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Technology versus humans, who wins?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Gefell at 10:11 pm on Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I ask you to picture a typical day and count how many times you think you use any piece of media technology. For me, I counted over 65 times a day I use media technology which includes my laptop, the internet, television, radio, iPod, and cell phone. These tools are used all over the world to obtain the latest news, communicate, and buy the latest advertisement. I believe I could speak for the majority of people that will be reading this blog, that in today’s society it is hard to not utilize the media technology because it makes life less hectic.

Sonia Livingstone, author of “Young people and new media: childhood and the changing media environment“, stated, “We can no longer imagine our daily lives—at leisure or at work, with family or friends—without media and communication technologies.”

Technology companies including Yahoo, Google, MSN, and AOL are reoccurring media outlets that individuals use all over the world. Yahoo alone produces more than seven billion dollars in revenue a year and reaches over 562.6 million people each month (Doctor, 2010). How do companies like Yahoo target that many people and bring in that much revenue? The answer is through technology and without it there would no companies like Yahoo, Google, MSN, and AOL. According to Trip Gabriel, author of “Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using Social Media,” media technology is being used at work and even in schools. Schools are using twitter and blogging accounts to allow for students to express their opinions and improve their writing skills.

In the book Newsonomics, Ken Doctor writes about “Twelve new trends [or laws] that will shape the news you get.” The ninth law is called: “Apply the 10 Percent Rule.” The idea behind the law is that we are past the debate about man versus machinery and should value what each one contributes. Doctor says, “Let technology do as much of the heavy lifting as possible—that’s the 90 percent—and let humans come along and work on top of the technology, adding skills, the intelligence, and the judgement.”


Applying the 90-10 rule will vary depending on the technology, company, product, and will be used as a multiplier tool for journalists. When comparing the ‘old days’ versus the present day, journalists will be able to research, interview, edit, tweak write, distribute, and customize in the blink of an eye. In today’s society media technology has already made a huge impact worldwide by using ad targeting to drive the biggest change in the news industry, metrics transforming to the news trade, managing audiences more flexibly, and more much more (Doctor, 2010).

An important persuasive technique Doctor uses to enforce the ninth law of Newsonomics, is called Simple solution. Simple solution is when the persuaders ignore complexity and propose a simpler solution. Doctor uses the idea of how busy and complicated life is and proposes the solution of technology to covering 90% of the work and humans contributing 10% by adding skills, intelligence, and judgment. Overall, the persuasive technique in this situation leads to an easier and less complex solution.”

After further consideration on the ninth law presented by Doctor, I feel it is significant for individuals to engage and learn what the latest technology has to offer. Technology isn’t going away and will only progress, so why not work together and create miracles including ending world hunger, child abuse, and finding a cure for cancer as well as other deadly diseases.




Doctor, K. (2010). Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Gabriel, T. (2011). Speaking up in class, silently, using social media . New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/education/13social.html?pagewanted=all

Livingstone, S. (2002). Young people and new media. London: SAGE publications Inc. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xyzEPXZxmwoC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=technology changing media&ots=TTcbDeKxnD&sig=ytWPc0qx9dwkGgONxRF-VKtwuzc

Who’s the ‘middleman’?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Gefell at 7:57 pm on Friday, April 20, 2012

When you open your internet source, what is your homepage? Is it considered a portal that will take you to other links or websites? Well for me, Google is the first thing I see when ever open up the internet on my computer, but why do people use these sites? Why set Google at as your default website? For me and other people in the world that are notorious for using shortcuts, sites like Google are useful for getting me from one place to another fast and without a lot of hassle. Sites including Google, Yahoo, AOL, and MSN are commonly referred to as ‘search engines’ (Kavanagh and Ojalvo, 2010).

Search engines are also considered ‘middlemen’.  Ken Doctor author of the book, Newsonomics discusses the impact of ‘middlemen’ on the world today. In news lingo a ‘middlemen’ is used to get you from one place to another or acts as a short cut to make life easier. So, what’s the big deal about these websites? According to comScore Media Metrix, in the summer of 2011, there were estimated 1 billion visitors per month to Google’s website. As you can see in the graph below, Google is the number one used website used worldwide. Furthermore, Doctor reported that roughly 75% of the twenty-three-billion-dollar Internet industry goes to the four big middlemen including: Yahoo, Google, AOL, and MSN.



