The shutdown

For this week’s blog, I watched a political skit on Saturday Night Live called “NASA shutdown cold open” joking on the influence of the government shutdown. The video is about two astronauts who were performing a task in space suddenly detached from the satellite, very distressed and contacted NASA for help but only found two custodians left in the building because of the government shutdown. In the skit, they were sarcastically reflecting the government shutdown and the result of government shutdown to the influence of NASA. Therefore, I researched some news articles related to the impact of the government shutdown on NASA.

SNL skit

Yahoo news-http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-assessing-impacts-government-shutdown-141845351.html

At first, I thought the SNL skit way over exaggerated the impact of government shutdown to NASA. After reading the news on Yahoo.com named “NASA assessing impact on government shutdown”, I learned more details about how the government shutdown affected NASA and created a “NASA shutdown”. From the news article, the 16-day government shutdown sent “97 percent of NASA’s 18,000-member workforce” back home. There will be a lot of catch up work to do from simple activity to the complex one after the reopening of NASA. However, despite the furlough of many employees back home, NASA still kept a skeleton crew around to “protect the lives of the astronauts aboard the International Space Station and safeguard currently operating scientific spacecraft”.

NBC news-http://www.nbcnews.com/science/nasa-reopening-doors-getting-back-online-after-shutdown-ends-8C11413282

The NBC news was framed on NASA reopening and getting back online again. NASA.gov is accessible now. NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston was back on Twitter and other NASA-run Twitter accounts are back to tweet followers updating what they have done since the government shutdown. One tweet from officials working with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (@LRO_NASA) was interesting. It is said that “The government may have been shut down, but I continued to orbit the moon and gather great data!”

As the book states, entertainment such as the “late-night talk shows and even comedy shows like Saturday Night Live [are] now becoming the norm” (p.465). Political candidates have found those shows helping them create a down-to-earth image while free advertising for themselves. The Public also consumes political news related entertainment. Therefore, media and politics are tightly connected and their relationship will be further strengthened with the development of media and the growth of public awareness and exposure of media consumption.

The research for the extra information definitely makes me want to read news more often. It’s worthwhile to find the actual news that behind the satires of the shows and it helped me become informed through entertainment. On the other hand, I could be better enjoying those entertainment shows with more reading of the news because I found some shows on SNL that I could not understand at all because of zilch news background information. To conclude, the SNL skit joking on NASA shutdown was a very entertaining skit based on the news of the government shutdown. Shows like SNL that make use of news and politics will continue to serve as an entertainment for media consumers who need to keep informed as well as entertained.

SPSU+KSU=?

Question: SPSU+KSU equals ?

News released on last Friday, Nov.1st, that a plan on consolidating Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) and Kennasaw State University (KSU) to form a new institution to be named Kennasaw State university was proposed by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The proposed consolidation plan will be asked by Chancellor Hank Huckaby to approve during its upcoming November meeting.

I heard the news through an invitation of the Hornet Rally event by a friend on Facebook last Friday afternoon. I was also invited to hit like on Keep SPSU and KSU separate Facebook page.  Then I realized it was serious and went to SPSU homepage to find the original link and read the news. I searched news from Google as well. I found that the Friday news was more focused on the release of the proposed consolidation plan. The Marietta Daily Journal on the news article “Kennesaw State to absorb Southern Polytechnic in big merger” reported the Board of Regents’ plan of merger, the benefits of the merger according to a chair of the subcommittee and some statistics of both schools such as history and enrollment numbers. On Monday’s news, I checked AJC’s articled called “Southern Poly students rally today against proposed merger with Kennesaw. Will it matter?” This news piece along with other news released on Monday was more focused on the protest of SPSU students. The keep SPSU and KSU separate Facebook page, change.org petition and students’ concerns were referenced by different newspapers. News began to shift from reporting the consolidation plan to the reaction of SPSU students, faculty, staffs and alumni.  I feel news framed differently with different time period and the change of focus. Since the proposed consolidation plan released on Friday, the group that criticized strongly about the plan are SPSU students, faculty, staffs and alumni. SPSU students’ voice wants to be heard and the news outlets may also discover that the voice of this group could be best fit for their stories.

