Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Tangled Wed - Media Ad

We live in an age where digital technology is key to surviving; we Google, YouTube, Facebook, poke, search, tweet, pin, and post minute-by-minute accounts of what happens in our everyday lives.  The above movie poster shows how we have become chained to our phones, hyper-connected to the devices meant to make our lives easier.  I can hear the narration now for the trailer.

Next summer, Baldowski Films in association with Media Literacy Productions brings you the next phase in suspense.  Imagine a world where the technology that normally relies on us for survival suddenly becomes in charge.  Don't hit send just yet, because you are in... A Tangled Web!

            We have become so tangled up in our technology that we sometimes forget about the real world happening around us.  As a media psychologist it is important to understand how we use our technology, but also to make sure that our technology is not taking over our lives.  As an experiment when creating the above poster I took a week and examined not only my own behavior with my technology but also those around me. 

            For me, Facebook and Yahoo News were the first two things I looked at before getting out of bed.  I needed to see what I missed in the few hours I was away from my phone while sleeping.  During lunches, those around me would text, tweet, and update statuses online instead of talking to the company sitting in front of them.  I found that I and many around me had become so attached to our mobile devices that it was hard to break free of the chains we head placed on ourselves by using the device.    Jason Gilbert of the Huffington Post wrote, "We are totally, hopelessly addicted, so much so that there is now even a term for a fear of losing one's phone: nomophobia."

            When plugging my phone in to charge one night and having to step away from it because the battery was dead, it had me asking:  Who's really in charge?


Gilbert, J. (2012, April 16). Smartphone Addiction: Staggering Percentage Of Humans Couldn't Go One Day Without Their Phone. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Lesonsky, R. (2012, March 23). Nomophobia, Fear Of Being Without A Mobile Phone, On The Rise: Survey Says. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Media Persuasion

The discussion this week opened my eyes not only to the bias that can be found in media but also to my own bias when examining what I am watching.   The ad chosen to show bias in advertisement was one from the Yes on 8 campaign in 2008.  This ad used fear and misinformation to sway undecided voters to their side and was successful because of the political climate at the time. Many did not understand what the proposition truly proposed and relied heavily on what they were told to make an "informed" decision. 

The interesting part of this assignment was how my own bias started to shine through in my writing.  My experience led me to the ad I found because of the obvious bias I witnessed during that campaign and I overlooked how my personal feelings affected my view of persuasion and bias in media. As someone who has worked in the entertainment field, I forgot to look outside of my own expereinces and instead into the bias of the field itself.  Movie trailers are a great example of how persuasion in media can be effective in drawing in an audience.  

As a media psychologist, examining how persuasion and bias is present in everyday forms of media is important.  During an election periods, bias is easy to detect but not so much other times of the year.  Using my own experiences to draw on observations will be important but I will also have to learn how to set my personal bias aside for the good of the audience I am presenting or consulting with.

Image References

Boyle, A. (2009, September 24). Independent movie trailer reviews to premier Friday - Raleigh Indie Movie | Welcome to | Retrieved from

Patel, N. (2011, November 16). 6 Ways to Be More Persuasive With Social Media. Social Media News and Web Tips – Mashable – The Social Media Guide. Retrieved from 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bias, the media, and me

Everyone is plagued by his or her own bias.  Whether we are discussing politics, religion, sexuality, movies, or food we all perceive in a unique way and we all believe what we feel is true.  Our biases can help us as we ask questions, but if we are not careful they can also hinder our evolving thought process.  We must understand that bias is a constant in our lives and that we can never truly rid ourselves of this.  What we can do is gain an understanding of where our bias stems from and be cognitive of its existence. 

Our experiences will help us as media psychologists to be in control of our bias and constantly being aware of its existence will allow us to understand how the media we use affects us.   Taking an inventory at what media we consume in any given day will help us begin to break down our own bias.  For me, I found that most of my consumption comes from online, which needs an added sense of bias detection, because of the ease in which stories can be fabricated on the Internet.  

I try to gather material from various sources and varying viewpoints.  This will allow me to gather as much information as I can, and sift through the bias to get to the facts.  To understand how bias we works we also need to understand how we consume our media.  We need to ask questions of the sources and look inward to see how much of ourselves we are putting into our research and note any bias that might be shining through. 