Doctor considers Google to be a search-aggregation company. Aggregation in the media world indicates having more than the other guy and whoever has the most good content typically wins in revenue, followers, and participants. Doctor stated, “[Search-aggregation company] means it focuses powerful search technology on Other People’s Content. Its first trick: indexing the World Wide Web better than anyone.”

After four years after the birth of Google, in 2002, Google News was created. In today’s society, news companies all over the world have already made the switch or are beginning to make the fast and drastic switch from ‘old fashion’ newspapers to hybrid news, but are competing against companies like Google. Would you say that companies like Google take away from other news companies? Since Google news pages draw in more than 200 million views each month, I would say without a doubt they take away revenue and audiences from other hybrid news companies (Doctor, 2010). Doctor stated, “The short, but painful, history of the newspaper and broadcast companies on the Web is that they have been rounded up, rather doing the rounding up.”



Google uses persuasive techniques such as Bandwagon and Majority belief which go hand in hand to persuade their audiences. Bandwagon means that everybody is doing it, so I should too. Majority belief is similar, but goes along with majority of individuals that believe in something, so it must be true. These persuasive techniques both use the fact that nobody wants to be left out and everyone wants to be included. For example, your peers influence you on how to act and what you believe, and if majority of your friends believe in Google and use the website, then you should too.

I feel it was important to recognize the worldwide impact Google has bestowed on news companies, similar websites, and individual audiences. I think it is beneficial to realize how often you are using ‘middlemen’ websites and have a better understanding how they influence you and others worldwide. Google will continue to improve its tactics and challenge news companies for years to come.



Kavanagh, S., & Ojalvo, H. (2010). Just google it? developing internet search skills. New York Times. Retrieved from http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/22/just-google-it-developing-internet-search-skills/.

Doctor, K. (2010). Newsonomics: Twelve new trends that will shape the news you get. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

comScore Media Metrix (2011). How many people use google world wide?. Retrieved from http://www.quora.com/How-many-people-use-Google-world-wide

And Her Legacy Continues…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Gefell at 4:57 pm on Friday, April 13, 2012


This month marks the 13th anniversary of the Columbine tragedy. A school massacre that left 12 students and one teacher dead with many others wounded. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, were the two seniors that were responsible for the massacre. The events were planned for over a year, anger built up over time, and the lives of these two demented boys became darker and darker as their lives came to an abrupt and desperate end. The massacre began on Tuesday April 20, 1999 at 11:10 am and ended only a short 32 minutes later that could potentially be explained as hell on earth. Among the 13 individuals that were shot was Rachel Scott, a kind and caring 17 year old that loved and saw the good in everyone. Scott was the first to be murdered, but her legacy continues to live on (Cullen, 2009).

It is hard to imagine any good or anything beneficial to come out of gruesome, depressing, and demonic tragedy such as Columbine, but in a vulnerable time, the family and friends of Rachel Scott came together and turned her dream of helping and changing lives into a reality. They call this reality Rachel’s Challenge. Scott once said, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” Rachel’s theory has impacted the world and her theory about a chain reaction continues to touch and save millions of lives (Rachel’s Challenge, 2012).


In 2010, there was a shocking report of 47% of high school students being bullied (Monroe County Domestic Violence Task Force, 2011).  Programs such as Rachel’s Challenge hope to change those numbers. In 2008, Rachel’s Challenge has held over 1,300 events, roughly touched 1,320,700 individuals, went to all 50 states and six different countries, prevented seven documented school shootings/acts of violence, and averted hundreds of suicides (Rachel’s Challenge, 2012). Since 2009, Rachel’s Challenge has branched into corporate America and not only focuses on stopping bullying and cruelty in schools, but helps with the anguish and anxieties that come along with work. Darrel Scott, Rachel’s father, and the team of the corporate training program want to deliver Rachel’s message of compassion and kindness to all ages (Johnson, 2009).

Today, Scott’s father, mother, brother, and sister all contribute to explicit her kind and compassion nature by multiple media outlets. The family has written numerous books, been on talk shows, and continue to be active in motivational speeches that spread compassion and spread awareness about the dangers of bulling and cruelty. After each speech, the audience is asked to sign their name and agree with the ideals of Rachel’s Challenge by putting an end to bullying and spreading kindness. According to the Rachel Scott website, Scott’s gentle persona paired with six diaries has created the foundation for one of the most life-changing school programs in America.


