What!! The time has come to wrap things up and finish the blog on a high note. It’s been a great semester full of really interesting topics all related to rhetoric. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d understand the concepts very well, but I actually felt I learned a lot from this class.
So my women in late night site went live a few days ago, and I was terrified to put it up. Mostly because I understand that this kind of site, which is very opinionated and biased towards one idea, could be taken the wrong way or disliked. This was not the cute interactive blog that encouraged the audience to join the journey. This blog gave off educational vibes, and that made me nervous. Especially after seeing the class respond to the other more interactive websites, I was nervous to see how mine would end up.
The main thing I designed my blog off of was the discourse community. We learned about this early in class, but it was what we based our blog and now website off of. The discourse community is the target audience who we would aim our content to please. For example, this is a comedy in new media blog. I centered my content to fit my target audience: comedians, entertainers, and people interested in the media, digital and entertainment, industry. Thus, I shaped my website to fit what I think they would respond to. A well-thought out history, galleries, polls – stuff I knew my community would respect and find value in. I was trying to fight an argument, so I knew I had to cover my bases and do my research. However, I knew my discourse community would enjoy the well-thought out argument for more women in comedy. I wanted to add to the conversation my discourse community was already having.
I also incorporated accessibility into the site as well. I included a lot of links to pictures, articles, blogs all centered around this topic for my audience to click and learn more. If people wanted more information, it would be ready for them to click on. Interaction was also key, albeit a bit challenging with a website so bogged down with information. I wish I could have grasped that part of the site a little better, but I understand the importance of it so the audience can really connect with a site.
One more thing – Wix is amazing! Wow, I really loved using this website. It was so easy to utilize and I actually used it to create another website for my internship experience. Please feel free to check it out (I think it looks pretty legitimate): http://www.sanbo105.wix.com/awesome
Overall, the website allowed me to really craft a piece of work around an audience that I want and will always be a part of. I was really glad we ended the semester with such a creative project. Woo! We did it! Time for me to spread my wings and fly into the real world and back under my mother’s roof. Thanks for reading, everyone!
Whew! Let me tell you, this actually felt like a final. Maybe it’s because I had full control over the content and the feel of the website, but I could easily edit it for hours on end. I feel like I am a part of this website, as if I am coming through the screen and watching you read what I wrote.
I hope you enjoy my final new media website! It’s about women in late night, or, um, the lack of women in late night. I thought this blog told a cohesive story of the history of late night, the reasons men dominate, and why women should get their fair shot.
I did a lot of research on this topic, so I hope you see all those links as me being passionate and thorough. I also hope this is an entertaining read for all, and that you find that I add to the conversation of why women should be more represented in the world of late night.
The idea for my final project for my Composing New Media class is going to be centered around comedy in the media. I want to focus it on women in late night, because I think it has become such a male dominated medium. I’d like to write about what women have done it, why women aren’t more present on late night, and who could run their own show after hours. I’d like to incorporate polls, videos of past women hosts, and media examples demanding it.
Recently, my roommate told me the funniest show on television is Friends. I looked to her, a bit confused.
“Friends ended ten years ago,” I commented.
She laughed. “Eh, it’s still on TV.”
In a way, is she wrong? I don’t think so. Friends has been over for more a decade, yet I feel it’s presence in our culture now more than ever. It’s the sitcom that always seems to be around, always on in the background making us chuckle while we make dinner. Netflix has allowed the show to be accessible on every platform, from phones to tablets. Friends never really ended. People still consider it to be hilarious, the funniest show on TV, all these years later.
I decided to explore just why Friends is still loved and adored by fans. What makes it so special? Does the humor still hold up? Am I a Phoebe or a Rachel? I answer these questions and more. Please click the link below to read my thoughts on why America’s favorite sitcom from the 90’s is still America’s favorite sitcom today.
I guess we live in a world where Mean Girls can be spun off into a virtual “choose your own adventure” app. Huh.
With every game and app comes the concept of procedural reality. It’s defined by Ian Bogost as “the art of persuasion through rule-based representations and interactions, rather than the spoken word, writing, images, or moving pictures.”
