Sunday, April 27, 2014

Social Network Analysis Case Study: London Riots

Social network analysis examines information exchange between individuals or groups. It examines patterns between people and the resources that are exchanged through information control.  These exchanges of information are represented through Sociograms, where the actors, or an individual, group, organization, or institution are symbolized as nodes and the information flow is symbolized by lines connecting the nodes.

For our case study we have elected to study the use of media phenomena of the 2011 London Riot. Between Saturday the 6th and Thursday 11 August 2011, thousands of people rioted in several London boroughs and in cities and towns across England. The resulting chaos generated looting, arson, and mass deployment of police. Social media outlets such as Twitter and Black Berry Messenger were used by rioters to organize events like where to meet up for the riots. Also the authorities used SNA to help them make connections between rioters to track down those responsible. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cultivation Theory

The cultivation theory states that the media can cultivate the ways in which audiences perceive reality.  According Gerbner and Gross, the founders of the Cultivation theory, television has a different kind of power to cultivate audiences than other mass media forms.  Viewers are sucked into “reality” television because they are told the events are genuine, when they are actually completely scripted.  Certain stereotypes are propagated through television, and the audience publicly accepts these stereotypes.  In our case study, we examined three prominent stereotypes: ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.  We used the example of the reality television show, Jersey Shore, to apply the Cultivation Theory because viewers generalize that all Italian-Americans have similar behaviors, when in fact, the behaviors portrayed by the characters are not real.  For gender, we used the example that the general public assumes all nurses are female.  On television, it is rare to see a male portray the occupation of a nurse, but when they are, the character is used as a tool for humor by being questioned about their choice in career, masculinity, and sexuality.  In both television and film, there has been an increasing number of characters that take on the role of a gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual character.  Scientists Sarah Gomillion and Traci Guiliano stated, “Media experiences contribute to individual’s development of their sense of self.”  In a nutshell, the things that both teenagers and young adults see on television can affect how they communicate with others and how they choose friends.  It can influence what they label as “cool” and what does and does not deserve ridicule. In conclusion, people are lured toward their views and opinions of cultures and individuals by the stereotypes perpetuated by television.  Cultivation is not something that can be avoided, as almost every U.S. household dominantly consumes media through television. 

Juan Pablo and The Spiral of Silence

Spiral of Silence is concerned with the majority versus the minority opinion, and states people’s willingness to expressing their opinion if they feel they fit in with the minority. If they feel as though they belong with the minority, they will be less likely to strongly state their opinion in fear of isolation from the majority.

For our case study, we focused on “The Bachelor” and how they depicted the main character, Juan Pablo. At first, he was portrayed as the “ideal man”. As the show progressed, however, his image shifted to being more of a manipulative, sex driven man. This happened likely as a result of the producers illuminating the poor situations in which Juan Pablo created for himself.  In doing so, they created a new majority fan base in which Juan Pablo was cast as a bad man. This then allowed for producers to silence the minority opinion (those who thought he was a good man), in order to let the majority opinion (those who didn’t like him) stand out. People became less likely to vocalize their opinion of Juan Pablo being a good man, and more likely to let others know how poorly they thought of him.

Domestication: The Evolution of the Television

The Domestication Theory is a study of the relationship between technology and society, as well as how technologies are fully adapted into households.  Users adapt to the technologies that integrate into their lives; their responses to these technologies transforms the next generation of electronics.

Arguably the most successful example of technology is the television.  It has gone from being a luxury item to a centerpiece of the modern living room.  In fact, multiple rooms in a household will often feature a television.  A recent evolving of the television is the adaptation into smart TVs, which include apps and other internet-based features.  These apps connect users to streaming music and television shows while using the internet and social media sites. 

In a sense, the television is transforming into a wide-screen smart phone that has been tamed into an important object within the modern American household.

The Evolution of TV

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Google Glass Medium Theory

Medium theory is the idea that one should observe the media in ways that each new medium disrupts traditional forms of communication and reshapes out understanding of social life. For example google glass is a new medium. It integrates all aspects of communication, knowledge and technology. Being that it is a "wearable computer" it provides some of those same functions as any other device but more of "in your face". This new medium produces streamlines media that is instantaneous. It is the new platform for integrated communication. By simple tapping or talking to the "glass", you have unlimited access to chat, video record, map and email. With language translation features , may barriers of communication will be broken. In all, Google Glass can and will unlit market change the "message received.”

