A Man of Many Words

The person I decided to interview is one of my really good friends I met here at school. His name is Michael “Muki” McLaughlin and he writes for a website that him and a few of his friends created called highlycontroversialsports.com, a website that gives constant sports updates and has opinion based articles as well. With the website, he uses Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as other ways of spreading and growing the brand name, which I think is pretty cool because those resources bring you directly back to the source. I decided to interview Michael because he is my good friend and also because he likes to offer his opinion a lot on basically any subject or topic that comes up. I also wanted to see if writing is something he plans to have a future in because he as of write now, he does it all for free and his college major does not match the criteria of a writer When interviewing him, I started with some basic questions and then got to know more about what motivates him to write, so here is my interview:

  1. When did you start to write for highlycontroversialsports.com?

“I began writing for HighlyControversialsports.com last summer. We began the site in June, and officially launched in July after a month of “practice” blogs until we felt comfortable with our writing and topics.”

2. What is your favorite topic to write about?

“My favorite topic to write about would have to be MMA or the UFC more specifically. I am definitely an MMA junkie so being able to actually write about the stuff the stuff I follow along with all day long is awesome for me. It’s also a topic a lot of my friends and followers are not as knowledgeable about, so they rely on what I have to say  to stay up to date.”

3. I noticed some posts on your website are factual and some are very opinion based. Do you personally prefer giving straight updates or do you like writing opinion based articles instead and why?

“Our site is definitely considered more of a sports “blog”rather than an “ESPN” or “Bleacher Report” where they report on straight facts. We like to have the option of going going facts to opinion all in one post, and that is definitely my favorite way to do it. I like being able to lay out some concrete knowledge, and then give my opinion on those facts.”

4. What prompted you to start writing in general?

“I have always enjoyed writing, and after I took my college writing course senior year of high school, I felt that it was something that I was good at. So after about writing for 2 years of free writing at college, I was thrilled to actually be able to write for something “real” and produce content that people could follow along with when my friend approached me about starting Highly Controversial.”

5.  Would you like to try to grow your writing in the future or are you satisfied with what your are doing now?

“I absolutely would like to grow my writing in the future, and have aspirations to continue either sports writing on the side if it’s something I can’t fit into my career, or pursuing it down the line full-time. My biggest goal would be able to write a book or something of that nature, but that is something that is a few years in the future.”

When People Show No Love

After reading some of the posts other people wrote, I realized that a lot of people wanted to touch face in with more serious issues or comment on things that actually matter in the world right now. First off, let me just say that when it comes to commenting on social media I do not really comment on any sight unless it is Twitter or Facebook, with the occasional posts on Instagram. So I changed it up a bit. First I was thinking about going on to a sports blog and seeing if there was anything interesting but I thought maybe that is too simple. So instead, I went to YouTube and tried to stir up a little commotion there.

When I was younger, I used to love reading Spider-Man comic books and he really grew on me as being one of my favorite superheroes. Since those days, there have been six movies, and a seventh on the way that have three different actors portraying the iconic red and blue web-slinger. It started with Toby Maguire, then Andrew Garfield went on to wear the spandex, and now it is a youngster named Tom Holland. So how does this relate to the assignment? Well a new movie coming out called Spider-Man: Homecoming just released a second trailer a few weeks back so it gave me an idea for this assignment. I read through a lot of the comments posted about the trailer and I realized some people are die-hard Spider-Man fans and take it very seriously. I decided to post my own comment to see if I could get a reaction out of people and wrote this:

“Theres been three spiderman actors already but Tom Holland actually kills it the most”
Here is the full page of comments on the YouTube page.
So yea, as you can see I posted a simple, harmless comment, but I thought that it might be enough to get a little debate going on who has been the best Spider-Man actor so far. Well I thought completely wrong. I waited a while to see if I could get any feedback because I saw that people were jumping on comments left and right from earlier in the past, but for me, I got nothing. Now, maybe that is because the trailer I commented under was already three weeks old, and I know that does not seem like that long of a time but i guess in the comic book world with new movie trailers being released left in right, fans tend to lose interest in the old and anticipate the new. Then I thought that maybe I did not give it enough time for people to reply to, but in the end, I think it simply was not a good enough post to gain the attention of others. Overall, I think when it comes to YouTube, people tend to not care about the comments on videos as much as someone would care about a tweet or a Facebook post because those forms of social media are pretty much meant for people sharing their thoughts and opinions while inviting others to comment on them while YouTube is more frequently used for a visual entertainment. I know it is kind of a silly subject I touched upon, but I wanted to be a little different and take a less serious path traveled and I thought a blast to my past would be kind of fun.

