We Are The Disease

Spreading the Viral Phenomenon

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Technology in Writing: A Prezi

As Introduction to Writing Arts comes to a close, I took one last look at writing in technology. The way writers use technology is evolving, and becoming different than ever before. The Prezi I put together takes the viewer on a journey of writing through technology, benefits, downsides, and means of sharing. I used my resources and readings to share how technology in writing has changed and how it impacts literacy and space. A huge aspect and benefit of technology is how it promotes creativity, and allows the user to look outside the box and create without restraints. Please use the link below and set Prezi’s auto time to 20 seconds and enjoy!

Technology in Writing

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Rule #13: Do not use Tinder to fall in love

Recently, classmate Becca Campina from my Introduction to Writing Arts class tweeted about this seasons The Bachelor. The tweet contained an article, discussing how the show portrays this years bachelor, Juan Pablo, to be a romantic, caring guy. This was until a camera man caught him saying “I loved having sex with you” to one of the top 2 finalists. Soon after, the Bachelor fans broke out into a craze, calling Juan Pablo a pervert, and conclusions were made about him only being in it for the sex.

TweetThis tweet got me thinking about how women in our society are constantly being degraded and just being looked at for sex, especially those in their twenties. Nothing speaks to this thought more than an app I keep hearing about: Tinder.  Tinder is advertised a dating website, it is apparent to most that the majority of people on the apps are there for hook ups.

The conversations back and forth through these apps can be very demeaning. A friend has Tinder on their phone, and allowed me to share some of the messages she has received on the app. One unidentified user stated “Hey. Want to sit on my face? ;)” Another said “I could tear up that ass”. The comments to the female user was unwarranted, as her photos only contain pictures of her face, not her whole body, and are in no was seductive. When asking her why she has the app, she replied that it was a confidence booster.

I came across an article written in the Huffington Post, called The Unwritten Rules of Tinder by Todd Luling. The article outlines 26 rules created by the Huffington Post about Tinder. Although meant to be funny, reading the article showed me how truly we are even highlighting discrimination towards women.

The very first rule states “Be good looking.” showing a picture of a Disney princess, where they could have just as easily showed a picture of, say, Ryan Gosling. Rule number 6: “If you have a friend who is hotter than you are, use a photo of both of you. Keep ’em guessing and it can only help you.” The image under this rule also showed a picture of 3 beautiful women taking a photograph together. Number 13 states, “Don’t use Tinder to fall in love. It is strictly for hookups.” This image is also of a woman, looking distraught with her mouth tensed and hands covering her eyes. Number 22 shows a picture of Snookie, famous reality TV show actor from the Jersey Shore, stating “It’s all about LOCATION so make sure you’re not in an area notorious for bad hookups.”

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If this is how an online publication like the Huffington Post views women on Tinder, how do they expect the participants of this app to act? Looking strictly at the first rule that simply states “Be good looking” is setting a standard that relationships are only valued on good looks. It is prefacing women to be treated like pieced of meat, being asking to “sit on [someone’s] face” or being told that their “ass” will be torn up. It’s okay, because the article goes on to tell women that if they are not good looking, they can just stand next to someone who is. This way, the user will still “like” them on the app so they are a match. The article then proceeds to tell users to only use it to find hookups, and show a woman looking upset, implying that we should remind our female audience to not get too emotionally attached, as woman can get, implied by the article. Lastly, they take a personal dig at Snooki, cautioning male users not to use Tinder in locations where girls like Snooki might be,  because the app finds people by closest distance.

So after all, does is this app really doing anything to boost people’s confidence or self esteem? Lastly, is this truly a dating site? It may appear to be boosting one’s self esteem, and the app may call itself a dating website but the facts do not lie. Those facts are proven by the article, showing that it is very demeaning towards women. It was apparent through some of the rules in The Unwritten Rules of Tinder by more than their wording, but the images they showed with the wording. In the end one thing rang true, with the amount of people on Tinder demeaning women, I would follow rule 13: not to use Tinder to fall in love.

A Letter From Fred

In today’s society the music that floods our radio stations are often top 40 pop songs. Past popular songs such as Thrift Shop, Timber or We Can’t Stop grow go viral in minutes, but think about their meaning. Most of out popular songs today talk mostly talk about parties, sex or alcohol. A new song that came to my attention was featured in a short documentary that has just gone viral called A Letter From Fred. This 9 minute documentary captures a glimpse of Fred Stobaugh’s journey at 96 to write a heartwarming love song for his wife.

