We Are The Disease

Spreading the Viral Phenomenon

Less Ink, More Money

 

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14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani came up with a brilliant idea on how the government and generally anyone who prints save tons of money. As many students know, when turning in a paper – most teachers generally as for Times New Roman font. Right? Right! Why, who knows  – because they can read it, it looks professional, who knows. But in reality, who cares what font you type in as long as it is done and people can read it but that is just my personal opinion.

Anyway, according to CNN Suvir’s idea started with the following, “interested in applying computer science to promote environmental sustainability, Suvir decided he was going to figure out if there was a better way to minimize the constant flurry of paper and ink.”

His study consisted of testing four different popular fonts; Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. Through his findings –  Suvir figured out that by using Garamond with its thinner strokes, his school district could reduce its ink consumption by 24%, and in turn save as much as $21,000 annually. Pretty amazing right!?

Through our class, we have been focusing on the impact technologies have on writing. Typing is done through a technology – the computer. As a college student, I type at least one paper a night and end up printing it in Times New Roman per professor request, so I could be saying myself millions (well maybe not millions but close)! This idea of changing from handwritten to typed and now from typed to printed but in a better way.

Bolter expresses the concept of writing in the late age of print and how the remediation of print is occurring. Typing and printing documents is something that is not foreign to us, we do it all the time. But when we do it, do we really think about what we are printing and if it is necessary? Speaking from personal experience, I work in an office where paper is endless and comes from every direction – we are trying to get away from that and move to online, emailing, and so on. The amount of pointless information we print is a joke and if we are going to do – lets save some money!

I think this concept of changing something so simple as a font type to save the government millions is brilliant, and it only took a 14 year old to figure it out! If the government could save that much money by changing something so small – what else can they save money on and put to better use?

Next time I get asked to type a paper, I will happily type it and print it not in Time New Roman but in Garamond. Just saved myself a few bucks! Think about it the next time you need to print something – is it worth printing, do you need it, if so save some trees and save yourself some ink and doing all that saves YOU money. Woohoo!

Your Ad Here

The Tea Party Republicans have produced some colorful characters.  Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, and Rick Perry among others have caught plenty of airtime with their personalities, whether for better or for worse.  Mitch McConnell is not one of them.  His low monotonous voice almost puts people to sleep.  But that all changed over night with one ad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrdTX8m5G98

The ad is already weird enough.  It has no words.  Instead it is a slideshow of McConnell going through everyday tasks for a politician and sometimes simply giving a creepy smile into the camera.  It is enough to make anyone do a double take.  Then along came Jon Stewart.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-13-2014/-mcconnelling

Stewart mocks McConnell’s ad, which comes as no surprise given that his job is to mock (usually Republican) politicians.  But then he gave his loyal viewers some homework.  He says the video can work with any song and with a week off next week he tells his viewers to create their own mash-ups, with the hash tag #mcconelling.  With 1-2 million viewers on any given night, this hash-tag went viral.  As we learned last week in our readings, copyrights do not cover parodies, so McConnell’s ad is free to use by anyone wishing to make a hilarious mash-up with McConnell’s ad.

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.

What’s so Funny?

When I think of viral videos in the past two years, three videos come to mind; Gangnam Style, The Harlem Shake, and What Does the Fox Say?  These videos went viral for one reason; they were weird.  What else was there to them?  Other than the sentence “Hey sexy lady” Gangnam Style is completely in Korean.  The Harlem Shake, well what on Earth was that?  What Does the Fox Say?  Imagine if that video was a serious educational video.  Nobody would watch it.  Personally, it disturbs me that being creative doesn’t count, it’s just got to be weird.

Think back to the days of sitcoms.  From the early days of Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy to the glory days of Full House and The Fresh Prince ofBel-Air, the shows had one thing in common that made them funny: good writing.  They had well timed jokes and odd moments that fit the script.  Today, we complain about the cartoons of the current generation vs. our cartoons.  We complain that theirs don’t have writing, that they are just odd and senseless.  And yet, we have fallen in love with the senseless videos of YouTube. 