Innis, H. (1964). The Bias of Communication. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
A Day with Google Glass | Demo. (2013, May 10). YouTube. Retrieved , from

Diffusion of Innovation: iPad

Apple’s iPad product best exemplifies the validity of Roger’s four key elements in the Diffusion of Innovation theory. The four main factors that assist in the circulation of new innovation and ideas are as followed: The innovation itself, available communication channels, time and social system. At an early stage of the iPad’s advertising campaign Apple began addressing these four elements. Long before the release of an actual tangible product, Apple readily used available communication channels (print, social networking…) to inform the targeted social system (the American public) of its latest innovation: the iPad. This four year time frame prior to the products launch date allowed for the intended audience to easily accept this promised and unseen product. Apple’s strong brand label was repeatedly emphasized in order to reassure the public of the iPad’s credibility. This early advertising created a large number of early adopters. Apple’s excellent exposure and use of the available communication channels has allowed for the iPad to receive vast success, resulting in a rapid and prolong pace of diffusion. The acceptance of the innovation by the American public has given the iPad an opportunity to seaminglessly integrated itself into our social system.

Uses and Gratifications - Part Two, summary

The Uses and Gratifications approach can be used to study many different types of media events and phenomena. Our case study highlighted the use of this approach to examine more closely why users are drawn to and interact with Facebook. Using this theory, communication scholars can examine in greater detail what types of needs users are interacting with the social networking sites to achieve. The theory defines five different types of needs that can be met when interacting with media: cognitive, affective, integrative, social, and escape. The theory can also be used to examine the PBS documentary "Growing Up Online", where Facebook users, most in their teens, used the website to recreate themselves if they were unhappy with any aspect of their real social lives. The theory was found to have some drawbacks, however. The environment and state of the media user as well as the social context of the media is ignored when using this theory to study why people interact with media. In summary, the theory is good for seeing why users actively interact with Facebook, but doesn't consider how the media users chose to interact with, in this case Facebook, may be affecting them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gatekeeping Case Study

This article is suggesting the Olympic Games are the driving forces in the world-wide research and development of technology, especially wireless technology. The changes in technology and the desire to provide better coverage. The author theorizes that more sophisticated technology is in high demand during the Olympic Games because of the potential audience size. As far at the "gatekeeping" goes, the author’s theory is that the continual development of electronic communication now necessitates a fundamental change to the traditional gatekeeping model.  What this means is that today, at every level, when information is received by an individual, that information is frequently interpreted, distorted, and even changed, before being sent off to someone else, with the sending individual's own personal biases and beliefs, coloring that communication for the next person. The Olympic games are a huge global market in terms of audience and the ability to reach millions of people. The new model should provide space for continuous change as technology changes. Updating the model has a theoretical importance, meaning to help understand media and the connection to an audience. As well as practical purposes to help in the decision making process and for the future coverage for global media industries.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Social Network Analysis

Social network analysis examines information exchange between individuals or groups. It examines patterns between people and the resources that are exchanged through information control.  These exchanges of information are represented through Sociograms, where the actors are symbolized as nodes and the information flow is symbolized by lines connecting the nodes.

Our meme is the Overly Attached Girlfriend. This meme represents how you are connected to people or individuals you don't even know personally.  Through different facets like social media and blogs, you can exchange information with people you have never met face to face. 

Our Condescending Wonka meme represents how information flows in a group or clique. This is an example of how information can be exchanged between different actors, by playing off the idea of gossip.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Domestication Theory

Domestication Theory describes the process by which technology adapts into households and social settings.  It explores the relationships between technologies and culture.  While technology is integrated into a household and a user's day-to-day life, users also adapt and change with the technology.  The users actively help to shape the next generation of technologies produced over time.

This "Success Kid" meme is a good example of the audience's interactions with new Apple products.  Apple has a history of closely monitoring its users response to their technology and adapting its products to their preferences.  Success Kid complains about the weight of the Apple iPad, a product that is now a huge part of many American households and family units, and it does not take long for Apple to take note of its users complaints about the weight of the technology and create the iPad Air.  Success Kid (and many other users) is happy with the change and Apple maintains its business.  The iPad is being further domesticated into the American household.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spiral Of Silence Theory

Founded by Elisabeth Noelle Neumann in 1947, the Spiral of Silence theory was formed when Elisabeth and her husband Erich were asked by the CDU to get the opinion of German citizens in a country where opinion had been violently silenced for years. The theory itself provides that peoples willingness to express their opinion is based on what they perceive the opinion of their environment to be.

