Media Takeover

Having lived in Barcelona for almost two months now, one of the aspects of this country (and ultimately, all of Europe) that I’ve come to appreciate is the lack of technology use during mealtime. In America, my generation has grown up in an environment that considers it completely normal and socially acceptable to have a cell phone lying beside a plate of food. To be honest, I didn’t realize how dependent I was on my cellular device until I studied abroad. I quickly realized that the Spanish cherish every minute with friends and family, thus taking advantage of breakfast, lunch and dinner as an opportunity to connect with one another. During my time spent in various restaurants and café’s, I’ve noticed that no one uses their cell phones, and if so, it is considered to be rude.


Having a brother almost five years younger than me, I’d like to think that I have a comprehensive understanding of the development stages of children born in our technological-based decade.

Don’t get me wrong—multimedia and technological advancements have their perks. I couldn’t imagine driving to a foreign destination without relying on my iPhone’s “Maps” application to guide my route step-by-step. However, a CNN article by Chelsea Clinton and James P. Steyer, “Is the Internet hurting children?” made me to realize how such advancements are reshaping the ways in which children are raised and communicate with one another.

The article explains that 90 percent of American two-year-olds already have an online history, along with 7.5 million people under the age of 13 with Facebook accounts. Although these numbers are staggering, I am not surprised—by the time my younger brother was in elementary school, he already carried a cell phone of his own, introducing me to new apps and shortcuts that I was previously oblivious to.


Day-to-day communication is not the only technological transformation—movies today, even those G-rated, contain considerably higher amounts of sex, violence and crudity than films with the same rating from 10-20 years ago. I have experienced such instances firsthand while watching my brother become accustomed to swear words and violence through video games like Call of Duty, as well as PG-13 movies that would have been rated R years ago.


If managed properly, the possibility of using media to positively transform our lives is likely. However, the 24/7 digital world we live in must begin to require “legislation, educational efforts and norms that reflect 21st-century realities to maximize the opportunities and minimize the risks for our kids. Only then will we be able to give them the safe, healthy childhood and adolescence they deserve” (CNN article, Clinton & Steyer).

New Social Media – “Ello”

One of the most prominent up and coming social media platforms of 2016 is Ello, a company that promotes the message to “join the creators community, not the status quo.”


One of the reasons why I chose to write about this specific form of social media is that Ello will never sell advertisements, as it considers itself an alternative to mainstream networks that manipulate what we see, control and think. Unlike sites such as Facebook that sell users’ data to companies that bid the highest, Ello is unique in that it stands with the theory that it is both unsafe and immoral to publicize the things we love.


Essentially, Ello presents itself as a site for people to “discover beautiful art, be inspired by meaningful stories, and connect with creators around the world.” Because the first time I heard of Ello was actually in last week’s class, I decided to make an account so I was able to provide input on my thoughts regarding the site.

Immediately upon creating an account, I appreciated the simplicity of signing up. By simply submitting your email, a “get started” message is automatically sent, prompting the user to create a username and password. After entering your interests/information, Ello produces results that align with your hobbies. This is one of my favorite aspects of the website, as in contrast to Pinterest, for example, a user doesn’t have to spend time searching and following accounts. Instead, Ello integrates your fascinations to produce photos, quotes and stories that catch your attention.

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In my opinion, Ello is extremely similar to Tumblr in both its format and content. Though I commend Ello on its promise to eliminate advertisements and keep its users’ personal information safe, the sole thing preventing me from continuing to use this site is the fact that I already have a Tumblr account that displays years worth of compiled photos. To switch platforms and ultimately start from scratch seems worthless when both social media pages are so similar.

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Social Media – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In Jeff Jarvis’s article on BuzzMachine called, “Bizarro Identity,” Jarvis, who has worked with various media businesses, explains the profound effect that media has on society.


Jarvis’s article describes the reality of online media outlets having the power to manipulate a person’s identity, as they do not allow users to “control and publish and set access to and rules for the use of its users identity online.” For example. Facebook lets people have control of their data, but it doesn’t allow people to create and transfer information. The extent to what we can share is things that we like, do and think. Although we are sharing our opinions, we are not completely in control of our data and what we have produced.

Jarvis states that there are three things needed for order in our social media outlets:

1.) Organization—Sites like Google organize information for us, there is no way for users to construct info the way they want to see it.

2.) Verification—People have the right to know if identities are true identities (Catfish accounts, hackers, etc.)

3.) Connections—Facebook does this well, making online use social, but there needs to be a greater link between information and relationships to enhance identities.


Identities online are not personalized, as online forums are solely interested in how their company can benefit and what they can do for their users online, and they ask these questions in the incorrect order. We, as users, do not have full control over our data and identities. We mainly share things that we identify with, such as places, sites, data and information. There is no value behind what we “like” and what our friends “like”—due to trends and the domino effect, this isn’t as significant as we believe it to be.


Almost every website holds some type of knowledge about its user’s distributed identities—thus, there needs to be verified identity, allowing people to be able to interact with the outside world and form authentic relationships. Ultimately, people can shape the way they look online.