What substance is there to a man pretending to ride a horse?  Most of us don’t even know what Gangnam Style is actually about.  It’s almost entirely in Korean.  We just pay attention to the goofy dance moves of Psy.  We’ve produced parodies that we can understand and probably dwarf the creativity that went into the original video (I believed I have watched a 30-second mass-up of Gangnam Style and Bill Nye the Science Guy more than the original video).  Personally, I despise The Harlem Shake as a waste of my time.  If I wanted to watch bad dancing I could look at myself in a mirror.  And What Does the Fox Say? contains some of the most obnoxious sounds I have ever heard.  The producers that made it have a hilarious series of elevator pranks that I find much cleverer than What Does the Fox Say? 

As a culture, we need to re-educate ourselves on what true comedy is.  We need to remind ourselves that a good video needs good work.  Yes it’s funny to occasionally laugh at someone wiping out on a skateboard or crashing into a pole.  But there needs to be a much better tilt towards what is truly funny.  I admit I like Family Guy, but Family Guy will never come close to the magic of The Simpsons.  That’s because The Simpsons is a throwback to a time when you needed to work to produce a good show.

Trust through Viral Videos

“Trust is a confusing thing. It seems so simple, but when you try to pin it down, it can be so elusive.”

Over 200,000 views within a week of being on YouTube, this viral video generated by the acrobatic group Cirque du Soleil explains the power and luxury of trust. Realistically, we think what does acrobats have to do with trust and what is a video going to show us. We learn trust through our own personal experiences. Watching this video will better explain how important the concept of trust truly is. For an acrobat – without trust, they can not do their job or perform to standards.

The video is narrated by BuzzFeed EVP Ze Frank. Ze Frank does a sensational job conveying how the two acrobats rely on one another for trust and support throughout their routine. Cirque du Soleil is something people around the word pay good amounts of money to watch but do not know what effort it takes to produce such a thrilling show.

Trust is something we all know, some may have it, some may not but it is in our daily lives. We trust our cars to get us to and from everyday right? I trust that my cell phone will work whenever I need it to. Regardless of the situation – trust is there.

An anthropological introduction to YouTube by Michael Wesch explains the idea on YouTube and the communication between sharing information. He states in the video that the web is not just to share information but to link people together, in ways never thought of before. This video about trust links people together from all around the world because it is accessible on YouTube and now multiple other sites from sharing it. Trust is an idea we all have, as I said before and this video can help connect people that may have not been connected before.

Someone with trust issues could have easily watched this video and realized how important trust is in a relationship, friendship, etc. and grow from watching it on the Internet and move forward as a better person. We don’t normally think of that when we click something do we? We click it because we like the content or our friends shared it or we have to because of an assignment or work. The internet and viral videos that get shared amongst people are more than just videos.

Selfies!

Selfie_CaptureSelfie? Taking a picture of oneself and uploading it to social media. You can’t admit that you have never taken a selfie!? Everyone has by now, even if it was with your dog – he needs to be in the selfie world too! Anyway, selfie was Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year in 2013 and has taken over the internet and social media sites one by one.

So what is the big deal with people taking selfies? Selfies became so popular that two artists joined forces with the help of a marketing firm to create a song and video that has taken the radio by storm. The video represents the idea of a “selfie” and our world we live in today that is taken over by social media. This video also represents how engrossed we truly are with the social networking idea and getting people to “like” or pay attention to what we post. See my previous blog, The Perfect Post if you want people to notice what you write. Take a look at the popular video.

The song based off of pictures we take of ourselves is a general representation of the modern day picture. Rarely do you see people pulling out cameras and asking others to take photos for them. It is much easier to click the button on your iPhone to turn the camera around to front view and snap a selfie. Try it, you’ll be surprised how easy it is.

