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Posts Tagged ‘Online Audiences’


Hate, it is a cruel thing in our world that unfortunately is here to stay for awhile; unless we do something drastic to change it. McMasters in his article, Must a Civil Society Be a Censored Society?, says that “most Americans want to do something about the hate” (McMasters, 1999, p.2). However, wanting to do something and actually doing something is very different.

Bullies exist in our society at every age. There will always be someone who hits a nerve with us and just annoys and bothers us. The extent to which they bully us varies however when it comes down to it they affect us all the same because they hurt a part of us. When we have someone annoying us a common thing for others to say is to just ignore them, however it is much easier said than done.

The Internet, with the World Wide Web, has been bombarded with hate since its beginning. Activists have tried to eliminate these bullies by “using the Internet to give the lie to hate speech, to monitor hate groups, and to highlight the problems of hate” (McMasters, 1999, p.1). This hate that I am speaking about is speech that “offers, threatens, or insults groups based on race, [colour], religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, [etc.]” (McMasters, 1999, p.1). Activists have also started drafting proposals to eliminate this hate speech. Their proposals basically come down to saying that “words can and do harm the targets of hate in painfully real ways; hate speech silences the member of victim groups and denies them their rightful standing in society” (McMasters, 1999, p.1).

The goal of these activist groups is to “silence individual members of victim groups if the speech against others falls within the definition of hate speech or if individuals within the group are only allowed to represent that group in their speech” (McMasters, 1999, p.2). However to silence these individuals and groups is very hard. Codifying a law is a very difficult process. It must go through a series of steps and many important people. Even if the concept is beneficial it must be determined that it is beneficial for the greatest amount of people and for those it is not helping it is not completely minimizing their rights.

The end hope is that by censoring some things these ‘haters’ will realize the impact they are having on people and will start changing these negative claims to positive ones or if they can’t do that than just don’t say them at all. American likes to feel that it “has room for everyone” and that it is a place of “tolerance, equality, and justice” (McMasters, 1999, p.1) so hopefully by censoring these speeches it will start becoming the kind of place it claims to be.

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The Grammy’s is a music award show that has just completed its 52nd broadcasting. This year the hosting location was in Los Angeles, California on January 31, 2010. With a show being able to, annually, air for 52 years provides an evident picture that the fans, of these music groups and soloists, want this to continue. There was something different about this year’s show though. This year the Recording Academy has selected AEG Digital Media to offer fans worldwide an “unprecedented opportunity to experience and participate in exclusive, 24-hour live coverage of All Things GRAMMY from Jan.29-31 at GRAMMY.com” (2010, p. 1). This provided “millions of fan in over 150 countries behind-the-scenes access to event” (2010, p. 1). Not every has the opportunity to see such a great show live, but now anyone can not only see the performances on a television, but one can watch every detail leading up to it.

Allowing millions upon millions of individuals the opportunity to watch the minor and major details of the making of such an event provides an amazing opportunity for those interested in such things. This uploading further proves how everything is starting to be seen on the internet. If an individual missed something, then by using the right methods, there is a great chance that if one knows where to look, he or she will be able to find exactly what they are looking for.

This may seem like a good thing; however I don’t believe that this is just as great as we think. It is important to keep in mind that even though they are providing us with an ‘uncut’ view of the backstage activities, we cannot necessarily know what their definition of ‘uncut’ is and therefore how live was all of these clips. The organization is still going to want to be seen a certain way, therefore if anything filmed is going to jeopardize that it will be edited or deleted. Therefore the program is shaping how they want their viewers to see things and view them.

Without realizing this, anyone could be sucked into believing that if a certain person does this or says that, then he or she should also be able to because they will get the same outcome. The point of this then is that it is important to remember that even though a company may say that they are revealing all their information, most likely this is not the case. They are shaping things to how they would like to be seen, therefore having an impact on how we view and understand things. They have great access to our minds and power to shape them to however they please. That is if we don’t step up and understand the impact they can have on us. Luckily, we, the masses, have the ability to resist and twist meanings. We are not as easily influenced as they would like to believe.

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Unfortunately our lives aren’t free from struggle. Everyone is in constant struggle forcing them to need an escape. For many people, the escape they need exists through venting over the internet. Since the internet is an open area, an area where no one necessarily knows who they are, they feel that they cannot be judged. The internet is therefore the one area where he or she cannot be judged. Facebook is one area in which people can vent how they are feeling. On Facebook however an individual does not usually lie about their identity. Of course this is not the case in all situations. The individuals can either vent through their status or they can write on someone else’s wall directly.

An article titled Expulsion Feeds Debate on Online Rights discusses how a teen vented on Facebook and the consequences from it. Since Facebook is usually an open thing, anyone can access what the individual is venting about. If the wrong person gains access to this profile and reads it, the individual whose profile it was will have more problems than what he or she was venting about in the first place.

In Nashville, Taylor Cummings, 17, had not been getting along with his coaches. Later that day he logged onto Facebook at home and wrote certain some hateful things. One of these statements included “I’ma kill em all”. This statement caused the following consequences, suspension and then later expulsion (Bazar & Sarrio, 2010, p.1).

This escape is supposed to be something away from school and therefore allowed. These children do not expect to get into trouble with an activity that was done away from the school. The school boards are now deciding whether or not they have the right to do this, since it was off school grounds.