The "Baby Godfather" meme is playing on the entire basis of the Spiral of Silence. Baby Godfather is seen telling us to keep our mouths shut if we do not agree with him, which is exactly what the Spiral of Silence theory predicts we will do if we do not perceive our opinion to be that of the majority.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Uses and Gratifications

Uses and Gratifications theory was one of the first theories to assume an active audience is consuming the media put before them. The theory's whole premise lies in the assumption that people know why they are consuming the media they choose. Our meme sheds light on how it is incorrect to generalize the reasons why people consume media, since each audience member makes a conscious decision about why they are consuming the media. This meme alludes to Facebook and other social networking sites, and how it is difficult to decipher the motives most people have in using these kinds of social media. According to the theory, each individual has a personal reason and makes the decision knowingly.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cultivation Theory

Cultivation Theory was founded by George Gerbner and Larry Gross in the 1960s. Cultivation Theory focuses on the role that television plays in the formulation of beliefs about reality. Gerbner and Gross's article, "Living with Television: The Violence Profile" focuses on television as the ideal medium for cultivation by looking at prevalence, rate, and role, and the violence profile. Our meme pokes fun at the idea that television is becoming more and more violent in order to make people want to stay home and continuing to watch their shows. It is like a vicious cycle that will continue to go on throughout time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Gatekeeping Theory

We generated this meme to demonstrate the comedic side of the gatekeeping theory. In this meme, we said that even though there is important world news happening, the news networks would rather use their top story air time for Justin Bieber’s arrest. Judging by the amount of buzz this arrest generated, the news networks realized this and assumed this is what the people wanted to see. Bieber’s arrest video was viewed over nine hundred and seventy one thousand times! This alone showed news networks that the arrest is what people wanted to see. Like the Columbia School, gatekeeping gives the audience what they want to see. This allows for the highest possible ratings for each station.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Diffusion of Innovation Theory

Our meme pokes fun at meme star ‘Bad Luck Brian’. As we all know, the iPhone 6 has not been released yet. That being the fact, at first we portray Brian as a “super early” adopter by being the first to get his hands on the new smartphone. It turns out that he ends up being a laggard the very next day due to the launch of the “brand new” iPhone 7. Our meme captures the inability of smartphone companies to provide any drastic changes to the current models that we have now. Ultimately we set out to capture our societies’ rapid yet unnecessary approval of newer models without really knowing the improvements that have been made. We all set out to be early adopters, but ultimately we all turn out to be laggards just like Brian with the constant updates to our devices.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Medium Theory


Marshall McLuhan adopted the phrase “the medium is the message” . The phrase as does the meme, illustrates the effects mediums have on the human senses. The meme above gives a sort of revelation aspect to our theory.  The medium theory is the idea that one should observe the media in the ways that each new form of medium disrupts traditional forms of communication and reshapes our understanding of social life.  The medium is the message that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and actions. The meme basically assumes that the relationship between the message and the medium is complementary in both shaping audience’s perception and senses. If the message is the medium, than the medium can also be the message. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Agenda Setting Theory (Example)

Agenda setting theory was drafted by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw in 1972 when through survey and interview research they discovered a correlation between issues voters believed were important and those the mass media gave prominence in news coverage. This led them to assert that the media do not reflect reality. Rather they filter and shape it, setting the public agenda by what stories they report on. This meme (also see: )  shows "success kid" congratulating himself on the fact that his daily tweets reflect both what the twitter sphere and the press considered the most important stories of the day. However agenda setting theory argues that media only highlight a few stories each day and so that “agenda” makes the public to perceive those are the most important, which may not be the case.

Welcome to COMM 350

Welcome to COMM 350! This course explores different theories of mediated communication processes, their effects, and schools of theory to consider the influence and roles they play in social science research on media and mediated processes. This blog will host content related to the Group Theory Research Project which is part of this course. Students will work in groups to investigate a specific theory and its application.

 As part of the presentation component groups will create meme that offers clear synthesis of theory they are studying to be posted to class blog by 5pm on day of their scheduled presentation with 100 word explaining how it connect or summarizes the theory’s meaning.

For the case study each group will post a 100-200 word summary of their group report. This should include an illustration of chose case study and relevant hyperlinks to sources or examples. It must be posted to class blog by 5pm on day of the presentation.