Web Culture: Using Memes to Spread and Manipulate Ideas on a Massive Scale

By Gavin Brown

Introduction


“The Internet gives millions access to the truth that many didn’t even know existed. Never in the history of man can powerful information travel so fast and so far. I believe that the Internet will begin a chain reaction of racial enlightenment that will shake the world by the speed of its intellectual conquest” said former member of the Louisiana State Representative and former Klu Klux Klan Member, David Duke. [1] The Internet and its uses have grown exponentially since its inception. Through websites, social media, blogs, wiki, and streaming video sites, Internet users are able to use images, text, and audio to create and develop both insightful and outrageous depictions of our culture. The things that people put on the Internet follow trends and include patterns, styles, and characters based on common ideas that people share and propagate. Internet users have assigned these products the same name that Richard Dawkins used in his analogy to genes – memes. Though Dawkins’s work revolves around genes, the memes on the Internet have very similar characteristics. In the online environment memes can be spread incredibly fast and far on massive scales, regardless of content. They may educate, entertain or potentially discriminate.

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Social Media Influencing The 2012 Political Campaigns

By Gavin Brown

Authority Level 3In 2008, The Washington Post heralded President Barack Obama as the “Social Networking King” for his use of social media during his campaign for presidency [1]. While there were politicians before Obama who used blogs and web pages to seek funds and support, no one used social media to the same extent as the Obama Campaign.  Obama raised over half a billion dollars online. J.A. Vargus of The Washington Post states, “3 million donors made a total of 6.5 million donations online adding up to more than $500 million. Of those 6.5 million donations, 6 million were in increments of $100 or less” [2]. Continue reading

Social Media: Tool for Social Good or Aid to Slacktivism?

By Jeff Cain


Some think that social media is a virtual garden in which societal, cultural, and political activism can flourish, but is that truly the case? I will answer that question up front by stating, “Yes, the Web 2.0 world absolutely offers an expanded venue for activism”. I have pondered this topic for a while, but one particular case of activism, on the web, captured my attention and prompted me to consider the actual effect of these online activities. As regular users of Facebook will probably recall, in early 2010 many females began changing their Facebook statuses to the name of a color. [1] Not unlike many other things involving females, men everywhere were befuddled with this phenomenon. Eventually the secret code was cracked (or more likely revealed) that the colors referred to a woman’s favorite bra color. The point of this online exercise was to increase breast cancer awareness. Did it raise awareness? Maybe just a little bit. Did it give those women who played along a sense of satisfaction that they were doing something “good”? Possibly. Did it accomplish anything tangible with regard to curing or treating breast cancer? Probably not very much.

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Lost in a Crowded Room: A Correlational Study of Facebook & Social Anxiety

By Erin C. Murphy & Tamara E. Tasker

Introduction

Social Phobia is a frequently disabling condition characterized by fear of embarrassment and judgment in social and/or performance situations that manifests in different ways. [1] Individuals may avoid very specific tasks, such as public speaking or engaging in motor behaviors, such as eating, drinking, or writing, in the presence of others. Additionally, these individuals may fear overt, physiological “clues” to their anxiety, including blushing, stammering, or trembling. Avoidance of these social and performance situations often leads to impairment in occupational and social settings, negatively impacting the individual. Such fear and impairment leads to marked distress in these individuals as they withdraw from social and occupational settings.[2] Continue reading

Online Gaming Communities: Strengths, Limitations, & Death

By Jenn Ngo

Introduction

At the beginning of this semester, I wondered what, exactly, to do with my life after I graduate. I will be graduating in May 2011, and up until the end of September, I had no clue about what I wanted to pursue as a career or merely what I was going to do after college. During Labor Day weekend this year, I attended the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in Seattle, Washington, which is an annual 3-day gaming convention for gaming enthusiasts.

Although an avid gamer for over 5 years, I was never compelled to attend any type of gaming event. But in December of 2009, I was introduced to a game called “League of Legends” created by Riot Games. Since then, I have spent considerable time playing the game as a recreation in my spare time. Through Twitter, I was able to keep in touch with other members of the League of Legends community, including the game developers and staff members. It was through Twitter that I discovered Riot Games would be attending the Penny Arcade Expo, hosting tournaments and other events and also giving out free loot – shirts, headsets, keyboards, unique in-game items, etc.

