It is inevitable that the internet has become part of our society and our daily lives, but it not only became so in the United States only, but around the world. Millions of users access the internet daily whether for entertainment, work, or socializing.
Users today use the internet to be able to connect to others around the globe, connecting people worldwide and unifying them in many ways. The internet changed the global sphere of thoughts and understanding of concepts. With the advent of the internet different kinds of cultures and even social movements occurred. Websites such Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube have been used to lead revolutionary movements in Syria, Egypt, Algeria, and the rest of the Middle East. The revolutionary movement in Egypt started out with a video posted on Youtube calling Egyptian citizens to revolt against the government in a video by an Egyptian student called Asma Mahgoub, in which she requested that all Egyptians go to the Tahrir Square on January 25th 2011 and oppose what has been going on in the country. This video then went viral and was one of the main triggers that started the movement.

There is nothing that the internet users, or now as they are called “Netizens”, cannot do. In 2005 in South Korea, a girl had her dog with her on a subway and the dog defecated on the subway, in which the girl refused to pick her dog’s feces. Individuals on the subway were outraged and took pictures of the girl and posted it on the internet. The picture went viral and caused public outrage, eventually the girl was identified and known as “dog poop girl” in South Korea and the story got mainstream attention. She dropped out of college due to her embarrassment and her life was never the same again.
Internet is not only used for expressing one’s thoughts and revolting about certain circumstances internationally, but it is also used to spread music. Most recently the Hallyu wave, or Korean wave of Kpop or Korean pop has been spreading. Kpop has been around for more than 20 years, however, right now it is at its highest demand, in which Netizens demanded a series of concerts called the “SmTown” concerts in which artists under Sm entertainment gather to perform and tour the world. They usually start with Asian countries, however this past year showed the most demand from fans, that the fans even organized flash mobs and videos to grab the media’s attention to their countries demanding that they come and perform in their countries. This has happened in France, in which the tickets were completely sold out the first day and demanded for a second day in which they were given another concert. In New York this also happened, and in October of 2011, New York flash mobbers got their chance finally and the SmTown concert was performed in Madison Square Garden. “Gangnam Style” has also reached the American public and has been played on the radio, becoming a global hit. If it were not for the internet and social networking websites, these fans would have never known about Kpop or exposed to it, especially the European and North American public.

Not only is the South Korean music being spread, but also the South Korean dramas being viewed daily on the internet. Also, the anime and magna fans have been growing more and more each day. In general the internet has become a globally enriching experience to the user who has interest in different cultures. Now the average citizen can collect knowledge and even exchange information with others from that culture a lot easier than before.


Changing International Beauty Standards

Internationally, it has always been known that beauty standards were different in almost every country. Some even had views on what was beautiful such as being overweight and having stretch marks like in Mortania. However, these beauty standards are becoming less exclusive and more openly affected by Western beauty standards and views.
Speaking on an international level, the problem of conforming to one beauty standard of very exclusive features that are almost unattainable, is no longer exclusive to Americans, or even just the West. Ever since the ideas of the west have been globalized the rise of plastic surgeries and alterations in one’s image have risen all over the globe. The identity of beauty has been changed and the satisfaction level of women’s bodies have decreased. In korea for example, female students are given “eyelid glue” or tape, to change their eye shapes and get double eyelids instead of mono-lids, which most Asians have mono-lids instead of double. There is also the pressure of always staying slim and to lose weight. In Fiji, beauty standards are completely different than they were prior to the globalized ideas of the west. After the introduction of television to the Fiji natives in the late 1950‘s and the Western media, eating disorders and dissatisfaction of young teenagers arouse. The difference between the subjects was the time of exposure to television . It is now almost a known thought that women viewing more slender women are always feeling inferior because these women are idolized but now it is apparent that this is the way that one feels globally more than ever. The image of beauty of the west is being applied to many different regions in the world. It is not just a problem of the west but the world as a whole is becoming close to one another and with the rise of new technologies this exchange of beauty and ideologies is becoming easier than ever before.

