Final Thoughts

By Matthew Crane

My final thoughts on Intro to Media? Media is a complicated, wide, influential, collection of outlets that control the way we think, act, and buy without even knowing it. Something that seems so simple, like the TV we watch, the radio we listen to, and the movies we see; they all have long diverse histories that have shaped the way we view our world. Media conglomerates and their subsidiaries have such control over our democracy and the rest of the world. It is our responsibility to keep these organizations in check and make sure that their power remains under the government and open to regulation, when necessary.

The biggest change in media, recently, has been the introduction of social media. It has changed the way we communicate, the way we process information, and the way we interact with society. After studying it, I have begun to understand the business of it more than I ever have before. Because of it, my social media usage has already begun to drop. My willingness to give everything about me away, has made me realize that it is time to stop.

Media is great and should be consumed. Listening to music, going to movies, subscribing to Hulu, visiting to Facebook. But, like anything in life, over-use should be avoided and watched for. Everything is best in moderation.

After all of this, I am more interested in media research. The way media works its way into every facet of our lives is fascinating and worth understanding.

Societal Change in Music

By Matthew Crane

Music serves the same use in our democracy as it has in all societies previous of ours. Music is a powerful tool for expression and conveying your message in an enjoyable way. In the 17th century, music was used by churches to honor God, in the 20th century music evolved into a way to communicate frustration and the need for societal change. This is where current music fits in.

In the 60s music was used as a way to communicate the need for peace and love. Bob Dylan is an artist that thrived in this environment, writing songs about letting go of the past and accepting the changing future. In the 90s, music evolved into angry, on the verge of violent, protests (Rage Against the Machine for example.)

Topics in music have ranged from peace, to the perils of capitalism (warning, this link is very long but this is a great song about corporate greed.) The obvious contradiction in many of the songs is the capitalism involved in making this art widespread and available.

Today, music is still being used as a way to change society. Regardless of limits that record labels put on free expression, musicians have found a way to continue writing music that pushes the mold. Kendrick Lamar is a great example of this. In his recent album DAMN. Lamar explores themes surrounding racism, culture, and the American dream. One of the best lyrics of the album comes in the song “XXX.”

Johnny don’t wanna go to school no mo’, no mo’

Johnny said books ain’t cool no mo’ (no mo’)

Johnny wanna be a rapper like his big cousin

Johnny caught a body yesterday out hustlin’

God bless America, you know we all love him

He addresses the American government and explains, in his experience, that the black youth is pressured away from going to school. Lamar sees that there is a problem in society and uses his music to address them.

Do Films Make us Psychos?

By Matthew Crane

We speak a lot about the theory of socialization and how our society is affected by media. But how about some real-world examples of how movies directly affect society? I’m not going to suggest that movies are the root-of-all-evil or that movies change everything about us, but it is hard to miss the influence when it is everywhere.

An article in the New York Times reports on a study conducted, suggesting that movies may have more of an influence on our opinions than one thinks. The study suggests that the younger you are, the more influence a movie may have. Is it any wonder that Disney movies (targeted at kids) are often criticized for their treatment of women? But does it matter? Do filmmakers have a responsibility to reman realistic?

In 2014, Elliot Rodger killed six people, and injured 14, near the University of California, Santa Barbara. The 22 year old “was trying to act out the role of a film star when he went on his killing spree – to make up for the fact he felt like a failure in real life. Clearly he did not feel he had the status he deserved.” In videos, on Youtube, he makes references to Patrick Bateman, the killer in American Psycho. A connection between the two can only be assumed, however it may not seem far-reaching. Rodger needed an idol and could have easily fallen in love with being a Bateman-like character.

However, films offer a way of escapism, the attempt to escape the everyday normal functions of life. Because of this, we cannot blame only filmmakers. Filmmakers make their films because they have something to say and they use their art to say it. If young people are more susceptible to influence from movies, than rather it is more important that we monitor what they are watching, less what filmmakers are making.

The Filter Bubble in Your Dopamine

By Matthew Crane

I’ve seen the Red/Blue site a number of times and I’m always surprised by it. I think that analyzing social media and its role in our personal lives is necessary to understanding why content is filtered the way it is. For example, Facebook is based around using our dopamine receptors against us, in a very tricky way. At a certain point our brains become wired to wanting “likes” so it becomes necessary for us to post websites, comments, etc… that are going to get us more “likes.” We are less likely to use Facebook to post ideas that may upset people or trigger productive conversations because they don’t trigger as many “likes.” (Granted, this has seemed to change over the past year when every post became a hostile argument.)

The use of the word “like” is incredibly important in this conversation. When I go to a page and “like” it, I am pledging support to that cause, person, or idea. Then I am only going to see their point-of-view on issues. It seems like Twitter’s “Follow” is a more neutral solution of seeing other people’s opinions. My Twitter account follows both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, not because I am stating my support for either of them but rather that I am interested in what they are saying.

Honestly, I believe that these websites don’t only understand this, they thrive on it. They are selling a product and are going to do their best to sell that product the best way they can. Both Facebook and Twitter thrive on knowing what their consumers do and don’t want to see and filling the void that the other fills. I don’t believe that social media has a duty to share information equally, that isn’t what the product is about. Our society just needs to realize that these are not viable news sources.