So rules. Every game has rules, even “choose your own adventure” games. I mean, isn’t every game that provides you with options full of rules? They’re defined by rules. The rules are you can only pick the option predetermined by the game makers or app developers. It’s not as if there are fill-in options, where the player can truly choose what they want to do virtually. No, the rules are already set in stone, and there isn’t much wiggle room. “Choose your own adventure” – more like “choose an adventure that we have created but you can follow along with.”
Back to Mean Girls. Ah yes, a beloved classic from the good old days of 2004. Featuring the likes of pre-drugs Lindsay Lohan and pre-fame Rachel McAdams. The film struck a chord with viewers because of its humor and relatable scenarios. Throw in a few SNL stars here and a few zingers there and boom! You’ve got a hit.
Throughout the years since it’s release, Mean Girls has been over quoted and run down by fans who just can’t seem to let it go. You can even buy yourself a Burn Book and be just like the Plastics. But some business geniuses decided to recreate what was so popular about the film and turn it into a virtual app for all to play. There can’t be any consequences to that at all, right?
Bogost continued to analyze how we play games and how the rules construct the meaning of the game. These rules, these options we get, say a lot. It’s aimed towards a key demographic that may be easily influenced by the hidden undertones of this app. There’s a message to be found within this game. But what is it? And it is positive or negative?
So I played the Mean Girls game on the app called Episodes to find out. It’s important to note that there are various chapters that this app has, and I only ventured through Chapter One. The game picks up right where the first movie left off. All our favorites are there: Cady, Janice, Damian, Karen, and duh, Regina. But what’s this – we get to make our own character?
Yes, I named myself Jess. Here’s the one fill-in option we’re allowed: write your first name. I could have written Dolphin Face as my first name and the game would’ve carried on as normal. The name, even though it’s our choice, is irrelevant. The real rules come down to the hard decisions, like whether to be nice to our mom or not. Or what to wear.
Easily the most frustrating part of this game: the outfit. We get three free options (scholarly, fashion-forward, or adorable) and a paid option (pink – 60% off!!) to choose from. I chose all 3 free options to see what responses I would get. Yet no matter what I chose, Mom seemed to hate all of them! What? Why? To encourage the user to pay for the pink option to receive praise? (Please note: I did not pay, but that was the online consensus.)
So the rules are set out pretty plainly: fork over a few dollars and you’ll receive compliments. Or don’t, and just deal with the free version with no compliments. At first it didn’t seem to matter, because let’s be real, who cares what Mom thinks? It does, however, seem to affect our character later on, who becomes nervous about her outfit when approached by the mean girls at school.
How rude! The rules set up in the beginning seem to carry over throughout each interaction: – if you don’t pay, you won’t get praise. Only users who pay for outfits will get the perks of friendship and compliments from others. It’s a rough start for Jess, who just wants to fit in with everyone. Little does she know, she’ll have even more tough choices to make down the road.
I won’t bog you with the details (you’re welcome) but Jess arrives at school and bumps into a few characters along the way. The main goal for Jess is to get to the guidance counselor by 8:00am, but everyone seems to need her help! I chose to play it two ways: Scholarly Jess would avoid making friends to be on time, while Adorable Jess would stick with the characters and be late to the meeting.
If you’re familiar with the movie Mean Girls, then you won’t be surprised with the way it goes. You can’t have it all here in Mean Girls world. You can’t be friendly with everyone and make it on time to a meeting. No. There’s a choice to make. You have a social life or you keep your head in the books.
You can either make relationships and piss off the principal:
Or you lose out on making connections and win the approval of the principal:
The reality that the movie and now this app perpetuate is that the teenage girl will have to sacrifice her education and her responsibilities to gain popularity. The user has to make the decisions that society and the app creators inflict upon high school girls looking to fit in. This model of the real world places value on cliques and being liked rather than juggling a mix of a social and academic life. We are not introduced to anyone in the classrooms; we meet people in social settings like the hallway and the cafeteria. This model is a representation of the every world, just with a set of rules that define whether Jess succeeds during her senior year.
This app adds to this culture of popularity being prioritized over everything in high school. Education, hobbies, relationships with teachers are not even factors in this game. It’s either play with the Mean Girls or become ostracized from the student body. Hell, if users can’t make friends in real life, why not spend a few dollars and get adored by virtual characters? It worked for Jess, why can’t it work for the average player?