Rachel’s Challenge uses two obvious persuasive techniques called Symbols and Fear. Symbols are defined as images or words that associate with a larger concept that is usually tied with an emotional concept. Whether reading a book written by Rachel’s parents, watching her brother being interviewed on live TV, or even sitting in on speech by Rachel’s father, all use images of Rachel and her diary entries to show that her story is real. The symbols used have a greater impact on the audience and emotionally tie them to the story. As for Fear, this type of persuasive technique is used to promote a solution. Rachel’s family and friends use her tragic story and legacy to make people aware of reality and hope to end bullying and cruelty.

In a world where we hear of war, death, and crime more than glory, love, and sympathy in the media, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the good that can come from the bad. After more than a decade, the wounds from Columbine have begun to heal, the media coverage has seized, and yet the family and friends of Rachel Scott continue to tell the story of Rachel Scott and how she traced her hand on the back of her furniture and wrote, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.” For the Scott’s family this horrible tragedy has turned into triumph and they will continue to hope and pray for a change and ask, “Do you accept Rachel’s Challenge?”




Cullen , D. 2009. Columbine. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group.

Johnson, K. (2009). A columbine victim’s spirit of hope grows. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/18/us/18columbine.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Rachel Scott – Columbine&st=nyt.

Rachel’s challenge. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.rachelschallenge.org/.

2011. Meeting minutes. Monroe County Domestic Violence Task Force, Retrieved from http://bloomington.in.gov/documents/viewDocument.php?document_id=5587.



Magic and Adventure…Yes Please!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Gefell at 4:25 pm on Saturday, February 25, 2012


Take yourself back to when you were a child at about 5 to 6 years of age. Its breakfast time and the selection of food choice include a healthy wheat cereal, a breakfast fiber bar, or a marshmallow/fruity cereal. Which would you choose? For majority of people reading this, I am going to assume that at the age of 5, the marshmallow/fruity cereal would be the top choice. The difference between the chosen cereal and the other breakfast options is that the colorful advertisements and exciting games available to children for this particular cereal are everywhere around them.  What I mean by that is the food marketing on television grab children’s attention with the magic and adventure their item has to offer. This isn’t just on television, but can also occur on computers, ipads, and cell phones.

For children, there is no escaping advertisements because they are everywhere! Advertisements are winning and children are losing. Children remain constantly exposed to the ads material and continue to purchase the items whether it is a healthy choice or not. According to Powell (2012), food advertising to children has a strong correlation to short-term food consumption. These types of food markers are taking advantage of children’s vulnerability and negatively affecting them in multiple ways that have the ability to continue for many generations to come. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysIzX_iDUKs .

I find it interesting that before being enrolled in COMM 325, I knew the purpose and meaning of marketing and advertising, but that I didn’t know the potential damage food ads have on young children. Advertisements for Lucky Charms and Foot Loops are giving children the idea that their cereals bring fun and adventure, but not obesity and type 2 diabetes. According to Thomson (2011), Kellogg’s Foot Loops calls their cereal ‘‘a treasure of a nutritious breakfast,” but they don’t tell audiences that their cereal contains 15 grams of sugar in one serving and is contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.

This topic is important for audiences to be educated about the harm of food marketing and its negative effects on children. The children of today are our future and if they continue to have health problems they have the possibility of not reaching their full potential or even death.

I believe that everyone in today’s society is directly related to the issue of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. The children suffering with these diseases are our family, friends, and future. According to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (2011), approximately 12.5 million or 17% of children between the ages of 2-19 are obese in the United States alone. Furthermore, from 1980 to 2011, childhood obesity has nearly tripled. These statistics further prove that these health issues are an ongoing problem and any course of action needs to take place.


Even though childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes are an ongoing problem, regulators are proposing ideas to defeat the issue of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.  According to Newman (2011), regulators are aiming blame for childhood obesity at food marketers and how they sell high sugar, fats, and salt containing foods to vulnerable children. Regulators are asking the marketers to make a voluntary choice between healthier products or no more advertisements to young children.

