The Social Network (Blog 14, Prompt 2)

This class is all about technology and how we as humans and learners use and understand it. We explored technology through touch, taste, and smell. Through all the articles we read, games we played, and movies we viewed I truly enjoyed this class. If I had to add one text, book, or film to our class syllabus I would definitely add the movie The Social Network. This movie from 2010 shows how Facebook was created. I think it would fit well into our curriculum regarding technology. Everyone in today’s day and age uses Facebook and personally a few of my posts have been regarding the social networking site. In class we talk a lot about social media and how it is used. This movie could fit in with any unit we have studied. The site has changed so much since its original creation so it fits in with anything ranging from accessibility to web/game design. The movie can be used as an introduction to the world of social media and could open further discussion about Twitter or even MySpace.

Besides being an amazing movie, The Social Network describes the process of creating a media empire. Everything from coding to advertising to money is used in this film. I feel as though the movie truly embodies the “senses” related to technology. Class discussions could range anywhere from simple to complex issues regarding the movie and the site. We could discuss how we individually use the website to how the website makes our society as a whole look. It relates to the sociability ideas discussed in relation to the video games and can also be discussed in an ethos, pathos, and logos aspect.

I believe that this film, and the idea behind/around it embodies what we are supposed to take away from this class. There are so many ways we can look at the movie as well as Facebook in general. It is not only a social media site. The way it is designed, how it is used, and how it is continuously updating and changing shows the importance of understanding technology and how people use it. Everyone uses this site differently but it was created for the common purpose of connecting friends. The drunken idea to create a website to keep Harvard students up to date on what was happening turned into a billion dollar invention. Through the short span of the movie we see how the empire was created and almost destroyed. The discussion surrounding this film and the social media world in general fits perfectly into our English class, which is why I think The Social Network should be added to our class.

Coffee

When we think of coffee advertisements today so many different things may come to mind. We could be thinking of coffee shops such as Dunkin’ Donuts’ with their popular slogan “America Runs on Dunkin’”, or we could be thinking about instant coffee such as Folgers or Maxwell House. Regardless of what advertisements we are thinking of when we think of coffee all are targeted towards a certain group of people. Ads tend to work best when they are made for a specific population and also tend to make assumptions about their customers.

Around 1919 the idea of instant coffee became the latest phenomenon. Many companies were trying to turn their ground coffee beans into instant coffee to keep up with the technologically changing world. People no longer wanted to wait for coffee to brew so instant coffee was the quickest and easiest way to get the same great taste at a faster rate. In The Atlantic Monthly Advertiser an ad was placed for “Barrington Hall Soluble Coffee”. This advertisement featured many words in different sized print as well as a very bold picture of a coffee tin. Though in black and white, the soluble coffee is clearly highlighted due to the firework type image behind it. Next to the image the quote “Good-Bye, Old Coffee Pot!” is written and underneath it a blub about why the coffee is so good, where to purchase the coffee, how much it cost, and especially how convenient it is to make and consume. The very bottom of the ad features a cut off order slip with instructions on how to get some of this coffee. This advertisement is targeted towards coffee drinkers but does not focus on a specific gender or age group. The ad is a bit wordy for today’s time but fits very well into the time period in which it was released. Due to the fact that this idea was very new the words are needed to further explain to people what the product is. The color contrast makes the images pop and have that as the first thing that catches our eyes.

In the late 1800s Maxwell House, a popular brand of coffee, was founded. Not long after they created their brand they began releasing advertisements anywhere they could. In an advertisement in the Corpus Christi Caller in 1929 they published an ad for their coffee. At first glance we can already tell this is an ad for coffee. We see a man drinking a cup of coffee. Behind him we see other men and women doing the same. The print says “Such a little more to pay for such greater satisfaction”. Below the Companies logo it says in small print a brief advertisement for their tea. This ad appeals to both men and women, presumably in their late twenties to early forties based on the appearance of the people in the advertisement. By stating that the company also sells tea the ad is geared toward tea as well as coffee drinkers. The ad makes the assumption that people like to enjoy caffeinated beverages. It makes drinking coffee look fun and effortless. The simplistic design and black and white color of the ad makes it easy to read and understand.