The high school world and becoming popular in real life is a game itself. You have to make the right choices, the right friends, and do everything to continue leveling up until you are deemed likable by all. So it’s not hard to see why the Mean Girls app was created. People are already playing it in real life, so it shouldn’t be that hard to do it and be successful in an app. So fetch.
I have always been a huge supporter of Wikipedia . . . who says that? But I’m serious – I’m probably one of the only users who shells out three bucks every few months when Wiki begs for financial aid. A professor says Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source? Too bad, I’m citing it in a paper anyways. Curious about what Bob Saget is up to, just like I was when I watched all of Fuller House last weekend in one sitting? Wikipedia him, of course. You have a question, Wikipedia has the answer. It’s that simple.
Why? Why do we blindly trust what other users can edit and post onto this source? How has a website that relies solely on the credibility of its users become so successful? Maybe for just that reason.
You have to let go and trust Wikipedia in order to find it beneficial to your life. You have to trust that someone out there is always editing and updating a Wiki page, making sure it’s accurate and up to date. Sure, there are some blunders here and there, but normally Wikipedia is a well monitored and reliable website to find information on. Users are encouraged to work together to provide a reliable source for people. It’s a community of people all striving for the same thing: to provide an online encyclopedia for the public to use.
For this project, we were assigned to update a Wikipedia page on a topic that we felt well-versed on. I mean sure, I know random facts about things here and there, but actually contributing to a Wikipedia page seemed daunting to me. I have never felt credible enough to provide a fact on anything in daily conversation, let alone online for all to critique and edit.
But then I got to thinking about my internship, and certain online comedians who I’ve had to research and learn about through their Youtube channels. After a bit of researching, I noticed that Kian Lawley’s Wikipedia page wasn’t as filled out as it could have been. After working on some of his content and assisting ATV with building his career, I decided to update his Wikipedia page.
I found this task to be difficult at first. It’s hard to decide that yes, I know this human being well enough to update their biography online for all to see. This is a person I’ve only met once in real life, and even then we spoke briefly about his work. I don’t really know who he is as a person, whether he’s nice or mean or shy or crazy or whatever. What I do know is his work and what he does. As an intern, I’ve had to analyze his Youtube video statistics, watch his movies, and scout roles for him. I practically speak fangirl because I know so much about his work.
So I chose a topic to edit on Wikipedia. And boy, did I edit! I switched some things around, fixed some grammar on other parts, and added all his new projects in. I had quite a groove going on. He should have paid me to fix his Wikipedia page, because I was quite proud of how I did.
After my initial edit, I went back a few days later to check on it and add some more tidbits. Then I checked the history of the page and saw that my edits had been changed by another user. At first I was a little offended, because I thought I spruced up his page quite a bit. But then I went over their edits and actually agreed with what they chose to fix.
A lot of what someone edited was the phrasing of certain sentences, which I definitely had trouble handling. There seems to be a certain flow to each Wikipedia page, and it’s hard to adapt to the flow of the page. One can’t have a unique writing style on the site. The tone has to be void of any opinion, which was hard for me to grasp at the beginning. But, I was able to find a balance of providing the facts without sounding boring. For example, I included a quote that exemplified who Kian is as an online creator but also was poignant and made sense to be on the page.
There’s a certain beauty that Wikipedia has – the users work together in order to give an accurate description and history of something. It’s a collaboration, a constant ebb and flow, and it’s a vital part of why Wikipedia is so successful. I kept on changing some things on the page, and found a nice back and forth with other creators that helped me understand just how important the website is. Turns out Wikipedia isn’t so daunting after all.
There are many social media platforms that, with a solid fan base, can launch an average person into stardom. Instagram, Twitter, and Vine stars are able to make a personal connection with their followers through these apps; they can interact with their subscribers instantaneously, reply to the comments, and take suggestions for their next project.
Every aspect of the creator is up for grabs online; anyone can feel free to critique or praise the star in the comment section below. To be a relatable social media star is powerful – fans want to be you, brands want to work with you, and people want to follow your every move.
