The Earth Day Movement

Photo by Fateme Alaie on Unsplash

Take a listen below at my podcast about The Earth Day Movement… I talk about how social media has and can impact The Earth Day Movement, and how social media platforms can help spread awareness about the movement and encourage people to acknowledge climate change and the need to take climate action. I discuss my own personal experiences on the issue and how social media played a huge role in making me more aware of the movement and climate change. Also, I mention how Greta Thunberg, a key environmental activist in the movement, used social media to spread her message about the climate crisis by using the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, which encouraged 1.6 million students from over 120 countries to join her campaign on the climate crisis. Social media has been massive in developing the Earth Day movement and today people from all around the world participate.

Take a look below at the link to view my ClioVis timeline on The Earth Day Movement. I made 15 events that were important in The Earth Day Movement and which highlight how the movement has developed and transformed over 50 years. My events go back to the first Earth Day anniversary in 1970 where 20 million Americans protested against 150 years of industrial development. In 2020, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day which mobilised a billion people all around the world to take transformative action against climate change. Researching key events in the movement inspired me to talk about it in my podcast and add the element on how social media has and can impact The Earth Day’s mission on making people more aware of the climate crisis. 

https://embed.cliovis.org/v2/app/e/snapshot_1031740c-4c3a-437c-8490-1f7eba7b6649/

References for The Earth Day Podcast

“Climate Change – United Nations Sustainable Development.” United Nations, United Nations, http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climate-change/.

Jieun, Jung, et al. “When a Girl Awakened the World: A User and Social Message Analysis of Greta Thunberg.” Sustainability, vol. 12 no. 2707, 2020, p. 2707. http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.blume.stmarytx.edu:2048/eds/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=a2865a84-df24-4af9-b7cf-6ea15db0a50b%40sdc-v-sessmgr02&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#AN=edsgcl.626675405&db=edsgis

Mantel, Barbara. “Circular Economy” CQ Researcher by CQ press, 2020, http://library.cqpress.com.blume.stmarytx.edu:2048/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2020071000&type=hitlist&num=0.

Cancel Culture – Good or Bad?

South Park, the cartoon comedy is no stranger to cancel culture. Some viewers have boycotted the show due to their offensive episodes and others have expressed their outrage on social media and demanded the show be taken off the air. South Park is known to focus on sensitive subjects such as gender, race, sexuality, and religion. The episode “Krazy Kripples” has caused controversy over the portrayal of people with disabilities and creating harmful stereotypes. However, behind what some people would argue as offensive, the character challenges preconceptions and starts a conversation around the intersection of race and disability in today’s society. Their episodes focus on real issues that are seen daily and start a conversation amongst people about the effects of stigmatization.  We have seen times that the television comedy has got it wrong in an episode that saw trans rights being mocked. However, I think it is important to mention that the show has tried to learn from their wrongdoings by addressing their failures and producing a trans-friendly episode called “The Cissy.” We can assume the reasoning behind the producer’s decision to make things right was due to cancel culture on social media. Therefore, they have listened to people’s points and concerns and tried to make amends to some degree. But ultimately it shows that people can make mistakes and put their hands up and acknowledge their immoral behavior. Just because an error has been made doesn’t mean someone has to suffer major consequences because of it.

We have seen cancel culture do great things in creating social justice, equality, and destroying harmful precedents. We have seen this in the downfall of big names like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Bill Cosby. In these situations, cancel culture has been massive in highlighting the inappropriate behavior of high-profile names that have been able to get away with their actions for too long. Cancel culture on social media has given a voice to people to express their points and influence change.

However, I believe there can be a downside to cancel culture because some people go too far in calling out people that have only committed mistakes on a minor level or from their past. We have seen celebrities such as UK rapper Stormzy come under fire on social media with homophobic tweets from his past resurfacing when he was a teenager. After this had happened, he publicly came out and apologized and called the comments “unacceptable and disgusting” (BBC, 2017). In this instance, we have to carefully reflect on the information we see. We are all human and we are bound to make mistakes. It is how we respond to these mistakes that shape who we are as a person. I think it is important that we believe people can change and when they have publicly apologized for their behavior, we have to accept that they will do better and change their character.

When we want to call someone out on their bad behavior it is important to be doing it with the right intentions. Many people involved in cancel culture can be doing it for the wrong reasons such as wanting to increase their social status. We need to be able to reason and reflect on how best to respond to bad behavior and ask the question, am I calling out the behavior for the right reasons?

