Month: March 2014

Semester Project Proposal

By Rodrigo Valencia

Let’s take a moment to analyze technology and its effects on social interaction. The type of interaction that we see today is no longer the same as it was in the past. Nowadays everyone is influenced by technology some type of way, making it an essential part of daily lifestyle. The children of today are completely involved in the full integration of technology in the way we live and survive. I am pretty sure that everyone has that younger family member who knows how to work their tablet better than any adult. You go on social networks such as the well-known app “Vine” and see kids making videos and getting the most out of technology like it has never been seen before. 6-year-old Terio is the perfect example of kids that have taken over social networks and gained popularity. Below is a compilation of some his 6 second vines that made him famous.

It only took a smartphone and 6 seconds of his time for this Atlanta first-grader to go from being a normal silly kid playing around in his neighborhood to becoming a new child celebrity who is now seen next to popular rappers. This is when social interaction comes into play, where the younger generation has lost the essence of living and going out to experience real-life situations themselves in a consumer society where most of the tasks are accomplished right at home in front of a screen.

My commercial is going to focus on this change in social interaction, starring an 18 year old and his grandmother who are doing the complete opposite of what the viewer expects. I want my ad to complete its task of triggering the audience’s imagination through imagery that appeals to their eyes and conveys a message about technology and its effects on social roles and social norms.

Still, my project goes beyond the commercial. The topic discussed above about the relationship between technology and social interactions is just what the short video is going to contain, but in order to connect it back to class I am also going to make a separate presentation about the way we look at images specifically referring back to my commercial and advertisement in general. The artwork below is a piece done by René Magritte, who once said, “What one must paint is the image of resemblance—if thought is to become visible in the world.”


This piece is found in John Berger’s book titled, Ways of Seeing, where he analyzes this idea of image resemblance and how the way we see things is affected by our background knowledge on what an image might be portraying.  This irony and sarcasm used in my commercial is what’s going to put John Berger’s theories into effect, and that’s what I hope to accomplish.



#Hashtag: Digital Media

Leanna Truong

It has come to prove that hashtags drive twitter and instagram, but is it much more deeper than that? Of course it is! Remember when the pound sign was just a simple sign on the telephone pad. When the pound sign has made its way up to the popular culture side.

According to Twitter legend, the first person to propose the hashtag was a Mr. Chris Medina (factoryjoe), self titled the “Hash Godfather”. It was on August 23, 2007 at 12:25 PM that Medina introduced the first hashtag to the Twittersphere.


What is a hashtag? It is the # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. Hashtags role in the media influence the way companies and people market themselves. It is a fun way to market and brand your company in the era of digital media. The best way  to explain a hashtag is that it is a critical way of grouping information together, almost like a file folder.

It is an irresistible opportunity to brand. Twitter is very hard to ignore, especially for branding companies. It brings multiple conversations about the same topic together, for example, people talking about “your” brand. It is like it was a dream come true for marketers. Especially when people use hashtags as a way to trace how many followers and viewers are about that particular advertisement. They use compelling incentives to makes more people to hashtags.

Is there a certain way we perceive hashtags?! The way we perceive hashtags of what people write can effect the person or the brand they are saying negative comments about. Whether is is a company hashtagging or an individual posting to the public of your thoughts can be seen  in various ways.


For those who do not even like using Twitter, it has become a fast pace way to understand what is going on or what is the new fad for the month. It travels all over the world to using hashtags in education classes, branding business, self-expression, etc.

There are many benefits of hashtags, it creates an everlasting conversation for folks to gather and think about that one single subject. On a more personal level, hashtags may serve as no purpose to the public. People may just hashtag random thoughts in there head. When one person sees it, it creates a domino effect to makes us think “that is a good hashtag”. The media makers are what is drawing attention to the public, some may say it is getting out of hand because it has lead to hashtags for specific days of the week.

Here are a few examples/trends:

#ootd – Outfit of the day


#mcm- Man crush Monday

#TT- Transformation Tuesday

#wcw-Women crush Wednesday

#tbt- Throwback Thursday

#fbf-Flash Back Friday


The best part of a hashtag that it has a beauty of drawing into conversation with people you don’t know, but have the same commonalties.To make your information searchable by anyone, you can appear in the stream of the hashtag in question, meet new people, find new resources, discover new opportunities, help people keep track of your relevant posts and build an audience and community. Just like Baratunde Thurston, he made such an impact on people with his thoughts that he was about to use the “hashtah” to create his own branding. The best part about it is that he brought attention to people by discriminating his own race and slowly his friends

Baratunde Thurston is the CEO, co-founder, and hashtagger-in-chief of Cultivated Wit. He wrote the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black and served for five years as director of digital for the satirical news outlet, The OnionHe co-founded the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics, has advised the Obama White House, has more than 10 years’ experience in standup comedy, and more than 30 years’ experience being black. He considers him a racist and is ok with how he feels.


