Zika Virus on Social Media

Today, social media seems to be a huge part of our daily lives. Not only are we using it to post our latest selfies and keep updated on our friends and families, but social media also plays a big role today in the discussion of serious topics/news updates as well as the spreading of ideas and opinions.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk online about the mosquito borne virus, the Zika virus.  The virus has been getting a lot of attention on social media, and a lot of people voicing their opinions on the subject.  According to an article from Reuters, in the beginning of February, when I believe most of the news of the virus was just beginning to be talked about, Zika was trending on Facebook and by the early afternoon 100,000 users were discussing the virus.  The article also says that there were 50 tweets per minute related to the virus, and many of them mentioning the World Health Organization.

With more attention, the virus gained more and more momentum in conversation. I’d never heard of the disease before this outbreak, but I think that social media played an important role in raising awareness about it.  The Center for Disease Control & Prevention tweeted out a link to give information on the virus, like how it’s transmitted and who is at risk. A few of their most recent tweets pertain to the virus as well.

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Terms and Conditions May Apply

Being a part of society that is so filled and enriched with so much different technology, I’ve learned to become aware that our privacy is diminishing. But the documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply opened up my eyes to just how much of our privacy is disappearing, as well as how quickly. There were some points during the documentary where I really found myself thinking if there’s ever a time when we’re not being watched.

Social media is something that has become a huge part of society today, I know for one that I’m on some form of it basically every day. The amount of spying that is done on social media something that I was not really fully aware of. There were so many stories in the documentary that discussed how people were questioned because of things they posted on social media, just leading to the fact that we’re basically always being watched. It’s a bit of a scary thought to think about that and just how little privacy we have when using our computers or anything like that.

 

England Media Profile (Final Project)

Are you a fan of The Office? House of Cards? Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? All of these shows have two things in common. One is of course being that they are wildly popular American television shows if you are a TV lover. The second common thread between them is that they were each originally inspired and based off a series from across the pond in England.  The Office in the UK ran for 2 seasons, while the United States adaptation ran for 9. Although it is not word for word the same show, story lines and characters in the US version are based off of the original.  House of Cards is an an award winning US Netflix series, but according to Diply, it is inspired by the United Kingdom mini-series back in 1990. And even the classic game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is inspired by a United Kingdom version of the show. (Simpson, Diply) England is making a huge splash in the entertainment world, and America is immersing itself in it.

England is one of those places that I’ve always had a fascination with. Maybe it’s the people with their accents. Maybe it’s the landmarks and the scenery that is constantly attracting newcomers. Maybe it’s the artists and actors who are constantly spilling out of the country and creating this huge footprint in the entertainment world. But I’ve always been so intrigued by it and wanted to expand my knowledge of the country.

England is one of four countries that make up the United Kingdom. The other 3 being Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  According to England Forever, England hold’s a majority of the population in the UK, taking up about 80% of it. Their population sits at about 50 million people. Some of that population being well known stars like artists Adele and Sam Smith; as well as actors like Andrew Lincoln of The Walking Dead and Theo James of the Divergent series. All of these stars have taken America by storm and made huge splashes in the entertainment world.

Politically speaking, England is a constitutional monarch.  This means that there is a king or queen as the head of the government, which in this case would be Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth II is 89 years old and has been in power since 1952, making her the longest reigning monarch. (BBC, 2015)She is a woman who is often in the media not only in England, but in America as well. She is constantly meeting celebrities, both overseas and domestically at home. She has proved to be quite popular in her homeland as well as in the United States.

Economic wise, England is the greatest contribution towards the United Kingdom’s economy and tourism greatly adds to those numbers. The levels of tourism contributes about €48 billion euros as well as supports about 1.6 million jobs. (VisitEngland, 2014) England provides some of the most famous landmarks like Big Ben and the London Eye. But England is also the home of a famous fictional boy named Harry Potter, in which the city of London fully embraces.  There are multiple spots throughout London where fans of the Harry Potter franchise can visit. There is a studio tour that includes sets, props, costumes that were used in the making of the movies, as well as landmark locations from the story like Kings Cross Station where the students of Hogwarts would travel through in order to get to the school of witchcraft and wizardry. (VisitLondon) There are multiple other locations that fans can visit that were used as scenes in the movie as well, making London an essential spot for tourism.

