I chose this FYOS course because I originally thought that it was going to be about news media and I thought it would be interesting to take during the election season. Although it was not what I expected, I was pleasantly surprised at what the class turned out to be. I really enjoyed going to class and listening to discussions because I learned a lot more about media as a whole and about how it is so prevalent in our everyday lives. Taking this course made me realize that I probably use media too much, but I also realized that there are pros and cons to that problem. Overall, I am really glad that I took this FYOS course and I learned a lot about a topic that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to learn about.
Although I don’t know exactly what I want to major in, I am really interested in Political Science. I’ve always had a love for politics, and at this point in time, I have been able to gain information about politics easier than ever thanks to different media sources. There are many different forms of media when it comes to politics, including newspapers, television, magazines and social media. People are now able to learn about politics using so many different forms of media that pretty much everyone with access to these forms of media has more political knowledge than before. One problem with political media is the biased information that comes from them, which leads to inaccuracies and in some cases mild forms of brainwashing. It is impossible to turn on the TV and watch a news station that is not biased, and because of that people tend to view stations that reinforce their views, which further closes people’s opinions to the other side, or people get frustrated and stop watching the news altogether.This problem also occurs in social media because of the algorithms that different forms of social media companies use. If someone is conservative, their Newsfeed on Facebook is going to be full of conservative opinions, news stations, and advertisements, because of algorithms, but also because of the power of the person with the account to follow or unfollow certain people depending on their views. Even though there are many negative things about political media, there are also many positive things that come out of it, for example educating Americans on what is going on in our country and other countries. If Americans are more educated about politics, they will feel more inclined to vote and taking advantage of our Democratic system.
After my post last week about my media use, I became even more interested in how exactly I use media throughout the day. I have always known which form of media I use most often, my phone, and even more specific, which apps I use most. Since I already knew these things, I did not want to graph which media I spend the most time on, but instead how often I use media throughout the day. My media log gave me a visual of which forms of media I use for how long and for how often I use media, but it still was hard to compare the different times to each other. After graphing my weekend day and weekday, I really realized the differences between the two and how media use really varies depending on the day. On the weekday, I realized that when I am not in class, I am usually using some form of media for an extended period of time. I also realized that from 8-10 PM I don’t use a lot of media, but from 10 PM on is when I use the most media by over 40 min. My graph for my weekend day looked very different that the weekday graph. On the weekend, I use media a lot more than during the week, clearly because of how much more free time I have. On the weekend, I use the majority of my media after 6 PM, but less media at 10 PM on. Since I logged on a Sunday, the Patriots were playing so that explains why I logged so many minutes while they were playing! Overall, graphing the different days really made me realize how much media I use throughout the day, and also how much media I use at very specific times during the day.
After documenting all of my media use for one weekday and one weekend day, I realized just how much time I dedicate towards using media. I knew that I spent a good amount of time on media, but I really did not realize just how much time I spend on my phone especially. I also realized how little apps I use, after documenting both days I only used two different apps, Instagram and Snapchat. During the weekday I was hoping that I didn’t use a lot of media besides books and using my laptop for classes, but it turns out the day I did my documenting I literally did not have any school work to do, so all of my media use was dedicated to my phone and the TV, which made me feel pretty bad about myself! What I thought was interesting about my weekday documenting was I used Snapchat a lot less than I thought, because I realized how much it drains my battery, and I even realized that if I open Snapchat when my phone batter is at 30% or lower, my phone will immediately run out of battery. I happened to go home this weekend, so I my documentation for my weekend day was very different than my average weekend day media use. Since I was with my family, I used my phone a lot less than I normally would, and I watched more TV than I usually would on an average weekend day or weekday because of NFL games, despite the fact that my team the Patriots had a bye week. My TV use topped 3 hours today and my phone use ended up being less than that. Even though it was not a typical weekend day, I realized just how much my entertainment relies on my phone and TV!
Surprisingly, when I googled myself not one thing popped up involving me. I was really shocked by this because I am active on all sorts of different types of social media, so I thought that at least one thing would pop up involving me. All of my social media accounts are private, so maybe that has something to do with it, but I thought at the very least my private accounts would come up. I even tried googling “Augusta King Atlanta” and “Augusta King Westminster” (because the school I went to is Westminster) and still nothing popped up about me. I was surprised, but I definitely was not upset about it because now I don’t have to worry about what people see when they google me!
On the other hand, I do audit both my Facebook and my Instagram because I want to be in control of what people see of me. All through high school I would untag myself in pictures that weren’t the best representation of me, even sometimes texting my friends to delete the pictures they posted. Pretty much every picture on my account are pictures that I am tagged in because I don’t post pictures, so that makes it especially important that I look at my account regularly so I know what is on my account. When it comes to Instagram, I am in totally control of what pictures show up on my account, so I feel less of a need to really audit my account.
