Jake’s Favorites!

I really liked a lot of different pieces for different reasons this semester – this assignment was difficult! Picking only two pieces was like picking my favorite candy in a chocolate store (I love all chocolate).

I managed to narrow it down though. And the first piece I’d like to talk about is Amanda’s piece, “Ronson for the Gold.” I have a specific quote that I enjoyed for the prose of it. But I also liked how she was able to connect what we were reading to real-time events (United Airlines and Pepsi) and their recent dealings with public shaming. Her ability to connect our readings in class to current events showcases her writing skill and finesse in such a way that highlights her maturity as a writer.

The part I really enjoyed in her piece was:

“Ronson makes the point that each of the attackers made a choice as to whether they wanted to shame that person or not. Whether they thought they were “doing something good” or not, they each made the choice.”

First of all, I agree with the point she is making here about Ronson. That everyone has a choice when they’re online and that technology is simply a catalyst – not the issue itself.

I also liked her use of repetition to drive home her point, saying “made a choice” twice. And also her use of diction – calling the tweeters, “attackers.” Which is a fair choice of word in this case.

Also driving home the point, using the quoted ‘doing something good’ – it oversimplifies and understates that issue at hand – and I think this does a beautiful job of using underestimation to emphasize the point she was making.

For “moving beyond writing,” I have to pick James’ “Concept in 60 video.” Could this concept be translated into text? Into step-by-step instructions? Absolutely.

But there’s no way you’d get the same feeling of enjoyment and hilarity that you get from watching this essential concept in a 60 second video. While being wonderfully edited and put together, James’ video showcases his love for Star Wars which helps the reader or viewer relate to the video and pay attention that much more – and it also doesn’t feel like an ad, which perhaps a written text with a plug for Star Wars might seem.

The effort put into this concept video certainly helped James move beyond the page and find a certain tone and connection with the viewer that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do with simple written text.

You see a friendly guy showing you how to maximize your enjoyment when you finally find some time to sit down and watch a movie for yourself. Well done!


Does My Server Need to Eat This Week?

My piece that I wanted to re-mediate (into text) is my concept in 60 video, where I go over the basics of tipping your server at a restaurant. Although the idea for the video stemmed from Sarah’s current job at the Buffalo Wild Wings, I had also seen an “Adam Ruins Everything” video on it as well. If you are a server, be warned, you may not like Adam’s video.

Upon further research, I affirmed some of what Adam talks about. Tipping, or “To Insure Promptitude” (T.I.P. – get it?) was borrowed from our European brethren as early as the 17th century. Many believe that it came soon after the Civil War, when aristocratic travelers borrowed the concept from their travels throughout Europe.

There were actually anti-tipping movements in many states, and in 1915, six states tried and failed to pass a bill to make gratuities unlawful.

The whole concept of tipping, from what it used to be, was to insure that you were given first priority – also to show-off your aristocratic money – but do you think that the servers gave a shit? Tipping is a bidding war for the best possible service.

As an Economics major, we are typically taught that competition is never a bad thing (save for natural monopolies, but they hold no relevance here). Let these fat cats, and drunk playboys bid for my best service and you better believe that I will make sure they are never dry in their glass!

Also, it’s a great way to keep food prices down by reducing labor costs for restaurants, and ensure that servers give the best customer service. In fact, I would argue that more jobs should involve some type of gratuity pay so that more customer service jobs are held to higher standard, and are held more accountable.

Servers typically do a great job of making sure that your food is ordered and cooked in a timely manner, and they consistently check up on you and give you the experience (of not having to cook and serve yourself) that you pay for. Why shouldn’t it be up to the customer how much to tip? So what if tipping is more a custom than it is a necessity? You’re still an ass hole if you don’t tip. But if your server sucks, man then just give them 10%.

As I show in my video, tipping is very simple math. It shouldn’t make the dining experience any less enjoyable. And it shouldn’t feel like you’re paying an arm and a leg more for your food.

At the end of the day, it’s continue tipping, or pay higher food prices and relatively the same total amount for your food, but your server just gets taxed more on because they run it through payroll instead of letting them take it home as cash at the end of the night. No matter your political stance, being taxed on your income sucks. So don’t let that happen – keep tipping alive and well.

