The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Facebook/Cops Edition

Teens and young adults are not the only people being held responsible for inappropriate postings on social networking sites. One article published in The New York Times titled, Police Lesson: Social Network Tools Have Two Edges, describes just that, the good and bad characteristics of social networking sites. On Facebook, a police officer had his occupation listed as “human waste disposal”. He was recently involved in a fatal on-duty shooting so his previous listed occupation was seen and immediately outraged people. He has since apologized and called his action “extremely inappropriate”.

There have been other incidents where police officers have gotten in trouble for posting images or comments that have no business being on Facebook. Because of these problems some departments have told officers they must have permission before posting pictures or stating comments that relate to their job as law enforcement. This annoys some because they say they cannot even post achievements and awards without first getting permission.

Some people may not be happy with these rules, but then again they are most likely not the people getting in trouble for inappropriate posts. According to the article, First Sgt. David Bursten gives officers the advice “Don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t be proud to have your mother see or hear.” This is very good advice because comments could be taken out of context or start controversy the person may not even have intended. Chief Ray Schultz of the Albuquerque police stated social media sites are “like the bathroom wall of 20 years ago, except now the entire world can see it.” Not many things on the Internet are private which has obviously caused some problems for the police department.

I am sure this has started a love-hate relationship between the police and Facebook. Aside from these problems the police have had with their own employees, Facebook and other social networking sites have been helpful tools for them and the public. They use these sites to communicate with the public and find background information on criminals and suspects. These sites are not going anywhere anytime soon so people no matter what age or occupation should carefully select the things they post for the world to see.

 

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Advances in Technology, for Better or Worse

In the year 2035 I see myself scanning my fingertips for a print in front of my house in order to unlock the door. I think cell phones will be able to project images creating holograms right in the palm of your hand. 3-D movies will be a thing of the past because now home entertainment systems will allow you to not only watch TV but also feel the elements that are on screen, like a cool breeze or the smell of a hot plate of food. Maybe our eyes will even be scanned constantly for various reasons like in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.

Technology has the chance to make the world a very efficient and practical place; however there could be problems with all this technology. Surgery could become so progressed that someone could get a face change to look like another person. Since by the year 2035 information will most likely all be kept on computers, one good hacker could find someone’s information and completely steal their identity, looks, information, and all. I also fear a world where people communicate to someone sitting next to them through a screen, or that the world will be completely obese and lazy like in Disney’s Wall-e.

One major thing I think the advances in technology could affect in the world of mass communications is advertising. According to an interview called, Advertising and the End of the World, with Professor Sut Jhally, many years ago NBC news covered a story that people wanted to put advertisements in the sky that appeared half the size of the moon from earth. This has not happened yet, but in the year 2035 I bet while flying across the country instead of looking out the window at the beautiful landscape laid out below, people’s attention will be drawn to ads in the sky. Ads will probably fill up what once was that beautiful landscape as well.

Radio will all be satellite radio, if there is still any radio at all. Many people enjoy satellite radio because of the lack of censorship. It also provides a variety of stations. While in a car a person can access any genre of music on multiple channels, like comedy performances, religious pieces, sports or political talk, and many others. Regular radio offers some of these types of channels, but of the ones that do offer it, it is a much more limited number of choices within a genre.

Because the Internet allows information to travel so fast I believe news companies like The New York Times or The Washington Post will have offices functioning 24/7. Journalists are already working at all hours of the day in today’s world but I think the information will be given out at all hours of the day as well. All news will definitely be online by this time so instead of having a daily newspaper published at one time (even online); I believe stories will constantly be published online. People will take the news as it comes instead of doing habits like reading one paper each morning.

We live in a world where changes are constantly being made to better our society. As time goes on, each person will have to decide for them self whether all these changes and advances in technology are to put it simply, good or bad. The person who can change their face and take someone else’s identity to take their money will most likely enjoy these technological advances, but I’m sure the person who’s identity was stolen will not feel the same way.

Hakuna Matata, Disney Shows Us the Circle of Life

The most obvious theme that is in any type of children’s entertainment is the idea of right vs. wrong or good vs. evil. In the end of a children’s story the person doing the “right” thing will be praised or rewarded and the person doing the “wrong” thing will be punished. This could be because society wants to teach children that they should do the “right” thing in any type of situation.

Some people fear that Disney has taken this idea of instilling thoughts in children’s mind too far; that they put ideas in children’s heads of how a woman should look and use her sexuality to get what she wants; or that Disney portrays men as very masculine and that they must save the woman. As we grow up and start to see how the real world works, I believe it is more up to the family and friends we are around to influence our behavior rather than the Disney Classic movies. These works will stay as entertainment and not become what we base our lives off of as we mature and start to see things for ourselves.

Toy Story is a great classic Disney movie. It also shows the wide variety of ages this movie attracts. It came out when I was very young and I have watched it several times over the years since it came out, and I still enjoy it just as much each time. Then in 2010, Toy Story 3 came out. Many teenagers and young adults, myself included, who have loved the story of Toy Story got another chance to relive the joy the movie brought us as kids. I think people in my age group really appreciated this movie even more so than the young kids even if they are the same ages we were when the first one came out. Even though many sequels end up ruining films I believe this one grabbed an audience (young adults) that it may not have had it not been for the first Toy Story.

Part of the great thing about Disney films is the songs you sang along to as a kid without thinking about what the lyrics actually meant. They now have a different meaning than you might have expected when you were younger. They are filled with sexual innuendo and jokes only people of a certain age will get. This makes it enjoyable for adults to have a laugh at the things their children do not get but also as we grow up and re-watch these movies we find new things to laugh at and new ways to enjoy a film we’ve seen dozens of times.