Jacob Colgan and Green Shoe Studios had a singer, songwriter contest open to the public, which is how he came across the letter from Fred. The only mailed letter in the contest, Colgan was touched by the sweet lyrics and heartwarming story of Fred’s love for his recently deceased wife, Lorraine. Fred and Lorraine met in 1938 were married for 75 years, the best years of Fred’s life. When Colgan called Fred with the good news of making his dreams come true and told him “we’re doing this together”, the elderly heartbroken man began to cry.

The song was recorded, using Fred’s lyrics by a professional singer and instrumentalist. Touching lyrics such as “sweet Lorraine, I wish we could do the good times all over again” and “but the memories always linger on, oh sweet Lorraine, I don’t want to move on” touched the hearts of over 6 million viewers on YouTube. When hearing his song for the first time, Fred broke into tears, uttering that the song was wonderful. These are the kinds of videos that should become viral, because this true love story reminds us of what is important, and that music can touch the lives of many when there is great meaning behind it. It is that kind of passion and meaning that we are missing in popular songs today, and it is nice to see a video such as this go viral, sharing Fred’s love and story to the world.

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Disney > Pixar

Pixar

Pixar Animation Studio’s partnership with Disney has created the highest grossing children’s movies around. Pixar was founded by George Lucas, Ed Catmull and John Lasseter in 1979 to take computer graphics and create a whole new way of experiencing feature-length family films. Joined By Steve jobs in 1986, Pixar was able to fund their first minor films such as Luxo Jr., Reds Dream, Tin Toy, and Knick Knack before partnering with Disney in 1991 to make a computer-generated animated movies. Disney-Pixar’s first real hit was Toy Story, released in 1995 made 30 million dollars,nearly breaking even their budget, and just under 362 million dollars worldwide.

In the popular documentary, Inside Pixar, John Lasseter tells the audience that it takes Pixar about 4 years to create an animated movie. Between Toy Story’s release in 1995 to 2009, Pixar has released “ten feature-length motion pictures: Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredible’s, Car’s, Ratatouille, WALL-E, and UP” according to, Is Pixar Out of Ideas? by Jason Bailey. Since then, 3 of the 4 films released were sequels to the previous movies such as Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and Monsters University. Rumor has it that Pixar will also be releasing a sequel to Finding Nemo called Finding Dory. The only original movie since then was Brave, which was not as popular as past movies.

Is it that Pixar is out of ideas? Disney strayed away from their classic cartoon look of Lion King or Snow White, and started making animated films like Princess and the Frog and Tangled which were released in 2009 and 2010. These movies have a similar animated look to those of Pixar, taking away the special style of those movies. Princess and the Frog and Tangled were also released right around the decline of Pixar. With Disney Animated Studio’s cranking out such popular movies, Pixar doesn’t stand a chance.

The newest Disney Animated feature-length film, Frozen was released in November of 2013, and since its opening, the songs and characters from the movie went viral. The craze has not only surfaced with children, but also adults all around the world. The movie was just named the highest grossing animated film ever bringing in 1.072 billion dollars worldwide.  The movie features two sisters, one with magical snow powers. Between the captivating characters, extraordinary talent and catchy songs such as “Let It Go“, it was no surprised that this animated film captured the hearts of people all over the world. It is possible that the success of Disney has contributed to the decline of Pixar’s movies. With extreme hits like this, how can Pixar compete?

When Strangers Make-out

What is trending in the world of viral phenomena? Make outs! The latest viral sensation took place on YouTube, in a video about 20 stranger’s first kiss. The short film was written and directed by Tatia Pilieva in hopes to illustrate the raw emotion of a heart racing first kiss. The 20 strangers selected, consisted of a diverse group people. Gay, straight, old, young, Black, Asia and more took on the task was to kissing a total stranger for the first time.

This was not a task for many. We know that first kisses can be nerve racking or awkward. One couple even asked if they could turn the lights out for their kiss. Aside from the pre-kiss jitters p witnessed in the first few minutes if the video what happens next is magic.

Besides from the staged strangers kissing in this short film, the reality is that many people in their late teens and twenties have these kinds if experiences frequently but without the magic. One night stands or random make outs have become very common, and often have similar effects to the video. After the kiss, one girl turned to her guy and asked “what was your name again?” Although this film was tastefully done, showing the cutesy intimacy and awkward jitters, what was displayed in the film is just showed the cute facade of the dark reality of random hook-ups.

The Untouched Model Campaign

It is no secret that the media that floods our news feeds, billboards, televisions and other publications contain images “perfect” models. Nor it is a secret that all of these images have undergone the tedious effort of key-combinations and clicks of a mouse to attain that beauty. This time, to an extremely noticeable level.

Appearing on the website of the popular chain, Target, was a very poorly photo-shopped image of a girl in a bikini,  with an obvious gaping space between her legs, and mistakenly cropping our her groin area. The desire to have a “thigh gap” between women’s legs is a growing trend and feeds the negative body images young girls have, being promoted by ads like this. Target spokesman, Even Miller, publicly apologized for this incident, labeling it an accident with a plan to correct the situation.

