Facebook After Death

For my vlog project, I’ve been studying how Facebook is changing American culture around death, so I thought I would do a blog post on it since it has been on my mind so much.

I haven’t experienced very much death on Facebook. A classmate from high school died during my freshman year of college and for a few days my Facebook feed was filled with posts that fellow classmates had left on his page in memorial. I didn’t know him that well— I actually thought he was kind of a jerk, so it didn’t affect me too much aside from the residual creepiness of seeing a dead person on a social media platform for the living.

That being said, I know this won’t be my last brush with death on Facebook. According to the BBC, 30 million users with Facebook profiles died between 2004 and 2012, and some estimates claim that an average of 8,000 users die every day.

– S.W.


Is Disney Getting Better at Diversity?

One day I logged into my Netflix account and saw that Coco was finally released on Netflix and I was so excited. I didn’t get to watch it in theaters but my sister recommended it and thought I was probably going to cry. I watched the film and I loved it, not because it was Disney but because it showed a strong familial and collectivist culture versus individualism. It’s relative to my life because growing up in a collectivist household can be hard when you want to be there and support family but also make yourself happy and have adventures in your own life.

Over the past few years I have noticed how Disney’s films have started to grow broader in including different cultural backgrounds such as including more diverse protagonists like Moana, Hero in Big Hero 6, Miguel in Coco and Phiona in Queen of Katwe.

I read in an article that a couple years back Disney/Pixar wanted to buy the trademark for “Dia de los Muertos” which means “Day of the Dead” and is a celebration in Mexican and Latino culture that honors peoples loved ones who have passed. You can understand why it was not taken lightly because it is staking a claim on somebody’s culture. Therefore, to help Disney understand, Disney hired one of their critics and a cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz to give them a better perspective of how to present the culture right and respectfully. After Coco was released it did really well in the box office and people took a liking to it because they could relate to the characters in Coco and Miguel himself because of his personal struggles that a lot of people can relate to like me. Representation is what helps people identify with others and themselves and watching a diverse cast helps that thought that, “hey, that person is like me and that’s pretty cool.”

Overall my point is, I think Disney is on a good track to including different cultures and educating themselves and their audiences of other worlds apart from princesses. That they can be a hero in their life as well.

Link: https://wearemitu.com/entertainment/coco-cultural-advisors/

-Kelly Dabandons

The importance of networking in the Digital Age

Recently I have attended a massive convention called Blizzcon in California.  The reason I went there was two-fold; one because there were games that I liked featured, and two, to meet new people to network with. I am currently looking to get a PR job that relates to the game Overwatch. So going to a massive event for Overwatch makes sense. While I was there I actually accidentally ran into one of the head PR managers. I got to talk to him briefly and he gave me his Twitter handle at the end.   I also got to take pictures and talk with a bunch of game casters and analysts. I got to take a picture with them and tagged them on Twitter and they liked it.  In addition, there was a popular Twitch streamer I met there who later made a food challenge video and I later did that food challenge on Twitter and tagged him and he even retweeted it. It got a few thousands of views plus I got my foot in the door with quite a few people.

I used a combination of networking techniques here, I met the people in person since it’s easier to get peoples attention that way and then later I did online follow-ups for memory. While I didn’t plan it out like that it still seems like a good strategy. That PR manager is trying to help me find a job right now. Unfortunately, a lot of those jobs are in California, so we are trying to figure something out for online.

-Derek J

Is Gaming “Normal”?

Over the past few years, society has seen a growth in the gaming community. What started as something to occupy children at the arcade for an hour has now turned into a livelihood. Adults can now make hundreds of dollars just by spending a few hours on a video game. Should that be seen as a strange way of income, or should it be the norm? I personally believe that gaming is an acceptable form of income if people put the work in for it.

Gaming is not a cheap hobby. In order to become a gamer, you have to own the right materials to do so. This requires either a good computer or a gaming console, both of which will cost hundreds of dollars. Games themselves have seen a rise in prices in today’s society, going for $60 with an additional $40 pass for Downloadable Content. That’s not even including the equipment required to stream and post videos on YouTube. In order to record your gameplay, most devices require you to have a separate capture card, which can also cost hundreds of dollars. A good quality sound set up is also a must. A good microphone can range anywhere from $80 to hundreds.

All of the things I listed above are very time consuming and expensive. It is because of this that I believe gamers should be considered actual professions that qualify as a viable source of income.

-Conner Nieman


Moderation of Social Media

After recently watching a video on the moderation of websites and social media, I have realized that moderation of social media is much larger than it seems. Because of the increased use of social media, moderation of it has become a larger issue than previously thought. Social media moderation has been shown recently in the removal of Alex Jones from social network sites like Twitter and YouTube.

All social media websites have privacy policies that lay out their specific guidelines that they have chosen to fit their platform. These guidelines usually prohibit sexual content, hate speech, and other controversial media. In cases like Alex Jones, Twitter reported that he had not broken any of their rules, but after much public response in favor of removing him from their site, he was removed. This point is a strong representation of how social media moderation is conveyed and how the removal, or even the dismissal of removal requests, can change how media is spread on sites like Twitter and YouTube. While the moderation of social media is not always apparent, it does seem to change the way the media is spread.

Because websites look to moderate the content on their platforms, it seemingly shapes how social media functions. The use of moderation teams has become a larger factor as social media has grown and with it, the implications of this moderation have grown. While many do not post illicitly, the use of moderation affects what we see on these sites. Because of this, there is much content that is removed at the social media’s discretion.

– Brenden R.

Social Media Managers in Business

For our final presentation in my business class, we each had to pick a business-related career from a list to do an exploration of and then present. I noticed that while the list was fairly long, it seemed to have a very narrow range of careers in it, and it notably did not include the careers that we talked about in our digital studies course such as social media managers despite their increasing importance and rising demand in business. In fact, the only career listed that was related to technology was IT directors. This made me wonder why such an important field was all but left out of the list.

The easy (and perhaps most correct) answer is that the technological field is considered too new, and most of the potential careers have not been set in stone yet. However, these careers are becoming more important every year as more aspects of business move to the digital world such as advertising, customer relations, and sales. Social media in particular has risen in importance lately, and accounts such as the Wendy’s Twitter account have gained companies massive brownie points with the public. It has also allowed companies to keep up with and respond to current trends and events much quicker than ever before, and even allows for small advertising campaigns without having to go through the hassle of making a commercial.

I predict that within the next five years social media managers and other rising technological jobs will be included in the list of important business careers alongside entrepreneurs, financial officers, and IT directors.

-Isaac H

‘Tis the Season for Sales and Ads!

With the start of Cyber Monday it seems websites nonstop have been pumping out sales and deals. I’ve been receiving countless emails everyday with new online shopping deals. It seems more and more people are going online to purchase, well, everything! It used to be Black Friday was a one day deal but now online websites have week long sales or month long specials. Online shopping is definitely a convenience during such a busy season, but I’ve been thinking about smaller stores. Amazon seems to be the big powerhouse for online shopping and I worry about the effects this has on smaller run businesses. Having everything you need delivered on your doorstep, even groceries, means businesses not online will be receiving less customers as online shopping continues to grow.

Another thing I’ve been noticing lately is the amount of ads on my phone. I feel I’ve been receiving more ads while I’m on social media and they have been extremely specific to me. Normally I notice ads from websites that I have been on, but lately I’ve noticed ads for things I’ve simply mentioned while talking. So is my phone listening to my conversations and curating ads for me? Kind of weird to think about.