Ideas, Beliefs and Behaviours

Meme, a term that I didn’t know before this week, yet I see them everyday and they have been around longer then I have been alive. Today we commonly associate the term meme with images or GIFs that are expressing an “inside joke” or poking fun at someone or something. Sparks. Memes fill my various news feeds but there are frequently just as many that confuse me as there are that I understand. This is because often to have a good understanding of the meme you need to know where the image or saying originated to understand why putting the two together it is ironic. However memes have not always took this form and were around long before the Internet.

Memes are ideas, beliefs, and behaviours that make up our culture. They are passed on through families such as family traditions or belief practices, or they are influenced and developed through peers and media. Urban Dictionary. Memes are how our culture is formed and passed on. A meme is developed and taught to people as the meme is passed on the message may be interpreted differently or passed on in a new way, this is how our culture adapts and changes over time. Think of it like the game telephone, as the phrase is passed on it gets interpreted differently and changed before it gets to the end of the circle, often having nothing to do with the original statement. Newitz.

Kendzior makes the statement that memes create an illusion of participate in politics. I think what she means by this is that the average person does not follow political issues enough to understand them and make educated comments however they can produce and share political memes with a minimum understanding of the issue. For example the upcoming provincial election has lots of buzz going on about different issues. I recognize that Tim Hudak plans to create one million jobs, however I think that this plan sounds unrealistic. Therefore I agree with this meme, however I have not read Hudak’s plan and when I did try and look into what his plan entails it was over my head with wordy explanations that I didn’t understand. Therefore I do agree with Kendzior’s statement that the government is run incomprehensible to a normal person. Memes give us the chance to poke fun at politians or political issues that we otherwise would not be able to comment on. As well it is an outlet for us to take out our frustration on issues because as individuals often we are not heard by the government. When producing political memes we are not actively participating in making a difference in the political issue therefore we are really only publishing our opinion, participating yes, but not in a political sense.

Memes are found in all different streams of social media and are becoming more and more prevalent. With memes continuing to grow it is important to understand how it affects and reflects our society and culture. A meme starts as an idea that continues to grow and change as it is passed on and on and spread throughout society. Gleick. This results in these new ideas spreading much faster globally than ever before. This also means that there are so many different ideas being considered not as many stay prominent for very long without any changes. Memes make small changes to our culture or our society’s view on something everyday however Internet memes have also made large changes to our culture. The introduction of the emoticon in 1982 for example is a meme that is still around today. This changed the tone of conversations on the Internet and allowed informal conversation and jokes to occur without misinterpretation (Davison 124). Most importantly memes are an important part of our culture as they add to our growing participatory society. Memes give us the opportunity to participate on different levels and on multiple medias. As I now have a better understanding of memes and how they influence our habits and behaviours I am curious as to which popular meme today will be gone tomorrow (Harlem Shake) or here for years to come (emoticons).


Do We Hold the Power?

Do we the people, formerly know as the audience, now hold the power? Throughout history the media has heavily influenced society. Until the evolution of Web 2.0 created an opportunity for the public to become an “active audience”, the media had control over what information was provided and how it was presented. Rosen emphasizes this with his pokes such as “your radio station, broadcasting on your frequency” and “ you were once (exclusively) the editors of news” (Rosen 13-14). I agree with Rosen, the media has had to change their practices and has lost complete control over their audience. However, I feel the media has maintained a strong influence, even though their audience is now actively participating in the media.

 I feel the style in which Rosen wrote “The People Formerly Known as the Audience” is a very accurate way of getting his point across. That being that the way the public interacts with the media has changed drastically with the evolution of the Internet. The tone of the article also demonstrates Rosen’s views on the shift in power from the media to the public. I disagree with this idea. While I agree that the media has had to change their presence since the public started becoming an active audience, I still think that the media influences us immensely.

Rosen implies that all of the “former audience” actively participates and this is why the media lost their control. The “former audience” is now viewed as “produsers”, which is a combination of both a producer and consumer. We must remember however, that not everyone has the same balance between the two (Bird 502). I personally am much more a consumer and prefer to view things others have produced. I have both Facebook and Twitter accounts but I don’t often post things, I use it to see what my friends have posted. On the other hand I have friends that post multiple times a day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Being a consumer more so than a producer I feel that the media still largely influences me. Fashion styles and new trends are shown to me through the media. Watch this link. Although there are many different ways to communicate and voice our opinion, these also create more ways for media to target their influences on each of us. The advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that are targeted individually to each of us are unavoidable. As well, I get multiple spam emails a day from different companies; this is another way the media tries to get our attention.

 I feel that social media platforms do predetermine how we participate on their particular social media site. However, there are so many different types of social media platforms that we are part of multiple sites and change the way we participate on each accordingly. In a recent study it was found the 42% of adults use multiple social networking sites (see link). For example, I don’t look for new recipes or craft ideas on Facebook, I would use Pinterest instead. Just the same I would not post pictures of my holidays or update my status on Pinterest, that is what I use Facebook for. Each individual site has its restrictions, which affects the way we use it and how we express ourselves; for example Twitter has a restrictions of 140 characters per tweet.

