Social Movements and Activism in Viral Media by Cintia Guerrero

Image Courtesy of California State University.

    I’ve been influenced by Social Movements throughout my whole life. I’m pretty sure everyone has, but I possibly have been surrounded by it more than others. Being Hispanic, I grew up with many different political movements but for the most part, it was about immigration. Anything dealing with immigration in my community became automatically viral.

One of the videos that helped me understand why immigration was such a popular subject in my culture was this video that’s in Spanish but I have translated it into English:

“Mi Gente”
Suffer, feel, laughed, cried,
street, screaming, with my people
suffer, feel, laughed, cried,
street, screaming, because I do not understand
If I, working from dawn to dusk
if being honest is my religion
I do not need to tell me
what I can do, no no no
If I came from far to this land,
never have I heard was that the promise
that here I would find a way
to live better …
[CHORUS: 2 times]
I want you to understand that also runs in my sweat
I love my land
ami also that hurts me the same thing that Austen …
know that I am here as it is either
that I’ll feel sad,
injustices, their poverty of my people …
[CHORUS: 2 times]
I suffer for you to follow not so
joy to feel that you understand me my
river to watch all my people laugh
your shout to the saver you feel so
[CHORUS: 2 times]
For my people is that I cry
I cry today is
for my people is that song today
is to sing so that my people
for my people is that I cry
your shout to the saver you feel so
for my people is that song today
song of my people, singing for my people eh, eh, i, uh … oh, oh
for my people is that I cry
not suffer anymore so …
for my people is that song today
for my people is that song today …
this is my land, for it is that I sing today
singing, song
this is my land, for it is that I sing today
singing, song
this is my land, for it is that I sing today
singing, song
this is my land, for it is that I sing today
singing, song
this is my land, for it is that I sing today

        This video came out in the late 90s and it helped me understand why immigration was such a major topic. It is through people’s own experiences that videos like these become viral. Then there’s other times that because there’s someone famous behind a movement that an object becomes viral like Ricky Martin’s video.
Spanish Version:

English Version

    This video was originally to give out the “Don’t worry, be happy.“ attitude. However, it later became viral because of its major influence in the gay community. The video angered some of the viewers, stating that the video should be banned and that being gay is not okay. The comments on this video go back and forth with aggressive feedback till this day.
    Like Viral Marketing, these social movement ads don’t guarantee change. Yes, you might be able to change someone’s mind here and there but you’re always going to have those people that won’t ever be influenced or too stubborn to change. However there at other times that change can’t be explained…

“It is possible for tiny actions to occasionally have huge consequences on the Internet — like the creation of a Facebook or a Wikileaks by tiny teams — because many thousands of people over decades set up the underlying structure of that seeming magic trick.”

    I guess what connects something being viral and actually taking an effect on someone is by having a different factor that no one has ever approached before. Kony 2012 is a perfect example of creating the “different factor.” We want something new and unexpected to catch our attention, and maybe, just maybe transform the way we see the world.

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The Networked Self Analysis by Papachrissi

A networked self
Image Courtesy of Barabasilab

When we come across viral media, we rarely think about how a piece is actually made viral. What I mean by this is how does something actually become viral? Through someone popular? Through a stranger? Who or what? That is after all what we’ve been discussing throughout class this semester, but it wasn’t until I read The Networked Self that I gained a whole new perspective in just how viral media works.

“There are a trillion pages out there. How many do you know personally? A few hundred, maybe a thousand? We all know Google and Yahoo but we’re much less aware of the rest of the trillion which are not so highly connected. So our knowledge is biased toward pages with more connections. And when we connect, we tend to follow our knowledge. This is what we call ‘preferential attachment.’”

Just how many sites are we known to access daily? I could name at least 5 from the top of my head. How is it that we find new ones though? This all comes back to Parikka’s ‘accident’ theory. I remember back in the day when the means of communication was through our good long social friend Myspace. We were all told to keep our profiles private to the public. There were some of us however, that didn’t do that. Some kept their profiles an open book for anyone to view. Anyone that had internet access was able to search them; if they wanted to, without any problems. I know of friends who spent hours on end looking at different profiles. Not to stalk people, but to look for new music to listen to. Honestly, I think some famous singers today have these stumbled upon “creepers” to some but as Boyd mentions in Chapter 2, “Invisible Audience” to thank for becoming so viral. Then again, this doesn’t always guarantee an audience.

