Maybe It’s Photoshop

Societies perception of beauty has changed throughout the ages, in the Victorian era a wasp waist, a full head of hair and pale skin was sought after and only obtained by the wealthiest of women. By the twenties a corset was cast away for a fringe dress and cropped hair, in the fifties femininity was regained again and tiny waist were sought after. And now we’re here. In an era many would say is defined by magazines, television, and the internet. However, this is nothing new, for ages media has defined what is beautiful. Media creating the definition of what’s desirable is harmful, people, particularly to young girls. They are susceptible to this kind of manipulation by the media and can go to dangerous risk to fit this strict defined idea.

By allowing media  to define what is considered beautiful we’re allowing young girls are their already fragile self esteem to be affected negatively. According to the average commercial model’s heigh ranges from 5’6 to 5’11, way above the average woman’s height of 5’4. Why is it that the representation of beauty and the standard to which women are held to is so far from reality? Young girls are constantly exposed to media’s idea of beauty. Victoria’s Secret models are plastered across billboards, the only representation they see on tv are of stereotypically attractive women whose only role is to be the main character’s love interest. Girl’s of a ethnic minority are even more affected by this because their only representation lies in stereotypes. We need to pay attention to this because women can’t continue to believe that there is only one type of beauty, if they believe this mental issues will continue to affect them such as anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphic disorders.

Media has defined what is the most important aspect of women, mostly beauty. Women have been boiled down to their appearance so in turn that is what most women believe is the most important. This is an example of Agenda-Setting. Agenda-setting according to A First Look at Communication Theory is the mass media’s “ability to transfer the salience of issues on their news agenda to the public agenda”. Women are constantly exposed to the public’s idea of beauty. You have to look like you care about your appearance but you can’t look like you’ve put effort into it, you need to be slim but not overly skinny, makeup is a necessity but it can’t look like you’re wearing any. It’s a constant cycle of contradictions that are completely unattainable by anyone whose job isn’t their career. But even those with a career in the beauty industry don’t fit this unattainable mold.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Our perception of beauty is also distorted by television. According to Lindsay Gulisano Cultivation Theory “has to do with the idea that television has the power to shape our perceptions of reality and their world around us by affecting our attitudes and certain ways of thinking. By being exposed to television constantly women’s viewpoint’s are altered and their view of themselves is harmed. They don’t fit the mold. Even when disordered are glorified on television they still don’t fit that mold. Now the idea of eating disorders being glorified is ridiculous but when this glorification starts at Disney Channel it becomes all too real. In Disney’s Shake It Up a characters says “I could just eat you up, well if I ate” this is followed by laughter. No criticisms, no questioning, just laughs. as if it’s a common everyday occurrence.  According to Rader Programs “a People magazine survey showed that 80% of female respondents felt that women in movies and television programs made them feel insecure about their bodies” and “the rate of eating disorders in Fiji surged following the introduction of Western television programming.

We need to understand and change the way women are represented in the media, no one can fit this mold, not even the women themselves. It’s harmful to girls and can lead to eating disorders that can quickly turn fatal. According to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health eating disorders have the “highest mortality rate of any mental illness”, and “20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder”. We can’t let this go on. We can’t continue to allow little girls to die.

Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment

Just one more shot, I’ll be fine!

Many of us want to feel accepted when leaving the comfort of our homes and entering the exciting world of college. Even though I left one small town for another, I was ready to become apart of something. With the many organizations and clubs at most universities, there is plenty of opportunity to make new friends. Then, there are the parties, one of the staple moments most students look forward to. Drinking has become a social norm at colleges everywhere. According to a study done at J Stud Alcohol Drugs, approximately 40%–45% of students nationwide report engaging in heavy episodic drinking (Neighbors, Lee, Lewis, Fossos, & Larimer, 2007). Although dangerous, drinking and partying can be looked at as a aesthetic moment. Aesthetic moments are apart of the concept of relational dialectics in communication theory. These aesthetic moments create a sense of unity and a feeling of being connected. But, wanting to feel unity in such an environment can create some not so aesthetic memories.

