I often find titles to news articles intriguing, interesting, and sometimes even funny. The way that the media presents certain ideas can be twisted. In this photo below, we see a photo of two magazine front covers. The Time Magazine cover reads An American tragedy, while the Newsweek magazine reads a trail of blood. The picture on the cover is OJ Simpson, which we know went through a very controversial and public trial years ago. The OJ Simpson trial created a lot of divide in people as they questioned whether he was innocent or guilty. We see the two magazines portraying their different opinions through the just the titles, along with the photo used and the coloring of each article. We see how each article is attempting to evoke different emotions and feelings from the reader about OJ Simpson, giving them an opportunity to think about OJ a certain way.
Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw present to us the idea of agenda setting. Agenda setting theory is based on the idea of the media agenda. They define the media agenda as “the pattern of news coverage across major print and broadcast media as measured by the prominence and length of stories.” (376) They say that “the mass media have the ability to transfer the salience of issues on their news agenda to the public agenda.” (376)From this theory, we learn that the media has an agenda to display to the public in order to present us ideas and topics to think about. This is where the public can step in and fall into the medias agenda. The public then use an “index of curiosity” which is “a measure of the extent to which individual’s need for orientation motivates them to let the media shape their views.” (378) The media agenda can then lead into the framing of what they would like their audience to think ABOUT. McCombs and Shaw say that “need for orientation arises from high relevance and uncertainty.” This is how they say the audience begins to look for an agenda, in order to understand, leading to the media shaping their views.
The magazine covers mentioned and shown above is a great example of how the media sets an agenda, and can then go on to shape and frame how they want their audience to think about a topic. With the controversy behind the OJ Simpson trial, the audience had the index of curiosity that McCombs and Shaw discussed. This then allows the audience to pick up the magazine, or just see it in the store and form an opinion about the trial through the language used on the front cover. The coverage of the OJ trial and the prominence of it in the media when it was happening is also a general example of the media agenda. It was printed endlessly and covered prominently. OJ is a well-known public figure, therefore prompting the media to se an agenda behind it for years and years to come. With all that said, we see through the magazine covers and the OJ trial examples of many ideas presented in McCombs’ and Shaw’s Agenda- Setting Theory.
There’s no doubt that the age we live in today is a time of technology and all things digital. Social media, email, texting, etc. are all things that are embedded into our everyday lives. These things, while extremely handy, are changing the environment we live in drastically. My grandmother, who does not know how to text, prefers to make phone calls. If you text her, there’s a 99% chance that she will not see it or ever respond to it. Her understand of text messaging is that it is much more inconvenient, can be ambiguous, and she doesn’t feel as though she can communicate what she wants to say. Living in the world we live in now, the younger generation would most likely strongly disagree, believing that it is quicker, more convenient, and can even allow you to say more than you may on the phone or in person because you can in a sense hide behind the phone. Both of these different beliefs can be related to media ecology and the way McLuhan discusses it within the chapter.
Marshall McLuhan discusses his theory of Media Ecology. He defines this as “the study of different personal and social environments created by the use of different communication technologies.” (317) Going along with this, McLuhan also bases this theory on the idea that “the media is the message.” (316) By saying this McLuhan wants us to understand that “media-regardless of content reshape human experience and exert far more change in our world than the sum total of messages they contain.” (317) Essentially, this theory is based on the idea that it is not as much what you hear, as how you hear it. The way messages are communicated and presented to us through technology are important as McLuhan believes that the media is the message, as stated before. Different people can understand these messages from media in different ways. McLuhan says that “different personal and social environments created by the use of different communication technologies.” (317)
As we read through McLuhan’s idea of media ecology, I thought immediately how my grandma would interpret messages different than I do based on different media bases that the message may be sent. Her environment is much different than mine. I am surrounded and engulfed in technology based messages, while that is not what she has always been surrounded by. The way in which I communicate her is essential to the message, because one way will not resonate or even get to her for her to see or hear. The idea of the media being the message I see as especially prevalent between generations and the human experience for each person. I believe McLuhan was spot on when he goes through each “generation” that we have been through in regards to mediums and how we have communicated with each other. I have to be mindful with my grandma when I communicate with her, knowing that her preferred media is different than mine. To assure that we are on the same page, I can relate back to Media Ecology.