Myspace Music
Image Courtesy of Switched

    It’s hard to pinpoint just where things come from. The Networked Self focuses on different aspects of just how social interactions actually work online. It’s amazing to know that many aspects such as culture, behavioral norms, race, gender, and etc. can affect how anything online is distributed.

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Thoughts on Media Ecologies by Matthew Fuller

Media Ecologies CoverImage Courtesy of Open Library.

    Technology is constantly changing and improving things that in the past were considered to be only done manually.  The people are growing accustomed to this endless state of change and it’s shown to have been this way for years in the book “Media Ecologies” by Matthew Fuller.  Who knew that some of the technological advancement had been caused by some sort of “accident” like Parikka had mentioned in his book “Digital Contagions.” In order to go into a deep understanding of Fuller’s book we must be able to define what media ecology is all about.

     Fuller defines Media Ecology as the study of communication mediums as environments in a materialistic manner.  This means when you look at a communication medium, like a bike, you try to understand the use of that given object and what it could offer into our culture rather than the environment itself. However, my understanding of Fuller’s point might be wrong as it was a difficult read.

Picture Courtesy of Total Comet Move.

For example, when Fuller speaks of the art piece “Embryo Arms,” the first stages of the making of a .45 pistol are seen as parts that are being clashed together to be finished as something seen as deadly. This metaphor can be put into Viral media today. Internet memes are at first seen as something that is well known and have some or no meaning at all, but as they are passed by and transformed they are seen differently from person to person.

     It is important to know not only how media is affecting the general public but also how the actual media itself works. It’s like understanding our world around us, if we don’t even understand ourselves, how are we supposed to understand everyone else?

“History is here imagined as a series of relatively negative preconditions. In developing a theory of media becoming we also need to develop an understanding of pre-existing formations as containing dynamics that are unrealized, that await composition with other devices, drives, or patterns.”

We must interact with other “devices, drives, or patterns” in order to commit certain actions.

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My reflection on The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

The Ghost Map Picture Courtesy of Programming Librarian.

    To be afraid of the unknown is to have one of the worst nightmares imaginable. The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson has got to be one of the most frightful books I have read thus far.  Johnson was able to composite the chapters in a manner that makes the reader wanting to know more about cholera, not to mention fearing for their own health.  He brings us back to the gruesome mid 1800’s where Cholera took its most outstanding hits on the human population that all started at Broadstreet (Soho neighborhood) in London.

    Johnson is able to arrange each chapter into time transitions.  He shifts from background information to the actual story line between John Snow and Henry Whitehead and their investigation in trying to find out where the outbreak started throughout the book.  I found the background information he addresses rather interesting, especially at one point in Chapter 2 where it talks about how important logos are to any producer and in this case patent-medicine manufacturers.

“among the first to recognize the importance of trademarks and advertising, of slogans, logos… Since the remedies themselves usually cost very little to make, it made sense to spend money on marketing.”

Comparing this information to today’s media is no different.  If someone wants something (in this case a disease) to be cured by their product amongst many other competitors they will have to make their product appealing to become viral.  This was in fact, positive in the company’s perspective but negative in the lower class section due to the costs.  Which is exactly what viral media does.  It could be positive for some and negative to others.  A good example would be the Stop Childhood Obesity Campaign. Although, this campaign was for good intentions, most people reacted negatively because they thought there was a better way to handle this situation.

    Likewise, Snow had to find a way to convince the people that the Miasma theory was not the one responsible for killing many citizens but rather the one responsible was something else.  Because people were uneducated at the time, it was more than likely that people would believe that some airborne virus was to blame for everything.   We remain no different than the people from Broad Street.  It’s not that we are uneducated, but rather we refuse to actually research a rumor (Miasma theory) and tend to pass it on to the next person.  Are we ever going to change?

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