The Terrorist in Us All

There have been lengthy discussions this week about the inherent nature of digital media being politicized, gendered, and a faulted platform on which individuals can attack one another. So, religion. (That is the best segue I could devise…)

This week Pope Francis said that journalism can be a form of terrorism if used inappropriately, specifically when used to relay gossip, rumors, and stereotypes. Spreading rumors is an example of “terrorism, of how you can kill a person with your tongue,” he said. “This is even more true for journalists because their voice can reach everyone and this is a very powerful weapon.” My first thought was fear. Fear to ever step in Old Main again. I mean, first the Campus Carry and now our undergraduates are being tactically trained to be future terrorists?!?! But I digress…

If we take what Pope Francis is suggesting as fact, this illustrates the Public Sphere in a dramatic fashion. The ability to reach a global audience at a moment’s notice is both a blessing and a curse. Terrorism or not, there are negatives that are associated with online media, and taking power away from the elites has not alleviated the political nature of media. Habermas and Pope Francis may have disagreed on one aspect, however. While Pope Francis suggests that the primary digital terrorists are journalists, Haberman may have proposed the general public may cause greater damage based on their right to express and publish their opinions. But if opinions are a directly related to terrorists, I am going to prison.

Perhaps a more accurate analysis would be digital media users and journalists alike have the potential to publish potentially hurtful content. Though this definition is rather obvious and dull, I feel that “terrorist” is an aggressive, unfitting term to describe creating content based on opinion and rumors. While it might be unfair and/or dicey at times, I agree with Haberman; it is our public right. I feel that Pope Francis may have been on the right track this week, but he may have missed the overarching issue at hand. Journalists are no more terrorists than you or I, or any digital media content creator for that matter. What do you think?

This has been Michael Coker, and I am proud to be a terrorist? There must be a better way to say that…

Check out the article about Pope Francis here.

So…I Am Pretty Much Famous Now

I honestly dreaded this assignment because my social media presence is…well…less than impressive. I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+, you name it, but I simply cannot be bothered to post and update these platforms on a regular basis. For example, I have had my Twitter account since January 2010 and there are about 4 posts. INCREDIBLE, right?! With this in mind, I was concerned that whomever I contacted would pay little me any attention due to my measly online persona. But I was wrong!!

I Tweeted at my top choice, Cole Ledford, and got a response within 4 minutes. So, I am kind of a big deal now guys. For those of you who do not know, Cole is a human rights and LGBT+ activist, and general crusader for all things good. What is especially interesting about Cole is that he is changing the world through social media. He became a viral sensation overnight after being the victim of a violent hate crime for kissing his boyfriend goodnight in public. He has since built his brand, using it to promote social justice, equality and acceptance- an inspiration to many, including myself.

I Tweeted Cole seeking advice for creating and maintaining a digital persona for activism, all while staying true to your personal identity. This was not easy to do within 130 characters…another flaw I have not addressed in my own social media usage. His response was short, probably less than 130 characters if I had to guess, but was powerful. He suggested that people will respond well to honest, genuine people, so always be true to yourself and work for what you believe. You can see the Tweets, including my response below. Needless to say, I am pretty impressed with the power to connect with idols or haters, whatever your choice, on Twitter and may be using it again in the future.

I Attended and Reported…

So friends, I am afraid this may turn into a daily blog due to my negligence this semester. Yay!! As you know, one of our projects this semester is to attend and report on an event, and I have attended many an event this semester. Perhaps the most exciting and fruitful event for myself this semester has been the Eighth International Research Conference, hosted by Texas State. I suspect that this is the obvious answer, but my desire to obtain my PhD and continue researching was definitely solidified in response to this conference. I can finally say, with confidence that I am on the right track as far as my education and career goals are concerned. For your viewing pleasure, there are pictures of the grad students that participated and one of my group below.

The Eighth Annual International Research Conference at Texas State offered some valuable insight to academia and research- both of which I am interested in pursuing as I further my education and seek my PhD. First off, the conference commenced with a distinguished research panel, which I found to be very informative. Our fellow-graduate colleague, Andrea Alvarez, did an amazing job prompting the esteemed Texas State faculty members with some thought-provoking questions, such as “how do you secure a grant and how does your research differ when grant funding is used?” and “how do you appropriately manage your time between work, teaching and research?” Unfortunately, my anxiety regarding time management was not resolved…it seems time only becomes more scarce after a PhD is secured. Perhaps the anecdote “with great power comes great responsibility” applies here??

The next day was the big event- presenting our own research. We spent the week prior and a few hours the night before working on our presentation and studying our results for potential questions during the following Q&A panel. Annabel and I presented the research questions and findings in a well-versed manner and it went better than we ever anticipated! It was very interesting to listen to the other presenters, Dylan and Brandon, present afterwards. The Q&A was very conversational and somewhat low-key, which took a lot of the pressure off and prompted very engaging discussion. Overall, I was very happy with the success of my first presentation and was excited to see additional panels. I left each of the sessions with a more diverse understanding of academic research and various presentation styles, each of which will promote growth within my own research endeavors and presentation habits.