Back to social media, I was one of the first fifty people who started focusing on the Facebook page “Keep SPSU and KSU separate” and now 3,988 people have liked the page by the time I write this blog. The social media plays a great role in spreading the news and opinions. It provides SPSU students a fast and convenient way to express themselves and let themselves heard. I saw both activism and slacktivism on social media.  I would consider people who actually “produce” something on social media are activism. For example, people who design posters and flyers for the Facebook page, provide updated news of the merger from news outlets, share what they did such as writing letters to the Board of Regents, and call on actions such as organize Rally, sign petition etc on social media websites. Because those people are playing the role of the “influencer”. (According to converging media, p255, an influencer means a person who can influence others in their social network to perform an action or change an attitude.) They use social media as a tool to share what actions they have done to encourage other people’s action and attitude. I also observed that some people on social media were just watching the fun. Some of them were curious to see what happened, some of them followed the trend of what other people do.  There were complaints and cursing on the Facebook page about the merger. However, I consider them as “slacktivism” because they are not promotional for the event.

At the end of this blog, I drew a picture to share my perspective of the question I raised at the beginning.

Image

Apple. Inc on social media

If you are the owner of the company or a worker of a company, would you care about how the public “gossips” about your company? From a reviewer’s perspective, it is always interesting to glimpse into various comments discussing acclaim and criticism of the company. For this week’s blog, I examined social media sites such as WordPress blog, Facebook and Twitter to see how Apple company is being talked about in social media sites and how Apple’s social media strategy is being implemented in those sites.

WordPress blogs

Blogs on WordPress update quickly about Apple Inc and it products.  There will be a new blog about Apple Inc every 5 to 6 minutes. There are various comments on WordPress blogs, however, individuals instead of the company wrote most of them.  It is very true that blogs contain “whatever the blogger wants to write about” (p.250). You can find various comments on blogs. I found people praise, rant, and mock Apple and its products. There are people who spontaneous blog product release information. For example, I found a short blog just telling readers the ipad mini with retina display will release on the 1st of November in UK. Ranters are not alone, people who blog about how they are disappointed with Apple products are numerous as well. What interests me is people on their blogs start coining “i”-word on everywhere.

Here are icookie and ipaid:

icookie

http://cinnamonsweetshoppe.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/icookie/

iPaid

http://ecofrenglobal888.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/ipaid/

By the way, Apple Fans are called “iFans”.

Facebook

Apparently, Apple Inc did not care about Facebook at all. There are zilch posts and updates on Apple store and Apple Inc’s Facebook page. Most Apple Facebook sites are created by Fans.  On Fans of Apple Facebook pages, there are a lot of updates of Apple’s products, news, discussion and comments. (Fans of apple https://www.facebook.com/fansofapple

Facebook has been remaining as the most influential social media websites. One suggestion that I would make to Apple Inc is that they probably should utilize Facebook’s influence to increase their presence.

Twitter

Apple Inc has two accounts on Twitter. One is called Apple news (https://twitter.com/applenws), the other one is Apple Inc, in which I didn’t see a lot of tweets. Apple news seems to be more popular, with 75,778 tweets and 657,585 followers, Apple news earns more attention and targeted strategy is managed well on social media.

Social media connects the world to one. Social media are gradually becoming the weathervane of the market. When something becomes a fad it is most likely that it is being talked about on social media. Whoever conquers the social media will probably become a market leader. Social media strategy should count more than before in a company’s overall strategy. Like the old saying goes, “All press is good press”, people who discussed most on social media good or bad seems not to be important, it is still beneficial to the company. Being talked about, even though with complaints, still makes companies popular among others, because people are following the company. Companies being involving with social media should be following the trends in our information age.

Bonus Blog

What I learned from Ashley’s talk

Our guest speaker for last class, Ashley, talked about current trends in advertising company and agency. Ashley works in a company called 360i, a digital marketing agency, which provides clients marketing advertisement solutions. Ashley introduced the traditional circles of advertising agency and how that model changed in nowadays market. The traditional circle of advertising includes creative, media and account departments. Ashley works in the media part of the Agency where she contacts and communicates with clients and discusses the best location to put the ads on media to achieve higher degree of concern by audiences.

