All posts by Dr. Menke

FINAL BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Reflection (due 12/4)

For your final posting, please reflect briefly (a few sentences or short paragraph would be fine) on your past few months as a member of the class. You may wish to consider topics such as these:

  • What (if anything) do you think you’re likely to take away from the class? What will stick with you?
  • Are there subjects from the class you think you’ll follow up on?
  • Are there things that you wanted to cover in the class that we missed (or things that you wish we had covered in more detail)?
  • Are there materials, resources, or exercises that you’d add to a future version of the class?

Thanks to all of you for a great semester!

For 11/27: Media in the disciplines or professions

Do a little research on media in an academic discipline (program, major, etc.) and/or a profession, career, or field that appeals to you.

You might consider how media (new media? electronic ones? social media? legacy media?) are used, incorporated, studied—or are changing—the field you choose.

You can read around online (give links!), talk to experts (give quotes!). Use any relevant sources you can find to get a sense of the “media ecology” of the field, and then share it with us.

For 11/13: Personal media audit… Further analysis and/or action

Now that you’ve assembled your data and commented on something you learned last week, continue your analysis—or take action?—by doing one of the following:

  • Producing an image (for instance, a chart or graph) that lets you picture large or small patterns in your media use
    • you could use Google docs or Excel (on Microsoft Office 365, available to all UGA students) to produce a chart
    • then include an upload of an image of your graph or chart via WordPress’s “Add Media”/upload function
  • Gather another day’s data to help answer any questions or confirm any patterns suggested by last week’s results
  • Experiment with modifying your use of media: how, which, where, when, and/or how much

For this week’s blog entry, summarize and discuss your work. Include an image or perhaps some sample data when relevant.

Probe this week: Media Autoethnography

Here are copies of the assignment I handed out in class and the media log sheets.

If you missed class, please do note that this assignment asks you to log your media use on a weekday and a weekend day this week.

For Sunday (11/6),  post a blog entry about something interesting, surprising, or important that you’ve learned about your own media usage just from logging it and accumulating your raw data. Be specific in your comments. Give examples, tell stories, or refer to things you logged on these days.

*OPTIONAL* Post this week

I was originally going to ask you to compare the online media presences of two political campaigns (preferably not our presidential candidates’). But since the election is seeming like a less and less enticing topic, and we have a holiday weekend, I’d like to make this post completely optional.

If you’ve missed several blog posts, you can use this one as a make-up, but otherwise you’re free to take a well-earned break.

If anyone *does* choose to do this, however, please take a look at Roland Barthes’s classic (and short!) 1957 analysis of photographs of French election candidates as one possible model for considering the standard ways in which campaigns present themselves.

For 10/24: Audit Your Social Media Brand*

(*umm, do I have a “social media brand?”)

Read these websites and work through some of the exercises they suggest (but please note that I’m not asking you to delete anything unless you want to):

Then report back via a blog posting. Some possible questions to get you started:

  • What did you find? (Any surprises?)
    • What impressions, if any, would a classmate get about you from your social media presence?
    • What about an employer or a graduate admissions committee?
    • Is there anything that seems particularly misleading or particularly accurate?
  • Did you think about making any changes in your social media presence or in the way that you use social media?
  • Do you feel that you have a “personal brand”? Do you feel that other non-celebrities do? Do you think you should have a personal brand? (As a college student? As a person?  Or does the whole idea seem a little… weird? Would you want your grandma to have a personal brand?)

Topic for a blog post due Oct. 16

Read “The Binge Breaker” (from the November 2016 issue of The Atlantic magazine) and write a response to it that draws on your own experiences, impressions, and ideas about media, apps, phones, attention, screen addiction, and so on.
Some possible topics:
  • apps and media as junk food, loaded with the equivalent of a scientifically adjusted level of salt, fat, sugar, and crunch in order to produce maximum addiction… or even apps and media as cigarettes?
  • TL:DR… are media sapping our ability to sustain attention?
  • media and mindfulness
  • have you ever felt manipulated by an app or electronic medium?
  • changes to apps to make them more (or less?) addictive
  • do tech firms owe their users a less manipulative experience—maybe one that helps them work towards more balanced lives?
  • do apps/social media make a good use of our time?
  • Snapstreaks (“it made me sick to my stomach”)
  • do you think people would pay a premium for “organic” apps that help them monitor and/or control their usage? If so, are we headed for a mediascape in which the poor only have media junk food available, while the wealthy have the tools to consume better media (or consume media better)?