Author Archives: Dio

Essay 1: BuzzFeed: A News Buzzkill

Departing from the age of television, social media platforms have taken as the primary source of news for most people. This technological shift has raised several issues on both the side of the audience and news distributors. Not to say that news on television is of absolute reliability, there is often an ambiguous amount of authenticity behind the sources in online news sources. The most significant issue that has been raised in light of the 2016 political election questions the level of reliability in news articles circulated in social media. This stands as an issue because unreliable, misleading, sensationalized, biased, or even false information in news can shape public knowledge. With this, I believe that online news media follows an extremely biased political agenda.

Although news bias is not a new problem in the news community, the contraction of professionalism that came with the shift from television news to online news has caused many online news corporations to lose integrity in their content. This is especially prevalent in newer “news” companies that seem to not only have an agenda, but are often caught using unreliable sources to back their content. This point raises the following question: Can a company that is reputable for its entertainment articles be considered a reputable news source? One of the most prevalent and controversial examples of this is BuzzFeed. As a company that was founded upon the onset of the digital age, BuzzFeed is considered by Bloomberg as a “social news and entertainment company.” (Bloomberg, 2017)

With these factors about the company being considered, a review on some of BuzzFeed’s recent articles regarding the politics reveals that they are more interested in giving audiences what they want to hear rather than showcasing a mature, practical and critical perspective on the issues they are trying to discuss. Although It is common knowledge that although Donald Trump won the most recent American presidential election, the majority of people who are savvy enough to be active on social media are rather progressive and disagree with the political agenda that Trump represents. Although there may be merit to their opinions, it is very obvious that there is a lack of critical perspective in news articles that examine the topic of contemporary American politics. For example, BuzzFeed produced this article about how celebrity J.K Rowling “roasted” Donald Trump on Twitter. (Woodward, 2017) Although most of their content may be factual in the sense that they provide direct links to the Tweets in question, this whole article has almost nothing to do with politics. Other than the fact that the receiver of these “roasts” is the most publicized figure 2017 in western media (even outside political discourse), the discussion in the article has little to no relevance to politics. At the same time, almost all of the audience knows what Donald Trump represents: conservative, uncool, racism, misogyny, negativity, etc. With this, it is evident that BuzzFeed is not interested in constructively dissecting Donald Trump’s political discourse or even who he is as a person, but is more concerned about labeling him as a bad person because it is the crowd-pleasing thing to do.

BuzzFeed’s content is not only under scrutiny by their audience, but also by scholars and other news corporations. News corporations such as The Guardian has raised concerns about the reliability of BuzzFeed’s political content. This article criticizes BuzzFeed’s article in which it actually has a disclaimer about the evidence behind their own article being “unverified and potentially unverifiable.” (Carroll, 2017) In an ethical standpoint, it should go without saying that when it comes to educating an audience, content should not be seriously conveyed without logic or evidence. With this, why would BuzzFeed produce an article where they cannot confirm their sources? (Bensinger, 2017) Moreover, BuzzFeed themselves are perfectly aware that their sources are not reliable, yet they put out the article anyway!

This all comes down to the fact that websites such as BuzzFeed are producing articles for the sake of making more money through clicks and increasing their popularity at the cost of public knowledge. I firmly believe that people like myself who are swarmed with articles like these on a daily basis dulls critical thinking, and people start to bandwagon on opinions based on unreliable news content instead of developing their own through critical analysis. Ultimately, this causes people to develop inaccurate opinions which can translate into people doing adverse things such as voting for an unideal candidate for an election.

With this, it needs to be brought into light that BuzzFeed’s content being “social news” should not be taken seriously. Because BuzzFeed’s entertainment content is circulated so frequently in social media, many people get the impression that they are a reputable source of news just because their name pops up a lot. With BuzzFeed’s entertainment content being considered, I feel that their entertainment content is very good at what it is trying to achieve: entertaining. When it comes to attempting to cover more serious topics such as politics where real consequences can come from inadequate opinions, BuzzFeed should take a step back and take on a more critical outlook and ensure that their sources are reliable instead of being trigger happy with their content just to make their audience happy. I strongly believe that agile and accurate opinions come from resistance; If there is just one dominant opinion being expressed through an agenda, we ignore why the opposing opinions are wrong and ultimately deteriorate the integrity of public knowledge and democracy.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Bensinger, K. (2017, Janurary 10). These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia. (BuzzFeed) From BuzzFeed News: https://www.buzzfeed.com/kenbensinger/these-reports-allege-trump-has-deep-ties-to-russia?utm_term=.gjMQmq8QK#.dnxK3WLKb

Bloomberg. (2017, October 17). Company Overview of Buzzfeed, Inc. (Bloomberg) From Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=46607363

Carroll, R. (2017, Janurary 11). BuzzFeed publishes unsubstantiated Trump report, raising ethics questions. (The Guardian) From The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jan/10/buzzfeed-publishes-donald-trump-russia-documents-ethics-questions

Woodward, E. (2017, October 7). J.K. Rowling Just Roasted Donald Trump On Twitter Again. (BuzzFeed) From BuzzFeed: https://www.buzzfeed.com/elliewoodward/jk-rowling-just-dragged-donald-trump-after-he-said-he?utm_term=.tjqJNmKJX#.lo14AYK47

 

 

The Walking Billboard

What does music and fashion have in common?