Recently, I went home for the weekend to visit my family. I went to look in the freezer for something, and it was taken over by a ton of cardboard boxes filled with cookie dough. My dad was in the kitchen with me and explained he bought the from a friend for his son who was selling for a fundraiser. I was beyond confused as there are only 3 people in my house while I’m at school, and I knew there was absolutely no way that they were going to eat 100 cookies anytime soon. It seemed like a waste, especially because we don’t really like the school fundraiser cookie dough. When I questioned this, he told me his friend’s son was selling them as a fundraiser for school. He said he really didn’t want them but because he liked the guy who was pushing them for his son, and he knew his son, he decided he would. I still didn’t think it was necessary to buy 100 of them, but he said that he felt pressure to ensure that he did his duty to the fundraiser to help and support his friend, because again, he really liked the guy and felt incline.
In Cialdini’s book Influence, chapter five discusses the concept of liking. Cialdini says that “as a rule we most prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like.” (Cialdini, 167) Liking is essentially how a consumer acts when being asked buy a friend to buy or participate in something. You could need the product or you could not need the product, but either way you will be more inclined to purchase something from someone you like, according to Cialdini. “Other compliance professionals have found that the friend doesn’t even have to be present to be effective; often just the mention of the friends name is enough.” (Cialdini, 169) This is another interesting idea that Cialdini points out. The idea of pressures from friends can come from even just hearing their name, and from that we will be more inclined to participate or purchase. This can go to explain why so many business relationships are formed with an initial friendship as “professionals seek to benefit from the rule even when already formed friendships are not present….they get us to like them.” (Cialdini, 170) Overall, we find in most scenarios whether it be fundraising, business, parties, etc. the idea of liking plays a large role in participation and purchases.
While we certainly did not need 100 premade frozen cookie dough balls in my freezer at home, because my dad liked the guy who was selling for his son and did business with him, he felt inclined and essentially obligated to buy the cookie dough. He even decided to go above and beyond to really ensure that he was doing the right thing. This could also be considered from the flip side as my dad does business with this guy, and this small gesture could lead to liking from him, possibly encouraging the friendship and future business. Liking relates directly to this because if my dad had not known a man, trying to selling cookie dough for his son, he most likely would have declined. But, because he knew and liked the guy, and was probably trying to get the guy to like him even more, he fell into the persuasion trap of liking.
In the show Gilmore Girls, Rory is out of college and is on the hunt for a job as a writer, but just can’t seem to find one that fits. In an episode of Gilmore Girls, we find Rory desperate to write about anything, as she hasn’t had anything promising come upon her in a while. She agrees to write a silly piece about waiting in crazy long lines in New York city. Throughout her time interviewing people and talking with the people in these lines, she found out a lot of loop holes around the lines, realizing that a lot of people were waiting in them for the “cool” thing. When the last person she interviewed was asked “what are you waiting in line for?” he responds with “Uh I don’t know.” Crazy, right? To wait in a ridiculously long line, without even quite understanding why you’re in it? What a concept.
In chapter four of Cialdini’s book Influence, Cialdini introduces us to the idea of social proof. Cialdini says social proof is “one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.” (Cialdini, 116) The idea of social proof is that we as people have “the tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it.” (Cialdini, 116) We would rather look like we are conforming with those around us, than do something that we may feel is right or correct, but don’t because we don’t want to be the one to stand out. Cialdini tells us that social proof has both benefits and disadvantages when we act on it. This statement made by Cialdini, “We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it,” provides information to the overarching idea that social proof can affect us in any situation at any time, all based on those around us.
I found the Gilmore Girls clip a great example of social proof and a way in which to see it in a way we may have before, but just not recognized it. For example, one of the things in the episode everyone was waiting for was a “croughnut”. What is a croughnut you might ask? It is a croissant and a donut formed into one, but I wouldn’t have known that. And it is likely half the people in the line did not either. But, when someone said that the croughnut was so great and there was a long line for it, that influenced others to stand in the line without any reference. When she interviewed another man to ask what he was waiting in line for, he didn’t even know what it was for, but there he was, waiting in it. How crazy that someone would wait in a line without knowing what its for? While that might be a little dramatic, the idea that because everyone else was in the line, he would wait in it too is a great example of social proof.
Some may say that this is the best time of the year; Girl Scout cookie season. It’s during this time of the year that we have adorable little girls in adorable outfits asking us if we would like to buy a box (or ten) of Girl Scout cookies. Most recently I encounter a few girls selling cookies in the Panhellenic Building. While I haven’t been able to deny them any time before, I walked into the building determined I did not need to buy any. I figured this time I would be able to turn them down. I was in a hurry and all I had was my keys. When they asked if I would like to buy any, I turned them down, saying I had already bought some and I didn’t have any money on me. They responded with “we take card payments.” I told them know that I didn’t have my card. And then, unexpectedly, they came back with “we take Venmo” and bam. I left the building that night with yet another box of Girl Scout cookies.