An important persuasive technique food marketers uses constantly is diversion. Diversion is used to divert the audience’s attention away from an issue or problem by a distraction. This type of technique is commonly used to hide part of the truth or the story that isn’t told. Diversion is used all throughout food ads by highlighting the fun and exciting item being advertised from the truth in order to bring in profit. For example, Lucky Charms and Foot Loops are advertised with the help of a magical leprechaun and an adventurous toucan. The leprechaun and toucan divert the truth of a sugary breakfast cereal to create the illusion that if you eat this cereal you will experience magic and adventure. If I were a kid in today’s society, I would be right on the bandwagon and pull a tantrum until I consumed the colorful and magical cereal. The problem with this technique is that food marketers are taking advantage of naïve children and allowing them to consume harmful sugars on a daily basis.

After further research on the topic of childhood obesity, I feel a sense of anger and want for change towards food marketers. I don’t mean that I am pointing all fingers at food marketers, but I do feel that they have a responsibility and a type of censorship needed for young children. Gaining more knowledge about food advertisement geared toward children, will only benefit the public and educate parents on what ads are really adverting and the dangers behind them. Educating the public to change the present and better the future of our lives and our children’s lives is the only solution to the problem of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.




Introduction to media literacy. Media Literacy Project, 1-16. Retrieved from                 http://blackboard.longwood.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/COMM325_SECB73_201230/Intro_to_ Media_Literacy.pdf

Newman, W. 2011. U.S. seeks new limits on food ads for children. The New York Times. Retrieved from                 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/29/business/29label.html?_r=1.

Powell, L., et al. 2012. Nutritional content of television food advertisements seen by children and            adolescents in the United States. Pediatrics120(3): 576-583. Retrieved from                 http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/120/3/576.full.pdf html.

Thomson, D. 2011. Marshmallow power and frooty treasures: Disciplining the child consumer through   online cereal advergaming. Critical Studies in Media Communication27(5): 438—454. Retrieved          from http://blackboard.longwood.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/COMM325_SECB73_201230/ COMM325_SECB73_201230_ImportedContent_20120117114605/Course Readings           Marshmallow Power and Frooty Treasures/cereal marshmallow.pdf.

2011. Overweight and obesity. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Retrieved from                 http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/data.html.

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“Here Weego” is Magic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Melissa Gefell at 5:44 pm on Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Have you ever wanted to be able to snap your fingers and have an ice cold Bud Light appear? In one of Bud Light’s ads during the 2012 Super Bowl this magic was achieved by the help of man’s best friend. Bud Light spent millions of dollars for multiple commercial slots, conquered an impressive dog trick, and spread the word about a good cause.

According to Friedman (2012), 30-second commercial slots during the 2012 Super Bowl were a record breaking $3.5 million. The multi-million dollar commercial created by Bud Light, opens with a male who looks to be in his later twenties at a backyard cookout. The age of the man is associated with the target audience of a legal age that can enjoy the quality of a Bud Light. The man is accompanied by “man’s best friend” that delivers him a Bud Light and is rewarded with affection. A few of the man’s friends show up and are surprised he got a new dog, the owner of the dog simply states, “Yeah, he’s a rescue dog and his name is Weego.” The friends are slightly confused by the peculiar name of the interesting looking dog and attempt to say it. The dog disappears after ‘Here Weego’ is called and returns with an ice cold beer from the refrigerator he opened himself. Shock is displayed among all the individual’s faces.

retrieved February 8, 2012, from tweetbuzz.us.

The dog is praised throughout the party and continues to drag bottles and cases to thirsty and happy people. Everyone is seen drinking responsibly and having a good time, and finally a Bud Light logo pops up and says “Here we go.” The final scene is the dog pushing a cooler with ‘Help rescue dogs’ written on it.

According to Gamson (1992), the decoding and interpretation of the ad comes from the term readers, rather than an audience. Therefore, in one minute this ad had to deliver the desire and need for a cold and refreshing Bud Light to millions of reader’s around the world. The interpretation from the reader could result in the association that men like beer, men are not independent, men are lazy, men love dogs, or simply rescuing a dog makes you the life of the party. What the ad doesn’t tell you is that not every rescue dog is going to fetch beer like Weego.