Flash-forward to the 1960s, the famous instant coffee company released a series of television ads. The majority of these advertisements fit the social norms of the decade: housewives catering to every need of their husbands. This ad was geared towards women, especially those who “made bad coffee”. I viewed a series of these commercials and they all started off with the men complaining about their coffee and then the women going to either their friend, neighbor, or grocer stating how their husbands did not enjoy the beverage they were making. All of the ads featured women in dresses with their hair and makeup done up as well as pearls and high heels. Their husbands were dressed in suits and seen always sitting down at the table. In one of the commercials, a woman named Mary goes to see her neighbor Mrs. Olson with a problem, she complains how her husband described her coffee as “undrinkable as ever”. Mrs. Olson then goes over to the cabinet and pulls out a tin of Folgers. The coffee is said to be “different” and “special” because it is Mountain Grown. After the women finish talking the coffee tin is displayed and the logo comes up on the screen emphasizing the mountain grown aspect. I really enjoyed watching this ad, it seems relatable and advertises the coffee very well.

Though all coffee ads are different and advertise different types and ways to consume coffee, they all have the same purpose: to get a certain population to buy their product. Regardless of the company and target audience the goal is to get people to buy and drink coffee. Whether it be printed in a newspaper or repeated over and over on TV, the way we view coffee at first glance is shaped by how it is advertised.

Works Cited:

 Barrington Hall Soluble Coffee. Advertisement. Atlantic Monthly 123 (1919): n.

pag. Digital file.

 Folgers Coffee Commercial #13 (1960s). By I Want More Retro. YouTube. YouTube,

29 May 2009. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=D3WeAawf_zE>.

The Corpus Christi caller. (Corpus Christi, Tex.), 21 Sept. 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86071134/1921-09-21/ed-1/seq-3/>

You Shouldn’t Need an App to have a Social Life

When I think of social media or social networking the first things that come to mind are Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These three are considered “normal” ways to share things about your life. They can be as personal, or impersonal as you want them to be. With twitter, you have 140 characters to say what you are thinking. If this isn’t enough space for you then you can post to Facebook. If you wish to share a picture, Instagram is the common outlet for that, again if you wish to post an album of pictures then you go to Facebook.

These three programs allow you to interact in the way that you feel most comfortable. If you want people to know where you are and what you are doing at all times of the day, then share it, but if you don’t then you don’t need to let the world know. I believe that these programs do not inhibit face-to-face social interactions because in order to have what is considered a “normal” Facebook page or Instagram you need to have interacted with people in order to post pictures about it.

Both Crowdpilot and Inneract seem like very strange and useless programs to me. They are both programs where people either ask strangers/friends for advice (Crowdpilot) or asking strangers in your surrounding area to interact with you by doing some non-normal activity (Inneract). I feel as though both of these programs make you less sociable because you are relying on an application for everything you wish to do. If you want to have lunch with someone, why not call up a friend rather than post about it to a random app and see which stranger is near you and wants food. For all you know that person could be a criminal or pedophile.

It is true that social media has taken over the world but we still have brains and still know how to act around other people. There is no need for an app that takes away our ability to socialize. Programs like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook do not inhibit social interaction, they simply document them. McCarthy’s programs on the other hand make it so that your interactions with others are not based on your thinking or your initiation. If you are on a date and it is not going well, you should not have to rely on other people to tell you what to say to make it better, you should know well enough how to do it yourself. Sociability is important, so is face-to-face interaction and those interactions should be controlled by your mind, not the mind of a computer.

Tomato Soup for the Soul

A tactile response can occur in relation to many objects. Barthes describes it in relation to soap and all of the senses associated with it. The tactile response can also bring about “mythical” meanings in our cultures. When I think of a specific object that enlists tactical feelings I think of soup. Until recently I had hated soup. I thought it was a stupid food and never understood why people liked it so much. I thought of it as wet, slimy, and gross. There was just something so strange about drinking your food. Those feelings I had towards soup kept me from trying it.