Ryan Gosling is me.
Perloff chapter 1, Introduction to Persuasion, does as it say and introduces us to the idea of persuasion. Perloff defines persuasion in this way; “a symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people to change their attitudes or behaviors regarding an issue through the transmission of a messages in an atmosphere of free choice.” (Perloff, 17) Perloff’s is different than others as it contains components that other definitions of persuasion do not. I would like to focus on the end of the definition when Perloff mentions free choice. This gives us the idea that there is free choice, but what is it when there is not free choice? That is coercion. When it comes to free choice, Perloff claims that “self-persuasion is the key to successful influence.” (Perloff, 22) Essentially Perloff tells us that others can only set us up for persuasion, but we are the ones who ultimately persuade ourselves. Coercion on the other hand “employs force.” (Perloff, 22) It is important to understand that persuasion is not coercion and vice versa. To simplify it, according to Perloff, persuasion=free choice and coercion=force.
In my example regarding the sweet girls selling me Girl Scout cookies, I was sure they had coerced me into buying them. They gave me 3 options of purchase, the last one being one I could not, for whatever reason say no too. But according to Perloff, this is persuasion in its finest and simplest form. In the situation, I was in I completely and fully had the opportunity to say no to purchasing cookies. There was no force and no threat to me had I not bought cookies. But, their offers and smiles persuaded me too, even when that was not my intention. This was fully my choice. As Perloff says, we persuade ourselves. I could have said no, but instead could not resist to deny the cute little girls and felt a sense of guilt as I thought about saying no. So, in this example of persuasion, we are able to see exactly what Perloff means by free choice, persuasion vs. coercion, and the idea that we persuade ourselves.
Have you ever had a fight with one of your parents? For me, I think back to the days of middle school when my mom and I barley went a day without getting into an argument of some sort. Sometimes I believed my mom and I would argue just for the sake that each of us wanted to be right. Now as I’m a senior in college we rarely argue and if we do, I handle it much more like an adult which makes these arguments a lot smoother. In general, I remember my mom saying no to something that I had asked of her, from her, or to her and thinking “she just says no to say no.” As I’ve gotten older and watch my parents argue with and parent my brother, who’s now a senior in high school, I see the consistency that they once held with me. My brother will ask to do something that maybe they don’t totally disagree with, but if they’ve said no before, most of the time the answer is still no. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are reasons for the “no” phenomenon children see in their parents that regard the safety and health of the child, etc. But it’s also interesting to consider the possibility of other things that influence the way parents parent their children.
In our book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini, in chapter three Cialdini addresses commitment and consistency. In order to help us better understand what consistency and commitment is, Cialdini mentions towards the beginning of this chapter is that “it is important to recognize that in most circumstances consistency is valued and adaptive.” which he says makes it “so powerful a motive…” (Cialdini, 60) Cialdini discusses in this chapter the human nature that is behind us being consistent and upholding commitment as it is part of what stems our everyday behavior. Levels of high and low consistency are related to a certain type of person, either being looked down upon with low levels of consistency, or looked to as a noble person with someone who has high levels of consistency. Cialdini points out that “because it is so typically in our best interests to be consistent, we easily fall into the habit of being automatically so, even in situations where it is not the sensible way to be.” (Cialdini, 60) Cialdini says that consistency offers a “shortcut” and that “we need only believe say, or do whatever is consistent with our earlier decision.” (Cialdini, 61)
When considering the experiences, I have had with my parents and watching them parent my brother, I can see the ways in which they have chosen to be consistent with the rules they enforced, even if they may differ on those rules or feel as though there is no reason to argue about it. The shortcut being consistent can provide can sometimes be the easy way to ease a situation that may require more thought or effort or even result in an argument should they engage in the conversation. As Cialdini says, it is a human nature to follow through with being consistent. If my parents were not to be consistent after they chose a previous decision there was the chance that as their children we would see the “undesirable personality trait….whose beliefs, words, and deeds don’t match (and) may be seen as “indecisive confused, two-faced…” (Cialdini, 60) Being consistent as a parent can often be in the best interest of the child, but also relates directly back to the ideas Cialdini points out in this chapter when it comes to consistency and commitment.
Jane the Virgin is a TV series about a girl, Jane, who was accidentally artificially inseminated. This show is about Jane’s relationship with her family, her ex-boyfriend, and the father of her child. I have attached a photo below of a scene in an episode of Jane the Virgin. The father of Janes baby, Rafael, offers Jane’s ex-boyfriend the opportunity to become the godfather of Jane and Rafael’s baby. While this may sound silly, Michael, the ex-boyfriend had been fighting to be a part of Janes life and he had just rescued their baby. While Rafael does not like Michael, in this time of great appreciation for what Michael does for their baby, Rafael feels inclined to reciprocate the grand gesture. While this example may be unrealistic, we still see the idea of reciprocity behind Rafael’s action towards Michael.
