The Death of a Star

I learned last night that Paul Walker, known for starring in many movies such as Fast & Furious had died in a car crash as a passenger while leaving a charity event that was raising money for victims of Typhoon Haiyan. I never knew him personally, but his death is one of the few celebrity deaths that truly left me in shock and denial. I don’t know if the shock and denial is completely due to his sudden passing or the way I had learned about his death which was through a social media site (i.e. Facebook). But before I continue with my analysis on how the social media impacts the perception of Paul Walker’s death, I would like to say a few words:


My condolences go out to the families of Paul Walker and the driver, Roger Rodas, who had died in a fiery car crash last night in California; Rest in Peace. We truly lost an amazing individual who was known for helping out charities and people in natural disasters. Just this year Paul Walker did an episode on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week to help bring awareness to sharks, he was using his passion in marine biology to do well in the world.

The death of Paul Walker came as a shock to me because the first place I heard about it was when I skimmed my Facebook wall. My initial impression being that this was a hoax of some sort and didn’t pay much attention to it at all. It wasn’t until I got a call from a friend, whom I considered to never be the type to fall for a hoax, that I realized his death was real. I later went onto Google the crash and realized it was true after looking through major media sites like CNN and CBC. This gap between believing and not believing really shook me. At first, I believed it must have just been my denial to accept his death but once I started reading up on forums I found that I wasn’t the only one who disbelieved his death at first. Many users on Twitter were combining the words “Paul Walker” and “Hoax”, adding to the confusion of anyone on Google looking for answers. Reading up on forums, you can see a great deal of confusion where people did not believe the initial news since it came from TMZ, a celebrity media group that isn’t known best for its reporting of celebrity deaths especially after they had reported rapper Lil Wayne had died multiple times in the past few years.

As technology evolves it has allowed individuals to report news instantly. This has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, in the case outlined in this post, about Paul Walkers death, social media for me caused confusion because I wasn’t sure how trustworthy social media is, and it truly is not something you should rely on for news. This initial representation of important news in social media can cause people to disbelieve the facts and even disregard them entirely, just like I did. Social media has evolved to a state where we as the audience don’t trust ourselves for information because we know that any normal individual can now post anything they want on the internet. But at the same time this ability to post non filtered information allows the audience (users of social media) to quickly post real time updates, pictures, and videos on the live web. This form of reporting truly opens the door to non-filtered media allowing us to have an instant look into what the world is talking about rather than having to wait for major media outlets to release news that happened hours or days ago. In terms of Paul Walker’s death, pictures of the destroyed 2005 red Porsche were posted to the internet instantly, even videos of the car burning with the two bodies was also uploaded to the internet(I will not post these pictures or videos out of respect for Paul Walker and his family).

In the end social media and instant non filtered media reporting is here to stay, it is up to the end user to believe and verify everything they see and hear on the internet.

Equal Opportunity Feminism

Feminism is a political project that explores the diverse ways men and women are socially empowered or disempowered. If you missed it, that was pertaining to BOTH men and women. Feminism isn’t anti-male; it’s for everybody. Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.


With all that being said, I personally feel as though there are some aspects of life where feminism has gone too far. People like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Station was the first wave that fought primarily for the women’s right to vote. The second wave refers to the fight that people like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan fought for women’s workplace and reproductive rights. The idea that women are, in fact, people was solidly established in 1929 when we were ruled “persons” and even more so in the pushes against discrimination of the 1960s and ’70s.

If feminism is the fight for equality amongst the genders, why have the scales tipped so far to the women’s side? Simple things like maternity leave, custody rights, and divorce proceedings and asset division are all in the favour of the woman. Feminists have brought us a long way from where we were a long time ago but we have started to forget that feminism is the equality amongst gender…not surpassing the other. Another much more sensitive topic that comes of this topic is rape: can a woman rape a man? Yes, but most people would think otherwise. Feminists fought for women to be considered persons – in the process of all this, we have taken some of that away from the opposing gender.