Hashtags have controlled to convey peoples thoughts without writing a paragraph, it is the cutter through the clutter of words. People do not only use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, it has far more grown to they way people speak, write emails, videos, social media tagging and much more!



Do you think hashtags are getting out of hand?

Status: I think I am hungry. #food #yummy #foodie #delicious #happy #instagood #foodoftheday #follow #tagsforlikes #foodgasm #foodporn #tweegram #instago #getinmybelly #yum #dessert #statigram #instalike #instamood #innerfatty


Midterm project: Hashtag Video
The way we perceive hashtags can be racial and discriminatory to ourselves. I wanted to focus the who is hash tagging rather than the amount of hashtags from various hashtags.

Baratunde Thurston is a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He co-founded the black political blog. He was the one who started “How to be Black” or #thatssoblack. He was being discriminatory towards himself and made jokes about his race and his friends slowly joined in.




Google Vs Apple

Edward Spitaletta

As we all know apple hit the scene with a tremendous boom and had their audience wanting to buy their products. It all started in 1984 and Apple shocked the world with it’s new computer. It ended up revolutionizing the entire industry, IBM at the time had the hold on the computer world but people weren’t completely satisfied. IBM knew what was coming and that was the monstrous idea that Steve Job’s had in creating what would become the most popular electronic item.

steve jobs

The Macintosh went on to become the computer of choice of every person no matter who they were. The perfect computer that targeted not only companies but the average person. Apple was headed to sweep the nation and take hold on the computer electronics market. Unfortunately, they then they didn’t have the right mind set and due to that Microsoft flourished, spreading their product all over at a low cost for the public.

In any any event Apple has flourished over the past 20 years and has made a major impact in the electronics world. Many companies tried to keep up with apple but they simply cannot match the brilliance of the late Steve Jobs. The innovation of the iMac, iPod, Macbook, and many more has had the consumer in a frenzy to buy their product. This all great but has Apple slipped up since the death of the great Steve Jobs? Don’t get me wrong Apples products are amazing I own just about all of them but has their product stayed the same instead of improving?

While Apple is staying stagnant Google on the other has taken a huge leap toward what apple did 15 years ago. Googles strive for excellence teaming with new android has put them on top of Apple. Consumers are now looking to buy Android based products because the design and technology has immensely improved. The innovation of google glass will change the way we look at the world and it will only get better for the company. Their ideas are what Apple has been lacking since Since Jobs.


Formally Taught vs Self-Taught Musicians: FEMALES

Hailing from a musical family, I’ve noticed that every musician in my Family are males, except one female who is a singer. I created a documentary in which I compared and contrasted the practices of self taught and formally taught musicians, focusing on the success level of autodidacts, which is an individual who indulges in self-teaching. All four musicians were males, unintentionally of course. While I was creating this project, I thought to myself focusing on female musicians would be quite interesting. Most women I know that are into music focus on vocal ability as opposed to playing an instruments.



I’m a part of the Rutgers Newark jazz Mosiac and there is one female musician who plays the saxophone, the rest are males.  While focusing on the theme of musicians who decided to teach themselves and those who are formally trained, I will also focus on why we don’t see more female musicians. I have an interview set up while a young female musician named Kezia Harley who is a self taught guitarist. I also plan on speaking to a woman named Sandy Talmadge, my old piano teacher and also Devinn Bright, a saxophonist who is a member of the Rutgers Jazz Mosiac. I’m currently looking for a fourth musician to complete my project. A female musician that caught my attention was a Israeli born violinist named Miri Ben Ari. She gained fame in 2004 by playing melodies on rap songs on BET. Eventually she began working with Jay-Z and Kanye West.