In the book Influence by Robert Cialdini, chapter two addresses reciprocation. Cialdini starts this chapter by giving us an example of what he calls “the rule for reciprocation. This rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us.” (Cialdini, 17) This rule is a basis for this chapter and is exemplified many ways as Cialdini goes into detail regarding reciprocity. An important idea of the reciprocity rule is that after the act presented by someone “we are obligated to the future repayment of favors, gifts, invitations, and the like.” (Cialdini, 17-18) The rule of reciprocity is one that has been embedded in us and aligns with our human nature. Cialdini goes into the idea that even the liking of someone does not affect reciprocity negatively when it comes to favors and reciprocation. After an experiment explained in chapter two about the idea of liking Cialdini says that “the rule for reciprocity was so strong that it simply overwhelmed the influence of a factor-liking for the requester- that normally affects the decision to comply.” (Cialdini, 21)
Through the Jane the Virgin example given in the first paragraph, I explain the way the rule of reciprocity is seen in this specific episode. We can directly see what Cialdini would describe as reciprocity as Rafael repays Michael for what he provided them with, with an outstanding honor for his outstanding act of heroism. There was a certain amount of obligation to repay him and this was a way he felt he could do so. As mentioned in the Cialdini chapter, the rule of reciprocity also includes the obligation we feel to return whatever was received. I also mentioned that Rafael does not like Michael. They have both been fighting over Jane’s love and in turn have turned into enemies in a sense. But, in this scene we see Rafael asking Michael to be the godfather, despite their issues. This also directly relates to what was mentioned in the Cialdini chapter being that the urge to reciprocate can be extremely effective even when we do not like someone. Not liking someone does not change the way we see the rule of reciprocity. The episode of Jane the Virgin while fictional still displays the very real ideas that we see every day in society through the rule of reciprocity.
Ted talks are known to present powerful and informational ideals that provoke thought and can be inspiring. In this TedX talk, Dominic Colenso discusses the importance of stories. He references social media and the ways in which we use it to present the happiest parts of our life, not telling our full story. He even tells stories of his own throughout this talk, which is ironic in that he is discussing the importance of telling stories. He addresses how he, at one point in his life, stopped telling his own story saying it was not relevant. He discusses how when he stopped telling his story pushed him to lose his identity. He pushes the idea throughout this video that stories make us who we are and help us connect with each other.
Richard Kearney addresses in his text the idea of stories. Kearney right off the bat makes the claim that “stories are what make our lives worth living. They are what make our condition human.” (Kearney, 3) This claim is one that largely is exemplified throughout his writing about stories in this chapter. He delves into the ideas of myths, personal stories and the ways that “narrative provides us with one of our most viable forms of identity- individual and communal.” (Kearney, 4) He discusses the history of storytelling and references ancient Greek times and philosophers such as Aristotle. Kearney discusses both stories that have full truth, that are based off of personal encounters, as well as the ideas of myths, which are stories that have truth but have made their way to now from history. Myths often come from some sort of “narrative fantasy” as mentioned by Kearney. (Kearney, 7) The point of these narratives or myths was to “retell a story that had been told many times before.” (Kearney, 8) Kearney goes on to discuss myths in a way that allow us to understand the true purpose of stories and how we continue to tell not only myths, but our own stories today.
In the Tedx talk, mentioned in the first paragraph, Colenso addresses the importance of telling your own story. In the Kearney chapter, Kearney discusses the importance of stories in general and gives us a reference for history and meaning of stories through our developed language as well as the way we connect with each other. Kearney mentions in his chapter that the words “once upon a time” have opened up the doors to us telling a great story. I found it ironic that in the Ted talk, Colenso begins his talk with just those words exactly. Colenso really pushes the narrative that stories are essential to our being and that “when you share your stories you create connection.” This is represented throughout the Kearney chapter as well, as Kearney presents the idea that “who I am is a story.” These two texts, while different, complement each other and support overarching ideas of stories throughout each. Kearney says in the last line of this chapter, references Socrates “that the un narrated life is not worth living.” While Colenso does not make a claim that large, he does agree that stories form us, make us, and create us, and without them we lose our self-identity.