One winter day after suffering from a horrible cold my mom forced me to eat soup. I never understood the relationship between soup and mending a cold but the rest of the world did. Being a vegetarian my soup options were limited so I was forced to try tomato soup. Until then I had been a strictly grilled cheese kinda girl and thought in disgust at people who dipped a perfectly good sandwich into red goo but after my force-feeding of the red concoction I was hooked. I am now the biggest advocate for tomato soup.

Tomato soup is no longer the nasty red goo but a bowl of creamy deliciousness. There are many different types to choose from. Just plain old tomato soup. Creamy tomato soup, tomato bisque, tomato basil bisque, and the list goes on. There are also unlimited toppings to tomato soup and an unlimited amount of things to dip into it. You have your classic grilled cheese sandwich (or any variety of it), goldfish crackers, parmesan cheese, garlic bread, etc.

To me, tomato soup (and other types since then I’ve tried many more) is not simply a soup. I associate it with the feeling of comfort. Taking a slurp of soup is like wrapping yourself in a warm fuzzy blanket. You feel good and cozy. The soup represents security; it keeps me warm from the cold (or cold from the warm weather if you’re eating cold soup). I associate soup with a cure for illness. Now every time I’m sick all I want to eat is a bowl of soup. I know that soup cant actually keep you safe or cure your cold but the idea that is brings can. When you think about it yes, soup is still a slimy mixture of random vegetables and the idea behind it is gross but once you get past that and take in a spoonful, you feel like you’re floating on a cloud.

How one clue/research led to behavioral changes

I spent sixteen years attending a private all girls’ school in a very well off part of Cleveland. Though all the students came from various socio-economic backgrounds the majority of my friends were very privileged. In my sophomore year of high school as everyone began getting their licenses and with that new cars. Our driveways became filled with Jeeps, Mercedes, BMW’s, and Range Rovers. It was that October when one of my friends turned sixteen and didn’t get a car we all started realizing something was up. When she didn’t receive a car for her sixteenth rather a gift card to Nordstrom’s we were all very confused. At first we thought nothing of it.  As fall turned into winter and holiday shopping was coming up, this friend asked us if we could put a money limit on our yearly gift exchange. This puzzled us all, we had never brought up money in our group of friends before, and it was always a silent notion that it was not an issue. When this friend brought it up we were all a bit shocked. We put the no car thing, the gift card for a birthday gift, and this new gift exchange idea together. There was something this friend was not telling us.

We agreed upon a limit to the gift exchange and did not bring up the issue of money to our friend. After winter vacation we all returned tanned and relaxed, all except our one friend. She returned to school a different person. She was quiet and a bit distant. We soon found out from our parents that her dad’s company had gone bankrupt and her parents were getting a divorce. She had never mentioned any of this to any of us so we were all in shock. We were unsure how to handle it so we never brought it up. After finding out we started treating her differently. We went to less expensive places on the weekends, stopped talking about the new clothes we just got, and always offered to drive her places or pick her up. Finding out that one small, yet huge fact about her life made us all change our attitudes. We all realized that without even making a big deal about money, our lives revolved around it.

Before school ended our friend finally told us her situation. We knew our “research” was complete at this point. She filled in all the gaps and told us everything. Looking back at the two years after that talk we had with her and even now we still treat her differently but we definitely do not look down on her.  We all have become more conscientious about what we say and have become significantly less bratty. This situation within our friend group brought us closer and showed her, and the rest of us, that each person in our group is very accepting. Yes, I admit that changing the way we acted for the reason we did was wrong but in the end I believe that our research of her situation helped us all grow up and look at the world through the eyes of everyone, not just people like us.

“The Adventures of the Cardboard Box” Literature or No?

Having gone to a college prep school that majority of literature we studied in our English classes was very conventional. When I think of the books I’ve read in the past all of them had a common structure of beginning, middle, and end with a plot that carries throughout, a conflict of some sort, and finally a resolution. These pieces of literature all taught me something about the past, present, or future. When I think of my past English classes I think of the works that stood out to me. Those include: The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, Romeo and Juliet and Frankenstein. All of these works are very different yet they all fit the common pattern and teach us something. To me they all felt complete and in my mind that is how all English class books should be.