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Sources

BBC. (2017). Stormy apologises for homophobic tweets. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/42078366/stormzy-apologises-for-homophobic-tweets

Henderson, R. (2020). What Propels Cancel Culture? Psychology Today, POV Cancel Culture, pages 36-38

Krebs, N. (2020). “Krazy Kripples” and the Transformative Body Politics of Disability and Race. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, 14 (3), 301-316

The Hidden Agenda of Algorithms

With the use of algorithms, sites like Google, Twitter, and Facebook can use your search history to personalize the information and topics of interest that you read and see daily. Sounds cool, right? This means that whatever you may search on Google, the results and information you see is completely different to any other user, because it is unique to your interests. You may be wondering; how does Google know all this information about me? Well, today algorithms allow sites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to track your behaviour online to generate data such as geographic location, search history and your interests. This allows the sites to come up with sophisticated guesstimates about who you are and what information is relevant to you as an individual. To summarise, algorithms allow social networks and search engines to gather information on you, so they pretty much know more or less about who you are as a person, what you like to do, who your friends are, and your exact location. Sounding scary yet?

Even though it can be a benefit to automatically read about topics that interest you, personalization from algorithms can create a filter bubble. This term was used in the reading that I read this week, The Internet 2.0 – Personalization and Intro to Algorithms. Because algorithms are constantly present in our day to day lives, the information that we see can become the same because it is created by our established interests. Thus, we may become confined into a bubble that traps us from being able to see other views and how the world looks outside of our own beliefs and personal interests. This can increase the likelihood of being misinformed by materials we read, trapped in conspiracy theories, and believing “fake news.” The filter bubble controls what we see and what we do not see. 

What shocked me most in the Algorithms of Oppression reading was reading about the connection between Google’s algorithmic conceptualizations and the misinterpretation and stereotypes of women of color. An example given in the reading talked about how searching black girls brought results for “porn sites, dehumanizing them as commodities, as products and as objects of sexual gratification” (page 392).

The way that we use technology in today’s society and use the search engine to find out information has become part of our normal lives. We may assume that what we are reading online gives us credible and accurate information. The Google search of black girls shows us the algorithmic conceptualizations of women of color and how it is embedded in the search engine. This highlights how the Internet encourages the portrayal of stereotypes and misrepresentation, which makes people believe what they are seeing, and reading is normal and correct.

I believe one of the most important things to take away from this information, is how what we read online, and on social media sites needs to be analysed carefully before making an assumption. It is important to be aware of how easily information that we read on the internet and on social media can be heavily influenced and manipulated.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Sources

Noble, S. (2018). Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York University Press.

Stjernfelt, F., & Lauritzen, A. (2019). “The Internet 3.0”. Your post has been removed. Springer.

The Importance of Intersectionality and Identity

Before this week I was not aware of intersectionality and had never heard of the term being used with social movements. The reading this week on intersectionality highlighted to me where people may be going wrong when forming social justice movements. My definition of intersectionality is that everyone in a group needs to be treated equally and aware of the factors that can marginalise people such as gender, race, class, and sexual orientation. No privilege factor must be involved to combat discrimination. I feel that this is key to remember when talking about racism and other oppressions such as gender, identity, and sexuality. 

Everyone is unique and has their own form of identity. Our gender, class, race and sexuality make us who we are as a person and influence our experiences and interactions daily. When demanding change through social justice movements we need to make an example of equality and unity. This means looking at the needs of both privileged and underprivileged people, which will make sure no one is being left behind or discriminated against. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the GimpGirl reading as it made me happy to hear how women with disabilities have redefined and created their own sense of identity. Social media has been a massive benefit in creating a safe environment for these women and it highlights how online platforms can be revolutionary. The GimpGirl Community, which is also known as GGC, was founded in 1998 as a place for women with disabilities to share ideas and experiences, discuss issues, and to provide information and support. With the use of online technology, GGC has been able to reach a wider community and maintain connections between members. 

GGC uses an interactive online platform called Second Lifewhich allows members to create their own avatar and interact with them and connect with other people. The use of avatars has created many options for members to explore their identity and create a visible representation of how they see themselves and how they want to be portrayed to others. I see this as a huge positive for women with disabilities to feel more comfortable in their skin and encourage them to live a normal life.

GGC is a prime example of recognising intersectionality and coming up with a solution to combat discrimination. One of the main aims of developing the GimpGirl Community was to help disabled women who were vulnerable to physical, sexual and psychological abuse. GGC has recognised that this is a problem and helped build a safe environment for these women to create their own identity. 

Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

Sources Used:

Cole, J., Nolan, J., Seko, Y., Mancuso, K., & Ospina, A. Gender, Race, and Class in Media (4th ed., pp. 958-969). California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Oluo, Ijemoa. “five: What is intersectionality and why do I need it?.” So You Want to Talk About Race, Basic Books, 16 January 2018, pp. 70 – 82

Conversations About Race on Social Media

Since 2011, hashtag activism has been picking up speed with participants and supporters on social media raising awareness collectively and expressing solidarity towards political causes via hashtags on a range of social media platforms. When reading #Identity – Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Nation, I was surprised to hear the history of hashtag activism started with Black Twitter, which became a source of expressing solidarity, sharing information, and organizing protests for African Americans and their allies. With the use of hashtags, Black Twitter was able to raise awareness of the constant danger of racism and sexism occurring throughout the United States. 