Photo from

Let’s face it, where there is alcohol there is most likely people hooking up. Daniel Paradis shares in her blog located on the Huffington Post website, “On many occasions I have had to be extracted from a situation. I remember one time being pulled off of a couch at a party in which I had chosen to happily snuggle in with a man I didn’t know” (Paradis, 2013).

This is a perfect example of how these once great moments can go sour. A study called Friends Don’t Let Jane Hook Up Drunk done by Lisa Menegatos, Linda C. Lederman and Aaron Hess put young adults into five scenarios. Each person had to chose what to do when their “friend” Jane and a guy start getting friendly after getting intoxicated. The results showed that out of 140 responses 55 chose to persuade Jane not to go with the guy she met, this was the moderate response, 30 students chose to wish Jane a fun time, the risky option, and 55 students chose to make sure Jane got home safely, the safest action to take (Menegatos, Lederman, & Hess, 2010). Although a party can start out relaxed and fun, always make sure you are looking out for yourself and others.

Photo by Chris Gilmore

Making parties and drinking these moments of unity can also make them rituals. Rituals can be great in college, much like our Chi walks and mid-night breakfast. David Berreby states in his article Rituals and Traditions; It Takes a Tribe, “Students don’t just attend a college; they join its tribes” (Berreby, 2004). We are at college to make memories, have fun, and of course get our degree. We should not let parities and heavy drinking become a ritual like stepping on a black crown. Don’t let getting wasted be your aesthetic moment or your ritual.


Berreby, D. (2004, August 1). Rituals and Traditions; It Takes a Tribe. The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2014, from

Menegatos, L., Lederman, L., & Hess, A. (2010, July 1). Friends Don’t Let Friends Hook Up Drunk. Friends Don’t Let Friends Hook Up Drunk. Retrieved January 11, 2014, from

Neighbors, C., Lee, C., Lewis, M., Fossos, N., & Larimer, M. (2007, July 7). Are Social Norms the Best Predictor of Outcomes Among Heavy-Drinking College Students?. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Retrieved January 11, 2014, from

Paradis, D. (2013, January 28). Can We Create a Safer Party Culture for All?. The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 11, 2014, from

Posted in comm200, finalblogpost | Leave a comment

The Celebrity Effect

The Celebrity Effect

            Turn on any news channel or radio station and 9/10 times you are going to get some kind of article about the latest celebrity scandal. Lately it seems as though the media is more interested in what celebrity is in rehab or who hates whom. Why is this? Why does it seem like celebrities have all but taken over the news and what is all this attention to scandal doing to teenagers in our society? According to King, “…the most celebrity-engaged sector of the US population-specifically white, young, middle class, 18 to 25-year-olds – said its first goal was to get rich and its second was to get famous.” (King, 2013).

We were once able to look up to celebrities as role models but now it seems they have become the complete opposite. Scandals are constantly floating around in the celebrity world such as eating disorders, drug addictions, and theft. Impressionable young girls and boys watching news shows and reading magazines about these celebrities are getting the wrong impression of what is right and wrong. These scandals can have negative effects on teenagers all over the world. “One factor that has been considered a central contributor to body image is social comparison.” (Jones, 2001). Young girls who are already struggling with body issues might pick up a magazine and see someone resembling them being called fat or ugly. This can lead into a horrible downward spiral. This is just one of the many reasons why people should be concerned with how much celebrities are in the media.

The Looking-glass self is described in our textbook by Mead as the way in which “…we paint our self-portrait with brush strokes that come from taking the role of the other – imagining how we look to another person.” (Griffin, 2009). This concept goes hand in hand with celebrities in the media and how they can impact teenagers in our society. If celebrity news can cause so many problems than why is it still in the media? According to the Agenda-setting hypothesis “the mass media have the ability to transfer the salience of issues on their news agenda to the public agenda.” (Griffin, 2009). Because the public are interested in learning about celebrity news the media than chooses to feature it more so they will gain a larger viewing audience. This creates the problem of the media and public agenda. Who really is controlling what we see on our TVs and in magazines? Several studies have been conducted to figure out who makes the final call yet they always come back with similar results. What gets published and broadcasted seems to be a fairly even division between the media and the public.