This idea of self portraits being the next big thing generates back to a video by Michael Wesch. The video explains how the machine, meaning the computer and the web is using us. Towards the end of this video, he explains that we need to rethink a few things based off of what we do on the internet. Things such as privacy, identity, authenticity, and so on. All of these things play a major role in posting selfies to a social media site accessible to just about anyone, anywhere, at any time.

When you post something, regardless if you delete it within minutes of it being posted – chances are someone, somewhere may have captured that within those few minutes. We do have capability to screen shot anything on a smart phone without the person knowing. Therefore, next time you post a selfie, think twice as to what you are posting and who is going to see that… but wait …. let me take a selfie 🙂

The perfect post?

Secrets to creating the perfect post!

The future of writing is rapidly changing with the help of technology. We all know that writing papers no longer consist of pulling out a piece of paper and a pen. When asked to write an essay for an assignment, I open a word document and start typing, the backspace button becomes my best friend. While browsing the web for anything viral to add to my posts, I stumbled across an article on Pinterest “Secrets to Creating the Perfect Status.” Initially, I scrolled right over it but I suddenly stopped and scrolled back up because I realized what the title said, is there such a thing as the perfect post or status? A post or a status is writing right? Writing with the help of technology?

Pinterst_CaptureIn my class, technologies and the future of writing – we use twitter. We use the social networking site to live tweet what we are talking about in class, tweet questions and comments about homework articles and videos as well as tweet topics related to our blogs (mine being viral). Twitter is a major aspect to this class and a huge part of communicating and getting information. The idea of the perfect post – facebook, twitter, pinterst, and Google are all social media networking sites that contain tons of different information. So what exactly is the right or wrong thing to post? Is it original? Do others judge you by your posts?

Twitter_CaptureThere is a such thing called “digital citizenship” that contains nine elements pertaining to the concept of what should and should not be of the digital citizen. K. Ferguson created four short videos that explain the idea that everything is a remix. Remix meaning to combine or edit existing materials to produce something new. Keeping with this idea of a remix, are our posts and statuses a remix of something prior? Retweets are remixes, pinning something you like on pinterest is a remix, and sharing a status on facebook is also remixing.

The article suggest that there are a few main ideas that perfect post should contain such as providing information, sharing vst when browsing social media sites. Speaking for myself, I rarely use Facebook but enjoy reading about other people. I tweet almost everyday and remain in contact with my friends and the latest celebrities and artists I enjoy. And lastly, pinterest is my escape from reality to like and “re-pin” things I like or wish to do and or see. So I guess you could say everything is a remix on social media sites. Whether you are tweeting, posting, or updating a status – reading someone else’s – or sharing something of someone else’s; it is all a REMIX!

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?

From out of nowhere

We talk a lot about what goes viral on the internet.  Viral videos, viral trends, hashtags, etc.  But what about viral news?  We never think about news as being viral but it certainly is.  What makes certain news items catch our attention?  Important people such as the President or a celebrity make news.  They are names we are familiar with and people we care about despite having never met them or contacted them.  But what about the Malaysian Airlines crash?  Why has this captivated our attention?  How is it different from any other plane crash?  The answer is the search for answers.

Curiosity is in human nature.  We want to know where we came from, how things work, and what our place is in the universe.  And we want to know what happened to that airplane.  There is no trace of the airplane, not a shard of metal in the ocean, no last message broadcasted from the plane, and no eyewitnesses.  News outlets and reported that the plane “disappeared”. But things don’t just disappear.  The plane, or remnants of the plane, must have gone somewhere.  It is that mystery that draws us in.  All we know is that something happened to that plane.  We don’t know what happened, who did it, or where it is.  People are asking their friends, “What do you think happened to that plane?” knowing that their friend has no idea.  But they want to hear his or her theory.  The want another scenario in their head.  They want to solve this great mystery.

77 years ago, Amelia Earhart disappeared in her airplane over the Pacific Ocean.  Today we still talk about her, we wonder what happened, and we search for her wreckage.  Another plane has disappeared in the Pacific without a trace and we wonder, will we find the wreckage, or is this the Amelia Earhart of our times?

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