A biased look at a bias.

By Matthew Crane

When thinking about what kind of article I wanted to analyze for bias, I decided to go for something that some might call “easy.” So I took a look at this Fox News article about CNN firing Reza Aslan.

It is common belief that Fox News has a strict conservative bias with anyone showing any opposition “moving” to other networks. I was less interested in seeing the typical bias and more of seeing any structural bias that may be taking place. For the most part, the article stays on the facts, that is until the last paragraph which reads:

CNN also recently cut ties with Kathy Griffin after the comedian posed with a bloodied Trump mask for a photo shoot. Griffin had previously co-hosted the network’s New Years Eve broadcast […]

I read this as a bias against CNN. These two stories are vastly different and have little to no connection, however the author felt it important to include them together. It paints a picture of CNN being in disarray, which could be false.

As for structural biases, I labeled this article as two immediately. Temporal bias and expediency bias are evident. Both these biases deal with the quickness of posting the story. By googling Aslan’s name I could see that Fox News was one of the first on the scene, just behind Variety (there is a little estimation in this as I did not find timestamps for all of them.) Not only were they quick but they were quick to get a reaction from the station and from Aslan himself.

24 Hours. No Media. Is it possible to get addicted to your phone?

By Matthew Crane

I spent the past 24 Hours without media consumption…almost.

I have never considered it before but media is everywhere I look. It is an element of life that I never considered incredibly important and wide-reaching until I actively tried to avoid it. I cut myself from my phone sometime yesterday evening to make sure that I had time to complete my assigned 24 hours while giving me time to write this post.

I wish that I could give it a more accurate divorce but certain things made this assignment completely possible. For example, I was playing music downtown last night and my bandmates communicate totally thru Facebook and Facebook Messenger. We also use Facebook to send out our locations to potential listeners (we move around town several times any given night.) Afterwards I went home, slept for a couple hours, and work up for work today. I locked down my phone for everything not work related, which meant a couple calls here and there. Even given these restrictions, I knew I needed to watch a YouTube tutorial for work, our store radio continuously plays, and various other interactions that were inevitable.

While researching for this post, I stumbled upon a website that has several sources talking about our society and the addiction to social media. This blog is like the one I am submitting to right now: a college communications course. The thought of media addiction is scary and something that I think of regularly. I started trying to fight my addiction some time ago by deleting apps from my phone and becoming less-reliant on my phone in my home life. I noticed an immediate change in my quality in life (this also coincided with me quitting a job in which I was always on my phone.)

As an active user of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, (and brief stints with Periscope,) I feel very connected to the internet. This is a double-edged sword. I believe that these interactions make our lives easier and more-connected but addiction comes with it. I would like to attempt this again both in society and in nature.

Music, Video Games, and Beer.

By Matthew Crane

IMG_8098My name is Matthew (Matt) Crane and I am entering my 7th year at Boise State. I hold a degree in Music Education and made the decision to return to school to pursue a B.A. in Media Production after a couple of years working for a professional orchestra. Since graduating high-school in 2010, I have had the opportunity to perform percussion with the Boise Philharmonic, Boise Baroque Orchestra, Meridian Symphony Orchestra, Opera Idaho, Ballet Idaho, and various other groups. This summer you can catch me playing percussion for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and drumset around Boise with the brass band Rippin’ Brass. I love Pink Floyd, 80s music, and old-school hip-hop (although DAMN. just changed the game.)

For the past 6 years, I have worked in the paint industry, mainly specializing in industrial chemical coatings (lacquer, stain, etc…). When I am not working then I am playing/creating music and playing video games. I’ve been doing both things all my life and love talking and writing about them in critical ways. For the past semester, I have been the host of the Dry Spell Radio Show on the PULSE, airing Wednesdays at 12 (noon) and on Soundcloud.

Ideally, I am hoping to break into the world of video game journalism. We live in a world that video games are becoming an increasingly viable art form, educational tool, and entertainment outlet. We are well past the world of simple games like Doom (do not take this out of context because I love Doom) and we are building gigantic, rich worlds (The Witcher 3, Breath of the Wild) and incredible emotionally driven stories (What Remains of Edith Fitch and RiME to name some recent games.) Beyond that, they are fun and I’ve been playing them a long time. Some of my favorite games include the Halo series, Splinter Cell series, and DOTA.

When I am not practicing music, selling paint, or huddled around a computer screen, I like to travel to cities without much planning. I like the feeling of having to figure out travel plans as you go and knowing that you might end up sleeping in your car sometimes. I like to find hikes, bands playing, and to “roll with the flow.” Lastly, I like beer. I’m always up to go to Prost and drink a liter of beer.

Shout-out to Haley for changing your major a ton. My first degree, I came in knowing exactly what I wanted to do and worked hard at it. Took as many classes as I could to become better, graduated, and came back studying something completely different. It sounds like you have a ton of skills and jobs that you do and that is really cool.

Ashley Olson: I’m just wondering…does it get annoying having the same name as an Olson twin? My famous twin was an actor on General Hospital…so not many people know him.