“A celebrity can be defined as a person well-known in one of a wide variety of fields such as science, politics, or entertainment.” (Chia & Yip Ling, 2009). Although the media helps to create the celebrities by broadcasting their stories, we need to do more to make real news important again (Hellmueller & Aeschbacher, 2010). If we don’t then we could be severely impacting the thoughts and concerns of teenagers. They could end up becoming more concerned with who had plastic surgery then the economy.


Works Cited


Griffin, E. (2009). A first look at communication theory. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Hellmueller, L. C., & Aeschbacher, N. (2010). Media and Celebrity: Production and Consumption of “Well-Knownness”. Communication Research Trends, 29(4), 3-34.

Jones, D. C. (2001). Social comparison and body image: Attractiveness comparisons to models and peers among adolescent girls and boys. Sex Roles, 45(9-10), 645-664.

KING, B. (2013). Theme:Celebrity and scandal. Pacific Journalism Review, 19(2), 11-27.

Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment

Are you comfortable with your body?

Advertisements are everywhere… on magazines, billboards, websites, and commercials on television. In almost all of these advertisements there are images of skinny, beautiful, photo shopped women. These advertisements affect the mindset of anyone who pays attention to the mass media world. Women today have distorted views on natural body images causing widespread psychological problems, low self esteem issues, and eating disorders. For more information on the prevalence of eating disorders, click here.


It is important to create a healthy natural image of the female body in our society. Otherwise, society will create a false image of what beauty truly is. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website to promote healthy behaviors in girls,  states, “The pictures of models you see have been airbrushed and touched up.” So, if you compare yourself to these models, you’re comparing yourself to something that cannot be physically attained, leaving yourself distraught and discouraged. An empirical study was done on the relation between women’s bodies and images in the media, Rebecca Coleman (2008) articulates, “The pressure women feel from images results in an increase of young women developing eating disorders and/or ‘body-hatred.’” (p. 164). I myself have a very close friend who suffers from an eating disorder. These images that are broadcasted by mass media in people homes is causing self-loathing and hatred. Would you want your little sister or closest friend to hate herself and feel she could never truly be beautiful?



In this Dove evolution video there is a great quote at the end “no wonder our perception of beauty is altered” please watch how much the beauty industry alters this woman.

Click here to view the embedded video.



In A First Look at Communication Theory Griffin (2009) Symbolic Interactionism theory the looking glass self is the mental self-image that occurs from taking the role of another. When women see these models that are so thin, they reflect it upon themselves, creating low self-esteem and eating disorders begin to develop. According to Griffin (2009) the generalized other is the mental image a person has of his or her self based on the communities expectations. The communities expectations come from these beautiful women posted on every social media cite imaginable. A component of communications Semiotics theory is ideology. Ideology is knowledge presented as common sense or natural, the knowledge we receive in our society today mostly commonly comes from mass media. Therefore it is what we see and what we believe as natural, when in reality they are unethically changing the way women naturally look.


We often never realize how big of an impact advertisements have on individuals. In a scholarly article, Rekha (2012) states “The mass media have an important role in modern democratic society, as the primary channel of communication and specifically advertising is a main source of information to people. We are unaware of how much we are exposed to advertising” ( p. 1). These advertisements have affected societies perception of beauty as whole, they have affected the innocent minds of men and women, and caused more pain within families than ever imaginable. So the next time you see a beautiful, skinny, air brushed model on the front of a magazine, remember her beauty will never be as natural as yours.





Griffin, E. (2009). A first look at communication theory. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.


Bessenoff, G. Psychology of Women Quarterly, September 2006; vol 30: pp 239-251. News release, Blackwell Publishing, Ltd. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Bodywise: The Media.” WebMD Weight Loss Clinic: “Look and Feel Great at Any Weight.”


National Institute of Mental Health, (2011). Eating disorders (No. 11-4901). Retrieved from website:


Coleman, R. (2008). The Becoming of Bodies. Feminist Media Studies, 8(2), 163-179. doi:10.1080/14680770801980547



Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment

What is Beauty?