 Overall I agree with Bird’s view that the public has become more of an active audience. With the change of technology and our ability to voice our opinion, each person’s level of participation is different, which results in the media influencing us on different levels. This is unlike the past as Rosen articulates the media had control and the public only had the ability to listen. Some “produsers” actively produce as well as consume in multiple forms of media. Others will comment or participate in smaller ways such as liking a status or favouriting a tweet. While the remaining will solely view online media and will not participate in any form, these are therefore not considered “produsers” as they do no producing (Bird 504).

So do we the people, formerly know as the audience, now hold the power? I don’t think we hold all of the power, the media still has influence over us. But we must keep in mind with each of us participating at different levels that the media also influences us in different ways and to different degrees.

An Altered Society #Comm2F00


As a 20-year-old young adult I cannot remember a time when I could not turn on the computer and have endless information at my fingertips. Yet, the leaps and bounds technology has made even in the past few years amazes me. Everyday I participate in many different forms. I text almost every hour of the day and check Facebook and Twitter at least three times a day (not counting when I’m just bored). Speaking of being bored, that results in my participation in endless Snap Chat “conversations”. These are just a few of the primary ways I participate daily in my personal life. At work I use my email hourly. I work in an office for a property inspector that goes out into the field. We communicate throughout the day solely by the use of our online calendar and the occasional email.

Reflecting on how my participation has changed over the years I realize that as Schäfer notes it seems we look at the present thought a rear-view mirror, meaning that the limitation to perceiving the future is that we often base it only in terms of past development. As I kid the first thing I did when I got home was get on MSN and chat with my friends, I never imagined that by the time I got to high school I would be on my cell phone in contact with them every minute of the day. I have realized that what I base my imagination of the future on is what we already have and how it will become better. Not something that will change the way we thought about it entirely. For example when the telephone became widely used I’m sure they never imagined the concept of Skype and video conferencing. My participation overall has evolved over time as well, today I focus on participating in a more professional manner. Keeping in mind that when I participate it forever remains somewhere in cyberspace; something I did not consider when I was younger.

While our participatory culture seems so engaging and wonderful, at what cost does it come? Schäfer comments on tracking users activities and storing their personal data in order to target them with advertisements. Websites like Twitter monitor our online activity so they can target ads to our personal newsfeeds based on our recent activity, in the hopes we return to those sites to make a purchase. See this link. This participation is based on so many “free” services online such as Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Hotmail etc. I say “free” because while we do not pay for them with direct cash all of our information and data we input into these free services make up a unique “fingerprint”. These companies then sell our information to advertising companies, hence where they make their money. Schäfer agrees, noting that this emphasizes the violation of privacy in online services. So are these services really free? I think loosing our privacy is a higher price to pay then a monetary value, yet I continue to use all of these online services. Watch this video from TVO’s Pull campaign for more info.

Technology is constantly changing around us and society often adapts without really realizing it. When the next new thing comes out that makes life more convenient, we automatically switch over. This demonstrates technology’s influence over us. When listening to Miranda Lambert’s song Automatic, I find myself reflecting on the lyrics. “Hey whatever happened to waiting your turn, doing it all by hand. Cause when everything is handed to you, it’s only worth, as much as the time put in.” Not only has technology changed the way we do things, it also has changed our appreciation and patience. We expect everything instantaneously and don’t take the time to appreciate things like we used to. How many people take the time to make a scrapbook anymore? Now we just post our pictures the same second we take them and try to come up with a creative hash tag to go with it. “It all seemed so good the way we had it, back before everything became automatic.” Just as an example our debit cards, when they first came out it made banking so much more convenient. Now most people do their banking online and don’t think twice about the convenience of their bankcard. This has me wondering if I look back in twenty years how else will technology have altered our society?

Who is Amberly Keelan?

I just finished second year at Brock University as a Business Administrative Student at the Goodman School of Business.

I have decided to take #comm2f00 as an online course this summer not only to be proactive and lighten my course load for next year, but also to expand my knowledge in a continuously growing aspect of our society, the use of technology for communication.

I am excited about taking this class as it is a VERY different structure and set up then my regular classes! It should be an interesting way of trying something new while learning something new.

This summer I am working full time as an Administrative Summer Student for my local municipality. I hope to spend lots of time at my family cottage up north on top of playing in a co-ed slow pitch league with friends.

As much as I am impressed by and take advantage of the many advantages and opportunities the internet and technology offers us, I think it is VERY important that we don’t lose some of the many talents of the past. I enjoy baking… from SCRATCH! as well as playing cards and crocheting.

Just a little bit about me and where I am today…. where my future may lead I’m not sure? But I am looking forward to learning along the way.

– Amberly

As this is my first blog, I wonder if after 12 weeks of this class I will look back and laugh at how my first post was laid out? Oh well!