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Power of (as usual) Mass Media October 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — huiyingk @ 11:14 am

Update:/ Following my previous post about the power of social media that led to the overwhelming response of Occupy Wall Street in the U.S., just an update – the protest has gone larger last week but as of yesterday (22 Oct), it has been diminishing.. but still, the ability to group these strangers together through virtual means. I am still awed by the effects of social media.

Mass media is also known as new media, as it is an emerging category. Its funny how so many of us are ‘stuck’ on this, isn’t it? We use it almost everyday – on our computers; our smartphones; our iPod/iTouch/iPads. The ways of life are evolving as well – one can transfer bank funds, carry out retail therapy, book air tickets, chat with friends, watch videos, read news and current affairs and so much more. This supposedly cuts down time spent on each task itself and increases efficiency, but we need to all ask ourselves – are we doing that? Or using that time saved up to scroll through Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter? Using it to promote good causes, share news and ask after one another are some of the reasons why I use social media – but it is important to keep in mind that personal touch is still very much essential for communication – we can’t rely on a virtual screen all the time.

Media imposes their reality of what many is thinking about. It may vastly change the public’s views many a times, and changing the way one grabs hold of information. Very good examples include the cancellation of Night Safari’s Halloween Horrors and the passing of Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs. I believe many read it on social media and found out first before seeing it on official news  media (well, for me at least!).

Did You Know?

We all need Digital Quotient nowadays besides IQ and EQ! I would agree with this – it is important for an individual to be able to filter certain information and process it intelligently (or at least, with some common sense). Not just absorbing every single piece of news you read online. Various perceptions are required for subjectivity, with minimal bias-ness. Always be open to various opinions and think from other perspectives; look past the cultural and social barriers. That way, it definitely brings one’s understanding to a whole new level. I am still learning! 🙂

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_724505.html

Would like to share some media communication theories which I found interesting:

  1. Powerful effects theory
    This is one of the first concepts which can be compared to that of a hypodermic needlethat the mass media is extremely influential on the general public. Food for thought: are we just feeding on what the media communicates blindly?
  • Limited effects theory
    This states that audiences are able to resist certain media messages – comprises of active screening. Good old common sense helps sometimes!
  • Moderate effects theory
    The ability to influence audiences remains but it does not mean no effects at all. It is inherently biased in some way or the other. Especially when certain messages are constantly repeated, with images (may be distorted sometimes if the whole picture is not depicted fully such as this one below).


I know this picture kinda doesn’t make full sense because why on earth will you feed someone water at gunpoint, but you never know there may be a story behind this. What if the person in question was Hitler? Something like that. Anyway the objective is to illustrate that things may not seem like what it is on the surface.

As much as I prefer point no. 2, I have to admit that point no.3 makes more realistic sense. What do you think?

 

Citizen journalism is powerful as well – it allows breaking updates! Check this out on The Straits Times’ STOMP:

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_724575.html

On most occasions, there is this spiral of silence whereby one refrains from unpopular ideas due to fear of isolation, i.e. being different from the rest. You may have a different view that you feel strongly about (maybe issues like homosexuality; pre-marital sex etc) but because of the fact that the media “imposes their reality of what many is thinking about”, one may be dissuaded from speaking too much. What is your response and approach to the media then? In Singapore, are you constantly engaged within the mass media and what is your take on this?

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Barriers to Communication October 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — huiyingk @ 6:22 pm

Cultures are ‘templates for living’. It influences the way we behave ; it is learned over the years; it is shared amongst in our community as well, be it on a conscious or a sub-conscious level.

I strongly feel that we should never discount these ways of living as common sense.  Especially when we transcend across to other cultures from different countries – what seems unique or strange to you may be perfectly normal to someone from a different culture. It is a matter of perception.

A very good example would be time orientation. In Japan, for instance, it is essential to be punctual for appointments and is deemed as disrespectful in all occasions should one be late. However, right here in Singapore in social meets, you shall find that punctuality is an virtue, but it is a current issue if it is a social gathering. This is based on observation purely though hahahaha, you may refute if it is not the case!

However, what do you think the culture of Singapore is? Other than it being referred to Rojak due to our multi-race ethnicity, what else is there? Think about it.