The idea that “feminism is the radical notion that women are, in fact, people is due for retirement. We’re well beyond that now. As long as feminism is still interested in equality, it has a place in society…”

Content or Medium, What’s More Important?

Sitting here typing this blog, I can’t help but notice the amount of forms of media that exist today. The many forms of communication that we have created and become attached to in a never ending technological state.  In front of me I have my computer, to the right of me I have my TV, the left sits my Nexus 4 Smartphone, and behind me are the marvelous vocals of Lana Del Ray flowing through my radio speakers. But then, I look at the bigger picture: everywhere I go I am surrounded by forms of media. We, as people living in the 21st century, are surrounded by channels of medium, surrounded to the point that we cannot get away from them. Unless of course there is an EMP blast that destroys all technological devices around us, but then we hear the rattling of newspapers and the flipping of the magazines. Mediums are everywhere. The flow of content is so prevalent into today’s first world society that it is hard to even imagine a time without.

But this begs the question, what is more important to the average person? The channels of medium or the content that flows through the medium? I asked myself this question and at first thought the content is what’s more important to me. I know that I would not watch TV unless something good was going on, but as I learned in class, countless theorists would disagree with this thought.

Medium theorist Marshall McLuhan claims that it isn’t the content that is the message but rather “the medium is the message.” McLuhan’s Medium theory claims that we should not only pay attention to the content of the media but rather the medium that the content is delivered through. McLuhan argued that it doesn’t matter about the content, but it is the actual medium such as newspapers, television, radio, and internet that in itself influenced the population. It placed emphasis on the fact that the medium that communication flows through is actually an extension of our lives; an extension of our bodies. Mobile phone is the extension of our voice. Clothing is the extension of our skin. The medium had become a part of who we are.

After analyzing McLuhan’s theory I asked myself the same question again: what is more important, the content or the medium? In conclusion I believe both are truly important means of affecting society. The content could define true meaning but the medium that is used to express that content could then amplify the meaning of the message, making both parts equal in importance. But overall the medium truly does impact society, having the ability to access media everywhere you go via Smartphone, it truly is an extension of your body for many. Forms of medium that allow the communication of content to many people at the same time can all influence the impact on society. All in all, people truly do adapt to their environment and the primary medium we use to access content truly does affect the way we perceive.

Rattling a Monopoly

We all have been in a position where we have been unhappy with a certain product or service. Then, we try to resolve the issue by calling the customer service hotline of the company only to find out that it is a long process that can take many back and forth conversations; Usually at the end of it you just feel like you wasted a good day trying to solve a problem that is unsolvable. In the following post I am going to explain how I was able to use social media to truly get the attention of a company and get my issue resolved in a matter of minutes.

One of my recent issues had to do with one of Canada’s biggest telecommunications companies, Rogers. Rogers, as we know it today, stands as an iconic company in Canada. They have maintained a strong lead in the industry and provide multiple essential services to millions of Canadians around the world; one of those Canadians are me. I recently had an issue where I had put in an order for an iPhone 5S Gold Edition. IPhone 5S is a hard phone to attain right now due to Apple’s shortage of stock. I ordered this phone on the day it was revealed and put up for pre-order on the Rogers website back in October. I was instantly placed on to a waitlist; my number was 112 with an initial estimated wait time of 2 weeks. A month goes by without any update so I called Rogers and they notify me that my placement is still active and the order is fine. I received a new estimated date of delivery to be within a week. Regardless the fact that I have been waiting for a month, this news made me happy.

Another month went by and I still received no update so I decided to check the status using their website. What I saw truly made me angry and very displeased. For some odd unexplained reason, Rogers had cancelled my order and kicked me out of the waitlist a few days ago without sending me any notification as to why it happened or that it even happened. I decided to call up Rogers and demand an explanation. The lady on the phone said there was a clerical error made by the initial person who submitted my order and hence they cancelled my order. She simply said she can’t do anything about this other than creating a new order which puts me at the very end of the waitlist; wait list position of 1354. I was extremely annoyed with her answer and demanded to speak with a manager. The manager repeated her same answer. I put down the phone and decided to clear my mind and figure out my options. For a company the size of Rogers who always represents themselves as a customer friendly company I was truly astonished at the answers I received.