Ever wonder why the models in magazines look so perfect; maybe almost too perfect? This is because most magazines today use things such as re-touch, and air brush to make their models look flawless. This is called false advertisement and unfortunately we see it very often in today’s mass media. This false advertisement has created a cultural divide as to what is considered beautiful and what is considered ugly. For more information on false advertisement, click here!

Click here to view the embedded video.

Why should we care about this? False advertisement is creating a generation of preteens and teens to have goals that are inaccessible.  It has been proven that not only are women models re-touched, but men models are as well. A truck load of money has been spent on false advertising in the media. Dr. Caroline Koblenzer (Koblenzer 2003) a dermatologist stated in her empirical article that “Billions of dollars are expended each year, and false claims abound, but fortunately, there are many preparations and procedures that, in skilled hands, can really make a difference.” The amount of things you can fix with re-touch is ridiculous. From enlarging muscles, to slimming waists, anyone can look like a goddess in a magazine. According to one of CNN’s writers, Jo Swinson (2011) states that when people see how beautiful, or fit these models are it makes them “unhappy about their bodies” and can lead to “eating disorders, turn to diet pills or steroids, or try cosmetic surgery.” These unfortunate influences are relevant to not only young women, but young men as well. For more information on eating disorders, click here.


False advertisement relates to the ideology theory in semiotics. Ideology is the idea that knowledge of a way of life, or a habit is common sense or natural. In this case, these models have always been re-touched and are seen in magazines everywhere. Most people are aware that models are air brushed; yet still try to attain those unattainable goals of perfect bodies. The false advertisement of beauty is also related to the theory of the looking-glass self in symbolic interactionism. Mead says that we depict ourselves though how we look to another person. This means when we look at a model, we take our self image off of them. As I stated before, these models are air brushed and re-touched. The looking-glass theory tells us that we will never be good enough because these models bodies are fake.



False advertising has been going on for centuries and I don’t think will change for a while. The media has only recently acknowledged it in how wrong it is, so it will be a while until false advertisement is completely eliminated.


Sources used:


Koblenzer, C. S. (2003). Psychosocial aspects of beauty: how and why to look good. Clinics In Dermatology, 21(6), 473. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2003.11.010


Goswami, S., Sachdeva, S., & Sachdeva, R. (2013). Body image satisfaction among female college students. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 21(2), 168-172. doi:10.4103/0972-6748.119653


Swinson, J. (2011, August 10). False beauty in advertising and the pressure to look ‘good’. CNN. Retrieved January 9, 2014, from


Advertising FAQ’s: A Guide for Small Business | BCP Business Center. (n.d.). Advertising FAQ’s: A Guide for Small Business | BCP Business Center. Retrieved January 11, 2014, from


Eating Disorders. (n.d.). NIMH RSS. Retrieved January 10, 2014, from


Griffin, E. (2009). A first look at communication theory. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment

The Ideal American Woman

You are standing in a grocery line late one afternoon and the cute guy at the cash register keeps eyeing you, but you feel a bit bashful because all you are wearing is your lazy day pair of sweats. To avoid his mischievous gaze, you search for a magazine and find one with a beautiful lady on the front cover and just skim through the pages looking at the pictures. Throughout this magazine you can’t help but notice that there are a lot of beautiful women in beautiful, slightly revealing clothes. They are all skinny, tall, with perfect teeth, and thick wavy locks. Your stomach does back flips when you start to think, “Why can’t I be this pretty?” and “Gosh, I could look just like her if I lost a few pounds”.

I, like many women, have been in this situation, where we see some sort of media with the ideal woman in America and know it is not what we see in the mirror. The article called “Women in Advertisements and Body Image”(2014), states that the normal American woman is about 5’4” and weighs close to 140 pounds, but the typical American model is about 5’11” and weights around 117 pounds. These statistics are very different and have a huge effect on the American population. Advertisements are everywhere we go, on our phone, on TV, in magazines, on posters at the mall… they are just everywhere. “The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders” (2014), states that 69% of adolescent girls in a study testified that their idea of a perfect woman’s body is influenced by the media’s advertisements. Everyone is asking, why can’t I have that perfect body? Many girls are trying to get that perfect body, but that can seem impossible for many.