I would like to bring your attention to the two articles on STOMP below; you may click on the link to read a brief and view the comments by the public.

http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/stomp/sgseen/this_urban_jungle/787378/look_at_the_crowd_at_circle_line_station.html
http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/stomp/sgseen/this_urban_jungle/785116/crowded_station_forces_commuter_to_wait_for_4_trains.html

With the above articles read, there were a few thoughts which I felt reflected (actually, reiterated) strongly of the Singapore culture now. That would be the innate character of complaining.

This article also led me to thinking about the presence of attitudinal barriers to intercultural communication.

There was this comment by a netizen associating the problem of crowded trains with the foreign worker influx. I feel that there is a certain bias to this statement. Why is this issue bring attributed to the influx of foreigners?! It appears that this is just a matter of shifting blame. The fact remains that there are already 5.18 million residents in Singapore, and be it Singaporean or otherwise, the issue will still be present. Of course, one may argue that there shouldn’t be that number in the first place as citizens only take up 3.19 million, but well, that is up to the governmental policy to control the population given the fact is that Singapore is of limited space.

With the power of social media and even what is being screened on mass media (an example being the 9pm Channel 8 drama, Love Thy Neighbour’, which reflects the stereotypical behaviour of residents from China in Singapore) today, it is not surprising to realise that there are so many stereotypes and prejudices in many’s attitudes today about foreigners in Singapore. A stereotype is a generalised belief by which we make sense of our surroundings with no regard for accuracy; whereas for prejudices, it may be due to a negative interpretation of past encounters with these foreigners. This can be attributed to culture shock – as one experiences something that is out of a normal comfort zone area. For instance, you may not be used to a certain accent, or a certain volume of voice projected by someone from another country.

I guess many a times it is a natural response stimulated from one when he/she encounters differences, but it is part and parcel of maintaining a cohesive society through mutual understanding simply. There is no point of having Racial Harmony Days annually if it is not believed by its people.

Anyway, with regards to the drama, watch till the end! The objective is to create awareness of loving your neighbours, no matter where they come from. With a little understanding and empathising from both parties, communication can be way better for sure! Do not let your prejudices be a barrier, get to know each other better by interacting. Especially when the culture nowadays is not even to say hi to your neighbour in the lift when you meet them and acting like complete strangers, well, now is the time to make a difference! All of us can do this!

I hope none of us practise ethnocentrism – the belief that one’s own culture is superior to all others and thus the tendency to judge others based on one’s own criteria!

On a sidenote, I believe SMRT is trying their best in terms of managing waiting time, and it takes time to launch the system effectively. There is really no need to criticise if they have been taking due effort and care. In terms of the system being world-class, I would say it is pretty standard. Many a times it is just us citizens who take it more and more for granted;  we expect to get in immediately when we reach the platform, if we don’t, its long. Why do we not attribute thanks to moments when the train comes fast in one to two minutes?

Guess its ‘human nature’ to spot the black blot on a pure white piece of paper, instead of focusing on the shades of white that make up most portions of the paper.

More understanding and patience, people!

What do you think?

 

Groupthink? October 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — huiyingk @ 3:21 pm
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Protest Spurs Online Dialogue on Inequity

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/nyregion/wall-street-protest-spurs-online-conversation.html?_r=1
Published: October 8, 2011

This article speaks about this grassroots movement called Occupy Wall Street, which commenced last month on September 17th in the United States.. promoting ‘peace protesting’. These ongoing demonstrations started first in New York, and spreaded on to Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington within a month (less than that in fact) , with the latest one which occurred just three days ago on Oct 6.

 

“End Wall Street tyranny.”
“End corporate corruption of the US Government.”

One evil is warfare waged on behalf of corporations seeking profit at the cost of thousands of American soldiers’ lives with many more thousands wounded physically and psychologically. The economic implications for this alone are staggering for a nation. Multiply this factor by more than 10 for the citizens of Iraq who have suffered more than 100,000 documented deaths by violence since the war began with estimates ranging well above one million. Another evil is poverty. 1 in 6 adults are considered poor according to a 2010 US Census Bureau report – with 1 in 5 children living in poverty. And the list only grows. Another evil concerns an economic disparity where the 400 richest Americans command as much wealth as the bottom 150 million Americans. This represents a state of inequality only dreamed of in so-called banana republics where dictators and their cronies enjoy such privilege. More recently another evil has been identified, where the Federal Reserve made $16 trillion in secret loans to banks and financial institutions during the financial crisis of 2008.