To get into a more media aspect, according to Freedom House, England as well as the rest of the United Kingdom has laws that essentially provide for freedom of the press, a term that we are familiar with in the United States.  But there are several laws that weaken that structure.  Freedom House states that “the media can be required to turn over reporting materials to the police under the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence act.” The government also passed a law that speech can be criminalized if “it is considered to encourage terrorism, even in the absence of a direct, proven link to a specific terrorism act. (Freedom House, 2015)

Media ownership in England as well as the rest of the United Kingdom is mostly publicly funded, resulting in public broadcasting. Their most well known public broadcasting corporation being the BBC, or the British Broadcasting Corporation, which is headquartered in London.  According to Freedom House, the BBC is “editorially independent.” (Freedom House, 2015) Aside from the publicly funded corporations, private media ownership also plays a part in the media world of England. Rupert Murdoch is the owner of News Corp UK, who plays a very big part in the control of media.  According to the Media Reform Coalition, 70% of the national newspaper market was controlled by 3 hands, Murdoch being one of them. The Daily Mail and General Trust along with Trinity Mirror being the other two.  (MRC, 2014) The Daily Mail is a huge name not only to England and the UK, but it’s also a news source wildly credited here in the States.  It is the most read newspaper in the United Kingdom, and it brings in around 23 million readers per month, with even more viewing it digitally. (Ponsford, 2015) Like most news sites today, there is a section on The Daily Mail’s website that contains a section specifically for entertainment. But what’s interesting is that the header for the section is not just titled “entertainment” or “showbiz” but is in fact called “U.S. Showbiz.” This kind of ties together this blend of culture that the U.S. and the U.K. seem to share.

England is a beautiful country with media policies not much different than the United States.  With it’s entertainment world constantly blending with ours, elements of pop culture and media are constantly being exchanged. Artists and actors as well as shows and movies are always being brought across the water to the United States, and America has no intention of letting go of the inspiration it gets from England.

 

 

Sources 
“The Elephant In The Room: New Report On Media Ownership – Media Reform UK.” Media Reform Coalition. N.p., 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
Simpson, Mike. “16 North American TV Shows That Began In England.”Diply.com. Diply, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.
 “England Demographics.” England Forever. Englandforever.org, n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
Queen Elizabeth II Becomes Longest-reigning UK Monarch – BBC News.BBC News. BBC, 15 Sept. 2015. Web. 08 Nov. 2015
“The Value of Tourism in England.” Visit England. The National Tourist Board for England, 25 July 2014. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.
“Harry Potter’s London.” Visitlondon.com. London & Partners, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.
 “United Kingdom.” Freedom House. Freedom House, 2015. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.
Ponsford, Dominic. “Daily Mail Most Popular UK Newspaper in Print and Online with 23m Readers a Month.” Press Gazette. Progressive Media International, 26 Feb. 2015. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.
 

Euromedia

When choosing a country to do a media profile on, England was one of the firsts that popped into my mind. It seems many people believe our media aspects to be quite similar. I was talking to a friend about the topic and he admitted that he can sometimes blend both American media and British media together without even realizing.

But a difference that caught my attention was the representation of women in the media. Hello Giggles, which is an online entertainment and lifestyle website, posted an article where the author talked about her encounter with British advertising and compared it to American advertising. Amy Foster, the author of the article, discussed her views of how British women are portrayed in the media compared to America.

“As someone who notices these kinds of things now, here’s what I immediately observed as I watched British commercials. Most, I would say 80%, of the women featured were in their late thirties, 40s and even 50s. The women selling anti-aging cream – get this – actually needed it. They weren’t beauty queens or supermodels. The women in the commercials looked like average women. At first I thought it must of been a fluke, but as I kept watching, there was no denying it: the presenters on shows, the actresses, etc all weighed a good 20 pounds more than their American counterparts. Their hair wasn’t lambasted with extensions. Their teeth weren’t perfect.”

This was something really interesting to read for me because the women seen in those British ads might not be the same type of ads that we see here in America. It made me think about this cooking competition I watch called The Great British Bake Off, the two female hosts of the show are not glammed up and set on a huge stage with bright lights. It’s a simple show with a calm setting in the country side, and the show is almost relaxing to watch. Unlike here, where many cooking competitions like Iron Chef America and Top Chef are made out to be extremely competitive and fast paced, The Great British Bake Off is almost relaxing. Here’s a clip from the show: (one of the hosts is in the hot pink blazer, the other two are the judges.)