It is not healthy to keep feelings vent up inside. If we take away this venting source there will be a great number of people disadvantaged. I don’t think this space will ever be taken away. With the internet so vast there will always be places an individual can go to that a school board will not be able to find, especially if the individual does not reveal their identity.

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Facebook is the fastest growing social networking internet website in the world. According to the ‘Facebook Press Room’ there are more than 400 million active Facebook users and 70% of those users live outside of the United States of America. Facebook allows people all over the world to connect and share personal messages, information, pictures and videos with each other. Ted Janusz author of Marketing on Social Networks: Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook Demystified states, “with over a billion photos and over 14 million added each day, Facebook is the number one photo-sharing site on the Internet” (Janusz, 2009, 124-125). These numbers show how much Facebook is valued in today’s society and the importance it holds to it’s subscribers. In some cases Facebook has become extremely addicting to people and some people because of it’s addicting ways have lost jobs because of it. A website called ‘How to Avoid Getting Fired By Facebook’ gives it’s readers tips and tricks to use in order to avoid losing your job because of Facebook. The website states, “people are losing their jobs over this. Take the Goldman Sachs trader Charlie Barrow for instance. He became addicted and got fired for spending too much of his time prattling. He went as far as adding a warning letter from his employer on his profile.” People need to realize there is a consequence for everything you put on the internet about yourself and that others (including your employer) do have access to this information. Although it may seem harmless to write next to your Facebook profile name ‘Wow, I hate my job!’ or ‘My boss is a tyrant!’ these messages can be taken very personally and people are losing their positions everyday because of what they do, say or post on Facebook.

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Do you ever think “who are these people behind the blogs and opinions on the internet”? Since anyone and everyone can write on the internet, unless otherwise indicated, no one can ever truly know who these words are written by, what age they are, what has happened in their lives to bring them to this opinion.

The Web began as a representing a specific domain of viewers, males. This however has begun to change since women now have a major presence online (Neufeld, 1997, p.5). Sites have become more gender neutral to not single any group of individuals out. This, I believe, is a great advancement in society. Since this is online and already available to everyone, why should not it be something that everyone can be allowed to have some interest in? Not everyone may have interest in the subject but at least it is not directed towards only half of the population.

An age group that does not necessarily dominate the majority of users on the web are seniors. However, in the article, Where are Audiences Going?, we learn that “the percentage of seniors with access to computers has increased almost 50 percent in little over a year” (Neufeld, 1997, p.5). If you thought that mainly only those of this ‘Internet Age’ were the ones providing all of this online information we are not entirely correct. As time progresses even those who did not have access to such electronic devices, when they were growing up, are now learning the many different opportunities and possibilities it allows.

I think that this development is good. If only one age group is expressing their views than the masses are not gaining a correct view of things. Many things change from generation to generation and it takes the contrasting and complimenting views of all to create a well balanced idea of a topic.

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The use of social-networking through internet sites has proven to be extremely beneficial to a vast majority of individuals on the planet. Social networking Internet sites allow individuals to connect and instantly chat with others who may reside on different ends of the world. Recent studies conducted at Cornell University show that 87% of young American’s use the internet on a regular basis and over half of this number go online daily. Social networking is indeed very popular among teenagers in this day and age but it also does come with its downfalls. Many teens are harassed and verbally attacked through the use of sites such as Facebook or MySpace.

Because of the lack of non-verbal cues involved in communication on the Internet researchers believe that people feel more inclined to act in a way that would be unlike how they would if the conversation were to be face to face.  Geoff Duncan author of the article titled “Nearly One Third of Online Teens Harassed” discuss how teens become victims to online harassment. He states, “A new report from the Pew Internet American Life Project finds that nearly one-third (32 percent) of U.S. online teens say they have been the target of annoying or menacing online harassment, including threatening messages, having email or messages distributed without their permission, having rumors spread about them online, or having embarrassing pictures posted online.” Many teens admit to being a victim of cyber-bullying because of the use of social networking websites. Perhaps with the elimination of social networking, or perhaps with strict requirements of a certain age group allowed to use these sites, bullying found among teenagers will be reduced.

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Dr. Strangelove explains in his book The Empire of Mind: Digital Piracy and the Anti-Capitalist Movement that capitalism “produces the desire to consume” (Strangelove, 1962, p.23). It is crucial to ask ourselves whether or not this desire to consume was determined by ourselves or was it forced upon us. Companies must manipulate its consumers in order to increase its production; therefore these companies will do and say anything that they believe the customers would like to hear. The companies ensure that this happens by “[maintaining] a blanket of silence on the issue of the management of consumer behaviour” (Strangelove, 1962, p.26). Luckily, even though we are constantly having advertisements and ideas forced onto us, causing our perceptions to be altered, there is an out that can be utilized. The Internet, as Don Tapscott explains, “[forecasts] a world where customers would have ‘the power of choice’ and ‘the power of customization’” (Strangelove, 1962, p.38). This means that we all have the opportunity to group together and let known our views and opinions to contradict, if need be, the notions that we have grown accustomed to hearing. Sometimes it feels that those who run the marketplace monopolize society, so the Internet, which is available to the whole world no matter the status of a person, allows people who believe in similar issues the opportunity to connect and work together to produce a positive outcome that they would like to see. The definition of a ‘positive’ outcome will be different for everyone. Therefore, this can be potentially just as dangerous as having one notion forced onto an entire population. We can only hope that in the end everyone will band together and agree on the right things to do. This would be to allow freedom of speech but not have this freedom be turned onto everyone as something that must be believed and followed.

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