Let your server eat this week.

LinkedIn Social Action Post

When starting the “prep” for this assignment, I knew I wanted to write about something related to business. I thought it would be too cliche’ to write something on United, although that’s the hot topic nowadays. Then I got to thinking about what my group and I talked about in class one day – is the internet and social media used as a simple (yet effective) catalyst to share, usually detrimental, information with a larger public. I found what one would think would be an issue in business – accusations of a CEO firing employees with a potentially immoral underlying motive. And I posted it to my LinkedIn.

Now, I don’t have 15,000 followers or anything like that in my network, but I would think that as a business platform, that LinkedIn would serve to be my catalyst to spur discussion, or at least add to the conversation.

The author does a great job as well, keeping some sense impartiality, and simply reporting her findings. So I didn’t think that the discussion would be too one-sided. I thought it might garner some comments and at least a little discussion within an online business community.

However, after 102 views (according to LinkedIn), my post received 1 like and 0 comments. To play devil’s advocate for myself, here are a few “could-have-happened” in my opposition: perhaps people just scrolled through my post; perhaps, due to my lack of posting prior, no one cared to check out my post; perhaps I posted it with too little time for people to respond; there are a number of “perhaps” that could have happened.

So, how big of a catalyst is my personal LinkedIn? Apparently not that big. No game-changers, or mind-shifting ideals coming from my site.

But the article I posted interested me because, as the author on BusinessInsider wrote, she had a following. It was one of the featured stories. The tech company, Tanium, got publicity for this, and there CEO got called out on some potentially harmful accusations. The question I posed in my post is, without social media or the internet, would this have just been an internal issue? Or would the issue have been brought to the public’s attention, but at a much slower rate – perhaps causing the public interest to be lessened due to the lack of a catalyst?

It’s hard to tell sometimes whether news would be news without the internet and the information age. What would we do without our beloved social media and internet? What issues would be swept under the rug? What issues would still be important?


Plaintiff and Defendant

One of the things we often, as Americans, take advantage of in our country is our civil liberties. Our right to a fair trial, a right to be defended, freedom of speech. How can we take advantage of these things? Perhaps by not affording them to the people who need to utilize them the most. I’ve always been interested in the justice system, the way that lawyers defend clients that are “obviously” guilty. But, innocent before proven guilty is a statement made by many and, apparently, understood by few.

After reading Ronson, and more directly seeing him on screen, I can see why using the “plaintiff and defendant” example is so important. In a public shaming scenario, there is no defense attorney – there is no defense. There is simply a mob, and mob’s destroy things. One person follows the next because everyone says it’s a good idea. This reminds me of an old adage in our country not too long ago – I think they were called lynch mobs.

United Airlines is a perfect example. Yes, the video (taken from a poor angle) seems bad. Yes, the man had blood on his face. Yes, he was dragged off the plane. Could those United Airlines employees have handled that better? Probably. But we don’t know until we examine all the facts. Foresight is always 20-20 – cliche’, but cliche’s are cliche’s because they are always true. So in defense of the United Airlines employees, I still believe that you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt – here’s to hoping that there might be one.

Another popular example not too long ago was during the protests of the travel ban by our current Administration. Many taxi drivers (being of middle-eastern decent) did not drive their taxis for people exiting airports in support of the protests. Uber drivers were not allowed to participate in the protest, and I believe (from memory) that Uber actually kept their rates low, despite the increased demand, in order to take a bigger bulk of the business. Now, many people posted pictures on Instagram, Facebook, etc. of them deleting their Uber apps, now protesting Uber because they wouldn’t let their workers participate in this protest.

Uber is a business folks. Every business’s goal: make a profit. Uber saw that protest as an opportunity to rake in some revenue. From a stockholder’s point of view, Uber made a smart move. Now from a stockholder’s point of view from United Airlines, maybe not the best move, but I digress.

Innocent until proven guilty is what I’m trying to get across. Do not simply shame companies/people for making maybe one of the worst mistakes in their company’s history, or that person’s career. Examine all the facts – once you have all the facts – and make a judgement for yourself. Be prepared to debate with naysayers, and ignorant people without all the facts. And disregard those people – because they are part of the mob.