Anime

Anime is a type of Japanese animation of television/film, and has become very popular in Japan. Fans of this content have been increasing, and the popularity has grown outside of Japan and blossomed here in the United States.

Asian Avenue Magazine discusses the rise of anime in the U.S., saying “Japanese animation has taken the country by storm since its boom during the 90s with hit TV series like Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon.”  The success of these shows kind of opened the door to a new generation of anime and animation, and the popularity would continue.  Although anime can appeal to younger children, it doesn’t have a set age audience. Older crowds are avid fans of the genre as well, like certain subgenres can appeal to older audiences with shows that on things like romantic relationships.  Asian Avengue Magazine has a quote from Dr. Ian Condry, who explains what he believes is the reason for the popularity of anime in the United States, which says “anime filled a space that was missing in American media for a long time—animation for teens and adults.”

This type of media content has become to viral here in America that there are conventions fans can attend to show their dedication for characters or shows. There is the Anime Expo in Los Angeles,  FanimeCon in San Jose, A-Kon in Dallas, Texas as well as others.  Like Comic Con, fans dress up and meet other fans of anime and sometimes big names in Japanese pop culture attend.

Although some believe that anime’s popularity has died down a bit in the United States, I still think it has a huge fan base. American anime fans have embraced a new culture and continue to make the animation thrive in other locations than where it originally started.

Public Diplomacy

Public diplomacy, as stated by The Fletcher School,  deals with the influence of public attitudes on the formation and execution of foreign policies.  Celebrities commonly have the tendency of getting involved in worldwide issues and becoming vocal about them, perhaps because of the influence they have and having the ability to reach wide audiences. There are a lot of celebrities that come to mind when I think of a celebrity diplomat, one of them being U2 frontman Bono.

Bono has involved himself as an advocator for multiple issues and is linked with different campaigns in the fight against poverty and AIDS in Africa. In 2002, he co-founded DATA, Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa to raise public awareness for the different issues it stands for.  Then in 2004, DATA helped to create the campaign ONE.  ONE was made to help the fight against poverty an preventable diseases. One.org discusses how Bono has lobbied with congressional leaders and United States presidents to help with his campaigns. Bono also is behind Product (RED), a campaign to raise money to buy AIDS drugs for people in Africa who cannot afford them.

Some people may think that with celebrities being the faces of these campaigns for certain issues is just helping to make them look good.  But even if that is the case, they are still helping to draw attention to important issues.  I feel that celebrities have a big influence in today’s culture, fans are very dedicated to who they follow and with celebrities speaking out and raising awareness for certain issues, they can draw in a lot of attention and inform the public.

Global Digital Divide

When I think about how much the internet has become a part of my daily life, it scares me a little bit. Even education wise, most of my classes post assignments on Blackboard and have us turn in things electronically.  That’s something that would be unheard of 30 years ago. Living in the United States, it’s easy to take for granted the amount of access to the Internet that we have.  According to Newsweek, Internet access varies across the world from 90% in some countries, to almost none in others. I’ve witnessed this statistic first hand, when this 9 year old boy named Kevin came to the United States from Ecuador on a medical mission.

My mom works at a hospital that supports an organization called Blanca’s House. Around 2 years ago, while Blanca’s House was on a mission in Ecuador, Kevin was needed to come back to the United States to get a surgery to remove a malformation on his face. He was here for about 9 months, and a good friend of my mom’s fostered him in her home for the time he was here. Since he came to the U.S. alone, he would Skype with his parents whenever it was possible. It’s easy for us to Skype or FaceTime with someone, it’s basically just the click of a button.  But in order for Kevin to video chat with his family, his parents had to walk miles just to get to the town computer center where they would be able to talk to their son. They had to plan their video chat a few days in advance. He was amazed at the ease of having access to the Internet at his fingertips while he stayed here.

It did surprise me learning that the United States is number 7 out of the top 10 economies on the Global Information Technology Report.  I feel like in our society, the Internet and technology is such a huge part of our lives and I thought we would have been up a little higher.