While bias can never fully go away, we must learn to use it and control it as best we can.  Am I reporting only on what helps my argument? Am I pulling from sources that only side with me?  While this may be a constant in an every day setting, we must be cognitive of the types of bias we have when trying to pull information especially as media psychologists.  If we are to truly use our knowledge of media and technology to explain how they impact and affect society, we must put our own biases aside for the betterment of those we are helping.  

Image References

Ollman, G. (n.d.). I don’t need a signature to know it’s going to be bad… « The Day Before Zero. Damballa. Retrieved from

MCLAUGHLIN, T. (2010, January 7). Family Security Matters. Family Security Matters. Retrieved from

Smith, N. (n.d.). Reflective Practice in Higher Education Instruction - The EvoLLLution | The EvoLLLution. The EvoLLLution | Attracting Adult Students. Retrieved from

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Being a "De-Tech-Tive"

Understanding how and why technology impacts our lives is crucial to being affective digital citizens.  Today, we have access to more electronic technology than ever before, and this access allows us to reach further than science fiction writers could ever have dreamed. This electronic technology has provided access to higher education for those not able or not wanting to attend a traditional brick and mortar institution.  But where did this technology start, how does it help us today, and where will it take us in the future? To answer these questions we must become "de-tech-tives," a process described by Jason Ohler as, "focusing on the details and impacts of the technology that permeate our lives." (Ohler, p. 107) What permeates our lives more than the technology we use to better ourselves?

Gone are the days of the one-room schoolhouse.  Today the classroom has evolved out of the physical confines of a four-walled room, through the digital realm of cyberspace, and into the comfort of our own homes.  We have access to more educators, information, and each other than ever before, and yet there is still a disconnect between the physical and online community when it comes to connectivity.  In the classroom, we can discuss, ask questions, and interact in a real time setting with those in the same physical space. In regards to online, often those with questions have to wait for a response, will never meet their fellow peers, and in many ways teach themselves the material.  So what if we merged these two worlds into one?

The "Holo-Class," a virtual, holographic classroom, that projects the "classroom" into the student’s home, allows each user to interact in real time with their instructor and their fellow classmates. Of course this technology is a pipe dream so we must instead use our "de-tech-tive" skills to understand how this new system could help advance the world of online education. 

Just as a real detective would do, we must "investigate, analyze and make recommendations about how to address the personal, social, and environmental impacts of technology." (p. 111) We know how the traditional classroom works and we use this knowledge to form the online platform.  By investigating the successes and failures, along with the social impacts of online education, we can begin to look ahead at how to improve upon this technology.  Online education extends our minds into fields of study most might never have an opportunity to experience. It also can diminish how we connect to the real world and the experiences a traditional university can offer, such as student connectivity and instructor interaction.  This investigation will lead us to understand how to use technology currently available to us (i.e. Microsoft Kinnect, inferred cameras, and 3-D modeling) to start building a new form of the online classroom.

After we investigate we must begin to analyze the data to debate the pros and cons of this technology.   To do this we must find people on both sides of this debate, along with impartial judges to listen to both sides.  Once the debate is done, recommendations for this technology can begin.  For the "Holo-class", the debate revealed questions about the practical access students would have to technology advanced enough to project a 3-D hologram of a classroom.  One answer was, we already have access to this, just not in the same place. Another problem that arose, was the question of cost?  Wouldn't it be unreasonable to expect the average student to incur such a cost? The cost of this could be built into the tuition, allowing schools to send the appropriate materials to the students.  It can also reduce the number of on campus buildings the school will require which could offset the institutions overhead, allowing the cost of this to be minimal to the student.  A downside to this could be a loss of jobs, which would be antithetical of what the "Holo-class" would provide.  The idea would be to offer a better involvement in online education to expand the knowledge and reach of those wanting to further their careers. 