In magazines, these pictures of the beautiful women are examples of semiotics, or a sign system of signifiers and signified. The signifier, or the image we see, is the lady in the Victoria Secrets lingerie; the signified part, or the message we take away from the image, is that this lady has the ideal sexy body that American’s want. The reason we have this predisposed view of what Americans want is because of mainstreaming in our society, or the formation of a common viewpoint as a result of media companies constantly presenting similar content. An article called the “End the Sexualization of Girls and Young Women in Mainstream Media” (n.d.) states that mainstreaming of mass media like TV, advertisements, and even songs exploits women; and it continues our society’s unnatural and impractical stereotype of women. Over and over again we see these images of beautiful ladies and our culture gets this idea that this is the only way a women can be beautiful. As a consequence, many women are self-conscious about their bodies; some women get depression, and many others develop eating disorders. According to the empirical article by Philip N. Myers Jr., and Frank A. Biocca, a women’s view of her own body image can change by watching as little as a half hour of broadcasting media (2006). This cultural indicator, or how the media viewer’s interpretation of the world is affected by modification of the televised content, is changing how women and girls see themselves in our culture; possibly causing a ripple effect by changing how a woman lives her life.

The media affects all of us, not only women, but men too. Our culture provides us with a sign system that we interpret from magazines as saying this is what women are supposed to look like. The take away message for this is that even though our mainstreaming society says that models are the ideal American woman, a woman is as beautiful as she thinks she is. Beauty comes from within, not how much make-up is on someone, but how a woman views herself. Does she try to eat well, sleep often, and worry little? No matter what American culture says, you are beautiful just the way you are.


Myers, P. N., & Biocca, F. A. (2006). The elastic body image: The effect of television advertising and programming on body image distortions in young women [Abstract]. The Journal of Communication, 42(3), 108-133. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1992.tb00802.x

The Advocates for Human Rights. (n.d.). End the sexualization of girls and young women in mainstream media. Retrieved from

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. (2014). Eating disorders statistics. Retrieved from

Women in Advertisements and Body Image. (2014). Effects on women. Retrieved from

Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment

A Skewed Reality

“It’s my money and I need it now!” These are the words spoken by actors in a JG Wentworth commercial seen on television over the past few years. Now this is not the main focus of this post but I’d like to highlight the tone of the words spoken by the actors. They sound angry and impatient for their money. We have been labeled as a “Microwave Society” because of our incapability or unwillingness to wait. I believe that this is because of the technological revolution of the past two decades. The internet has commercialized and because of this video games have grown tremendously.

A perennial best selling video game is Call of Duty. These games try to manufacture a real war scene. Trying to make the game as realistic as possible. I am drawn to this because like most teenage guys, I enjoy playing video games. This games are considered to be under the label “first person Shooter games”. Controversy has risen because these games are violent and have changed behavioral patterns among some players.

Agenda Setting Theory

Agenda-setting theory is the theory that mass media have the ability to transfer the salience of issues on their news agenda to the public agenda (Griffin, 2009). A big part of this is the public agenda, which is the most important issues as measured by public opinion (Griffin, pp.361). Tragedies are the most popular form of news because they keep viewers interested and informed. Video games such as Call of Duty have caused violent behaviors out of some players. Daniel Petric is an example of this. He became so immersed in a “first person shooter” video game to where he was playing it 18 hours out of the day! His parents didn’t like his gaming habits so they took his game away. He then proceeded to shoot both of his parents, killing his mother and injuring his father. This made national headlines.

Cultivation Theory

Part of Cultivation Theory is the people considered as heavy viewers of television. Heavy viewers watch TV at least four hours a day (Griffin, pp.352). These people consider the world to be a more dangerous place because of the shows on television. They develop a false sense of reality. The same can be said for “heavy gamers”. Not all video games are violent and the same goes for television shows. Some gamers even use their time to play as a stress relief get away from everyday life. But the ones who play heavy hours are the ones that lose their sense of reality and show changes towards a more violent behavior.