So I started googling what steps I can take to rectify this issue. It seemed that the most successful advice was to go social with my feedback and take the war with Rogers to a social networking sites like Rogers’s Facebook page and Twitter page. This seemed a bit unrealistic to me since I’m usually not the type to complain and just let things fall into place. The thought of using social media to grab the attention of a giant was started to look very appealing once I reminded myself that Rogers had already committed me to a 2 year contract and have all my money but in return I have no phone after waiting for 2 months and I was kicked out of the waitlist due to an error on their end. But sadly, I was a bit shy and didn’t feel too open to taking this issue social so instead I simply asked my brother to do it for me, and he did. He just simply tweet on Rogers Twitter page stating my displeasure which grabbed the attention of someone working at Rogers PR who then proceeded to communicate with my brother on Twitter’s Direct Messaging application. Within minutes we received a phone number to contact. One phone call later I had my phone issues resolved and to top it all off, the PR rep at Rogers had my phone ready for pickup within the hour at a local Rogers Store that just happened to have one Gold iPhone 5S in stock.

All in all, I learned that social media works in two ways when it comes to a massive corporation: it allows corporations to advertise heavily and directly reach millions of people through countless channels but it also allows customers to reach the corporation and effortlessly rattle a corporation that cares about its social identity.

Are Video Games to Blame?

Gaming is one of the biggest forms of entertainment in the world. This massive industry is responsible for some of the biggest brands in today’s market, PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox, these are just three of the major brands of console makers who have been leading the billion dollar gaming industry for the past decade. With millions of people playing each and every day with thousands more joining from untapped markets around the globe, gaming has become a world known form of entertainment. With such popularity one would expect video games to be credited with massive media approval and acceptance, but sadly that is not the case.
One of the biggest reasons to why video games are ever in the news today is due to the frequent controversy and censorship that surrounds the gaming audience. The media is always first to blame video games for any form of mass violence. Every time there is a shooting with numerous victims, the social media immediately points the finger at violent video games. For example the Navy Yard Shooting that took place in September where Aaron Alexis opened fired in a mass shooting spree. Friends and family were quick to point out that Aaron played violent FPS shooters such as Call of Duty Modern Warfare. Blaming video games for violence has become a norm in today’s society yet no scientific proof has been created to support such reasoning. People around the world do crazy, dangerous, and unlawful things. Putting the blame on video games does not justify someone for mass murdering or going on a crazy police chase. What is even more outstanding about the medias claim on video games causing violence is that the media never points a finger at violent movies or hobbies such as air soft and paint-balling. These are all forms of  entertainment as well yet video games are the first to get the controversial attention.
Does the media ever stop to think about the fact that the same games they blame are also some of the most successful games in the industry, raking in billions in sales every year? Millions of people play video games and do not exhibit any mass killing behavior.
The mainstream media is slow to report about the positive behavior attributes that video games have created  such as proven hand eye coordination and visuo-motor skills. Video games allow people to experience things and learn things that cannot be taught in a real world class room. For example “Flight Simulator” or “Gran Turismo” are very popular simulators that truly can teach people how to be a better pilot or driver. It will not give you the skills to become the next Sebastian Vettel but it will definitely give you a thrilling experience in another dimension that would not be possible without video games.
Aaron Alexis was able to commit such a crime that day because the security in the Navy Yard was not up to par with the standards required to keep a dangerous person from harming innocent people.

In the end, if the media was right about violent video games we would see massive killings in our community every day,

thank goodness the media is wrong.