Youtube started in 2005 as a streaming service where people could upload their videos to share with their friends. In recent years, it has transformed into a social media networking tool. Thanks to the growing Youtube community, everyday talented film makers produce their own content for a larger audience.
Whether it be about makeup, comedy, or music, it’s been proven that there’s a large pool of viewers on Youtube for these niche genres that the general television and movie audience hasn’t embraced.
It’s interesting to see the direction Youtube has been going in the past few years. Youtube celebrities are breaking through to the mainstream – there are billboards in Los Angeles promoting Youtube’s biggest stars, encouraging the public to join the other 7 million subscribers. Creators who have found a following through Youtube are now making waves in pop culture through talk shows, book deals, and fashion lines.
I have a little insight on what it takes to become Youtube famous, due to my current internship for a Youtube channel. With over 3 million subscribers, it’s a channel that prides itself on recruiting young Youtube creators to their talent network in order for both to gain more subscribers.
Because of my internship, I am suddenly hyper-aware of the pseudo-celebrities that Youtube has bred. The online persona is just that – a persona, an idea, a calculate glimpse of who the creator actually is. Like Baudrillard wrote, the screen dictates how much of the creator the audience truly gets to see. It’s an extension of who they are, not a reflection.
These social media stars have to become a brand of themselves, a glossy version of who they used to be when they would film their videos alone and upload to Youtube just for fun. On the screen, they are not reflecting who they truly are, but merely showcasing their best traits for an audience to enjoy.
I recently had to help my supervisor edit a video for the channel with one of their top tier creators. This means the creator has to have a massive following online (at least 1 million followers on a social media platform.) It was a sponsored video contest with a fruit company, Dole, and featured one of the most recognizable personalities. Because I was helping edit, I was able to see the outtakes, the bloopers, the sentences the star knew wouldn’t make the cut. I was shocked to hear how she spoke poorly about everything – the set, the script, the production. There always seemed to be an issue.
“This isn’t even funny,” she said to her mom. “At least it’ll get a ton of views.”
I paused and asked my supervisor if this was common for the talent to be so negative towards the company she’s now a part of. My boss said some excuse, that she was tired and had a long day of filming. But this wasn’t just some girl mouthing off for no reason. She didn’t like it very much, but she understood that she had a job to do. It was supposed to be entertaining for her fans, not for her.
The video ended up posting smoothed over all her complaints and showed her smiling, having a good time, selling the product. The comments underneath praised her for being so cute and relatable. If only they knew.
Kitzmann’s article comes to mind and his take on privacy in the world of modern media. His research stated that an expected audience has the ability to influence the creator and alter the way they create and produce their self-documentation. No longer is the self-documentation private. Now, there is the assumption that an audience will be watching. The content is then adjusted to fit certain expectations that an audience will place on the creator. Based on my experience with the Dole video, this rings true – these social media personalities will change and tweak their material in order to satisfy the masses.
They’ll also change their content in order to please executives and brands. The economy drives what types of videos get made and what sponsorships online stars will sign on to. Porter wrote about the driving force of the economy through the media, saying that there doesn’t have to be a monetary value for it to be an economic exchange online. There are brands and companies willing to put their name on a video or align themselves with a Youtube star just to watch what will spike audience participation. The virtual stars who can get their fans to follow and like other brands through sponsored videos are the most powerful.
This exchange of content for participation is often seen as valuable as the money behind it as well. Money may be a part of the virtual economic system, but the motivation for it comes from emotional connectivity and online participation. These online creators who have a strong influence over their subscribers are more likely to be approached by companies, where both can continue to build their empires through brand deals and partnerships.
Youtube, in a way, has become a platform where the creator has to sell themselves in order to achieve fame. Their channels are made out to be a reflection of the star, as if the viewer is getting to see the real version of the Youtuber. However, it’s only the best version of the star that we get to see; every bad word or negative attitude is cut out. In real life, it’s harder for these Youtube stars to edit themselves.
Youtube is one of the most popular websites of all time, and there is an audience willing to dive into the community to find talent and channels to watch. The stars appear relatable, friendly, and passionate about the content of their videos. However, because of the massive editing and false representation, do we really know the people we’re subscribed to?