Surveillance Camera Man: A Man with a Subtle, Interpreted Purpose.

In 2013, a Youtube phenomenon circulated its users, this video subscriber was titled, “Surveillance Camera Man” and his impact was massive to those who looked past the basic concept of the videos and saw the message he was trying to portray. The synopsis of the 8 videos he has put out is simple: The nameless camera man goes out on the streets of Seattle and videotapes people. There are no constraints, no restrictions, the nameless man goes out and videotapes anyone and everyone from businessmen, to security guards, to pedestrians to homeless people, he does not discriminate.

That being said, as most people would guess, this person is not well received by the people he is attempting to videotape with a majority of them getting pretty angry by the interaction and many of them attempt to either physically assault him or to call the police or even to smash his camera. The most interesting part of the entire process is to hear the nameless man speak, which is rare. Often, the cameraman will say brief statements such as “I’m just taking a video” or “taking a video”, but sometimes he poses questions to the people who question him. One notable occasion was when the cameraman was taking a video of a man coming out of the store, the man asked the cameraman, “You know it’s illegal to take a video of me without my consent” to which the cameraman responded, “But you were just in a store with cameras videotaping you and you didn’t question it.” The man had no response, this occasion has led me to my overall topic of this post.

In today’s day and age, we live in a world where privacy is a thing of the past and yet people believe are so blinded to the fact of this. We as a society are monitored continuously whether it is the social media platforms we use, the websites we go to, the phone calls we make, the text messages we send or even the places we go, we are monitored. This is what I think is being brought up by this sensation, is that we no longer exist in a world where privacy is a right and that most of the time our privacy is being breached without our known consent (The terms and conditions are long and too often asked to accept). Although he is acknowledging this point of our society is one of the crudest ways possible, it nonetheless, sparks interest and anger in those that care to hinder government surveillance of our lives.

You can watch all his videos here:” target=”_blank”>

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Two Perspectives To Every Story

I stumbled upon this video on my Facebook page. Although it may not be from a very professional source, it toys with the notion of perspective, particularly in regards to those who are in favor of abortion and those who are very much against it. In this video, a man whom disagrees with abortion is accused of recording women as they enter the clinic. A pregnant woman on the street then lectures him on his oblivion to the sensitive and unique case of each individual woman’s story, reminding him that often times women become pregnant through rape. This clip made me think of how the practice of abortion and/or those who protest against it are portrayed in the media.

Some ideas to grapple with- is there an appropriate place for protestors to preach against abortion? Is the doorway to a clinic appropriate? Is it most effective? What ways is this issue shown through the media? With negative connotations? Neutral ones (certainly not)? What kind of effect do ‘real’ everyday clips like these have over their viewers?

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11-Year Old Representative for The People Of Ferguson

Eleven-year old Marquis Govan digs deep within the dynamics between police aggressors and their victims. When asked why none of his fellow classmates aspire to be policemen, he breaks it down plain and simple, “From the beginning we’ve felt abused by these people, why would you grow up to serve among the abusers. It doesn’t make any sense.” At a meeting of the Saint Louis County Council, Govan approaches the microphone and – within a two minute speech – fights for the rights of the people of Ferguson by outlining the issues of unemployment and lack of diversity amongst policemen. He says, “I would just like to say that the people of Ferguson, I believe don’t need tear gas thrown at them, I believe they need jobs. Govan’s speech lead me to speculate on media representation of protestors (the people of Ferguson) and police forces.  If this eleven year old can pinpoint the issues behind instances of sickening prejudice why can’t others?

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Budweiser Ditches Clydesdales…Just Kidding

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Budweiser beer has become an afterthought among young consumers: according to Budweiser’s parent company Anheuser-Busch, some 44% of 21 to 27-year-old drinkers have never tried Budweiser (an obvious dilemma for the brand).

It wasn’t this statistic that had Internet users in a craze last week, however. Soon after the report was released, one of the trending topics on Facebook was the outcry over the fact that Budweiser would be ditching their nostalgic clydesdale advertisements for promotions aimed at 21 to 27-year-olds. The Wall Street Journal reported that Budweiser would not be trotting out its traditional Clydesdales during the holiday season this year, but instead feature more “current” tactics (which somehow transformed into a rumor that the horses were being replaced by Jay-Z and zombies).

The rumors weren’t taken lightly – people were outraged that Budweiser would take away the beloved clydesdale commercials. Even the millennials couldn’t stand the thought of zombies and rappers taking the place of the classic Budweiser Clydesdales. How DARE you take the horses out of a commercial for a beer we don’t drink.

The next day, however, published an article saying that the clydesdales are here to stay (and we can all breath a sigh of relief). The VP of the company said in a statement that “The Budweiser Clydesdales are here to stay and will continue to play a central role in our campaigns, including holidays and Super Bowl.” In fact, the company just released a new holiday ad featuring both millennials and clydesdales. What a great time to be alive.

It’s interesting that there was enough uproar over these rumors (about an advertising campaign, of all things) that it would be a trending topic on Facebook – and that hundreds of news organizations, bloggers, and websites picked up the story, apparently without fact-checking at all. And still, if the millennials aren’t drinking Budweiser, are the ads really working?