It is hard to find female musicians who are self-taught. The only notable female musical autodidacts are Elizabeth Cotton, a self-taught left-handed guitarist and Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thorton, a self-taught drummer and harmonica player. Rock musicians Joan Jett and Carrie Brownstein hint that they were self-taught. She took some guitar lessons, but quit soon after when the instructor kept trying to teach her folk songs. Brownstein received lessons from future Sunny Day Real Estate/The Fire Theft frontman Jeremy Enigk.  She later said, “He showed me a couple of open chords and I just took it from there”. Joni Mitchell initially taught herself how to play guitar out of a Pete Seeger songbook. Most well-known female musicians such as Amy Lee, Alicia Keys, Miri-Ben Ari, Hayley Williams, and even Lady Gaga were professionally trained.


“Classical Trained Musicians vs Self-Taught Musicians.” Classical Trained Musicians vs Self-Taught Musicians. N.p., 20 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

De Vivo, Marcela. “The Benefits Of Being Classically Trained As A Musician.” Dotted Music. N.p., 4 June 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

“List of Autodidacts.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Mar. 2014. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

Representation of Men and Women in Music

As we have learned about the how men and women are portrayed through imagery, we have seen the impact and toll it has taken on today’s society. Gender roles are somewhat ingrained into our systems and media is doing it’s best to sustain these patriarchal “norms” through dehumanizing men and women into mere objects. For my final project, I plan on writing a paper that examines how men and women are portrayed in music, music videos, and the artists themselves.

My initial thought is to start with an extreme example and that is Tyler, the Creator. I will explore some of his lyrics and how he tries to portray himself as someone who is ruthless and cold by rapping about raping women and hatred for homosexuals. Lyrics such as “Rape, katana, and then I skin ’em, all beige suit made out of white women” show extreme violence and disregard for the respect of the opposite sex. The music video to this song is equally as strong as it shows young men putting roofies in women’s drinks and taking them home when they collapse from the drug. With Tyler as my main example, he would serve as a strong comparison to the more popular artists that I examine such as Robin Thicke, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and more. Robin Thicke, who’s “Blurred Lines” was somehow the biggest song of the summer, has a video that is equally as alarming with lyrics that I sending the same message as Tyler’s but in a more subtle manner. I want to prove that just because one image is more shocking than the other, the image is all the same. As for Justin Bieber, I believe as he is transitioning to a more mature musical stage in his career, he is seemingly forcing his young “Beliebers” to join him whether they are ready or not. For young women, such as my sister at the age of 13, to listen to their idol and personal God singing about “putting a woman down” in the bed room with accused rapist, R. Kelly, it is something that they may not be mature enough to handle, but nonetheless exposed to anyway. Lastly, I would like to take a look at a woman who originally came from a super religious family and eventually turned into an overly sexualized puppet, Katy Perry. While she has songs that make us feel like “fireworks”, she is often shown wearing next to nothing in her videos and in her photo shoots. The irony of the fact that she is being inspirational, yet becoming a modern-day Betty Boop is ridiculous.

With this final project, I plan to write a paper. When I present in class, I plan on speaking about my topics while showing images and portions of music videos that we have all probably already seen. My biggest concern is that I have to stay focused on the topic and not stray off in too many directions.


#TheFWord is a component of my blog Understanding Feminism For The Non Feminist. Understanding Feminism for The Non-Feminist is a website dedicated to redefining the ideology associated with feminism in today’s popular culture. In our society, young women are usually too afraid or embarrassed to identify as feminists because of the negative connotations that are associated with the term. However, Understanding Feminism aims specifically at debunking those inadequate perceptions in the pursuit of building communities where women are seen as valuable figures, instead of second class citizens. #TheFWord is inspired by a photo based project titled I, Too, Am Harvard.



Image via

Image via

The photo project is used to refute stereotypical notions and ideas about African American students at the prestigious college. Other projects that inspired the creation of #TheFWord are both video project. The first one is  titled “You Don’t Own Me” which is a video PSA about voting and women’s rights. (Below)

The second one is titled “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like”

#TheFWord will be similar to both projects, the premise of the project is to help dispel stereotypical notions of feminism/feminists by displaying images of self proclaimed feminists, declaring why they aren’t afraid to identify as feminists and ultimately why they aren’t afraid of #TheFWord.

By showcasing different women, who are not afraid to openly identify as feminists it helps generate conversation and ultimately break the mold surrounding feminism and the word “Feminist”

The project has a social media component, people can send in their images through Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TheFWord, and #UnderstandingFeminism. The photo project will be showcased on the site Understanding Feminism For The Non Feminist, and the site’s Twitter page.



Awhile ago I had a conversation with a grown African-American male.  He’s a mentor to me you can say.  Well at least after that conversation he became one too me.  He touched on a wide array of topics and it truly touched me deeply on another level.