I attended a few more presentations and the following luncheon, with keynote speaker, Dr. Aacken, who opened my eyes to the struggles of a veteran transitioning to academia, calling for compassion and promotion of local veteran assistance programs. I was also able to meet Texas Tech graduates and professors, all of whom were forthcoming in regards to campus life and their PhD program. I would call this conference a success and am looking to presenting at many more in the future.

Some Online Journalism Things

I suppose I should post something to get us all in the mindset of online journalism for lecture tonight. I considered posting judgy, aggressive comments about a millennial’s irresponsible use of social media as a substitution to traditional media, but alas, I am guilty of this as well. So I will save the “How dare you?!” “You call yourself an adult?!” and “Do you talk to your mother with that mouth?!” for a more fitting scenario.

As for tonight, I thought it would be fun to have some discussion about the Social Responsibility Theory in relation to online journalism, their audience, and democracy. Nothing like talking politics after election day, am I right?! I am confident that we can come together as a unified class to discuss this topic, so let’s be mature and keep the name-calling to a minimum- okay, Eun Jeong?

Here are some things to think about for tonight:

1) Are online journalists acting responsibly?

2) What are the standards of print media compared to online                           media?

3) Is online journalism self-regulated?

Now go prepare some thought-provoking conversation topics!

Battle of the Sexes…and Races…and Sexual Orientations…

Battle of all the things…

Here’s the thing about minority representations in corporate positions, tech or otherwise: the conversation should perhaps be less concerned with male vs. female power dynamics, or even the white vs. “insert racial minority here” struggle, and more focused on what the prescribed characteristics of a successful leader are and how to break the mold, or otherwise conform. While I greatly respect the widespread conversations regarding the lack of female representation in business, the topic needs broader connotations.

Consider this: gay males with feminine characteristic are even less represented as a micro-culture within corporate settings than are females or any racial minority. Research suggests that feminine characteristics greatly reduce the authoritative power a gay male may have if he talked more “manly”, behaved more hetero, and used vastly different, more masculine kinesic cues. The conversation should evolve from “what can I do to improve my self-worth and how to personally climb the corporate ladder,” rather how to change the perception of naysayers. Sheryl Sandberg was on the right track regarding altering the mindset of females, but the conversation needs to be expanded across all of society, regardless of race and/or gender. Let change our views of self-worth and increase individual self-esteem. Let’s break the mold of “who” a leader should be or “how” they should behave, and what leadership qualities are important and why equal representation (gender, race, sexual orientation) is integral to the evolution of corporate success.

So, how many conversations have you contributed to regarding this dilemma?

Check out this article, None So Queer, by Sara Muhr and Katie Sullivan, which details transgender managers and the role of gender identity and presumed gender on leadership roles. none-so-queer

The Browser Dilemma

iebadNot going to lie…I cringe each time I see someone open the Internet Explorer or Edge browser. Perhaps this is due to me being a loyal Mac user for years, or maybe disappointing interface IE offered for so many years compared to the competition. Whatever the reason may be, the fact is that even Microsoft is aware of their shoddy craftsmanship and was willing to admit their downfalls within this 2012 advertisement. I was most definitely the guy depicted in this advertisement, posting on forums how much IE is a disgrace to the world wide web. However, in all honesty, I respected their browser more than ever after watching this…though I still do not call myself a user, or supporter for that matter, of their product.

Throughout the readings this week, I wondered what provokes us as internet users to choose a browser, and how loyal are we to our preferred choice? When you sit down at another computer, are you comfortable navigating through the available browser? I never really considered the various selections of browsers available within the internet marketplace to be conducive of “browser wars.” But now that I have witnessed the amount of work and dedication it takes to earn and maintain a loyal user, I may think twice about which I intend to support in the future. Above all, the browser wars have evolved this user into an educated selector of browsers- a task that I no longer take lightly. The pressure is on! As everything, browsers are politicized and our support directly influences their successes. So which do you support? Does a free, non-corporate browser built by volunteers win your support over another? Would you be willing to pay for a browser of your choice?

I must say, I am amazed that we have not already begun paying for the services browsers offer us. Knock-on-wood… As for now, I am quite satisfied with Chrome and have no complaints, but Firefox is more appealing to me than ever. I have never felt so conflicted when opening my MacBook and clicking on the browser icon!! Thanks, Digital Media Issues. My awareness of these goings-on have made me a more unsure member of the digital age than ever before.