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Texting is Killing Your Back

How often do you walk around looking at your phone with your head down? Chances are it’s pretty often and according to a new study, it’s killing our backs and necks. New York spine surgeon Kenneth Hansraj recently published a study in Surgical Technology International’s 25th edition that looks at how much pressure is put on the head and neck as we bend forward. Every time we go to look at our phone we are putting more and more pressure on our neck and it could lead to chronic back and neck pain in the future. Hansraj created a model showing how much pressure is put on our heads and necks the further we lean forward. When we bend 60 degrees forward we are putting 60 pounds of pressure on our neck. If we just consciously keep our heads up even slightly we could greatly reduce the amount of pressure on our necks.

texting spine

In an interview with Huffington Post, Hansraj said that “it’s a very sophisticated assessment of the stresses when the head is in various positions.” He also said that different things could happen to your neck if you’re bending it forward and to the side. Adult human heads are between 10-12 pounds and as we start bending our heads forward, they get heavier and heavier as pressure increases. When we bend our heads just 30 degrees forward, the weight of our heads increases to 40 pounds, four times as much as it really weighs. That seemed crazy to me and it’s now wonder so many people complain about back and neck pain, myself included. In the Huffington Post interview, Hansraj also pointed out that sitting at a desk all day has the same effects on our necks. He lists some ways to alleviate pain that include doing stretches, taking frequent short walks, and positioning your computer so you are looking straight at it rather than looking down at an angle.

Now this doesn’t mean we have to stop using our smart phones but it does mean that we should be more aware of how we are positioning our heads when looking at them and we should be aware of how we are sitting at desks if we want to limit the amount of stress and pain we put on our heads and necks. Even Hansraj says we shouldn’t stop using our phones but people should instead “pay attention to where their head is in space. You want to be careful that your head is straight up when you’re using a smart device.”

So stop looking at your phone so much and start paying attention to the world around you. Look up and you might just see something amazing.

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How can we pop the filter bubble?

filter bubble

“The internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see,” Eli Pariser said.


“A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook


Eli Pariser remembers growing up in Maine, where a connection to the internet meant unfettered exposure to a democratic world community. But, as he scrolls through his Facebook News Feed, this multi-view environment has all but disappeared.

Instead, the online content he consumes is determined by algorithmic criteria that includes his computer model, location and past searches. Unlike the Internet Pariser’s younger self dreamed of, information is tailored and packaged to each individual consumer.

We’re living in a filter bubble. And popular sites like Facebook and Twitter aren’t denying it. They say it’s all about your network.

“We don’t want to have editorial judgement over the content of your feed. You’ve made your friends, you’ve connected to the pages that you want to connect to and you’re the best decider for the things you care about,” Facebook engineer Greg Marra told the New York Times.

Where is the value in that? Should a line be drawn between what we want to see and what we need to see? How can we avoid the information junk food Pariser fears?

According to a Pew Research Center study, 30 percent of adults get their news from Facebook. But is it really ‘news’ if users are continually consuming the same stuff from the same people? Pablo Barberá, a doctoral candidate at NYU studying social media usage, warns against these limited perspectives.

“As we move from a world in which traditional media outlets control the content we receive to a world in which most of the content is coming from our friends, it’s really important to understand who your friends are,” he told the New York Times.

echo chamber

“Two users of Twitter might be exposed to very different content based on which accounts they choose to follow, while two people reading the local newspaper… [read] the same content,” Brian Knight said.

A recent study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research proves the consequences of filtering, which is often invisible. The study analyzed the Twitter accounts of 2.2 million users throughout the 2012 election and found that 90 percent of both conservatives and liberals were receiving information from users with the same political viewpoint. How would viewpoints change if users were exposed to more information?

Pariser argues we should go back to 1915, when people read the newspaper, not tweets or status updates. He calls for a renewed code of journalistic ethics and a sense of civic responsibility.

Is our information consumption completely and totally on us? Do media sites share this responsibility?

How can we pop the filter bubble?

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The Starter Pack Trend

If you’ve even glanced at Twitter the past couple days, a new tweeting trend has erupted (in between posts of Kim Kardashian’s photoshoot): the Starter Pack Kits. Overnight, accounts have been created like @ItsStarterPacks, @thisstarterpack, @TheStartrPack, and @StartersPack, posting similar, or even identical, posts. The format is simple- post 4 images of clothing, hair styles, props, accessories, etc with the title, “The X Starter Pack”.

Many posts play on racial or gender stereotypes:

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Lots of users on Twitter have tweeted personalized posts about their friends or have created their own pop culture-related packs. And of course, there are hordes of imitators and re-posters.

The outbreak of this new social media fad relates to much of what we’ve learned in class– viral habits in the media from newspaper clippings to tweets, what’s considered “cool”, reinforcement of stereotypes, and how technology changes the way we communicate and share ideas.

As fast as the trend started, Starter Packs has already been bombarded with the “enough already” criticism. The faster technology advances, with millions of users able to observe and contribute instantaneously, the quicker fads will come and go, only to be replaced by the next viral hit.

In between all the starter packs and Kim’s rear, did you guys still manage to consume news as usual, or have social crazes become too distracting? Do you think news sources face a challenge with the rapidity of social media information sharing? Are posts like this harmless and all in good fun, or are they too influential in propagating stereotypes?

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