Technology & Participatory Media

With Black Friday approaching I decided to keep my wallet happy this week and completely disregard any flyers that were delivered to my doorstep. As much as I tried to keep myself away from all the retail intensive media, I couldn’t keep my friends or family from grabbing my attention about some amazing deals and products on Facebook that had me counting my dimes and nickels. I was experiencing participatory media and by looking at my new shopping list, it truly had an effect on me.


Participatory media is where consumers are the one who are spreading the content, people are hearing about a product or service from friends, family, and strangers rather than learning about the product from direct advertising. This strong form of media delivery has proven to be one of the strongest ways to communicate media throughout society. But what’s really exciting about participatory media today is that it is stronger than ever due to the introduction of mainstream social technology. The use of broadcast media, YouTube for example has thousands of videos with over millions of views, participatory media is part of media ecology. It isn’t to say that everyone is participating in media, not everyone has the skills or the opportunities to participate. For example certain schools block access to Facebook and Twitter, reducing the ability for students to participate outside the classroom.


With the introduction of the World Wide Web and countless interactive channels of communication that came with it, participatory media has become an everyday experience for me. I feel that companies who can get consumers to self-promote their products are truly achieving success in every aspect of communication.

Snapchat & Social Media

Snapchat is a company that produced an application where photos and videos that vanish after a set time by the author of the image/video; they were making some amazing headlines lately. Refusing to be bought out by Facebook for an estimated $3 Billion and recently surpassing Facebook in mobile photo uploads, Snapchat is truly getting the attention of the giants in the industry.


I for one, do not use snapchat but have tried out the services to see how well the function is. I understand that the recipient will not be able to save the picture or video but with today’s Smartphone’s the ability to quickly screen capture has made it very easy for one to just record a screen capture of the image before it vanishes. One thing that is innovating about this application is the fact that even if someone does capture a screen shot of the picture or video clip, the author of the image/video will be notified. But even if they do somehow patch this functions, it won’t stop someone from using an external Smartphone or camera to take a picture of the screen before the photo vanishes. In a sense, “snapchatting” is still meant for only those you trust.


Beyond my own personal opinion about the service, Snapchat has a lot of potential in taking over social media. Photos that people take but feel are unfit for sharing with the whole world can be easily uploaded through Snapchat to be sent out to viewers of choice and for a limit the period of time. It will be interesting to see how companies will use Snapchat for mass marketing of products, a truly likely scenario in the future. For example: Instagram, now owned by Facebook, has recently started allowing advertisements to reach the social masses. Will Snapchat give into the advertising greed like so many other companies? CEO Evan Spiegel seems to be resisting such a future, but it will be interesting to see if he can truly keep Snapchat away from the hands of public profit hungry companies.

Both Audience & the Media

With the introduction of the internet and the advancement in broadband communications, technology has led to a global interconnected community of millions and millions of people. With the ability to interact with each other over the internet, let it be forums, text blogs, video blogs, personal webpages, social media sites, and instant group messaging, technology has allowed the audience to create media.


For example, one of my good friends recently purchased a Sony PlayStation 4, a gaming console that just recently released and has been making headlines all over the globe due to its immense popularity and fan base. Not only was the console being praised and talked about on numerous tech sites, it was also being reviewed and marketed by the everyday Joe. My friend was constantly bragging about the 8 core CPU, 5GB of GDDR5 RAM, 1080p native output, and loads of other features that didn’t make any sense to me, but I knew from his expression and excitement that these features were something to truly take into consideration when looking to purchase a videogame console. In the end, what I noticed from the release of the PS4 and Xbox One was that I never paid any attention to the media or the companies selling these products because I’m not the biggest fan of videogames. Due to my close friend’s excitement and hit personal review of the PS4 unit, I ended up acquiring so much knowledge about the console than I would otherwise have never paid attention to. The fact that I don’t have any friends who are Xbox fans meant that hadn’t the slightest clue what features the Xbox had to offer; all I had to compare Xbox to PS4 was my friend’s opinion (“The PS4 is way better and totally destroys the competition”).