Many tools of persuasion were used in order to execute the humorous and companionate ad. The first tool that stood out was Beautiful people, which use good-looking models to attract our attention. The main purpose of the technique is to get readers to think that if they drink Bud Light, they will have fun and look beautiful like the people seen in the commercial. Humor and the Warm & fuzzy techniques were also used. Humor was used to grab reader’s attention through laughter. As for Warm & Fuzzy, the thought of rescuing and saving an animal’s life has the potential to stimulate emotions and feelings such as joy, comfort, and satisfaction. The uplifting emotions and feelings could then be associated with drinking a Bud Light.

The tools of persuasion used a common message, drink Bud Light and you will be good looking, humble, and have a lifetime of partying and happiness. The interesting thing about the Bud Light ad is it didn’t just advertise the beer, but also advertised rescuing dogs like Weego. Rescue groups all over the world benefited from the advertisement and didn’t have to drop a single penny to get their message spread.

According to Horovitz (2012), the rescue pooch and Bud Light came in second place in USA TODAY’S Facebook Super Bowl Ad meter and has the potential to gain respect from animal lovers all over the world. This ad goes both with and against the typical stereotype of Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light Super Bowl ads. The ad displays the typical stereotype that men are helpless, lazy, and need assistance from women and now dogs. In contrast, the ad is more than a few men getting drunk in a backyard, but instead they delivered a message that benefits their company and rescue organizations all over the world.  The magical statement “Here Weego” could be interpreted as let’s go get a case and party all night, let’s rescue an animal just like Weego that fetches beer, or simply let’s enjoy a cold and refreshing Bud Light.

retrieved February 8, 2012, from fundoofun.com.





Friedman, M. (2012). “Super bowl Sunday an Unofficial Holiday for Millions.” IIP Digital . Retrieved on    February 8, 2012, from http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/article/2006/02/             20060202162836jmnamdeirf0.5559656.html.

Gamson, William A., David Croteau, William Hoynes, and Theodore Sasson. 1992. “Media Images and     the Social Construction of Reality.” Annual Review of Sociology 18.1: 373-93.

Horovitz, B., Petrecca, L., & Strauss, G. 2012. “Super bowl ad meter winner: Score one for the Doritos baby.” USA TODAY. Retrieved on February 8, 2012, from  http://www.usatoday.com/money/         advertising/story/2012-02-07/usa-today-facebook-super- bowl-ad-meter-winner/53004032/1? csp=hf&loc=interstitialskip.


Image #1: tweetbuzz.us

Image #2: fundoofun.com


Missy’s About Me Post

Filed under: About Us — Melissa Gefell at 10:33 am on Friday, January 20, 2012

My name is Melissa Mae Gefell, but ever since I was about four years old, my friends and family have called me Missy. I feel as if Missy suits my personality better because in my opinion this name reflects an individual that has a sassy and spunky personality. I am third in line of four children and the only girl! My brother’s names are Luke, C.J. and Mikey. I love every minute I spend with my family and I am fortunate and blessed to have a wonderful mother and father that have been happily married for 26 years. My strong personality comes from having two older brothers and one younger; I have always been treated and rough-housed like I was one of the boys. With a family of six, our house was always a little cramped, but we were never deprived of any necessities needed to grow into young adults. My parents have always taught me to set high standards for myself and follow my dreams. I am currently a senior at Longwood University and planning to graduate on time! I will be graduating with a Bachelors of Biology and a minor in Communication studies.  My plan after graduation is to take a year off and prep myself for graduate school. My DREAM is to get accepted into the Physical Therapy school at MCV in Richmond, VA. The program takes a total of three years and in the end I will be Doctor Gefell. The first Doctor in my entire family! I pray to get accepted and begin PT school in fall 2013. So, please cross your fingers for me!

Growing up I was all about Disney movies and being a Disney princess when I grew up. This media artifact influenced me when I was younger because it made me believe that one day I would be rescued by prince charming and live happily ever after. Now being 21 years old, I know fairy tales like the Disney princess stories don’t happen in real life. Tons of research has been done on these movies and numerous psychologists believe them to be sexist and degrading to women. In the eyes of the professionals, the Disney princess’s portray women that rely on a man for happiness and security. I agree partly with the studies, but I also can’t imagine life without them. They gave me hope of finding a prince charming and living happily ever after. Young girls pretend to live in a life with no evil and what is wrong with dreaming of happily ever after?