Griffin states that semiotics are the study of the social production of meaning from sign systems. Each sign is made up of a signifier and a signified. The signifier is the physical form of the sign as we perceive it through our senses. The signified is the meaning we associate with the sign. Each person differs with the meaning they attach to a sign. Each first person shooter game has its own unique look but generally have the same concept. The signifier of each game depends upon the gamer. An approach to a violent game could be, “This game is fun but in all actuality I understand that it is just a video game and in life you don’t get a second chance.” But some gamers become so immersed in their game they lose their sense of reality and place a different meaning to the violence. They believe that the game is an exact replica of how our world is. This is when you see tragic stories on the news about a son shooting at his parents because they upset him.

This problem can be solved. Maybe not from a government or law standpoint but a communication standard within each home. I’m not saying I could be a great parent,but I do believe that if each family regulated the amount of time a child played a video game it could have benefits. Especially if replaced with good family activities. I cherish every moment I get to spend with my family and hope others can do the same!


The 10 bestselling video games of 2013. (2013, December 13). Retrieved from

Franklin, P. F. (Videographer) (2008). Jg wentworth- it’s my money & i need it now commercial [Web]. Retrieved from

Petric, M. A. (2010, April 29). []. Daniel petric killed mother, shot father because they took halo 3 video game, prosecutors say., Retrieved from

Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment

Popular CSI Television Show Effecting Reality

After just finishing dinner, you turn on the television, and begin watching TV. On almost every other television channel, there is some variety of crime scene investigation show on such as CSI, NCIS, Bones, Castles, Law and Order, or Criminal Minds. These shows all have some common theme in them; they solve a crime in a very short amount of time using mostly forensic evidence. While watching television seems like a harmless act, the audience is unaware of what these show are potentially doing to them.

This is Casey Anthony.

In 2011, Casey Anthony was acquitted of her charges of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child against her daughter, Caylee Anthony, who was killed (2013). A jury decided Anthony’s outcome of the trail. The jury decision was based off of the fact that “Casey Anthony’s DNA was not on the duct tape that prosecutors said was used to suffocate Caylee Anthony. Many jurors consider DNA to be the gold standard of evidence, and when it is not present, questions arise” (Hoffmeister 2011). Due to the rising number of crime investigation shows many jurors are expecting that cases should be handed to them very cut and dry, and full of forensic evidence (Rath 2011). In many cases such as this one, people are acquitted of their charges because of reasonable doubt.

With more shows like CSI popping, knowing the truth about how these shows are important for any person who may serve on a jury, because everyone deserves a fair trial. Not only does everyone deserve a fair trail, but also both the offender and the offended deserve a fair outcome of the trail. This blog will allow readers to understand the importance of separating television from reality.

George Gerbner created a theory that described television’s effects on the people viewing shows; this is called Cultivation Theory. This theory is about how television can create a view of the world that is different from reality (Morgan & Shanahon 2010). Specifically, this theory is related to my topic, because it shows how the over exposure of CSI has altered the opinions of jurors. Cultivation Theory help show us that television really does effect our opinions, and effects how we view reality. In reality, forensic evidence isn’t a easy nor reliable as many television shows make it seem. In a study by Chandler Harriss, he researched and questioned many jurors to see why they picked that decision. Many jurors responded with “the evidence doesn’t lie,” which is main line used in CSI (Harriss 2011). This study helped show how television has effected jurors in reality.

Cultivation theory is just one example of a theory related to this topic. CSI has also affected this way people and certain groups think. Generalized Other is a theory that a person’s image is changed by society’s or a certain group’s viewpoint. In this case, many juries are influenced by the views of people who watch CSI, and feel that cases should be full of evidence that points to one suspect.

Understanding that cases aren’t solved with forensic evidence and in little time will help keep cases fair for everyone. This blog helps the audience to understand that you should understand the difference from reality from fiction. Hopefully, if you sit on a jury you can make an educated decision about the charges, and make sure everyone gets their right justice.


