How have social networks like Facebook and Twitter really changed the public relations field?

I decided to find out myself through blogs, one of the most popular sources of social networking today. Through my research I found a guy named Matthew Royce. He is a Marketing Communications Manager at Forsythe Technology in Skokie, Ill.  He is also a part-time student at the Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University.

 

Once I found out his knowledge and credibility I decided to read his blog to see his take on how social networks or media have changed public relations as a whole.  While reading I found he summed up the changes in 7 main points: Two-way conversation, digital communication, research, journalism is changing, faster and more visible communications, analytics, and organizational hierarchy change.

Two-way Conversation

Matthew basically believes that two-way communication is the new norm and that PR professionals don’t have to send the info about a client or brand to everyone at one time. He saw the communication is becoming more personal and time saving. He sums his views up as PR becoming more about “listening, engaging, and thought management.”

Digital Communication

Matthew says that digital communication is now a huge part of PR because professionals are expected to understand the digital networks like Twitter and Facebook. They should also be analyzing how these social networks work in today’s society using programs like Google Analytics, which is a program that lets you observe website traffic and marketing effectiveness which is extremely useful for PR professionals to know.

Research

Matthew describes social networks as being detrimental for PR professionals to use in order to research the latest and greatest when it comes to media trends and advertising. Social networks provide new opportunities in finding out what people want.

Journalism is Changing

Matthew talks about how media consumers don’t turn to major news corporations or traditional media for news anymore. People now can find out news anywhere online and not only that but people are now becoming news journalists as well to inform their communities. PR is affected because people in the field are also becoming journalists themselves because regular business companies are now becoming media companies.

Faster and More Visible Communications

Matthew says here that PR professionals are expected to have an organization or client online presence before a serious issue occurs. This is because info is so easy to get now. In response to the 24/7 readily obtained info PR people have to keep up and have an answer or result to a crisis just as quickly.

Analytics

Matthew explains how PR people are now using math every day. They have to keep up with current investment trends as well as tracking the measurement of the traffic media drives to a company’s website.

Organizational Hierarchy Change

Matthew portrays the PR field as a career that is now way more democratized. Because of social media people in the PR field now have direct ways to communicate with people at the top of companies.

My Views

Based on these findings I have decided I really believe in Social Networking and its positive effects on not just society as a whole but on the PR field as well. I think  social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, have done nothing but improve and better the public relations industry. People can get loads of information in the blink of an eye. This is pushing the PR field into a technical and more advanced direction. PR professionals are now working to keep up with today’s evolving social and media market. It’s exciting to hear that Facebook and Twitter are tools not only used to talk with people of interest but it’s also used for research and advertising a company or client as well.

Tosh.0 = Genius

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Not only does tosh.0 have an awesomely hilarious show he also has one of the most effective websites dedicated to his show. One thing is for sure; Daniel Tosh uses his viewers’ ideas and jokes and incorporates them in his show. This technique, or website, Daniel Tosh uses is the basis for his show’s ideas and topics. It is one of the main reasons his show has had so much success.

Videos

The Tosh.0 website has videos he has used on his previous shows. They’re categorized in an orderly fashion by most recently used to the most often watched. This allows his fans to view all of his previous videos while making comments on them as well. Daniel Tosh can use this feedback to find out what his viewers enjoyed more and what they enjoyed the least.

The website also includes previews to videos that will be shown in the future. For example, on the site presently there is a video shown of a man on psychedelic mushrooms. This is a preview to the web redemptions Daniel Tosh does on his program every week. By doing this Daniel tosh is not only advertising his show but he’s getting his viewers excited for the videos to come throughout the season.

Blogs

Daniel Tosh gets his audience to participate in his ongoing show using blogs. He does this game called the “Caption Challenge.” Basically the game consists of people blogging about funny pictures and they must contain a humorous caption. He also has a blog where people talk about him or his show. There is a specific pattern to most of the content posted on the site which is humor. If it’s not humorous Daniel Tosh doesn’t put it up.

Total Domination

Overall, Daniel Tosh’s success comes from his fans. He is very clear in every episode to include something from his fans whether it’s a blog post or video uploaded onto his site. He continues to dominate in comedy using the most updated technology such as YouTube and Twitter. He also beats many of his comedic competitors using audience interaction. With audience feedback and ideas he will continue to win in the game of comedy as long as he keeps his audience happy. He’s definitely won me over.

The Subliminal Messages in Our Childhood

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Have you ever watched the Disney films and noticed just how similar they are in comparison? There is a reason for that. While watching Mickey Mouse Monopoly I found it very interesting how many hidden messages there are in Disney films. More specifically, I noticed all the messages being shown to little girls.

The messages being shown to these young children were definitely not positive. They were messages about how a girl should look, how they should act, and what they should accept as the norm. It was rather disturbing just how degrading these messages were to women as a whole.

One specific message was how young girls should strive to look like an image that just isn’t realistic. Disney characters portray women who are usually thin, have long legs, have long hair, have big beautiful eyes, and are unrealistically proportioned. Any one of the Disney princesses will have these physical features as shown to the right. This teaches young girls to worry about their weight and physical features at an extremely young age. They learn to sexualize themselves way too early. If you really think about it Disney is saying be skinny or be a size “0.” If zero is what media portrays as right they might as well say try to take up as little space in society as possible.

Another message is for young girls to use their sexuality to get what they want. An example the movie used was of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. It described how she used her body to win the man of her dreams. This movie also shows young girls they can get what they want without being heard. In The Little Mermaid Ariel gets her voice taken away in exchange for long legs in order to walk on land. Long legs are something seen in the public as sexual. These messages tell little girls it’s okay not to have a voice and to fight for what they want the way they should. It also says showing body parts are the only way to get a man’s attention.