Reading the Binge Breaker reinforced all of my previous thoughts about technology and its impact on our lives. Although some people feel as thought they are not addicted to technology, I think that many people are without even knowing it. I totally agree that apps and many different forms of media are engineered and meant to increase the amount of time spent on then. Obviously this makes sense because by spending more time on an app or certain media, the app or media benefits greatly and in turn becomes more popular and relevant. Apps and media become obsolete when people do not spend any time on them, and because of this people are forced to figure out ways to attract users to the app or media not just every now and then, but multiple times a day. In most cases when it comes to media, there is a competitiveness that keeps people coming back. In an app that competitiveness comes out when trying to beat a level or get the most points. In forms of social media that competitiveness comes out when trying to post pictures that people will like and by making your life look more entertaining than it actually is. By doing this, people gain more followers and more likes and therefore they feel a lot better about themselves. I think that it is important for people to realize that many forms of media are meant to be addicting, and once people accept that I feel like they will be better able to control themselves and prioritize their lives in a healthier way.
I decided to interview my mom for my mini-interview because of how her use of social media differs from mine. Even though my mom uses Facebook and Instagram, she uses them for very different purposes than I do. I think that a lot of people think that if you use any social media, for example Facebook, you use it the same way everyone else does, but after this interview I figured out that assumption is far from the truth. I use Facebook for the purpose of keeping up with my friends and posting pictures in order for people to keep up with my life, but my mom uses it for those reasons and more. Yes, my mom uses it to keep up with her friends now and her friends from high school and college, but she also uses it to keep up to speed on news stories, to communicate with her friend who lives overseas, and to find new recipes to make. By “liking” certain pages like Fox News, CNN and Food Network, my mom is able to gain information that she otherwise would not have as easy access to. I use Instagram to again keep up with my friends and post pictures, and my mom mentioned that she uses it for those purposes too, but in addition she also uses Instagram to follow fashion blogs in order to make shopping easier. In Atlanta, going to the mall has gotten pretty dangerous and many people won’t go alone, because of that my mom pretty much only shops at boutiques, which means she doesn’t get to see the fashion of the big department stores. By following fashion blogs, my mom is able to see what is in style and can easily buy items that the bloggers post online, taking away having to go to any store to buy them.
I still remember the first time I began using social media. I was in Athens in 6th grade visiting my cousins, when my cousin Claire introduced me to Facebook. Before that, I had no idea what Facebook was, and I was confused by the whole concept. She convinced me to make an account, and I vividly remember taking my first profile picture on Photo Booth in their den. I honestly didn’t know how popular Facebook was until I realized that so many people I knew were on it, so naturally I friended all of them. Ever since then, I have been on Facebook every single day. I definitely am not addicted to Facebook, but especially now that all of my best friends go to all different colleges, I really enjoy keeping up with their lives and seeing what they are up to. The second form of social media I started using was Instagram. Claire again was the one who introduced me to this new form of social media, and to this day, Instagram is one of my two favorite forms of social media. I love Instagram because unlike Facebook, you are encouraged to post only one picture from a certain event or day, not multiple ones with less meaning. By only posting one picture, you are able to get more likes and represent what you did in a more concise way. The other social media that I use is Snapchat. Snapchat is the other one of my two favorite forms of social media and therefore, I use it usually whenever I am on my phone. I use Snapchat so often because it allows you to have a glimpse into somebody’s day at the exact moment the Snapchat is sent. Snapchat makes you feel more connected with people and like you are included in that person’s life.
Even though the University of Georgia and the high school I went to are completely different, the media ecology of both are very similar when it comes to educational and social purposes. At my high school, we used email to communicate with teachers. Email was definitely the best way to communicate with teachers because they would respond very quickly and were able to include lots of information in the email. At UGA, I only use email to communicate with professors because it again is the best way to communicate. In high school, all of my teachers would post all homework and information for the class on a website called Schoology. At UGA, all of my professors post all information for the class on ELC, so there is only one website that I have to go to for class information. These similarities have made the transition to UGA a lot easier for me because I am very comfortable with these forms of media. I graduated high school in a class of 200 people, and the forms of media I use now make UGA seem as small as my old school. Even when it comes to social media, the media ecology of high school and UGA are basically the same. Everyone still uses Facebook to post the bulk of their pictures, as well as to keep up with people’s lives. Instagram and Twitter are also both used by most people to communicate with people and to post pictures.
I really enjoyed reading How to Email Your Professor because it reinforced what I knew about how to communicate with a teacher or professor. Throughout high school, I would email my teachers frequently about and questions that I had about the class, or any excuses I had. At my school, we were expected to communicate with our teachers in a very polite and respectful way, so I am used to writing formal emails to professionals. In high school if I for some reason sent one of my teachers a short or casual email, they either wouldn’t respond or they would talk to me after class about it. Even though sometimes writing such a formal email can seem tedious, I really think that it is necessary and expected. Every student should have respect for their professor, so sending a respectful email is definitely necessary.
Since social media is so prevalent in students’ everyday lives, it is sometimes easy to send an email that is not very professional. This occurs most of the time not because the student doesn’t respect the professor, but because the student is so used to communicating in a certain way with their peers. Social media has taught us to communicate more efficiently and more casually. Although sometimes this benefits us, it can also end up hurting us in the long run. Personally, I think that it is really important to treat adults with respect, especially professors, so I really enjoyed reading the essay and figuring out just how important it really is to be conscious of my emails.