Twitter has been a key platform for people all over the world to interact together with hashtags. It has helped bring awareness and greater attention to issues such as race and racial inequality. The collective voice and interaction of people from all kinds of backgrounds have encouraged conversations.  

However, more recently we have seen a rise in White Twitter a notable challenge and backlash to Black Twitter. We have seen social media become a violent platform of hate towards people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants. It is sad to see such hate being spread online and to see people with such high power and influence over people ignoring the violence that has transpired. 

Another article that I read this week The New Native Intellectualisminterested me a lot. This reading highlighted to me the way that Native people are portrayed in the public eye. I had never seen or heard about the film The Lone Ranger, but the article summarised its plot to be a revisioning of the old West and revisioning the main character Tonto “as a painted, dirty, mumbling character who wears a stuffed black bird on his head” (page 90).  I quickly came to acknowledge the sensitivity of the film and the stereotype being portrayed by native people. In 2014, on Oscars night the hashtag #NotYourTonto went global on Twitter, with people expressing their outrage and disappointment of Hollywood’s constant stereotype and lack of inform portrayals of Native people.

Not only did Twitter engage more than one million people by the end of the night with #NotYourTonto, but the 2014 Oscars saw another trend #NotYourTigerLily.  The hashtags being used is a prime example of social media highlighting the issues of race and better educating people about the damage of stereotyping. Due to people showing their support on Twitter and using hashtags to start a collective conversation, the media is now paying more attention to how better to respond to issues that affect Native people in today’s society. However, I feel that there is still more to be done to stop discrimination and the dismissiveness of Native culture.

The topic about race and social media has taught me that hashtag activism isn’t going to end bias, discrimination, and violence. Even though it has done wonders in raising awareness on racism, sexism, and stereotypes there is still a lot to be done to make a difference. We all need to do more than just tweeting our support and take specific actions to make a difference and encourage permanent change.  

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

The Growth and History of Social Media Movements

This week’s readings have given me a greater insight into the history of activism and how movements were created before digital technology. 

One of the readings “Small Change”, an article written by The New Yorker, talks about the differences between traditional activism and modern activism with the use of social media. It opened my eyes to how much detail and planning traditional activists had to go into to create a movement. Without the use of modern technology, they had to rely upon face to face meetings. This saw a trend with who joined a campaign because without social media they could only rely on word of mouth from people they were close to, such as friends and family. However, activism today works in a completely different way. The majority of movements that we hear about today are from what we read and see on social media. The information we find out about current movements tends to not come from our friends and family. This has created the idea that our greatest source of new ideas and information comes from people we don’t even know.

Social media has allowed activism and movements to transform into a completely new level. Pages like Facebook and Twitter have helped activists overcome censorship, plan protests, organize logistics, and spread information easily to a wide audience. This could never have happened twenty years ago. Not only is social media important to activists but for anyone around the world watching to understand what is going on. 

What I found most interesting when reading “Twitter and Tear Gas”, was learning about the strengths and weaknesses of modern movements engaged by social media compared to traditional activism. It never occurred to me that there could be a disadvantage to movements used by digital technology. Activists in the 1990s relied on email to communicate with one another, which meant there was no visual information such as pictures as we see today. The groups formed focused on participation and horizontalism, which created strong cultural ties between the members involved. This built the foundation to organization depth and experience of tools and culture for collective decision making, strategic and long-term action. 

Protests developed by technology rely heavily on digital tools for organizing and publicity which can make the process difficult. Without a formal leader, task groups, and a close bond between participants it can lack the fluidity of traditional activism. This can cause conflict as everyone has their own individual thoughts and expressions. Due to these challenges, it can sometimes stop movements from being able to carry on in the long term.

On the other hand, digital technology has been a huge driving force for activism. Digital networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have brought issues to the front of society and increased social media engagement among citizens. Technology has been vital for modern social movements to reimagine and change the way that protests are carried out.

Without social media, I would not know about the Environmental Movement, which on social media can be known as #EarthDay. Through activists I have learned more about this movement and the need for environmental change in the world today. I have chosen to focus on and research this movement further during the semester.

Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

My Social Media Footprint

When I searched for myself online, I was surprised to see a Pinterest account under my name, an account which I had completely forgotten about! Thinking back the account was made for a previous class where I had to create a vision board with ideas and subjects that I am passionate about. At first the idea of anyone being able to search my name on the internet and see this worried me, as I would describe myself as a private person. However, I realized that nothing I had posted was bad and could be used in the future against me. This experience highlighted to me how easy it is for anyone to view my information and get a grasp of my interests and hobbies. For this reason, I like to have my social media accounts private.