However, I can’t help but wonder, was this “accident” an evident attempt against the campaign of perfect women? Even amateur Photoshop artists have a better eye than this.  Was this perhaps a fight against these ads that contribute in lowering girls self-esteem? Some have argued that Target is trying to promote the thigh gap, however it is possible that the Photoshop artist behind the scandal is actually taking a stand against the issue by altering an image so ridiculous that is will go viral. The scandal has raised a great deal of awareness about the trend of attaining a thigh gap, actually pushing other popular stores who have a young audience against photo-shopped women. Stores such as American Eagle’s sister store, Aerie, has spoken out against airbrushing and began the Spring 2014 Campaign of untouched models, promoting “love the real you”.

Whether a horrible accident, a fight for skeleton- like women, or a secret campaign against photo-shopping models, this issue has gone viral, raising awareness about issues of body image and self worth, and most of all, the promotion of real women.

We Can’t Live Without Our Phones

The days of carrying around a UNICEF box for coin donations while trick-or-treating are over. As Americans we tend to be a lazy, obsessed with media and strongly involved in the instant gratification provided to us by Smartphones, Tablets or laptops. The old days of coin donations have been thrown out the window, making way for a new innovative way to donate to charity that has become widely popular in our culture. Best of all, it does not cost a cent and requires no work. The only thing you have to do is NOT use your phone.

The UNICEF Tap Project national campaign has just gone viral. The website and app track motion on a mobile devise, donating one full day of clean water to a child in need  for 10 minutes a phone goes unused. It couldn’t be easier or more cost effective to help the 768 million people that do not have access to clean drinking water. Not only will resting your phone save the lives of 1,400 children that die every day from unsafe water, but it is giving technology driven Americans a reason stop and smell the roses. Leaving your phone motionless just for an 8 hour night of sleep will provide 48 children 1 day’s worth of clean drinking water.  In the Tap Project promotion video, the narrator makes this great statement: “we think we can’t live without our phones, so why don’t we use them to provide something people actually can’t live without.” So, how long can you go without touching your phone?

T.M.I

In Writing as Technology by Bolter, the author discusses various mediums of technology in writing. From papyrus to the printing press, Bolter covers evolution of writing whether by scribes onto hard slabs of wood or the change of the printing press. Other readings throughout this course had authors discuss the downfall of technology upgrades from the pencil to the computer in our society. The advance in our technology has created a new monster on the internet.

Bolter wrote something in his article that would speak to a non believer in the evolution of technology: “artificial intelligence has not provided us machines with the capacity to write stories or create fully autonomous graphic world”. (Bolton, 20). As much as all college students would love to have a machine to do their homework, technologically speaking we are just not there yet. I have even tried to find an app that can read text on my Ipad instead of reading to myself. This is an advance our society would not be ready for. Change in technology often has to be integrated slowly. In the article Atwood in Twittersphere by Margaret Atwood, an elderly woman explores the new site for her own investigation broadening her horizons to things and popular computer slang like LMAO. However, she discussed something very important and even admitted to being guilty of it herself: over sharing on the internet.

Over sharing is a topic also discussed by Bolton, stating that “This openness led to things like erotic Web sites” (20), forcing United State officials to block those sites in protection of young children. Over sharing is something youth and adults are faced with daily temptation. Even authors like Atwood are prone to over sharing, she admits after stating “queasy encouragement shown by those on the shore waving goodbye to someone who’s about to shoot Niagara Falls in a barrel. Oops! I shouldn’t have said that. Which is typical of “social media”: you’re always saying things you shouldn’t have said.”  Knowledge is power, and with so much information accessible where does that leave us? Being so informed, it can almost be harmful to individuals.

A good example is a page of Facebook called Rowan University Confessions/Secrets (my current institution). It is a place where students can anonymously write in confessions, but can be greatly harmful. I am a resident assistant on campus in a medium size freshman dorm, and at the beginning of this academic year an anonymous person wrote into the page “to the RA on the second floor of Mimosa, sometimes we can see you changing from the basketball courts”. Now, the process of elimination was pretty easy on that one. There are only 3 resident assistants on the second floor of mimosa, only 1 of whom had a room facing the basketball courts and it just happened to be mine. That single embarrassing moment was now forever in cyberspace and reached most of my 800 Facebook friends, including my bosses.

Now, Bolton ends his article with the idea that “the computer makes associative linking easier” (20) but sometimes that does not necessarily make it better. Sometimes it can be safer to stick with the safer, more naturalistic writing of the old days.

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