With this course being one of my last communication classes to take (sad), I am embracing the wonderful atmosphere of the comm. department and excited to learn the last bit of what Baylor Comm. will offer me before graduation in May. For this course, I have a few goals, some personal and some academic. First, of course, I want to do well and earn an “A” in the course. While this may seem like a basic goal, it is one that is important to me as I have approached all my other communication classes with high expectations of myself to learn and do well. Which leads into my next goal. I want to push myself to learn something new, engage in each reading as if it has gold to offer me. Finishing up this semester, I want to ensure I am well equip with information learned through my classes to take on the real world with confidence. Lastly, I want to find practical information through this class that I hold onto to apply it to my future endeavors. This certainly has not been hard to do with my other communication courses, but in order to not push my courses behind me, I want to ensure I am engaged and use this goal as a tool to push myself to learn and accomplish my other two goals mentioned.
As a second semester senior, things have really seemed to become a whirlwind. Emotions rising, anticipation building, and a sense of the unknown has surfaced. While all of these things are happening, I’ve found myself remembering that even though I am approaching a new season of life, I am still in the season of college. This semester is going to be a mix of academics and work life, so I have a few goals that include both of those. Academically, I want to finish out this semester strong. I want to walk off of the Baylor campus knowing I left everything on the table and did the best that I could. I want to put my last efforts of academic excellence into each one of my courses. I want to push myself to increase my GPA. In regards to my journey towards my future occupation, this semester, my BIG goal is to find a job. I hope to spend a lot of time searching and applying to find a job that fits me and that I feel will fulfill me. The challenge I believe for this semester is going to be balancing both my school work and my job search and accomplishing the goals for each of those categories.
As for myself as a whole, the goals I have could possibly make an endless list. But, to talk short term, I hope that I can be authentic this semester in everything that I do. I want to push myself to jump outside of my comfort zone with friendships, my job search, and even in the classroom. I want to aim to come out of this semester, and my four years at Baylor, as a better student, friend, daughter, citizen and person overall. While that might sound like a hefty goal, what’s a goal if it’s not intended to push you, right? I hope to find a job that I’m excited about and to make my family proud of me as I walk across the stage in May. I’m aiming to be kinder to myself and to take moments to be proud of myself. I hope to practice being present and intentional. Overall, my goals are meant to remind me that the path from where I am, great or not so great, can always take to me becoming a better me.
In season 1 of Gilmore Girls, Rory starts a new private school called Chilton. Chilton is filled with entitled children whom come from wealthy families and feel they own the world. Rory, coming from a normal home, with not much extravagance does her best to fit in. Rory at the age of 15 is still naive and equipped with living the small-town life, not much into the craziness of the rich students who are now her classmates. Tristan is a boy who seems to notice Rory on the first day and does the typical ‘I’m going to pick on you because I like you” act. He begins calling her Mary, referring to the Virgin Mary and uses it to get under her skin. In this episode of Gilmore Girls, we see Lorelei and Rory discussing the name that Tristan and the boys at school have now bestowed upon her. Rory, unaware of the meaning behind the name is frustrated with Tristan and his nickname that she does not understand.
In our textbook A First Look at Communication Theory, we are presented with a theory entitled Muted Group Theory, authored by Cheris Kramarae. Kramarae addressed the idea of a muted group, which is by definition “people belonging to low-power groups who must change their language when communicating publicly, thus, their ideas are often over looked.” (458) Kramarae in this theory puts a specific emphasis on women and the way in which we use our language to conform to a literal “man-made construction” of our society. (457) Kramarae says that “women’s words are discounted in our society; women’s thoughts are devalued” and she goes on the prove this point by giving examples on how our language is “man-made” in the literal sense. (457) She discusses the masculine power to name, claiming that “because of their political dominance, the men’s system of perception is dominant, impeding the free expression of the women’s alternative models of the world.” One way she explains this is discussion how there are gender related terms directly pointed at women such as “catty, bithcy, shrill, etc.…” but there are no alternate terms for men to describe them in the demeaning way that these words describe women. (459) This brings up an interesting idea when considering the language used and the ways in which it has been constructed by men.
In the Gilmore Girls episode mentioned above, we see Tristan addressing Rory with a name that has a sexual and potential demeaning idea behind it. When considering the language Tristan addresses Rory with it brings the realization that there is no word similar to address a man with, or no underlying name that you would use to call a man that would be in direct relation with Mary. Mary is alluding to the idea of the virgin Mary. Tristan was pointing Rory to be naïve, sheltered, innocent, and there are other sexual allusions that could be made as well. This use of language could be related back to the idea Kramarae defined as muted group theory. Rory falls into the muted group of being a woman and therefore lives in the world of man-made language construction. Her inability to use language to match that of a man’s is essentially the thing that Kramarae hopes to change.