Adolescence and Social Media

While I was reading Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed And Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated, I thought that Boyd made a convincing case on why it is so hard to live the way Ronson thinks people should. He said, “A lot of people move around in life chronically ashamed of how they look, or how they feel, or what they said, or what they did. it’s like a permanent adolescent concern. adolescence is when you’re permanently concerned about what other people think of you” (pg. 158). Ronson’s stance on how ease an individuals adolescence is that we should all try engaging life in the way a dog. He states, “A dog doesn’t lie. A dog doesn’t feel shame. A dog lives in the moment…We should be like dogs” (pg. 159). A way of achieving that shame-free lifestyle is method created by Blad Blanton, Ronson’s associate, is called “‘Radical Honesty”‘ (pg. 158). Essentially, radical honesty is a person admitting or following through with whatever is on his or her mind, no matter how weird or crazy the thought and that it is the only way to build real relationships.

In Boyd’s book, she talks about a past conversation she had with these two young girls Ashely and Abigail and recalls when Abigail told Boyd that their mom had treated the Abigail better than Ashely because of the way Ashely acted. Boyd recalls Ashley mentioning things that happened in her school such as “when boys mocked cheerleaders for their eating habits. Gossip about who might be pregnant, who was hooking up with whom, and who did what while drunk appeared to be standard fare” (pg. 130). Boyd then goes on to talk about how the way teens and young adults go about life, can really impact the way others live their lives. Boyd says, “the rise of social media has prompted tremendous concern about “cyberbullying.” Although the data suggests otherwise, the assumption among many parents and journalists is that social media radically increases bullying” (pg. 130).

The connection I want to make between the two authors is yes, Ronson has a good way of engaging life and it is probably the way everyone should try to live, but in today’s times with social media increasing and generations changing, it is very hard to live life using “radical honesty”. Personally, I think that using radical honesty or living in the moment is a hard thing to do because the times have changed and its harder to be a teen growing up then it was in the past. I chose the quote about all the high school things because it is a perfect example of the things teen and young adults think about now and with social media around, its easier to get those things out in the open. The one thing I don’t agree with about radical honesty is that there are levels of appropriateness that people should reach as they grow in life and radical honesty might now allow people to understand that. Continue reading “Adolescence and Social Media”

Screen or Print? Which is Really Better?

When it comes to using videos, I feel that it is a lot easier for someone to get their point out in the fashion they want to, meaning if some one wanted to include some sarcasm or comedic relief, doing that in writing and having the reader try to understand is a little more tough rather than being able to communicate it through words or sounds. For instance, the video about motivation that Will made would not have been as funny if someone were to read the dialogue between young Will and old Will rather then watching and listening to it. Also, with videos, the viewers get visuals and do not need to spend as much time trying to create images in their minds of the words they read. Videos are better in terms of showing someone how to do something. There were numerous videos we watched that were (at least I consider them) “how to” videos, meaning videos that visually showed the viewer how to do something. An example that i liked was Sam’s video on how to make a grand entrance, it showed different ways of doing the activity and was a lot easier to follow instead of reading words in a book or on print.

Besides videos being the only helpful item, print has some positive benefits as well. For people who have trouble understand or following along a voice spewing out information, print allows those types of people to keep up at their own pace. Also, print can be right in front of a person, giving them the ability to go back and forth between pages and go over any information they missed or go back to a part that caught their attention. Personally, sometimes I have trouble trying to say what I am thinking so when I write I have more time to think about the best way possible of saying whatever it is I am trying to say. If someone does not like to be on camera, print allows them to express themselves but in a way that more comfortable. When I was doing the concept in 60 project, I had to record some scenes many times because there were little mess ups I would notice so print allows us to simply backspace or erase or cross something out but videos make us rerecord full scenes.