Working in the media department, employees need better communication skills and some math skills because she or he has to face the clients, present and talk with them frequently. After the class, I asked her about how her degree helped her in her work since I noticed she said that she was studying political science and economy before. I learned that you don’t have to be in a marketing or advertising major to work in the field. Some agencies or companies like employees to have various background of study as long as they have the skills needed for the job such as knowing efficient communication and basic math.

The marketing and advertising market changes fast. Nowadays, the time of creating a perfect advertising, considering carefully and waiting to approve where to put the advertisement has gone. Instead, ads come quick, design quick and put on market quick. If it fails, fail quickly as well and make time to prepare for the next advertisement campaign.

Story of Framing-beyond the news

Image

Picture source: http://www.11alive.com/news/article/309099/40/The-Dalai-Lama-visits-Atlanta

This week’s blog discusses how current events are being covered and framed in news stories and the effect of framing.  By coincidence, I went to the public talk by the 14th Dalai Lama at the Gwinnett Center on Oct. 8, 2013. Being a person who actually participated in the event, I was even more curious about how local news medias report this event. By introducing the notion of framing last week, I felt surprised and couldn’t believe at first that the news we consume everyday can be processed and framed “in a particular way that influences how readers think of story.” (Converging media, 279) However, it is unavoidable for journalists to fit the story or news into the frame because framing makes writing stories easier and habitually we apply framing in our daily life too, such as framing situations for perception.

I examined two pieces of news sources online. One is from 11 Alive called “The Dalai Lama visits Atlanta.The other one came from AL.com discussing “Dalai Lama’s visit to Emory University in Atlanta will tangle traffic, spin ideas (photos).These two news stories used different frames to talk about the same event that the Dalai Lama came to the Gwinnett Center for a talk, which really could lead readers to think differently about the event.

News from 11 Alive focused on the talk that happened yesterday. It covered the content of the Dalai Lama’s lecture, the audiences’ reflection about his talk and domestic issues within America related to his topic of discussion, “faith, love, and compassion”. However, the story on AL.com framed a little bit different from the 11 Alive news. AL.com started with the heavy traffic that may expect to happen for welcoming the Dalai Lama to town and started from there, it discussed the Dalai Lama’s exile from the communist control in 1959, his political belief of Tibet and a Chinese international student’s different experiences with Tibetan stories being told in China and America. The news story touched on lightly about the actual talk given by the Dalai Lama but led it to a broader political spectrum. I personally believe that the news from AL.com was off the track from the original. After I read the story, it made me to think politically and to compare a peaceful and non-violent Dalai Lama with the harsh Chinese government even though in the real talk, the Dalai Lama wasn’t focused on politics at all. As mentioned earlier, what he discussed was about compassion and how it transcends religious boundaries. Good framing is trying to cover news that are closer to the content. Another suggested framing from the Dalai Lama’s example could also be comparing yesterday’s talk with the other talks that he delivered in the past or even his books, such as The Art of Happiness.

The topic changed by using different story frames. From the examples above, the audiences could interpret differently from the stories on the same event that happened. For example, they would shift focus from paying attention on the message of the lecture of the Dalai Lame to the controversial Tibetan political issues. I believe framing stories into what actually happened is closer to the objectivity of news. Framing is subjective and it is decided and applied by different individual journalists. By applying frame focus on actual content of the news could help restore balanced and complete coverage.

I would also like to share the picture from the talk yesterday with my friends and I.

Image

Without social media for 24 hours

Image(picture Source:  martinfamilymoments.blogspot.com/2013/05/why-im-still-not-on-facebook.html)

Before this week’s blog, I had to experience 24 full-hour without using any social media websites. It was not that challenging to me, to be honest, because among all the social media websites, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, I only have an active Facebook account. When I just opened my Facebook account five years ago, I used to check my Facebook twice or three times a day to see the updates from my friends. However, I feel my passion for Facebook has faded away. With the growing number of friends or acquaintances, to be exact, I am tired of watching what is going on with them. It’s too much information for me! So, I decided to ignore “the problem of dealing with the enormous amounts of information available” to me. (Converging Media, 179) I check Facebook less than four times a week now.

I have Twitter and Google+ account but I barely use them. One reason is that I don’t have a habit of regularly checking those accounts. The other reason is since social media could easily expose us in ways we can not control, I do not want to put so much personal information on social media and win everybody’s attention. As the reading stated, “the number and variety of relationships in which we are engaged, potential frequency of contact, expressed intensity of relationship and endurance through time” puts us in a state of social saturation. I do not enjoy being saturated in social media. I tried to get involved in it in the smallest way possible even though I might miss many hits from social media followers and be considered “outdated” by my friends.