If the "Holo-class" were to take off, the analysis portion of the "de-tech-tive" process would need to be more involved.  As a media psychologist, this technology is exciting, simply because it allows for greater access to the world via new forms of media.  The minds of scientists have already bred life into the ideas put forth by science fiction writers such as blue-tooth, touch screen, and voice-activated technology.  Why not begin to advance the immersive qualities of 3-D to allow the next wave of these great minds to begin the cycle again?  

Ohler, J. (2010.) Digital Community, Digital Citizen. CA: Corwin. 

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Media Mantra

As a media psychologist I want to use media to bring awareness to material that is not looked at as the norm in society.  Filmmakers have more than just the silver screen, writers have more than just paper, and musicians have more than just radio to share their ideas. Jen Carter of PBS said, "All of these stories were centered on how each person used or views social media as a cultural tool used to stimulate and cultivate communities around an idea, interest or goal." (2012) With the technology we have, connecting with others through social networking, and the ease in which we can communicate I hope to share ideas and start a discussion with the help of various forms of media. 

Media Mantra:

To use media as an educational tool so that I can bring awareness to the public about subject matter hidden in the shadows of acceptance.


Carter, J. (2012, July 23). PBS Station Products & Innovation Blog: Part Two: Connecting Through Social Media. PBS Station Products & Innovation Blog. Retrieved from

Image Reference

Social Media Tree Icon (PSD) | Psdblast. (2012, August 14). Graphic design, PSDs & Free Icons for Download | Retrieved from

Sunday, October 28, 2012

McLuhan and Media Psychology

Understanding media does not have to be complicated and methods have been created to reveal simple this understanding can be.  McLuhan created a tetrad that breaks down our media and technology into their simplest form. Jason Ohler says, about the tetrad that "every new technology or medium does four things," enhances, obsolesces, retrieves, and reverses. (Ohler, p. 134) To understand better how media has impacted our lives, we look at the four aspects of McLuhan's tetrad in an aspect that impacts us as media psychologists.
As pointed out in Ohler's book, "this is not an exact science," (p. 135) but it is a useful way to show how media impacts our lives in a structured and semi-basic manner.  As media psychologists there are many forms of media that will be impactful in our professional field, but social media seems to be one that touches everyone. 

 Globally both Twitter and Facebook are used to share stories, daily events, and personal information with their friends, families, and online followers.  One such aspect social media allows, is a safe place for a person to "come out."  There are many forms of coming out and most of us do this on a daily basis without even realizing it.  Of course, when hearing the phrase "coming out" most people infer the person coming out is gay, but what if the person is undocumented, Transgendered, alcoholic, or Atheist. 

Historically the term "to come-out" has been associated with the gay community but today this term has been expanded to other avenues of the human experience.  Coming out simply means that people have disclosed something about themselves that society deems abnormal, and in many ways this is a life long and risky process.  Society does not like what it does not understand so the fear of rejection, abandonment, and physical harm are real concerns when one "comes out." While these possibilities do not disappear, social media has provides a place for people to come out in the comfort and safety of their own home, and allows their friends and family time to process the information on their own, rather in the moment of when they were told.  

To better understand how this form of media impacts us, let us look at McLuhan's tetrad for Facebook and Twitter.  With over 1 billion users signing in monthly to Facebook and over 500 million on Twitter, these two forms of communicating are now woven into the fabric of our daily lives. Social media has become one of the fastest ways for people to connect and control the flow of information.  By using the four aspects of McLuhan's tetrad on Facebook, I propose it would look like this:

While Facebook and Twitter are very common forms of social media they are not the only choices.  Many turn to blogging sites such as Tumblr, video sharing sites such as Youtube and Vimeo, and networking sites like Linkedin and Pinterest. All of these share the qualities laid out in McLuhan's tetrad. (see above image) Social media allows the user better control over who they reveal information to, the privacy of these options is still not that strong.  Privacy settings can be worked around and information is sold to third party users. The only true way to stay secure is to keep the information to yourself. 

There is a perception around social media that the ramifications of releasing information online will be minimal, but what many do not realize is social media is the equivalent of using a megaphone to whisper a secret. As media psychologists, it is essential to understand and apply the information we gain  about social media in terms of where it came from, how it impacts us today, and where it could possibly take us in the future.  