(November 2013). Casey anthony trail fast facts. Retrieved from

Harriss, Chandler. (2011). The evidence doesn’t lie: Genre literacy and the csi effect. Journal of Popular Film and Television. 39. 2-11. Retrieved from

Hoffmeister, Thaddeus. (July 2011). Did csi effect sway anthony jury. Retrieved from

Morgan, Micheal & Shanahan, James. (April 2010). The state of cultivation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. 24. 337-355. Retrieved from

Rath, Arun. (February 2011). Is the csi effect influencing courtrooms. Retrieved from






Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment

Technology Takeover

Since 1866 when the telegraph was built, people have been exploring and experimenting with new ways to increase communication. First came the telephone, then after experimenting with different frequencies and forms of radio, as well as battling the FCC, the first cell phone call was made in 1973. Today cell phones have greatly evolved to become more than just a way to talk to someone far away, it has become a symbol for our society.

From kids in elementary school, to even some of my friends grandparents, cells phones are found all throughout our society, and have become very vital to the way we interact and communicate in business, family, and in our wide-spread social networks. According the World Bank, about 3 quarters of the world’s population have access to mobile phones.We have developed into an always connected society, where any information can be accessed right on your mobile phone.

I don’t call my friends anymore, I text them. I don’t call to say “Happy Birthday,” I just post on to their Facebook wall from my phone. Because of the cell phone, we have drastically changed the way to communicate and keep in contact. In Japan, texting, mobile email, games and novels are more popular than voice calls. It sure seems that way to me sometimes. I find when I am on the phone I have less to say. Yet when I have a thought or a witty joke, I don’t hesitate to post it on Twitter. We have all felt this, being sucked into our mobile phones, checking Facebook, Twitter, or E-mail, while being out to dinner surrounded by friends or other people we know.

It seems we are attached to the hip with our cell phones. They are so cherished, that 68% of Americans sleep with their cell phone at their bed side. Our constant need for connection and control of who we talk to and what we say leads to a digital addiction. Cell phones have become a dominant in our culture and has change our social interaction.

Cell Phones Domination

 People are used to checking their cell phones in intervals of time, sometimes about every 5 minutes or so. Our feed is the way we stay connected to news, people, and knowledge. It is the way we determine which end of the digital divide you are on. Are you able to access the world and have a wide circle of communication? How does have a cell phone, and even different types of cell phones, establish your status in society?

We have already established that the cell phone is a big sign in our society of interaction and connection with one another. But with looking at cell phones through semiotics, we see the cell phone as the physical signifier, but what is the signified?

 Semiotics is concerned with anything that can stand for something else. In short it is the system in which signs are constructed in our culture and how those signs affects meaning in our lives. Signs are construct through the meaning we give them. They are not natural and change as our society changes.

 The phone use to be a sign of connection, a sign of communication. Now the cell phone has multiple signs; while still upholding its sign of communication, that sign has also evolved into a sign of advancement. If you have a cell phone, you are a part of society that has free access to information from across the world. Not only that, if you have the latest device, you are viewed in society differently, than if you have still have an old version such as a flip phone.

 Through semiotics second order system we see that the phone is not only its singular sign of being only a tool of communication; that sign has become the signifier and the signified is the digital divide, thus the sign become one of advancement, success, and privilege.

Social Interaction

 Through cell phones our culture reality has shifted. As mentioned before, people skip past simply calling, they now voice their birthday congratulations through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The cell phone, helps create you symbols to communicate with people depending on what meaning they have in our lives. Now, voice communication isn’t the only way to interact, but a variety of symbols, such as texts, social medias, and emoticons helps develop our message

 Symbolic Interactionism is communication through shared symbols, the way people talk and interact with each other. Symbols are arbitrary signs, and through digital advancement we create new symbols and signs to fit our digital lives. We put meaning to the people we interact with and thus use the appropriate signs and ways of communication to develop that relationship.

 Though having a cell phone increases our social circles expanding them to huge numbers, the same couple of people constantly receive our messages. This proves that the meaning we give our relationships effect what we said and how we interact with these people. While you might want to call your mother for her birthday, because that relationship is much more personal, you may just post Happy Birthday on your classmates Facebook wall.