Not much to be honest, other than the fact that they both are often classified as “art”

One thing that people often overlook about contemporary music artists are the amount of social media attention they get. Celebrities are constantly photographed, even when they are doing everyday normal things like shopping, eating, and driving around town.  In this way, many clothing companies use this to make these celebrities a walking billboard. If you pay attention to celebrity photographs, you will get the idea that because they are wealthy, they are able to afford designer clothing. Although there is some element of truth in this, most celebrities acquire their expensive clothing for a discounted rate or even free, just because companies know that photos of the celebrity wearing their clothing will be circulated online.

In this sense, celebrities are the new billboard. Sometimes, they are literally on billboards.

Moreover, music figures have started to use fashion as more of a reason for people/fans to look up to them as an icon. A great example is Harlem Rapper A$AP Rocky, who consistently talks about and gets interviewed about fashion, seen dressing well, and even raps about fashion. Here’s A$AP Rocky hit song “RAF” rapping about the designer brand Raf Simons.

More than this, many celebrities have started their own fashion lines/collaborations.

What’s the deal with this? Is musical fame new the key to blooming the talent for fashion design?

This is not just a coincidence. Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd, Young Thug, Rihanna, and many more celebrities have close ties with clothing brands in terms of collaboration and promotion.

Breaking this down, I think it is evident that being “cool” as a public figure is what makes fans/followers of that figure to consume their products and ideas. Many critics (and just normal people) initially saw Kanye West’s questionable clothing line and thought that his clothing looked “bummy.”

In a way I’d have to agree, but when we recognize that what is considered “good looking” in fashion, it is almost absolutely socially constructed. Of course certain patterns feel psychologically appealing, but fashion as something outside of covering our bodies is something that is based on status.

With this, Kanye Wests’ clothing line doesn’t look bummy, but it looks minimalist. In conjunction to what we wear, the face that you represent and the context of you as a person wearing the cloths you wear says something about your cloths. With this, I think Kanye is trying to pull of the “i’m so rich I can afford to look poor” kind of look.

 With this, I conclude that much of what high fashion is about nowadays is what brands cool people like to wear, which is overtaking the previous idea of what was considered cool. In this case, it was what the “rebels” wore such as skater wear.

In addition to this, I feel that it is worth noting that the influence of the internet is so great that high fashion is often recognised through how the brands are interpreted online through this “walking billboard” concept.

Pretty cool, in my opinion.

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Reviewing Janelle’s Blog

Right off the bat your website has a very nice ensemble. The color coordination between your website and it’s pictures symbolizes a lot about you as a person. In a terms of theme, I feel that the subject of your blog is a little big broad and generic. I would recommend on focusing on something more specific about your lifestyle and travels. For example, something that you look forward to finding in your travels such as learning new cultures.

With this, I feel that you encapsulate not only your personality very well, but also compliments the content in yours posts as well. I feel that you took Travis Gertz’s advice on designing from heart rather than being generic. This gives your blog an advantage because “designing from the heart of our messages out means we fully acknowledge that they will not speak the same way to every person. […] Instead, we’re thinking about how we should treat each piece of content, designing to reflect [your] subtle personality.”  Although theme chosen for your website fits your blog very well, it is very evident that you have inputted a lot of your own design ideas into your website. However, there are some minor things I would change. For example, the header of the website (the very top tab) there is a tab on the left which brings up a submenu that gives the option to direct the reader to the “about” section of the website. I feel this is a little redundant because there is already an about section on the dropdown menu. In terms of of typography, the font you have chosen for the posts suits the content of your posts very well! For the sake of consistency, I would match the font in your header (on the front page) with the cover photo just beneath your header.

In addition to this, I really like the way you laid all your posts out. The only thing I would change on would be on the right side, where you have the menu title the same font and font size as the sub headers. This is what I mean.

Ideally, I feel that upgrading your typography on “Recent posts” as well as “Recent comments” would make your menu look a lot better. Otherwise, your menu is very clean and easy to navigate!

One of the bigger concerns I have for your website is the lack of social media integration. Since your blog is about traveling and lifestyle, I feel that pictures from other platforms would compliment your blog very well!

In addition to this, pictures (or even videos!) integrated into your posts would bolster your content a lot, I feel like many readers get bored when they see just a paragraph after clicking on a interesting blog title with an enticing picture.

You can access Janelle’s blog here!

I wish you the best of luck on your website!

 

Process 4

The audience I have been imagining are people who are interested in more than just the surface of music. As something that has come a long way, music is more than just wavelengths that go into our ears. Music is something that is historically attached to culture, and have always represented something.

In a more contemporary sense, music is something that has shaped people’s identities. Music is so impact to people’s lives that it has the capability to completely change a person’s mood and emotional trance.

The audience I have imagined are people who are open minded, and have a deep interest in not just music, but also art.  With this, I feel like the design for my website should not only be unique, but also artistic at the same time. However, I do have to keep it casual enough to make it easy enough for an average web user to navigate. Furthermore, I like to push my own ideas of what is artistic on this website to develop a sense of unique identity for my website. In this case, I really like artists who do not care about the mainstream direction of music and make music that represent themselves as a person and lifestyle.

In terms of my editorial decisions, I feel obligated to change my typical style of writing into something a little bit more casual; my tone of writing is the same tone in which I would use to hold a typical conversation. In this way, I can encapsulate complex ideas with language that is easy to follow.