Now there is not just the exposure of television, but also the internet and the globalization of almost every major European brand, that selects for a lot of their marketing slender models that are internationally campaigning for these brands, no matter where the region. A few of these brands will have some Asians, and African American models, but for the most part even these models are very slim and their images are altered no matter what. It is basically the same problem but on a bigger scale, since the natives are compared to the Westerners ideals of beauty, and these advertisements are telling them that “ this is beautiful” and showing the product on a white model who happens to be slim, blonde, and blue eyed most of the time.
With the rise of these beauty standards, celebrities often are accepted to have had some kind of plastic surgery to their debut and even afterwards or at least photoshopped images, especially in Asia. Then these celebrities who are Asian are idolized and their beauty standards are also unreachable, since they have been altered in some way shape or form which leads to even bigger dilemmas to the young teenaged girls that idolize these females.

The problem is not applied on a national ore local level anywhere, but that these uniform beauty standards are almost spread everywhere and it has become a global problem.

Internet War and Censorship

Many of us think that the internet is an opened market, free to anyone and there is an equal chance to every single user to reach his or her audience, that is not true. I did not know this till I learned about it in classes. There are certain search results that pay to be on the top of the search lists, also there is a chance that depending on how many “hits” this website has it will appear on the top of the list or on the bottom. Many things are censored to us because of our social sphere or what we like ourselves. I have previously mentioned about that bubble that we are trapped in because of our “actions” on the internet or what we do in another post. Ironically, the internet predicts and traps you so you become even more involved in what you love or want already, instead of being cultivated and understanding more about what you do not know. THe internet was supposed to be our way to having power, that an average citizen being able to do something, which does happen sometimes. THis was seen with the leaking of government information with websites such as Wikileaks.
I know we think we are trapped in this way, but I started looking at what other countries censorship is like. There is China, which has such a high censorship that even blogs that have sexual content are blocked since 2004 after getting attention from the chinese public. These blogs were created by mostly women telling the sexual affaris and experiences that they have had with different individuals. They achieved some celebrity like status. However, they were banned in 2004 as mentioned previously. Pornographic like material is also censored from search engines.
Not only is adult or adult-like content censored, but many keywords and important happenings were censored. For example the uprisings in Egypt would yield to the user little to no search results. Harmful or violent material, and gambling material is also censored. Facebook and Twitter were blocked in the later half of 2009 due to them having some harm on citizens and possible political commentary.

Big companies and content providers such as Yahoo, Skype, Google, etc. must abide by these rules that the government gives them. Many have termed this the “Great Firewall of China”.
China is not the only country that has such a strict rules for the internet and censorship. Iraq and North Korea also have similar situations with the internet. However, recently in the Middle East there was an attack on Israeli internet and Facebook accounts threatening to “Wipe Israel off the Internet Map”. This happened on April 6, 2013 with more than 19,000 Facebook accounts attacked by an anonymous group of hackers. Also more Israeli websites were attacked.” So far dozens of sites have been vandalized and hundreds of e-mail addresses and passwords have been released by the campaign, dubbed “Operation Israel.”
I found this “battle” really intimidating and uncomfortable to think about. Imagine users from different countries trying to attack your Facebook account as a way of “destructing” your freedom to use the internet. This takes internet censorship and restrictions to a whole new level and scarily enough gives you a view into a new kind of “war” that we could be facing in the future.

Bullying and technology

A long time ago a student that is being bullied in school could find comfort and ignore these comments when he got home. However, nowadays with the advent of the internet even if he does get home, church, anywhere basically, these comments will affect him. It does not matter where you are physically anymore because an average student has a smart phone, Facebook or Twitter accounts, and internet. The internet has changed how bullying works. It is almost surrounds the child from everywhere. Even if he or she do not use Facebook or any of the social media websites that his classmates or bullies may be using. They use them to spread rumors and make groups to taunt these other young kids that are being bullied by them. It makes it so much easier to bully these children outside of school and torment them everywhere.
With their computers they can photoshop photos and post them on the school walls. When I was in high school, a girl’s naked photo was printed and posted on walls all around the school. She was not the first nor the last girl that had sent her photos to a guy in school naked through her computer or phone. This was a known thing that happend between kids. Also the fairly new term “sexting” has ruined a lot of teenagers lives. Many of these conversations are posted on the web or sent to other kids in the school, making the private conversations public and ruining the girl’s life. Not to mention the fact that here at Rutgers, Tyler Clementi,( may he rest in peace) committed suicide for similar reasons. He was recorded having a sex with another male by his roommate Dharun Ravi. Ravi was bullying Clementi and even having “live” broadcasting of Clementi having sex with this male, which lead him to commit suicide.
Also, a lot of schools have turned a blind eye to bullying. This also almost happened recently but with the coach of the Rutgers University men’s basketball team, Mike Rice. He did not get real punishment till ESPN showed some parts of the 30-mintue video that showed how he acted in practice towards the players. Regardless of his position he was only suspended first, but then got fired after the video got the attention from the public. There is no way that a parent would allow for his or her child to be physically abused and degraded by calling them names and cursing at them. Without these videos going viral and getting this attention, he would probably still be coaching the men’s basketball team.