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Text Appeal: The Internet, Dating, and Jane Austen, Part 2

By Ruth Happ

Editor’s Note: This piece, in its original form is recent Pacific University graduate Ruth Happ’s, thesis. Part I was published in November at: http://bcis.pacificu.edu/interface/?p=2210. In this final part we contrast the personal relationships of Jane Austen’s time to the non-committal “hook ups” of today, as well as the use of modern technology versus Austen’s community.

Original thesis edited by Pauline Beard
Interface version edited by Jenn Hernandez

In today’s world, one can see how many readers and viewers, especially women, would be drawn to Austen. The “sexual liberation” of women has not fulfilled its commitment to granting women a more powerful position in male and female interactions. Unlike back in the dating era, they can now initiate hook ups, but their goal of having a relationship is often left unmet. Females typically outnumber males on college campuses, which can increase the females’ competition and subsequently, the males’ power in “control[ling] the intensity of the relationship” (Bogle 174). The men are generally still the ones to decide whether a relationship will follow the physical encounter (55-56, 125). Partially because the male students have so many options, they are commonly more interested in casual hook ups with no commitment attached, while the females often want to “hold on” to a man because of the competition and because they are more interested in the long-term (55-56, 125, 174, 177). In fact, in all of Bogle’s interviews, love was never mentioned as a prerequisite for hooking up, and no emotional or romantic attachment paralleled the encounters, as would have been expected in the dating era (165). Interviewees, especially alumni, recognized that one cannot find a “quality” relationship through this system (137). Some post-college female alumni had expected to find a “quality” man sooner, but having spent their college years casually hooking up, they expressed deep concerns about finding a life partner (154-56).

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Payal Arora’s Dot Com Mantra. Social Computing in the Central Himalayas

Review by Jeffrey Barlow

Dot Com Mantra is an excellent work by Payal Arora, a much-published [1] Indian anthropologist who writes frequently on social computing, that is, the connection between society and the use of computers. This study is an ethnography (a branch of anthropology dealing with the scientific description of individual cultures [2]) done in the town complex of Almora, in a fairly isolated area of Uttrakhand, India, formerly Uttar Pradesh.

Dr. Arora is well qualified to write this particular work. She has studied at Cambridge (Certificate in Teaching ESL), at Harvard (M.A. in International Policy, Education) and at Columbia (Doctorate in Language, Literacy & Technology). This work is derived from her Ph.D. Dissertation, Social Computing in the Central Himalayas.

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Journalism’s Aversion to an Evolving News Media

By Jennifer Conner

Jennifer Conner (Pacific University Class of 2010) won the Berglund Award for Excellence, awarded to a graduating senior, for her Senior Thesis. “The Real Political Elite: Journalism’s Aversion to Evolving News Media”. Here we present the thesis in an edited version as:

Journalism’s ability to inform and influence the public about everyday affairs rests in its credibility and reliability. In order to ensure both of those qualities, journalism created a foundation in schools and ethical codes to which journalists could adhere. But the emergence of new technologies has changed the environment of traditional newsgathering and reporting. With easy access to public officials and records online and permeating social media sites such as Twitter, citizen journalists and bloggers now find themselves at the forefront of the news.

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Can Social Media Make You Healthier and Fitter?

By Jeff Cain

The obvious answer to the question posed in the title of this article is “no”. However, because of my personal interests in both fitness and social media, I have recently discovered the growing influence of Web 2.0 in the health and fitness realm. This prompted me to delve further into how and why social media might be used to enhance the lives of those seeking to make and maintain positive changes in their fitness and health. What I have discovered is that many individuals, companies, and organizations are utilizing social media in exciting ways to help people meet their health and fitness goals.

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More than Point & Shoot: A Look at Web-based Communication Strategies for Photographers

By Kenny Larson

As an academic requirement for graduation at Pacific University, students are required to complete a Senior Capstone Project. The projects are held to a high standard and require thorough academic research. This article will present findings from my project, which focused on building and analyzing online communication strategies for my web-based photography business, ShutterSight Photography. The study focused primarily on social-media marketing, a networking and advertising experience that has earned much attention.

Introduction

With all of the would-be photographers out there, there is a growing number of people who would love to make money with their skills. With as much existing competition as there is, how does one stand out?

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