Sorry it has taken me so long to get my thoughts posted on here. I am behind in my blogging, but I have been reading, watching videos, and researching the class ideas a lot so I have a lot to say- you will hear from me several times over the next week as I catch up. Stick with me as I take you on a step back to the first readings and reflect on my journey.
I started the introductory readings by looking at Federman’s article, What is the Meaning of the Media is the Message? I can honestly say that this has taken a long time for me to start to understand McLuhan’s idea- and I am still working on fully understanding the idea. Hopefully by the end of this class I can get it. I understand how the medium that we use to communicate is important- perhaps as important as the message- but I can’t seem to get my mind around how the medium IS the message as I still revert back to my understanding that they are 2 important things, but distinctly different things. I also understand that the idea is deliberately paradoxical- but this is one paradox that is just not clicking in my mind. McLuhan is quoted as saying that “The effect of the program is incidental”, but I just can’t seem to get my mind around the fact that the message is incidental. I also wonder how messages that are spread through a variety of media fit in to the picture. Stay posted for my update on my understanding of this paradox.
This weeks TED Talk by Sherry Turkle, Connected, but Alone, was far more interesting to me and made a lot more sense for me.
There were so many moments throughout her talk where I found myself pausing her video to write down what she had said. She talked about how the uses of new social medias are changing our relationships- not only with each other, but with ourselves. I was interested by her acknowledgement that conversations in real time are more difficult because they don’t allow us time to present the version of ourselves we want to be a pretty powerful idea. As a mature, experienced user of Facebook I constantly notice this about my FB friends- how they are trying to create an image of who they are. Before hearing Turkle talk about it in the way she did I never really thought about how our teenagers now are so used to being able to edit their image before it goes out to the world that they may end up uncomfortable with the unedited version of themselves. Her statement “If we don’t teach our children how to be alone, they will only know how to be lonely” reminded me of the teenage girls we have billeted over the last few years. They are constantly connected with their friends and constantly looking for peer approval of EVERYTHING. I overheard a conversation one day after one of the girls had posted a picture about the number of likes she needed to get in an hour to decide if she would leave it posted. I joked with the girls and challenged them on their thinking- but that idea of that posted picture stuck with me- just how validated teenage girls feel by responses to their online presence.
This constant connection is changing how our youth, especially girls, think about themselves and what they value about themselves. I think there is also a sense of anxiety associated with a lack of response- especially from certain people when we know they have seen our social media ‘extensions of our selves’. Even I have found myself questioning situations if I see that someone has read a text and not responded- and I am a self-confident adult, not a teenager, whose sense of self tends to be far less secure. I think that this idea ties right in with the Media Literacy chapters we read (written by potter). Potter discusses the constant flood of media that we face on a daily basis and how the mass media conditions our thought processes. As the mother of 2 young girls this idea scares me. I want them to feel like they are enough in a society where our views of what are woman should be are so edited.
I chose my blog title based on this idea that our constant interaction with mass media has such a huge impact on us, even when we don’t even realize we are ‘consuming’ the media. I think Potter makes a great point about the need to recognize media messages and control what effect they have on us, not to let the mass media control our thought processes for us.
I hope you are all a little more critical of the media you encounter today 🙂