The last example and most appalling of all is the message that young girl’s should accept violence and teach themselves to become desensitized to it. In Beauty and the Beast Belle is treated violently by the beast and is constantly yelled at. What’s even worse is that she forgives him for his beastly and violent behaviors. Here is a video to prove my point. This teaches young girls that it is okay to be treated in a violent manner. It also teaches girls that if they stick around with a violent person that they can ultimately bring out the good in them. We all know this is unrealistic and in a sense it is teaching children to put themselves in harmful relationships.

My Cell Phone is My LIFE

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Have you ever truly considered what a burden it is to not look at your cell phone or to not surf the web? Well not only did I consider this but I had to actually do it. It was two long miserable and stressful days without my electronics. It took all of the effort inside me to fight the urge to give up… and I still didn’t succeed in avoiding media.

One of my biggest obstacles was retrieving everyday information without an electronic device such as a TV or computer. For example, a small task like getting dressed soon became a huge hassle.  I simply wanted to know how the weather was outside so I would know what clothes would be the most comfortable throughout the day. I normally would have just pulled up weatherbug.com on my phone but today this wasn’t allowed. I couldn’t even check the weather on the TV. This obstacle had surprisingly shocked me because I had never felt like had no solution before. It’s really sad that it took me a few minutes to think of  just walking outside and feeling the temperature for myself. I began to wonder how reliant I am on all electronics not just for everyday use but on an emotional level as well.

I realized soon enough just how challenging this assignment was for me emotionally. I am in a long distance relationship. I live here in Baltimore while my boyfriend lives all the way in Charles County, Southern Maryland. He is two hours away so cell phones and Skype are what keep us connected most of the time. Not being able to talk to him was giving me serious anxiety. I constantly wanted to check my phone to see if he had texted or called me. I then, was worrying myself to death about him getting mad that I wasn’t texting like I usually would even though he knew about my assignment.

Sleeping also became a problem for me. I have a habit of calling my boyfriend right before going to sleep. It comforts me to hear his voice before going to bed and we usually joke around and talk about how our day went. The first night it was literally driving me crazy that my phone was sitting next to me and yet I couldn’t call him. I’m going to be completely honest. I definitely gave in and called after about an hour of just laying there in my bed. Not having the normal comfort that I have become accustomed to was torture for me.

The whole two days just made me worry about how attached I am to a material object. Yes, it does connect me to the people in my life but it was only two days. I feel like it should not have been this much of a struggle to go without media. What is even more interesting is that having the TV off for two days didn’t bother me at all yet not being able to text was absolutely killing me. I even experienced what people call, “phantom vibrating. I felt my phone was vibrating but when i looked down my cell phone was off like it was supposed to be. I wanted to know if i was experiencing some sort of mental withdrawal so I looked online and found this video explaining that phantom vibrations are basically hallucinations.

Overall, I’ve decide that even though I struggled and found the assignment rather bothersome I did learn some valuable concepts. I’ve learned that new generations of young people like myself are becoming more and more attached to their electronic devices. We are, in a sense, trained by the media to constantly check the web and our phones for texts, advertisements, and news. Everyone is slowly becoming reliant on solely the internet and their cell phones to connect themselves to the world and culture. I’ve also come to realize that because my cell phone connects me to the most significant people in my life it is only natural that I become so attached to it. My cell phone, in a sense, has become my security blanket; without it I would feel lost and detached from my life.

Is Media Truly Avoidable?

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During my two days of media use I noticed immediately just how much I was unintentionally being subjected to ads and other forms of advertising. I rode a bus and was exposed to music that I, on a  regular basis, would not have noticed. I then got on campus and started noticing all the on-campus activities being advertised on posters, on doors, and even written on the sidewalk with chalk. I basically spent my entire two days being completely mind blown because I hadn’t realized just how much media Iwas being exposed to everyday.  

I then started to ask my friends questions about how much media they were exposed to at home. My roommate, for example, said she spent at least three hours everyday watching TV. A friend in my math class said she spent maybe an hour a day watching TV but that she also sent at least 60 text messages a day.

I, on the other hand, spend maybe an hour watching TV. I also only send about 30 to 40 text messages a day. What I do spend most of my time on is Facebook. I had spent almost ten hours on Facebook in just two days. I also spent at least thirty minutes of every hour I was awake checking my phone for texts, the time, Facebook updates,the weather, and lastly, calling my friends and family.

From this experiment and the small survey I conducted I learned that I spend way too much time on social networking sites and what is even worse is that when I’m not checking Facebook online I’m checking it on my phone. Here is  a video declaring that Facebook is an actual addiction.  I’ve also discovered that my music intake is incredible. I spend at least an hour a day finding new music to put on my iPod and over three hours a day just listening to music that I already have.

The media I am exposed to the most say a significant amount about what I am learning about the world on a daily basis. I’m learning music trends as well as different forms of music that are not necessarily main stream. For instance, Dubstep or Techno are genres of music that the public doesn’t usually hear, but I love those genres and listen to them all the time. It pleases me that I’m educating myself on realms of music not yet discovered by millions of people. I also feel I’m learning about the most popular communication trends on Facebook. More specifically, I’m learning about what people are listening to, what videos they’re watching on YouTube, and I’m even technically learning what the latest fashion trends are based on people’s photos posted.

My most surprising realization is that it’s pretty much impossible to not be subjected to these types of media if I’m going to be involved in everyday culture. Culture, as a whole, has become extremely reliant on technology because without it many aspects of culture would not be known by people all over the world. It takes radios, TVs, internet, and cell phones to inform people about news, trends, and products being sold. As a result, I have become a technology junkie. I have become a person completely obsessed with having the immediate gratification of knowing what’s going on at every minute of the day.