However, I feel I cannot live without instant messengers. Two instant messengers that I use daily are QQ and Skype. QQ is an instant messaging software service created by a company called Tencent. It is very popular instant software among Chinese-speaking people. My communication with my friends and my family heavily relies on QQ and Skype because as long as any devices are connected to the Internet, I can use them to chat, view and leave messages to my friends. Since most of friends use QQ, and I use school Internet all the time, it is more convenient and cheap to use instant messengers than text messages. In addition, I use Skype to video chat or call my parents overseas. I leave my QQ on as soon as I connect to the Internet. Luckily, this assignment does not count instant messenger as social media, otherwise I would have had more trouble with this period of social media abstinence.

My 24-hour period without social media did not make me crave them. In fact, I enjoyed staying away from it instead of saturating myself in social media. My communication mostly relies on instant messengers but not on social media websites. I still like social media websites, but I do not like being saturated by them!

Social Media, is it all bad?

By starting this week’s blog, I would like to ask everyone three questions first:

  1.        Have you ever texted or answered phone calls while talking with a friend face to face?
  2.        Have you ever connected to social media on your phone or any other tablets while in a lecture?
  3.        Have you ever texted or emailed using phones or any other tablets while in a company’s meeting?

For these questions, I may not get a “Yes” to all three, but it is not difficult to get at least one. Why? As it describes in our textbook, Converging Media, one of the problems of information overload “has become commonplace in meetings for participants to text or email while someone is presenting or speaking, and this lessened attention to the speaker has resulted in missed important information and misunderstandings, as well as being considered rude.” Information overload creates distraction and causes missed information, misunderstanding and impoliteness. In some formal meetings at a company, attendees are not allowed to take electronics into the meeting or at least they must put them in silent. In a class lecture, it is considered very rude to answer phone calls in class; some teachers would even give a letter grade down because of this. I had a personally experienced being impolite just among friends. I had my first cellphone when I was in middle school and since then the side effects of information overload started to grow so much that I didn’t even notice this fact until one time in high school. Students from a Japanese partner high school came to my school for a short visit every year. I had a Japanese peer at that time and we talked and exchanged gifts with each other. During our short face-to-face time, we both had phone calls and text message interruptions. I was naturally getting my phone out, answering phone calls or text messages. However, my partner chose to ignore the phone calls first. If the phone kept ringing and it was important, he would ask permission from me to answer the phone. After this exchange, it was the first time that I realized I acted rude toward my international friend and it left a deep impression on me. We can’t get rid of information overload, but we can realize it is a problem and at least we could try to avoid it.

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Source: http://snarfed.org/2013-05-31_fighting-information-overload-and-beyond

when I looked through my Facebook, one of the common themes for my friends is sharing photos of daily life with themselves, friends and their family members. I can see them traveling to a new place and how excited they are through the photos. There are also photos sharing about their new haircut, anniversaries, dinner celebrations etc. These are all trivial but it is important to them and to me because all this trivial things we did everyday compose our life bit by bit. It is those seemingly trivial photos that help us remember and cherish what had happened to us and what we experienced with ourselves and people around us. The “technologies of social saturation” allow us to have this opportunity to keep and increase our relationships with people.

Another common theme through Facebook or QQ (the instant messenger I use) is about religion. I had many friends who are Christian.  A lot of times their updating statuses are just the verses taken from the Bible or related to the Bible, and sometimes I share verses as well. I also have friends from other religions and I observed that they share news, stories and verses from their beliefs too. I would consider it  trivial but important because what is  behind the messages are values and beliefs. Even though I am randomly scanning through Facebook, I feel encouraged when I see the verses come into my eyes.  I do see trivial things on different kinds of social media and there are problems going with it such as being easily distracted and hiding true personality of oneself, but I can’t say it is not important at all because there are still some bright sides of social media that make us chuckle at least.

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Source: http://www.cover-universe.com/cover-863

Like the picture showed above, I believe that social media has both good side and bad side. Social media can increase relationships among people and share common beliefs and information, but we also suffer from easily being distracted by it.