 

However, in certain circumstances there are pictures posted on the internet for my tennis achievements, which are published from other sources. Having this information published on the internet doesn’t bother me as much because I am proud to share my achievements, and I look back at them with pride.

 

I looked through my other social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram and was happy to see that most of the things that I post are subjects that I love and am passionate about. For example, the majority of my posts are of my friends and family, my dog Milo, animals, tennis, baking, and cooking. I would say that my current digital footprint is a positive one and a good representation of who I am as a person.

 

When reading “Is Twitter A Stage”, I resonated with the similarity between a “stage actor and social media participant depend on the reactions of their audiences” (page 30). I found this funny and I have to agree with it. An actor working in the theatre relies on the audience’s approval to know if they are doing a good job, and it is the same for someone posting on social media. For example, when posting a picture on Instagram, I tend to look at how many likes and comments I get. I guess in a way I am asking for approval from my followers on if they liked what I posted, which would influence my future posts.

 

One of the key things that I took away from the TED talk with Nicola Osborne was the idea of being careful about the types of pictures you may post online, such as drinking with friends, as this could have serious implications on future employment potential. I think it is important to remember that nothing is ever private because it is so easy for other people to see your information and it could get into the wrong hands. Also, it is important to remember the impression you are giving other people when posting things online.

 

Another point that stuck out to me from the TED talk is it isn’t always the posts that I may put on social media that could be an issue. For instance, a picture that my friend posts with me tagged in is displayed as my digital footprint; thus, it is important to know and recognize if my friend’s post is appropriate and sees me in a positive light. Thankfully, I haven’t had to go through the experience of my friends tagging me in a picture that may be seen as inappropriate and displays me in a negative view.

 

I know that there are ways to limit my information and posts to strangers by setting my social media accounts to private. I feel like I have always been pretty good about remembering to only accept friend requests from people that I know and checking pictures and posts that I am tagged in.

 

Overall, this module has made me consider any future posts that I publish on social media and if they are a positive representation of who I am as a person. I want to look back in years to come and be happy about what it says about me. Even though social media can sound scary at times, I recognise that having a presence online can be creative and can create excellent opportunities, if I use it in the right way.

Social Media Picture

Photo by Sara Kurfeb on Unsplash

 

Sources:

De Kosnik, A. (2019). “Is Twitter a Stage?: Theories of Social Media Platforms as Performance Spaces.” In De Kosnik A. & Feldman K. (Eds.), #identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Nation (pp. 20-36). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctvndv9md.5

Osborne, Nicola. “What Do Your Digital Footprints Say About You?”. Youtube. (2016). Retrieved 13 August 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVX8ZSAR4OY

 

Semester Reflection

I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the media production class this semester. I have strengthened my communication skills in many areas, with one of these being my technological skills. The class has taught me how to use different software such as adobe photoshop, final cut pro, and garage band. Through the course, I have developed my ability to produce better quality audio clips and videos on final cut pro. I have also learned some of the basics of editing pictures in adobe photoshop.

The class has challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone and see things in a different light. This has improved my visual skills. For example, one of the assignments that I completed required the use of the 5 shot rule when taking video footage. The 5 shot rule requires taking shots from different angles and distances, such as close up of hands, close up of face, over the shoulder shot, head and shoulders shot, and a wide shot. Applying this method made my video footage more interesting and communicated a better story to my audience. For an assignment, I had to time the video footage with audio. This was challenging because I wanted to tell a visual story, but it had to relate to what the interviewee was saying.

Furthermore, media production has developed my interpersonal skills. For some of the assignments, I had to carry out interviews with people. This has taught me a lot, especially with regards to asking appropriate questions and the type of questions to ask to make a story more interesting. Carrying out these assignments has made me more confident in the interviewing process, which will help when I apply for internships and jobs after college.

Overall, developing my communication skills technologically, visually and interpersonally will benefit me for the rest of my time at college but ultimately, I have gained life skills. All of these attributes have improved my creativity and will serve me well not just now but in the future. I am looking forward to seeing what is next for me in my journey.

KSTM Radio News Podcast

I found the podcast assignment for media production really fun. I have learnt how to use my voice to convey emotion depending on what I am talking about. Also, making a news podcast challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone and to use words that would relate and catch the listeners attention. Overall, this assignment has encouraged me to be better organized and more creative.

Music Majors Perform Recital at St. Mary’s University

Spring Ensemble Recital

On November 19th, I attended the String Ensemble Recital in Treadaway Hall at St. Mary’s University. The recital featured St. Mary’s music majors, who play the violin, viola and cello. They were joined by special guest Robert Cruhm. Throughout the event, I was live-tweeting the actions that took place. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the compositions and would love to go to another recital performance in the future.

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