This all makes one wonder, technology does really help in exposing harmful bullying like the men’s basketball coach at Rutgers, but it also ruins many children’s lives. The rates of suicide are increasing immensely. This is not only here in America, but around the globe, especially in South Korea, which has the world’s highest suicide rates. This is due to also the cyber bullying that has taken place. An example is in 2007 when a Korean band’s, Super Junior, fans sent hate mail, and messages to a girl for taking a picture with the band on a show. She also committed suicide shortly afterwards.

Bullying has many consequences, but no one is taking real action in schools. Many celebrities have spoken against bullying, celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Demi Levato, Miley Cyrus, Jim Carrey, Ellen, etc. Many of these celebrities also admitted that they were bullied as kids in school, but is all of this enough?

Editing Content

It is interesting that normal or average citizens can always find ways to bring about the close quality of video and entertainment to viewers online as the normal broadcasting channels. I feel that became allowed with the advent use of the internet, one of the greatest methods and forms of media that we use today on a daily basis. Using the internet and the impact this form of media has had on society is tremendous. Through the use of the internet it provided a gateway to all users to be able to express themselves and be active users instead of passive users.
Today with internet users are allowed to have their opinions and viewers shared with others in a space that is not constricted with the official media through blogs. Sometimes even the official media asks the users to give their opinions and comments on an article or an issue as opposed to the previous model of media where the information flowed one way only where the reader or the viewer would consume the information and there was little feedback, or none at all. What is interesting is that the user now gets the information for free or little amounts of money, which is reason as to why some old media forms are threatened or dying because of the use of the newer forms of media like the internet.
One can see how strong the use of these social media networks was in the 2011 revolutionary movements in the Middle East, which was especially led by Facebook and Twitter users in this region. It shows just how active citizens could be and what kind of strength it gives individuals.

Not only does it allow ones to connect better on a social level,get entertainment and news, and aid revolutionary movements, but it also puts a greater risk of other problems such as editing components of videos or censoring certain infromation. They do so in order to let others see what is not there( most of the time their opinions), something that they want others to feel hate towards someone, which ends up ruining others careers, like in the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Shirely Sherrod’s case. She was making a speech at the NAACP about how she did not want to help a white family to keep their farm because they were in debt, but later on states that she helped the family, and put aside her thoughts of discrimination.

The clip was edited to only show the part about her talking badly about the white family and her not wanting to help them. It was used as a proof of Sherrod being racist, and she was forced to resign, even if she was innocent.  Even if has done nothing wrong and no harm to anyone, she was still forced to resign.
This is problematic since anyone could do this, not just a network or a professional. There are daily editing of images and videos around the internet using Adobe Photoshop and other methods. This leaves us questioning what are the consequences of such power. They make one wonder how will there be control over the internet, when it is ever changing and an almost unrestricted field. The only restrictions that were recently imposed were privacy laws regarding copy righted and pirated materials, but other laws regarding the previously discussed issues have not been imposed yet.

Why Do We Dance?