Photo courtesy of: http://clarke.red/blog/internet-explorer-8-good-riddance-to-bad-rubbish

The Terrorist in Us All… and Public Sphere

pope-francisThere has been lengthy discussion this week about the inherent nature of digital media being politicized, gendered, and a faulted platform on which individuals can attack one another. So, religion. (That is the best segue I could devise…)

This week, Pope Francis said that journalism can be a form of terrorism if used inappropriately, specifically when used to relay gossip, rumors, and stereotypes. Spreading rumors is an example of “terrorism, of how you can kill a person with your tongue,” he said. “This is even more true for journalists because their voice can reach everyone and this is a very powerful weapon.” My first thought was fear. Fear to ever step in Old Main again. I mean, first the Campus Carry and now our undergraduates are being tactically trained to be future terrorists?!?! But I digress…

If we take what Pope Francis is suggesting as fact, this illustrates the Public Sphere in a dramatic fashion. The ability to reach a global audience at a moment’s notice is both a blessing and a curse. Terrorism or not, there are negatives that are associated with online media, and taking power away from the elites has not alleviated the political nature of media. Habermas and Pope Francis may have disagreed on one aspect, however. While Pope Francis suggests that the primary digital terrorists are journalists, Haberman may have proposed the general public may cause greater damage based on their right to express and publish their opinions. But if opinions are a directly related to terrorists, I am going to prison.

Perhaps a more accurate analysis would be digital media users and journalists alike have the potential to publish potentially hurtful content. Though this definition is rather obvious and dull, I feel that “terrorist” is an aggressive, unfitting term to describe creating content based on opinion and rumors. While it might be unfair and/or dicey at times, I agree with Haberman; it is our public right. I feel that Pope Francis may have been on the right track this week, but he may have missed the overarching issue at hand. Journalists are no more terrorists than you or I, or any digital media content creator for that matter. What do you think?

This has been Michael Coker, and I am proud to be a terrorist? There must be a better way to say that…

Check out the article about Pope Francis here.

Gettin’ the Jobs Done

Some individuals close to Steve Jobs maintain the notion that he had a four-year business plan for the future of Apple. Which, for those of us obsessed with all things Apple, would have been absolutely amazing. However, who’s to say if this is factual or false, perhaps just a fantasy of his most avid supporters.

Here’s the thing with four-year plans in technology…do they ever work the way the maker intends? Technology is ever-evolving and it seems nearly impossible for one to predict the future of a concept, device or company, Steve Jobs or otherwise. A primary reason for this is likely the progress of other companies within the four-year time span. Once companies initiate market changes, others such as Apple have to assess and adapt to these changes to ensure the companies success.

So perhaps Jobs had a plan and perhaps the plan was successful, though how likely is this for other companies and other technology moguls? Maybe those successful CEOs from this week’s readings are capable of planning and not others? I just don’t know!

Grad life as told by a cat…

img_5133Keeping with the theme, I am also contributing a photo of my pet to describe my grad experience. I do, however, feel that the dogs have been slightly overrepresented in the blog, so I am exploiting my cat to represent for all the felines out there struggling with grad studies. I speak for us all…we feel your pain!

This is my cat, Percy. He’s my therapy cat when times get tough and sometimes, my closest confidant. But I am also pretty certain he is my biggest hater, but that’s another story.

Overall, grad school can be described in three words: read, read, read. Then tell someone about what you read. Then write about your reading. Then read something else. Therefore, I have trained Percy to read some of my work. Don’t worry, mostly just the basic stuff. No unwanted pet labor here- please don’t report me. Kthanks.

Another important aspect of grad school is time management and work-life balance. It isn’t always easy to keep up, scheduling is complicated and prioritizing seems to be impossible when EVERYTHING is important. Sometimes you just need a margarita or glass of wine to celebrate or cope. But nothing is unmanageable. Just put your glasses on and keep reading.

Disclaimer: No pet was forced to work or allowed to consume alcohol while shooting for this post. Please don’t call the animal cops.

No News is Good News??

Last week we read a Pew Research Publication that suggested 87% of Americans use internet on a regular basis. This figure has remained stagnant for years now and is progressing at a snail’s pace. A separate Pew study published this month says that 72% of Americans get their news from cell phones, though only about 6% actually read the content. Is that not insane!?!? I do believe that my jaw may have actually dropped when I read the staggeringly low statistics. So, exactly why do we use internet if not for learning of new, relevant information? Other articles suggest most news is gathered through Facebook and other social sites, such as Reddit and Buzzfeed, yet is this news really trustworthy?

Perhaps seeking news through non-traditional delivery systems is better than not seeking news at all? Is this the same as no news is good news?…I may have mixed up my anecdotes, but even so, I get the feeling that no news may be a better alternative than shoddy news. Perhaps it’s better for people to be ill-informed than misinformed. Just a thought…

Lastly, I leave you with this consideration: what news have you read today? Online? Cellphone? Other? As for me, I am off to increase the push-notifications for my news apps. Here’s to informed individuals!

Check out that Pew article regarding news on Cell Phones here!