 Virginia Anne McDermott’s research on symbolic interactionism shows two dimensions, large social networks in which one is embedded, and a smaller, more influential network of relational ties developed from contacts in the larger social network. This social that though our social networks are big and expansive, there are certain people we communicate with more intimately with, instead of in a general stance. The person must define the reoccurring interpersonal relation with a person and decides what the meaning of that significant other is.


 The cell phone is a sign that has changed in the digital age, and the way that use that sign to communicate with others. When we apply meaning to someone we use the symbols constructed through the cell phone to communicate and define meaning to our interactions. We communicate differently with some then we might others. Communication continues to evolved, and the way we define others continues to affect how and in which ways we choice the interact.

 Cell phones have become a vital part of our lives and of the way we communicate, we need to be effective in making sure our messages are clear and easily understandable, no matter who we send them too or how.

Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment

Freshmen and Facebook: Nostalgia And Change At Its Finest

Leaving for college is a new, scary yet exciting time in every student’s life. We must leave behind what we have come to know and have expertise in for high school standards, like how to study for a certain teacher’s tests, which hallways to avoid, and who makes a good friend. As we journey off into a whole new world of dorms and college life, students usually have the need to latch onto something that they know well- friends from home. How? Facebook and other forms of social media of course.

In a post written by Eric Aldieri, “Handling Nostalgia As A College Freshman,” he goes into what college freshmen usually experience within their first year of school. A certain song may remind you of a good time you had with your friends one weekend back in senior year or you suddenly crave your mom’s cooking.  You may go straight to your Facebook and post an old picture of you and your best friend from home, fully stuck in nostalgia. But as the weeks pass by, students begin to find a new inner circle. Before you know it, it’s spring semester and your posting pictures of yourself rushing for a sorority or fraternity. Your friends from home will most likely be doing the same thing.

In an empirical article conducted by Jenna Stephenson-Abetz and Amanda Holman, they interviewed 30 college students finding three discursive struggles for new students: preservation and (re)invention, uniqueness and conformity, and openness and closedness. Relational Dialectics is useful in understanding the tension, change, struggle, and general messiness of close personal ties.  As said in their research, “In many ways Facebook enables college students to bring ‘home’ into an arena traditionally defined by separation, new beginnings, and newfound independence.”  For example, on Facebook you may see your friends from home dressing different or acting different by means of their posts and pictures. You may start to feel disconnected to them after a while and may not share too much personal information with them anymore. This also leads into the Stability/Change component in the Relational Dialectics theory.

Stability/Change is defined in the textbook as “A class of relational dialectics that includes certainty-uncertainty, conventionality-uniqueness, predictability-surprise, and routine-novelty.” In the article “Active Facebook Users More Likely to Stick With College: Study”, there was a study that proved that “…students who are more active on Facebook are also out there getting involved, making new friends and taking part of activities that the university provides for them…” With social media websites, we are able to show off how we are discovering ourselves and our talents and abilities. After weeks of maintaining stability with old friends, we begin connecting with other students. Soon, our personal pages show that we are changing throughout the semesters by means of activities, friends, etc. “They start developing relationships with other people,” Norman Rice said in an quick to the point article about losing touch with friends. “The fact that you went to the same high school isn’t as important anymore. It’s about who you are and where you are going as opposed to where you’ve been.”

All in all, as tough as change is, it’s a necessary part in growing up. Although this generation has grown up with social media and keeping in touch with others, everyone will at one point stop interacting with each other as much as Facebook would not want you to realize that. It should not be looked at as a bad thing, however. It just shows how much you are adjusting to real life with your college life and soon to be career. But please, do indulge in nostalgia whenever you can. It’s nice to think back at good times from high school, but just look at how far you have come since then.

Stephenson-Abetz, J., & Holman, A. (2012). Home is Where the Heart is: Facebook and the Negotiation of “Old” and “New” During the Transition to College. Western Journal Of Communication76(2), 175-193. doi:10.1080/10570314.2011.654309

Posted in comm200, Final | Leave a comment