I know I harped on a very minute point made by Ronson, but I think this is a very important point, and that he would agree. If there is no plaintiff and defense, then there is only an executioner.

Screen vs. Text

I’ve never much been one to make a lot of videos or share much on social media. So doing the Concept in 60 video was a little bit more work than I’m used to for sharing anything on an online medium. That being said, I did have a lot of fun doing it.

One of the things that using video allowed me to do was to be as creative as possible to appeal to as many senses as possible. My voiceover appealed to hearing, my video to sight, and perhaps the sense of touch as you pushed play and awaited the great cinematic experience of “How to Tip your Server Properly.” These are some things that cannot be done through writing text. We each read in our own  voice, so it’s harder as writer to convey tones, emotions, etc. as easily as it they are conveyed through video.

In “How to Properly Watch a Movie,” you could tell that he had a lot of fun making the 60 second video, and that made the video more enjoyable for me to watch. So the conveying of emotion was made easier in a short 60 second video, than it would have been if he’d simply written out his thoughts on how to watch a movie at home. I can’t say I would have laughed as much as I did had I read that on a piece of paper.

Amanda’s video took a more complex concept (subtweeting) and made it simpler through her explanation with her voice, and her use of time-lapsing so that key words could be emphasized with the creativeness of writing them on paper, yet keeping them on screen to be used like stills in a movie. This helped contribute to the creativeness of the concept video, and helped to simplify the complex phenomenon of subtweeting.

“How to get dressed in the morning” also utilized time-lapsing to speed up a process that can take about 10 or 15 minutes. This emphasizes another affordance of video that we cannot get in writing – the essence of time. Reading written text takes as long as the reader needs to, so it can take a lot longer than the writer might have expected. However, with a video, the time stamp is how long the video will take (save for any pausing or rewinding any comical parts of the video), and this affordance allows us to budget our time of how we take in these pieces that we can’t really do with written text. Maybe if you give yourself 15 minutes, and you skim, but then you’re not really taking in what you need to get from reading!

Overall, video affords us certain things that written text can’t and I think our Concept in 60 videos really emphasized a few key things as I wrote about. Great job on the videos everyone!

Keep Out: Private!

Some background music to listen to while you’re reading this post.

Privacy has different meanings. On one hand, it’s a person’s ability to hide something, and on the other hand it’s the ability to share what you want. Doesn’t that sound like the same thing? Hiding things can be very intentional, and have the “sneaky” undertone that we usually connect to “hiding” something. Sharing what you want is a person’s ability to dictate how they are perceived (either online, or otherwise). boyd notes that parents don’t think teens care about their privacy, and will just post anything. But also she notes that we are much more aware than initially perceived. The way that she talks about privacy is interesting and I believe can relate to parts of my life, as I’m sure it can relate to some of yours.

Persistence of content – stuff online last forever (boyd’s wording sounds fancier). This is one the most repeated phrases at my parents’ house that I heard growing up. Be careful what you put online because it lasts forever, anyone who wants to can find it eventually – or some paraphrase of that. This aspect of boyd’s writing is very true. How she notes that things from long ago online can resurface and be used out of context in an argument – a present self having to defend a former self. It isn’t necessarily fair that this can occur with use of online postings, it is ultimately, a trade-off, or necessary evil (I’m not sure which term would be more appropriate) of posting things online. Ironically enough, this post that I’m writing right now is subject to the same perpetuity as the rest of our classes content, and the same perpetuity of news articles, Facebook posts, Trump tweets, etc. I think that, as a younger generation, we aren’t ignorant to the fact that what we post online lasts forever, however perhaps we are… numb? Indifferent? Or maybe we use this fact as the center of motivation to rebel – let everyone read this, I could care less, this needs to be said.

I know writing online can be an outlet for some, so couldn’t it also be an outlet for rebellion? With the use of online mediums, more people hear your voice that wouldn’t necessarily have heard it before social media. Sure, you could have sent a thousand angry letters to whomever, but you’d ultimately end up with carpal tunnel and no change. The fact that “stuff” online lasts forever can help social activism and other aspects of society due to the fact that it can garner support weeks, even years after it was posted because it does indeed last forever.

So, yes, our content lasts forever. Should we update our privacy settings, or produce better content?