DeGroat, T. (2012, September 26). Coming Out as Undocumented: How Social Media Gives DREAMers a Voice | WaPo Labs. WaPo Labs | Focusing on digital innovation for The Washington Post Company. Retrieved from

Dimitri (2008, September 7). Media : McLuhan/LawsOfMedia. Media: McLuhan/LawsOfMedia. Retrieved from

Fowler, G. (2012, October 15). When the Most Personal Secrets Get Outed on Facebook - Yahoo! Finance. Yahoo! Finance - Business Finance, Stock Market, Quotes, News. Retrieved from

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Kristina , K. (Producer), & undefinedundefined (Director). (2007). McLuhan's Wake. [DVD]. Canada.

Lunden, I. (2012, July 30). Analyst: Twitter Passed 500M Users In June 2012, 140M Of Them In US; Jakarta ‘Biggest Tweeting’ City | TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved from

Ohler, J. (2012). Email communication. Retrieved October 23, 2012.

Image References

Amanda (2012, June 25). She's "off her meds". You can tell by her Facebook posts. | Thinking Of You Ecard | Free Ecards, Funny Ecards, Greeting Cards, Birthday Ecards, Birthday Cards, Valentine's Day Ecards, Flirting Ecards, Dating Ecards, Friendship Ecards, Wedding Ecards, Anniversary Ecards and more at Retrieved from

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

McLuhan and Media Psychologists

Technology advances at a rapid rate, most of the time as a help to society but at times can also create a hindrance to societal norms. McLuhan's ideas of the "medium is the message" and his views on "the global village" are great examples of why it is important to understand various forms of technology not only as citizens of the world but also as media psychologists. 

McLuhan said, "The extension of any one sense displaces the other senses and alters the way we think, the way we see the world, and ourselves." (Youtube, 2006) This is what technology does to us.  We focus our attention, thoughts, sight, hearing on a piece of technology, sometimes distracting and impairing our senses.  This does not mean that all technology is bad, however.  While using a cell phone when driving a car can impair one's reaction time, the car itself is a piece of technology important to society. 

McLuhan used the phrase "the medium is the message" to show the importance of context in the materials we take for granted.   The car allowed the development of highways, which allowed for people to move into suburbs.   To understand the meaning of the car, you have to look at everything together, such as the environment and the car. According to the Library and Archives of Canada, "McLuhan greatly admired important modernist art...because their work reconfigured the figure-ground relationship in ways that offered a critical commentary on culture and society."  This last statement is how media psychologists need to view their field. 

In order to properly examine how technology, new media, electronic media and so-on impacts or affects society we need to understand the message found in these various mediums.  In McLuhan on Youtube, he said, "I think of technologies as extensions of our own bodies, of our own faculties, whether clothing, housing, more familiar kinds of technologies, like wheels and stirrups and such are of various parts of the body.  The need to amplify the human powers in order to cope with various environments brings on these extensions, whether tools or furniture, these amplifications of our powers sorts of deifications of man I think of as technologies."

We use our phones to connect with people in the same room, find comfort in an online game when we feel uncomfortable in our real life, and want convenience over function when choosing the next thing to buy. His previous statement is a good example of this.  We want to "amplify the human powers in order to cope with various environments," and use technology as an extension of ourselves.  The way use technology creates what McLuhan calls a "Global Village."

It's an interesting concept, of course. We are connected in a broader, faster way and Eric McLuhan says it describes "the effect of radio in the 1920's in bringing us in faster and more intimate contact with each other than ever before in human experience." Where radio brought us together, for example families gathered to listen to shows, today it seems that technology drives a wedge through personal contact while enhancing a digital one.  According to Nielson, the average American home has three or more televisions and I know in my home, each member is watching something different, only occasionally gathering to watch the same program. Smart phones are also great tools that are used to connect digitally, but we also hide behind them with social networking and texting becoming a critical part of our everyday lives.  The fact that we can connect, digitally, using several different electronic mediums does create a global village, but as media psychologists we will have to examine and understand if this technology has or will affect the social and cultural construct we have built. 

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More than Half the Homes in U.S. Have Three or More TVs | Nielsen Wire. (2009, July 20). Retrieved from

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