Thursday, May 15, 2008

Reflecting on Mass Communication

Since all of us read the article on Flash Mobbing, I do not want to describe what they are because I feel like that gets really repetitive. Instead, I wanted to focus on a few statements made within the article, and share my thoughts on them. I could not help but laugh a little when the author quoted someone who said that texting has become a form of liberation for users in regards to place and time, and it has also disrupted the integrity of face-to-face social encounters. I am a fan of text messaging myself, but I totally agree with this statement. Texting allows people to "say" things to people that they may not normally say in person. I am sure that text messaging has in fact changed social interactions, because there is no longer a need to meet someone in person to speak with them. Instead, you can punch a few keys and transmit a message to their phone within seconds. Sometimes, full conversations that would probably be better off over the phone, or in person, are carried out over text messaging. I drives me crazy when people text me and are looking for a long conversation, and then when I call them instead of responding to the text message, they don't pick up. Its as if our society is developing a phobia for face-to-face interactions and even simple phone call interactions.

Beyond this though, I do think that text messaging is an important tool for mass communication. The article provided great examples where text messaging was used to gather people together to fight for a cause. As I sit here thinking about the use of text messaging, I have thought of another example of mass-communication that affects all of us. I just received a text message from Campus Alert that is testing out the school's new system for reporting on campus emergencies (if you haven't signed up this on ECampus, you really should!). This type of mass communication could prove to be vital for students' safety if an emergency should happen on campus. It is text messaging that could save students in an emergency, and prevent occurrences like the Virginia Tech tragedy.

I also liked the idea that cell phone users have become broadcasters, and have changed the roles of citizens to contrast the traditional role of being a spectator or viewer. I never really thought of it until reading this, but being the creator of a mass-communication text message really does empower the average citizen. Rather than relying on reports from the media, we can be the broadcasters. Although my text messaging use has probably been limited to gossip and not-so-important news, I do not doubt that some of the most well known news stories could have been made possible by text messaging. The newscaster cannot always be in the right place at the right time where a story happens to be taking place. I imagine that in a lot of cases, a bystander witnessed whatever occurred and either called, emailed, or text messaged others informing them of what happened, which would eventually end up in the hands of the media.

Although my discussion did not focus on flash mobs themselves, I thought that it was important to touch on some of the other statements within the article. Regarding flash mobs, I think they sound fairly comical. They seem to be pretty harmless, but to the people who are in the mob, they can seem to have a powerful affect. Obviously people notice the significance of flash mobs because there are now written reports on them, so I imagine that anyone who has taken part in one is satisfied with this.

3 comments:

Thrasymachus said...

I like what you said about text messaging. It really is an interesting method of communication, and it makes me think that we humans really have very little to say to each other. Quite often, what would be a phone call can be boiled down into a simple text message of less that 160 characters. I mean, think about it. Nowadays, it's almost more convenient for both parties if someone sends a message saying something like 'where are you right now? I'm heading downtown if you want to meet up'. That's just an example, but my point is that text messaging can be less invasive than a phone call, is easier to disregard, and can be sent under duress (or in class!). The text message, of course, will never replace the phone call when it comes to conversation, but it is an interesting new tool to communicate with.

-Jacob

Felcy said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.


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Felcy said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

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