My final  project would basically to bring these topics up and talk about how they affected my life personally and describe the culture in the black community.  The topics were real and I could really relate to them.  For instance, he see’s more a lot of people my age in the homeless shelters around newark.  You would think it’s mostly old people in homeless shelters.  He said back then, your mom throwing you out/moving out of your mom’s house was the best thing to happen to you.  1 it helped you become a man by moving out and 2 a lot of these people’s parents were fiends.  It made me think of my friend Dee.  We were good friends in the 6th grade.  I thought about him because his parents were never around and he lived with his grandmother.  All I remember is that his mom just left him there when he was young.  I thought about why?  I put two and two together and that must be because she was on drugs.  What parent leaves their kid with someone else unless their life isn’t right.  He had no guidance coming up.  His grandmother couldn’t raise him, she could barely move.  Dee wound up going to jail and last I heard, he was selling drugs at a high rate.


He talks about how his nephew that is/was coddled by his mother.  Now all of a sudden his mother wants him to move out and even went as far as to change the locks on him one night.  (She eventually went back and let him in and he is presently living with her.)  He also brought up a cousin of his who lived in his mother’s house until the day he died.  He also says he see’s a lot of old grown men right in downtown newark 60 years old pushing their mother’s stroller who’s 80.  They probably never left the house.   He also said you don’t have to worry about daughter’s they’ll move out the first chance they get.  I thought about what he said and it’s true.  Raising your daughter, your a little more stricter on her then you are a guy.  You tell your daughter, “Where are you going wearing those clothes, you better change.  You can’t be out too late, be home by this time.  You better not be hanging out with no boys.”  Etc, etc.  If I were a female, I would want to move out the first chance I get because of all these rules.  It’s kinda sexist how we raise kids.

Essentially, I’m going to chop up parts of his interview, put it in a youtube video and as he is talking I’m going to have a black screen with white letters as subtitles for what he’s saying.  Then I’m going to switch it to a video of me talking about topics in what he said in his interview and talk about how resonates with me in my life and tell stories.


What the Heck is Going On?


by Kristine Villanueva

This blog is from last semester, but I’ve come to realize that blogging could be a full time job. Instead of breaking news stories or time sensitive topics, I want to touch up more on scrutinizing the media and analyzing it. I don’t want to get rid of the news aspect, however, but I feel that understanding the media and its nature is also important for news consumption – especially in an internet dominated era in which young people read without checking sources or arguably worse – read from a good source and still not know what the heck is going on.

People of Generation Y will eventually dominate and control the media landscape, it’s contents, it’s “news”. Often times as a journalist, I’m told that people of my generation will become the future. But it’s not just limited to the producer. Consumers must also understand where their news is coming from. For example, one post I’ve written about Sochi, talks about sexism in the Olympics, especially with NBC’s, coverage.

We don’t even understand our social media habits. I’ve also written another post about the selfie (which I will also revist), to dissect it.  I also hyperlink all of the articles I dissect so people can dive into further research.


And of course, I’ve written about politics – because that’s important too.

I’ve gathered a decent following on both Facebook and Tumblr. People enjoy reading the blog because it’s written in an entertaining way, while still being informative and easy to follow. I’m also an aspiring journalist who not only tries to understand the mediascape but will also hope to change it.

Resources so far include:

The Atlantic

The Associated Press

USA Today

ABC News


Washington Post


Star Ledger

LA Times

NY Times


Political Freak Show

Breaking News

Pew Research

The Independent

The Guardian

The Daily Beast


NPR Fresh Air

The Nation

National Post

Midterm Proposal



As reality television becomes increasingly popular, the image of women is being tarnished. Since the 1990’s, beginning with the first reality tv show The Real World, women have been exploited and old (and obviously wrong) stereotyped have been reinforced, shaping the way a lot of young girls are thinking. When people watch reality television, they believe they are seeing the true depiction of reality, therefore they believe that all women are or should be like the ones on television.


For my final project I would like to further dissect the world of reality t.v and find out what impact it has on its viewers, both men and women and how their perception of women change or remain the same after watching some clips of reality TV such as 16 and Pregnant, Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real World, and so on. I will also compare and contrast the evolution of reality t.v from the beginning to now and focus on where the future of this type of television is headed. This will all be displayed in video format ranging from clips of the t.v shows to reactions and opinions of every day working individuals to the comparisons that I found between then and now.