Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Amusement of Convergence Culture

     After spending this final semester in RTV4403 Media Criticism at Florida State College of Jacksonville, it has been rather interesting to read the differing views of Neil Postman and Henry Jenkins. While both authors wrote on the impact of technology or media in our society, their overall outlooks immensely oppose one another. Postman uses Amusing Ourselves to Death to warn of the imminent doom that would follow the invention and use of television. Contrastingly, Jenkins uses Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide to promote and encourage the use of new media and developing technologies.

     Undoubtedly, both authors recognize a shift in society and culture due to media and the medium through which it flows. Postman takes time to acknowledge how the culture of Hollywood directly impacted the use of television. He writes, "...a significant point since almost all television programs are embedded in music, which helps to tell the audience what emotions are to be called forth. This is a standard theatrical device, and its absence on television is always ominous" (p.88). Jenkins supports and proves this when he quotes Coca-Cola president Steven J. Heyer's statement, "We will use a diverse array of entertainment assets to break into people's hearts and minds. In that order....We're moving to ideas that elicit emotion and create connections" (p.69). While Postman views this from a deceptive perspective, Jenkins perceives an important relationship amid viewers and producers that needs refinement in order to develop.

     Media is quite powerful, whether it is viewed in a positive or negative light. I hold to my belief that media is content that is shaped by social concept. Media has the ability to transform and conform as society sees fit. Media is an outcome of creative production, as well as a system of communication and a fourth estate. It can be electronically produced and created on a good, old-fashioned type writer. Overall, I believe that the expansion of media is only as limited as those who have some form of control over it, whether creation, production, viewing or its spread.

     The options that convergence presents are not to be taken lightly. They should be explored and developed. We should take hold of knowledge communities and mind the amount of "quiet space" we need to develop deep thought. There is nothing wrong with formulating an opinion, but we must be open to the information available and the differing thoughts of others. Everyone will never agree on every thing, but it is interesting to see how minds develop thoughts and ideas that differ from our own. This is why convergence and media can be as dangerous as Postman feared, while as fascinating as Jenkins declared.

   For this reason, I do not want to limit myself as a practitioner of converged communications. Whether blogging, marketing, broadcasting or working in positions that have yet to be formed, I want to remain a student willing to learn, apply and teach others to do the same. This program has helped me see that I am a writer; a fact that I never would have accepted before nor would have I pursued it as a career. Yet, I better understand its importance and now embrace the adventure which will follow. I anticipate communicating with future target audiences as a teacher--not necessarily as a career, but as a lifestyle. To teach the balance between ideas like Postman and Jenkins; to help develop minds to think critically; to encourage the application and limitless possibilities that converged communications offers.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Class is in Session

     Human nature blesses and curses each of us with the desire to know. Whatever area we might pursue or topic we might learn, there is an unction in us that presses for knowledge and understanding. A problem currently seen in America is that people think they know more about certain things than they really do. For example, a study performed by the Pew Research Center in 2011 shows that over 79% of Americans claim to be Christian (a word that means Christ-like). Jesus Christ followed the Word of God (at that time, the Tanakh, or Old Testament) completely and without fail because He is the Word (John 1:1,14). On the contrary, many "Christians" in America are not even sure what they believe, or why they believe it. Their beliefs are feeling-based, rather than
scripture-based as Christ demonstrated. Therefore, for my RTV4403 Media Criticism assignment, if I were to teach a group of juniors in high school, the lesson would be on biblical doctrine.

  • I would have plenty of hard copy Bibles that can be purchased at any DollarTree.
  • We would use an advanced biblical search engine to digitally view every scripture we cover. This will teach students where they can find these answers and scriptures if they are uncertain.
  • After viewing the historical belief in a flat earth and discussing how this belief lasted until explorers traveled in the 16th century, we would look at how scripture all along said that God "sitteth upon the circle of the earth" (Isaiah 40:22).
  • We would view the death of George Washington by the historically practiced "blood letting," and then look at how scripture always stated, "the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11).
  • Bernard Palissy is famous for discovering the water cycle in the 16th century, however, we would look at how the Bible already taught on both the water cycle and the global wind patterns centuries before.
  • After proving the validity of the Bible, we would access free resources, such as a wheel of prophecy that uses scripture to prove that there is only One God and His name is Jesus.
  •  We would then look at how God created man to be in communion with Him, but how man's disobedience and sin separated him from the presence of God.
  • We would look at how it is God's will that all would come to repentance--a word which means to turn away from the path of sin and follow the path of God (2 Peter 3:9).
  • We would look at how Jesus said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
  • We would look at the history of the church when it began on the day of Pentecost and thousands were born again of the water and spirit.
  • We would view that nowhere in the Bible is anyone ever baptized in "the name of the father, son and holy ghost," but every person is baptized in the name of Jesus. This is because there is only "one baptism" (Ephesians 4:5), and the name of the father is Jesus (John 5:43), the name of the son is Jesus (Matthew 1:21), and the name of the Holy Ghost is Jesus (John 14:26).
  • We would view the numerous scriptures that prove whenever someone received the Holy Ghost, there was a distinct evidence that could be seen/heard by others present.
     While choices and reactions may vary, the point of this lesson is to teach and reveal the truth. I have heard many times during my studies at Florida State College of Jacksonville that it is important to have proper evidence to support a belief. Therefore, to take on the title of a group of people requires us to hold and demonstrate the same beliefs of that group. Meaning, the same way we, as Americans, research what is written in the Constitution, regardless of personal feelings, in order to properly guide us in how we are to live our lives, Christians must look at what is written in the Word of God. However, it is imperative to understand the difference between the laws of the land and the laws of God. Unlike the Constitution, the Word of God cannot be amended. A lesson like this will help bring clarity and understanding, at least to those who truly desire to know more.