This is just a simple example of when the audience themselves are the media. This is something that westerners who have access to social networks will experience every time we go on our Facebook or our Twitter. We live in an age where technology allows us to be both the media and the audience at the same time.


My blog itself is a form of audience making media, I am not a professional journalist or blogger. I am simply a regular human being who is part of the same audience that is reading my blog.

The Oculus Rift

Ever wanted to immerse yourself in a room with naked hookers, million dollar cars, a few random Pokémon, and Batman, all the while wearing an Iron Man suit in your mom’s basement? Well, that idea might not be so far from reality. The use of realistic graphics in game design and the creation of physical feedback technology such as those used in driving simulators are all forms of very immersive technology that are becoming more and more accessible to those in western countries.  The biggest name in virtual reality gaming is Oculus VR, a company that is currently making a product called the Oculus Rift.

The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality head mounted display that promises to bring video game immersion to a whole new level. People will be able to immerse themselves into a virtual world created by game developers, within this world they will be able to interact in a 4D realm with extensive detail to surround sound and high definition graphics. Video game immersion will be taken to a level where the game becomes your reality, which is the overall goal of the creators behind Oculus Rift. Just imagine putting on these virtual reality goggles and then walking around in a virtual world like the one in Call of Duty Modern Warfare. A top selling violent first person shooter that has broken game sale records throughout the world, players will be able to truly act as military personal and shoot human like characters. This state of the art technology will be in mass production within a couple of years, the question now is how this will affect the behavioral activities of people who play video games? Will virtual reality open the door to a bigger cultivation effect than television and current gaming technology?

atlas-VR-main2       virtuix-omni-2

I truly believe it will, the cultivation effect will be everlasting. Players who frequently use the Oculus Rift for violent gaming will become cultivated by the game, behavioral patterns will change due to the amount of immersion the system will have on the player. If television alone is enough to cultivate people, the use of virtual reality that requires physical interactions will truly make it easier for the cultivation affect to take place.

Assignment 2 idea!? I think so.

The Magic Bullet

The Hypodermic Needle model, or better known as the “magic bullet” is a mass media theory that implies are humans passive and will accept whatever the media shoots at them, hence the name “magic bullet.” In order for the Hypodermic Needle model to be  correct it must mean that mass media has a direct and immediate effect on its audience which would in turn create a powerful influence on human behaviour; a very dangerous  form of media propaganda.  Two questions began to boggle my mind at this point, did this form of mass media control truly exist? Does it exist today?


On October 30, 1938 the magic bullet theory was truly put into play when radio audiences throughout America  heard a news bulletin for the first time stating that Martians are invading a town in New Jersey. This form of media broadcast truly injected itself into the minds of millions of Americans and lead to a massive panic , one could only imagine the outbreak this broadcast had caused. National state of chaos caused by one single “news bulletin,” truly changing the way humans perceived media forever.  The thought of living in New Jersey on the eve of Halloween in 1938 must have been a memory many will never forget, but why was this so successful, why were people so gullible? This broadcast alone started research into the phenomena. During the time scientists concluded that media truly could manipulate the gullible public allowing media authors to shape the perception of audiences., now I know why my parents always told me “never believe everything you see on television.”

Fast forward to today’s society, would the magic bullet theory still be so successful?  In my opinion, not so much. I feel the reason the hypodermic model was truly successful in the past was due to the fact that humans had very few channels of media to verify with, television and radio was all there was; Two forms of non interactive media channels that only went in one direction. In today’s society humans have the ability to verify all news they hear through various news groups and many different channels of media. In addition I feel that society today has a lot more knowledge about what is truly out there and are better educated as a whole, the existence of aliens are not as believable as they once were.

North Korean Army

This isn’t to say that the magic bullet theory is truly defunct in today’s world. I still believe that mass media broadcasting is still taking place throughout the world but within societies that are tightly controlled and have restricted channels of media verification. North Korea for example, a dictatorship government that only allows its citizens to hear what the government wants them to hear and believe only what the government wants them to believe, a truly scary thought to say the least.