So is video or print better? I do not think there is a definitive answer to that question. I believe that it is all based on personal preference. I think both video and print have their positive aspects and I think they both have their constraints as well. Personally, if I were to choose one, I would choose print because I think videos can be distracting sometimes and I would rather be able to write down and reread my writing looking for any mistakes and giving a quick fix to them, but again it is all preference.

Is Technology Really the Problem?

Everyday, the world gets gifted with some sort of new technology, whether it be helpful or not. Most of the time, the new technology has many upsides and capabilities and that attracts kids. when kids and teens get their hands on new technology they tend to become addicted for a while and parents and adults seem to blame technology for having a negative impact on a kid’s life. Danah Boyd wrote, “It is easier for adults to blame technology for undesirable outcomes than to consider other social, cultural, and personal factors that may be at play” (Its Complicated, p.99). The thing is that Boyd is right. Yes, maybe technology is part of the reason for bad outcomes but I think it does not have a big enough impact to be the reason for bad things happening and I think adults do not understand that technology is part of kids lives now. Back in the day a lot of the technological things (Iphones, xbox, Ipads, tablets, etc) did not exist so adults were not capable of experiencing the same things kids do today, so when they comment about how technology is bad for the younger generations, they are arguing from a stance where they never got a hands on experience. I do think that society plays a big part in undesirable outcomes because the people in society have created a new norm of how to live and if someone does not live the same way then their considered an outcast so I think that all these expectations placed on the younger kids pressure them into becoming something they truly are not or they do not show their real identity.

Another thing Boyd wrote about was how children in today’s day and age are becoming addicted to technology, comparing it to drugs and alcohol abuse. I think that is going a bit over board with the comparisons because yes kids and teens tend to always seem to be on their phones and laptops but by doing that they’re still not causing harm to their bodies. In this little segment, they talk about how young people are not necessarily addicted to technology, but they over use it instead. Again, I have to bring it back to the fact that older people grew up in a whole new generation with less technology available to them so they don’t quite understand how life has changed dramatically and everything is so much different compared to their time period.

Social Media Streaming

Everyday it seems as if a new form of social media appears. It started with Facebook and then Twitter, then Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, etc. As more people join on to the social media movement, each form of social media tries to figure out ways to stream live newsfeed updates faster to their subscribers. But is faster always a good thing? In his book, Carr states “They’ve also placed a whole new emphasis on immediacy. A “status update” from a friend, co-worker, or favorite celebrity loses its currency within moments of being issued. To be up to date requires the continual monitoring of message alerts” (Carr 158). What Carr essentially is saying is that that as live update streaming becomes faster, people tend to care less about the updates they receive because there will always be a new form of news coming in the next seconds that could be or is already more interesting then the prior news.

Image result for social media updates
Image from flowplant.com

As a user of pretty much every form of social media, I would have to agree with Carr on the idea that status updates tend to lose their “currency” because of how everyone wants everything to be faster. I will be on Twitter and as I scroll through the millions of tweets that appear, I become less interested in what people have to post for two reasons actually: One, like Carr said, social media update streaming has become so fast that everyone has the opportunity to constantly refresh their feeds and new updates or news will appear in micro-seconds, causing users to careless about some of the other updates. The second reason is having the power to instantly update your friends, family, acquaintances, or whoever else can tend to lead to a person abusing their social media privileges because there are always those people who need to send updates of every aspect of their lives whether its eating a bowl of cereal or jumping out of a plane, those people still exist and the immediacy of social media updating causes other users to care less and less about what those people have to post because they post so often.

In the end, social media is always going to exist (except for Vine, that kind of disappeared out of nowhere) and people are always going to figure out ways to improve it, it just depends on how each company goes about when it comes to making their subscriber’s social media experience the best.