Mysteries are not the typical genre taught in a formal English class. Other than reading Nancy Drew for pleasure I have never read nor been interested in mysteries. My dislike for them comes from them seeming implausible and incomplete. Yes most of them get solved in the end but I’m not a huge fan of what happens in the in between. I feel like they all seem very unrealistic. Most English and Literature classes though they teach unrealistic works such as the many sonnets of Shakespeare, but the majority are based on real events and seem logical. I am used to reading books such as Elie Wiesel Night or Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, not reading Sherlock Holmes stories. We are taught these books in class because they teach us something useful. They don’t show us unrealistic things rather they tell us about events that happened and make us think.

I feel as though “The Cardboard Box” does not fit the standard for a story that should be taught in an English class, let alone a college English class. In my mind, as well as the minds of many others literature is something that you read not only for fun but also to make you think in a new way. It is something that either helps you understand a concept better or makes you question it. It is also beneficial to the reader. To me this story is not a piece of literature we should be reading. Though it is interesting it does not really teach us anything. There is no lesson, historical background, social situation to be analyzed it is simply just a made up mystery being told by someone trying to solve it. Yes, it is classified as a valid piece of literature it is not one that we should be reading at this level.

Evolution of a Profile: From a Teenage Girl’s Standpoint (Facebook Profile Profile Revision)

Phase One:

Step One- Create a Facebook Page

Step Two- Friend anyone and everyone you know

  • These people can be from school, summer camp, sports, programs you did etc.
  • Warning: do not friend family members, teachers, friends parents

Step Three: Go Crazy!

  • Upload pictures: Why types of pictures you may ask? Well the answer is any and all pictures. Show the world who your friends are, where you went on vacation three years ago, what you looked like as a baby, embarrassing pictures of your friends, ANYTHING
  • “Like” Pages: Don’t be afraid you just created a page so you are most likely in middle school, like things you actually like no one cares at this point. Go ahead, like the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift. Find that fan page for the latest Nicolas Sparks movie. Search for your favorite brands, favorite foods, favorite TV shows and books.
  • Post: Update your status anytime you do anything! Going to the mall? Tell the world about it. Going out for dinner? Let your friends know what you ate. Just got home from school? Complain about how annoying your history test was. Need a ride to the school dance this weekend? Ask your friends! You also don’t only need to update your own status don’t forget to write on your friends walls and comment on their pictures! Go post that inside joke between you and Jane Doe on her wall. Comment how ugly you look in that one picture she posted. Express yourself.

Step Four: Graduate Middle School

Phase Two:

This phase begins upon entering high school. This is the first time your profile will actually change. You have spent the last one, two, or three years going crazy and being all over the social media community but now a time for change has come. You as a freshman are now at the bottom of the food chain. You want to lay low and fly under the radar. This all starts with your profile.

Step One: Delete anything embarrassing

  • Get rid of all those pictures with braces, bangs, bad outfit choices (let’s be real we all have those)
  • Sort through your “likes” and make sure you still like all the things you did when you first made your page

Step Two: Make New friends

  • Once everything embarrassing is gone you can begin to friend new people, these may be new classmates, sophomores, and if you’re really ballsy: upperclassmen
  • Warning: it is still not okay to friend family members, teachers, friends parents, etc.

Step Three: Enjoy High School

  • Do: Post pictures from school dances, sporting events, social gatherings, birthday’s, vacations
  • Do Not: Post pictures drunk at a party, pictures with any illegal substances, pictures of you doing inappropriate things (these can all come back to bit you in the ass someday)

 Phase Three:

This is the final phase in the evolution of a profile. It is the senior year to college phase. At the beginning of this phase you will most likely have a different name linked to you on Facebook. It will be something punny or witty or simply just your first and middle name. You do this so that colleges cannot “find” you. Once you get into college you will then change your name back and enjoy senior year. To do this you must post pictures of everything you do to show the world that you’re killing it in your last semester of high school. Once you get to college you’ll continue posting pictures to show how much fun you’re having but start caring a lot less the types of pictures you post. You are no longer trying to impress anyone or “hide” form the world. You’re profile now more than ever represents who you really are. The groups you’re in, pages you like, things you post, and pictures you are tagged in depict now more than ever the true you. Your page will continue to evolve as you enter the next phases of your life but for now be who you want to be on social media and don’t give two shits what other people think.

