The History and Convergence of Media

By, Ryan O’Leary

Throughout history, humans have developed a need for knowledge of what is going on around them. They discovered that the best way to spread news was through the media, which began in Germany in the late 1400’s. In the 1600’s, England started printing and publishing papers. The London Gazette was created during this time, and is now the longest continually published paper in the world.

In America, freedom of press was granted in 1791 giving all Americans the right to print and publish anything they want. At the time, it was still very hard to spread news despite the growing news industry. The news industry failed for many years, in America, because they only had stories from other countries. They didn’t have enough readers to keep the early companies alive (Ebook Chapter 12). Transporting these papers could takes days or weeks to get to other parts of the country. Any news from across the ocean could take months to arrive. With the development of cars and planes throughout the next couple centuries, the media was able to spread faster and faster. Soon after in 1895, Gugliemo Marconi invented the radio, which could be used to broadcast news to peoples homes. This led to the invention of the television in 1926, which revolutionized the way people got information. People could start watching the news from their homes starting in 1930. Possibly the greatest addition to the way people view media in the 21st century is the internet. With it came e-mail, social media, online news, videos and much more. Based on all these media platforms, a better way of viewing media has emerged.

Newspapers used to be the leading way to get news about current events, local news, global news, and job opportunities. With the creation of new media, the newspaper has begun to die out because it became much easier to find news elsewhere. Some people started watching the nightly news on TV, where others check online websites and blogs for their news. This decline led to newspaper corporations to adapt to new media standards. All news companies now have websites with all their news and information.  The creation of web2.0 caused these companies to make their news interactive online.Companies like The Baltimore Sun have added interactive, social options to their website.They have comment sections for articles, ways to contact the writer, and they make it extremely easy to share the article on other platforms. Media companies also have to be active on social media. Spreading the news through websites like, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are some of the best ways to get a story to go viral. In this modern time, people like interacting with websites, knowing they can comment on something and someone will read it. They can react to a video and can instantly show someone on the other side of the world. The Media is constantly changing,  The convergence of the internet, television, radio and the media changed the way the world sees news and companies need to stay on top of that change in order to succeed and flourish for the years to come.

Word Count: 517

What is a Meme?

A meme is a cultural idea that spreads throughout the world through the media. They have become extremely popular throughout the last decade with the rise of social media and Web 2.0. In the early 2000’s the term web 2.0 was popularized referring to websites that allow users to interact with each other. These kinds of sites include, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and many others.

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These are some of the many different memes used today. The first is of Jackie Chan, the next is Yao Ming and the last is Barack Obama. These examples are usually used when someone is reacting to something and want to show their emotions. Before memes, it was difficult to express that you were confused, angry, or impressed.

Websites like “I Can Has Cheezburger,” make money off of generating memes. Mr. Huh, the owner of the site has now reached 16 million unique visitors. With this many viewers, other companies start to pay to put their advertisements on the website bringing in a lot of profit. Similarly, their memes get spread all over the internet bringing more viewership to their site. You can see their memes on sites like Facebook and Twitter being shared by the company itself or people that have seen their memes.

When asked to create a meme myself, I thought it would be easy, but thinking of something entertaining and original proved to be quite difficult. It took me a long time to pick out an image and think of my own caption for it. After a long time of thinking I made one that someone else most likely already thought of, but it was the best I could do.

History of Memes

by, Olivia and Ryan

Memes have been around for decades, but only recently have they become viral around the world. The term, “meme,” was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976. A meme is defined as a cultural idea that self-replicates and spreads among people.  It is commonly seen as a picture that has a clever, funny, or sarcastic caption, that someone came up with, on the image.  The meme falls into the category of Web 2.0 because it is a form of media, an image, easy to use and create, and can be used/created multiple times.  Some popular memes are the “Y U NO…”, “Bad Luck Brian”, “The Crazy Girlfriend”.  In Currents in Communications, Chapter 10: Evolution of Media Systems says that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media sites give forms of Web 2.0, such a the meme, their popularity in the world.  According to “What makes a video go viral? An analysis of contagion and internet memes” other things that contribute to the popularization of memes are results of the human emotion, social influence, and online behavior.  Viral videos and and sites such as “Can I Have a Cheezburger?” are able to make money from turning the popular content into tangible items like t-shirts.  “Can I Have a Cheezburger” turns their popular memes into t-shirts, books, etc. Here is a video of the top ten internet memes. 

Our experience with creating memes was quick and simple.  All we did was go to a meme generator, select an image or upload an image, and then caption it.  The part of the process that took the most time was coming up with something funny to caption the image.  Our memes did not generate any buzz in the social media universe due to only posting them to our class blog. The internet is constantly growing and it is very difficult to make a video go viral without a lot of advertising and sharing amongst different profiles. People are more likely to share a video if they have an emotional response of connection to it. This being said, there are millions of memes online and only a few that become viral, just like videos and regular pictures. Although making a meme is easy, making it famous is nearly impossible.

 

Brilliance

By Ryan O’Leary

Imagine a world where 1% of the population is born with special gifts, talents, and abilities. They are not mutants or super heroes, but they are highly skilled in certain fields such as pattern recognition, strategy, music, deduction, etc. Marcus Sakey brings this world to life in his critically acclaimed novel, Brilliance, published in  2013. The gifted individuals are known as “brilliants” or “abnorms.” Ever since the first generation of brilliants in 1980, the world has been fascinated, but also threatened. The novel takes place at what seems to be the preliminary stages of a civil war in the United States. When one abnorm managed to earn 300 billion dollars in the stock market, he caused it to close down forever. This was the first of many events that threatened the normal people.