In a communications course I took as a freshmen, my professor told us that scientists cannot figure out why do we actually dance. It is something that is not understood and has been practiced and performed in different cultures throughout history. It also changes our understanding and connects us. It inspires, entertains, and is performed globally.
Pop singers and performers are idolized for their ability to dance and sing live. Amazing performers like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, etc. use their choreographed dances in tours, music videos, and are able to become more powerful household names. There is always something extra attractive about these kind of performances, that I believe they sometimes do not get as much credit as they should for them. It is hard to sing live and dance at the same time but they are able to do this easily in front of millions. I guess most of these artists get criticized for their singing abilities a lot of times, because sometimes the critics feel that these artists are “made” into what they are. Everything is set up for them, even the concept for the dances is made by a team of experts and the artist a lot of times only follows what the company tells her or him to do.
However, when a dance is easy enough to be learned by the public, it changes everything. The popularity of the Macarena soared in the 90’s. No one can forget about that in their childhood. It was a global phenomenon, no matter what country one went to the people there were dancing it and knew it. It was simple and catchy. The same can be said about the 2012 hit Gangnam Style. The “horse” dance was also very popular every where around the world, giving Kpop or Korean Pop real exposure in the West and the rest of the world. However, many argue that Psy is known as the Asian guy to Americans and are essentially making fun of him and not taking his music seriously.
THe highly successful show “Dancing with the Stars”, has been emulated around the world in different versions, such as the UK, Lebanon, Korea,etc. These have all made people the more interested in dance. Also, there was America’s Best Dance Crew, and many more rising talents through these reality shows, showing average individuals dancing and trying to reach the success of the artists mentioned above and become established.
With the help of the internet the rate of the popularity of these performances and dances being passed down from country to country is immense. Gangnam Style became known because of of the internet. When it went viral, it broke into the U.S. market, something that was not planned by Psy or his entertainment company YG Entertainment.
So what is it that always makes these dances popular? Is it the silliness of the movements and the simplicity matched with a happy tune? Or are there other more artistic kind of dances that individuals enjoy to watch, but not necessarily try to copy? The answer to all of these questions do not matter anymore, or to be more precise, the different dancing techniques and styles will always have a market no matter what. Why you ask, because the internet has made it so easy that anyone with a basic web camera and internet can do anything. For example the Harlem Shake that went viral this year was started by five teenagers from Australia.

Thousands of videos have been made by different individuals to emulate this dance all over the internet.
Dancing is also used to touch indiviuals from around the world, without the need to learn all different languages. This is depicted in” Britain’s Got Talent” auditions. A Hungarian dancing group called “Attraction” showed this brilliantly. Nowadays dancing is not only a method of expressing one self, it is also a story telling method that touches individuals around the world. It bridges gaps, and thanks to the internet it is a lot easier to share, emulate, and recreate it.

Affect of Technology on Citizens

With the new forms of media arising, their affect on our society are more than one could imagine. The fact is that the disappearance of the newspaper is not only due to the new rising of blogs, websites, and social networking websites that provide users with the newest news, but also the mobility of using the new technology such as the ipads and smart phones.
Instead of buying the news papers everyday users log online to see everything that they need, they could possibly be getting better information and are able to give their feedback on such subjects using these devices that they can use anywhere at their touches, literally.
I think these devices for media not only makes it easier for users to access news online, but they can socialize anytime with their friends and family. As to no one’s surprise regular cellphones are hardly being sold in cellphone providing companies anymore, smart phones are where it is at. However, one is forced to use smart-phones with internet only, otherwise one cannot purchase the phone itself, at least with cellphone providers such as Verizon wireless.
The benefits of the usage of these devices is not only the power to access information easily, but it also allows users to access different forms of media such as books, music, and games. These entertainment forms that are provided to their users at such an easy access acts as way that shapes society even more than ever before. However, with the rise of such technology the users are also at harm, especially tweens and teens. Teens are more likely to be bullied now more than ever with cyber bullying and “sexting”, in which the teenagers send each other text messages and sometimes these messages are then forwarded to other students in the same school or even neighboring schools.
It is hard to control media like this, especially the ipad, because it has no boundaries that can be set, such as a computer or television where you can block certain content from being shown on one’s internet service or certain programs, with the free wireless services in different settings. It is so much easier to access anything that they want whether that be age appropriate or not. However, on a cellphone there is a way that parents can monitor their children’s text messages. For example, the parents can have a certain setting where every text message sent and received on their child’s cellphone would be sent to their computer so they would be able to view everyone of these text messages. However, it is invading their child’s privacy to the utmost extent which could result in a backlash against what the parent is trying to do.
In addition to having all of these capabilities, the ipad and smart-phones have cameras and microphones that can take pictures and record HD videos. This allows for anything to be recorded whether that be beneficial or scandalous. This also allows for normal citizens to be able to do their own kind of investigative journalism on a certain level. However this can be harmful on many levels with the teen bullying mentioned above. This could also help the media where information and content is always sent in from average citizens.

These devices have such a great affect on society that there are places that are try to cater to the person’s devices to use them, such as fee Wi-Fi. Society is no longer the same with these devices on many levels whether how it affects the media production or the receiving of this information. I think this is positive in many ways. It at least keeps individuals active on certain levels and people are a lot less passive compared to the past, prior to having these devices.