Prompt #4: Sociability

When Bell invented the telephone and marketed the idea that you can contact anyone from your own home people were amazed and confused. There was suddenly this new invention, a device attached to a cord that let you communicate with whoever you wanted. Bell advertised calling “dressmakers, florists, theaters, inns, rental agents, coal dealers, schools…” (Fischer, 39). At that point in time people did not know how to act on the phone. They bought into whatever phone companies told them. In the past people only communicated face-to-face or through writing so speaking into a telephone was a very new concept for them. They were taught how to act and what was socially acceptable.

In today’s world where almost everything is done over the phone in one-way or another (i.e. Texting, face timing, emailing, talking, etc.) people must learn how to change the way they speak depending on who they are talking to and the form of communication. You would talk completely differently on the phone if you were talking to your mom or if you were talking to your boss. In a way telephone ads teach us what is socially acceptable for different situations. In a commercial for a blackberry, for example, the “conversations” are very professional due to the fact that the phone is associated with businessmen and women. iPhones are marketed to all populations however each commercial shows different ways of using the phone. Some people are shown texting their friends in a very laid-back familiar tone, others are shown on conference calls, and others are shown face timing with family members. Each use of a phone depending on who is on the other end has a different set of “unspoken” rules and regulations on how one should act while using the device. Interactions over the phone are not only taught through advertisements. In our current time many parents upon giving their children a phone will teach them the right way to use it and how to act and interact with others via the device. Rules are set such as “no texting during dinner” or “always call when you arrive somewhere and when you leave”. These rules among others teach people how to interact using a telephone.

Phones are not the only situation in which people are taught how to interact with others. An example of a place where people are taught how to be social is in a school environment. Students are taught at an early age how to speak to teachers versus their parents versus their friends. TV shows also teach children this. They see how kids on TV act in public and how they act in school and understand the differences. Children are the most susceptible group of people. They can easily be taught and change their ways quickly based on what they are taught. Sociability has to be taught because in many situations people do not know how to act. Like with the original telephone people were taught how to act while using it just like children are taught at a young age how they should act in certain situations and environments.

Professors Reaction to Dante

As a professor just now finding out that for years my students have been buying their papers I am appalled. I wonder if my class really was so difficult that students could not do their own work. Did I not explain the assignments well enough? Did I not provide enough time for the students to complete it? Were my office hours at bad times? So many questions would arise in my head. After thinking about all the questions I had and tirelessly reviewed my teaching I begin to think about Ed Dante. This man, clearly a scholar, is using his brain and expertise to help students cheat. Dante could put his power to good and be a teacher or write real books or do something more with his life than make professors look like fools. Myself, as well as i’m sure many other professors are in disgust that a man would do this for a living. Education put to waste. It makes no sense to me why he would even chose to help students. It is against almost every school’s honor code, his alma matter included, and it against many moral conduct codes as well.

Taking the focus off of myself and Dante I would now put a magnifying glass on my students. Should I explicitly enforce and constantly restate the honor code? Should I more carefully read papers to check for plagiarism? How does one really tell if a paper was written by the “claimed writer”. Almost all the papers I receive are well written, I cannot think in the past of a student who showed no promise in the classroom yet wrote so eloquently. Some students I never got to know so I just assumed they were shy but wrote well. Did they really just pay others to write there papers? There is really no way to know or tell. People have always found ways to cheat and not do their own work. Until now unless blatantly plagiarized no one really could tell if work was honest or not. This article should make students think. Personally I think there is no way to stop this cheated because if Dante had been working in this field for so long without ever getting caught clearly there are ways around the honor system. I am disgusted at the work that this man does and I hope others are as well and are now more aware of it.