The first person narrative follows abnorm Nick Cooper, a successful agent for Equitable Services, an agency that tracks down and arrests or terminates dangerous abnorms. After a string of terrorist attacks lead by abnorm strategist, John Smith, the agency becomes extremely powerful and well funded in order to prevent future attacks. Cooper’s only goal in the beginning is to find and kill John Smith any way possible. He believes that if Smith is not stopped soon, terrorism will continue and a civil war between abnorms and normal people be unavoidable. Using his gift for pattern recognition in hand to hand combat, shoot offs, and tracking, he is able to figure out what a person is doing or going to do just by monitoring their movements and actions. Cooper is a strong believer in justice, and is dedicated to his job. Despite the fact that he tracks down his own kind, he is fighting for the equality of abnorms. He believes that preventing terrorism will bring the two groups together, but as the book progresses, he figures out the real reason behind all the attacks.

Cooper decides to go rogue in order to get on Smith’s side so he can meet with him face to face. When he finally meets Smith, Cooper learns the truth about the agency that he is working for; Smith shows him that the video showing him killing innocent people is fake, and that he did not organize or participate in the shooting. Cooper then learns that his own agency is responsible for all the attacks and blames the abnorms so that they have an excuse to start a war and kill them all.

Sakey’s book explores the dystopian genre in a new, unique way. His writing effectively puts the reader inside of his world, and makes everything in the book seem possible. He adds fake interviews, quotations, and articles at the beginnings of his chapters  in a very similar to what we would see in today’s society. The reader is left questioning whether this could happen in real life. Could this be the next step in evolution for the human race? It certainly seems possible. The book also serves as a metaphor for many modern day events. People see the brilliants as different, therefore they could be labeled similarly to the Jews during the holocaust. They are seen as a threat just because they are gifted, despite their ability to do a lot of good in the world.

The theme of unjust treatment relates to racism and inequality all over the world. People disagree with each other based on their beliefs, race and even gender. For example, Israel and Palestine are having enormous issues trying to establish borders. The two groups cannot live together so they have started to fight each other based on their religion. The Jews and the Islamists are fighting for the right of the land that they both claim the rights to. They are all people, but they hate the each other based on their religion and can’t live together harmoniously. Similarly, the only reason the people are against abnorms is that they are afraid of the people that are different then them.

I really enjoyed the book. The protagonist is very likable and easy to sympathize with. The book is packed cover to cover with suspense and action, making it impossible to stop reading. The book toys with emotions as it shows all the different sides of the battle between humans and abnorms. The reader starts rooting for one side and then completely switches, wondering how they ever thought they were doing the right thing. I am very excited to read the sequel, A Better World, which continues the story of Nick Cooper and the brilliants. Both of his books are available on Amazon as well as most bookstores.

Works Cited

http://marcussakey.com/about.php

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=jLdEAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR8&dq=israel+palestine+conflict&ots=XwT62V1eYw&sig=g5ZyptVBPh6nEgBqP4zwqmkh_34#v=onepage&q=israel%20palestine%20conflict&f=false

http://screenrant.com/brilliance-novel-marcus-sakey-interview/

RyandTom’s Magical Christmas

Two summers ago, Thomas Hill and I recorded and produced a Christmas album for charity. We recorded each song in my house and then sold the physical copies of the CD to people in our town and anyone else who heard about it. We invited all the musicians in our school to be featured on the album, and we finished with a total of 17 tracks. Anyone who pre-ordered the album had it hand delivered to them on December 1st. Upon delivery, they received the CD as well as a brief, live performance. We raised almost $2000 that we used to buy toys for children in need. We donated the gifts to Toys For Tots, a non-profit organization that distributes donated toys to low income households. It was certainly the best Christmas of my life, and I will never forget the feeling of giving back to the community. Our album is now available for free on our Soundcloud page.

Blade Runner

By, Ryan O’Leary and Bailey Myers

The 1982 movie, Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, takes place in a dystopian society in the very “futuristic,” year of 2019. Although that’s only four years from the this year, there are some pretty serious technological advancements that don’t seem to be in coming in the near future. Ford is a washed out blade runner, a special kind of police officer that hunts down replicants. Replicants are genetically enhanced super humans that are created by “mega-corporations,” around the world.

I thought it was very interesting the way that the movie interpreted what would be 37 years into the future. As usual, the writers were way too ambitious with the technology and society in the future. Now that we are only 4 years from that point it seems like the movie was completely off.

This movie tackles the classic issue of problems in technology going too far. Is it possible that we may be able to genetically modify a human to make them smarter and more powerful? maybe someday, but not any day soon. I believe this movie is attempting to warn society of a few things. First, we should be careful what we do with our continuous technological advances, and second, we should not discriminate or hate those who may be smarter or more advanced then us. It is important to treat everyone equally.

This movie was received skeptically at first by critics, but over the years it has been called one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. The movie initially didn’t succeed in North America, but gained a cult following overtime. Ridley Scott’s use of visual graphics were seen as a break through during that time period. It has even inspired many video games and movies since.