The majority of children’s movies have a happy ending. This is part of the reason parents have their kids watch these movies. Until a certain age many parents try to shelter their kids. It is okay for a while for us to always be waiting for the happy ending in a movie. As we get older we begin to understand not every story whether fiction or real can have a happy ending. I think the movies that reveal new things to us as we mature solidify the idea that as we grow things are not always as they appear on first glance. By attracting ideas to children and adults, I think Disney culture shows us some sort of “circle of life” (and not just in the way The Lion King shows). Disney is not only for kids because there are some adults who still long for things like a “fairytale” wedding, prince charming, or simply just a happy ending.

Media is Taking Over!

One of the best parts about attending class for me, aside from learning of course, is the walk back to my dorm. I like this so much because I get to listen to my iPod. I am not trying to quote Kid Cudi, but the music provides a soundtrack to my life. It makes the walk more entertaining to have music going along with the actions of the people I pass, since I can’t actually hear their conversations. It also allows me to be part of my own world by focusing on my toughts and avoid the chaos going on around campus, especially with the recent construction projects going on at Towson.

Since the night before I had a lot of homework that I left for the last minute, I missed one of my favorite shows, Modern Family. Since I’ve got a short break in between my classes why not snuggle up on my bed with my laptop and check out the latest episode on Hulu. Since I do not feel like watching the advertisement that comes on before the episode starts, I pull up Facebook in a new tab and wait the minute ad out by checking out what’s new on my newsfeed. In just a few short seconds there is already so much going on on my small 12 inch screen.

Today I stumble across a video done by some students from the University of Michigan called the “Pursuit of Jappiness.” Yes that’s correct, “jappiness.” The video is a remake of the Kid Cudi song “Pursuit of Happiness” adding a twist to the song with lyrics that stereotype the Jewish students of Michigan, meaning to be funny and not offensive. I watched the video and later that day while at dinner, a friend mentioned she had just seen that video. The next day I noticed she has posted it on the “wall” of two of her friends on Facebook. Over the next day or so the video popped up on several of my friends Facebooks. It’s amazing how fast the video traveled on the website.

Along with several other Youtube videos, Facebook is also flooded with ads. Websites like Hulu have a fair share of advertisements as well. As annoying as they are the companies need to get paid somehow. You don’t only see the mass amounts of ads online. Any regular cable television show has several minutes of ads per episode. Magazines and newspapers also contribute to the competing market of advertising. The Superbowl is a great example of how important the advertising part of media has become to us.

I monitored the media I was exposed to in two days, and it just seemed ridiculous not only how much was involved in my life, but how much it dictated what I did. The days of activities with limited media are long gone. Media has become the oxygen that keeps our world running. A lot of it shows progress in the world’s communication skills, but there are those annoying ads that start playing without warning when we go to a website on the internet. That type of media, I’m sure a lot of us could of without.

How Can Anyone Live Without a Computer?!

Do you think you could survive two days without running into any media? I am going to guess you can’t. In fact, I am going to guess most people wouldn’t even try to take the media out of their lives that they can avoid. I tried my best to go two days without media, butI definitely cheated. I was not willing to give up my phone. I tried to only use it for what I considered “necessary” things like talking to my parents or talking to my friends at school in order to make dinner and gym plans. Ironically, during these two days I dropped my phone in the grass about 100 yards from my dorm. It didn’t take to long for me to realize it was missing, the challenge was figuring where it had gone.

I forced my friends to come along with me and retrace my steps to look for it. Sure enough it was in the grass we had come through in order to get to my dorm, right next to an electronic sign that was flashing some of Towson’s important dates. After feeling relieved about finding my phone, I then realized there was media right in front of me that I really cannot avoid.

For me the hardest part of trying to avoid the media I could was Facebook. I am sure like many college students including myself, some people automatically type in facebook.com as soon as they get onto a computer. Or while doing homework on the computer it only takes about 5 minutes of boring school work before I find myself checking out new pictures my friends put up or seeing if anyone has commented on my status about how I hate microeconomics work.

The realization and admission of an addiction is not easy for anyone, even if talking about a simple website or phone. However, I am beginning to see just how addicted I am. I know I am not alone, so curiosity drove me to the New York Times. According to Katie Hafner’s article, To Deal With Obsession, Some Defriend Facebook, some high school students have started support groups to help each other stay clear of this addiction. They are also doing things like deactivating accounts and having their friends control passwords in order to break the Facebook habit.

Although, Facebook still has so much to offer. It gives people the ability to share an opinion they have with all their friends or “friends”. Internet videos including those on YouTube can become more popular if someone posts it to their profile whether it’s a new song, clip from a show or movie, or news related. And of course it gives everyone the ability to communicate with their friends. These are only a few of the perks of Facebook, but as a freshman in college communicating with my friends is very important. This website allows to me interact with my friends from high school every day, making the college transition somewhat easier. This raised another question to me, which was what the heck did my parents do while they were in college?

No internet, no Facebook, no YouTube, so what is there to do? Don’t worry there is actually a lot. Without being wrapped up in all these gadgets all the time, any person will have more time communicating face to face with other people. Staying in your dorm room attached to the computer is no way to experience college. Somehow our parents survived without these things, and I survived my two days trying to avoid media. So we have to ask ourselves if we really need all this to get through our daily lives. Anyone my age will think it is hard to live without these things since they have grown and matured with us. As the future promises more impressive gadgets, there is no way we will be able to communicate with the world while avoiding these. However, I am sure every college kid could cut back on the Facebook hours.