Taken from http://www.craigboehman.com/

From this we see the power of group communication. Through street protests, social media communication as well as broadsheet publications as a platform, these Americans convey their concerns such as social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of corporate money and lobbyists (those attempting to influence decisions) on the government and etc.

The power of social media kicks in as well (once again). More than 200 (mind you, that’s a lot!)  Facebook pages and Twitter accounts have sprung up in dozens of cities during the past week, seeking volunteers for local protests and fostering discussion about the group’s concerns. Having a sense of collective identity is surely essential – their identities are moulded within this social group of activists.

These individuals are ‘bonded’ together by a common cause as Americans, as a response to whatever they are seeing within their community as well as on a global perspective. Naturally with such protests there have been arrests, but there has been no mention of numbers dwindling so far. I guess eventually it will die down, but once again I am wowed by the overwhelming responses and the power of social devices.

The article mentioned that one student involved had wrote on her Tumblr post, “I’m worried. I’m scared, thinking about the future shakes me. I hope this works. I really hope this works.” I guess with worries and doubts like this, people are coming even more so together to stand up and ‘fight’ for themselves; their rights. It comes as a form of hope as well.

Group synergy is increased as a result, and I believe with such numbers it further increases the abilities as compared to what a small group of tens of people can do. With this ‘encouragement’ the strength of each member is strengthened, as they are able to tap on each other’s expertise as these citizens come from all walks of life. This is a form of group socialisation as well when members within this activist group would most probably be seeking out to influence each other to fulfill the need of being active for this cause, which they must have found meaningful. Or else, they wouldn’t even appear in Washington Square Park in the first place, isn’t it? And risk getting into police trouble.. Goes to show that they really want to make a difference out there. Individual and group needs are both being met at the same time.

Groupthink symptoms come into play as well, such as shared stereotypes – the way one looks at the world (in this case, America) is very similar to the rest within the group; and also mind-guards, where there is a certain control as to what the information in the group is being directed towards, in line with the group’s objectives. I believe there must be a certain individual (or maybe a small group) that is leading this whole activist demonstration on, and exerts a considerable amount of influence among its members. At the same time there must be critical thinking and continuous questioning of what their efforts are for, or it shall come to naught and carrying out these risky activities may lose its  purpose.

Interesting how the power of a group works together through such communication, even though they may not know each other in the first place. They are bonded by common interests and work towards the same goal.

 

The Evolvement of Relationships Today October 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — huiyingk @ 10:13 am
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Does anyone of you know what the term ‘sexting‘ means? Well, neither did I until I read it on my Straits Time app last week.

This term came up first in the year 2005 and it has been described as taking place in the UK, Australia, the U.S., as well as Canada. Do you think it will eventually hit Singapore too?

I would say that communication today has shifted from a traditional approach to that of a contemporary approach – building a connection to fulfill that social need and attain personal goals.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1156449/1/.html
Posted: 30 September 2011 1341 hrs

Messages with sexual content have been exchanged over all forms of historical media. New technology today has allowed the sending of explicit photographs and videos, which can be easily done in a matter of minutes on a smartphone or a laptop. This form of communication has substantial impact with little control as it can spread like wildfire. Remember the previous incident years ago whereby a sex video was splattered over the Internet of a  polytechnic student with her boyfriend?

In this article, Melbourne University researcher Shelley Walker said her study showed that young people felt they needed to “sext” to fit in. With this highly sexualised media culture, young people have become pressured to adhere to this norm.

Is this what relationships are supposed to be based on? Sending a nude photo of yourself to ‘please’ the other party?

According to Mark Knapp’s Model of Relational Development, there are ten stages describing the progression and development of relationships. Stages 1-5 is about coming together;  while Stages 6-10 describes coming apart.

Stage 1: Initiating
Stage 2: Experimenting
Stage 3: Intensifying
Stage 4: Integrating
Stage 5: Bonding

At Stage 2, typically this is when you ‘feel each other out’. Wait a minute, I do not mean it literally – more of establishing if that connection exists through similar interests and character, and make small talk after the first step of initiating contact. At the same time you would like to see whether there is a reciprocation by the other party with a positive response.

‘Sexting’ in my opinion comes into play at this stage of ‘Experimenting’. I was surprised to read from the article that girls experience this pressure to ‘sext’ from boyfriends, and also from boys they don’t necessarily know as well. In other words it is a prerequisite prior to entering a relationship?! They will only form and develop relationships with those who are in their circle of expectation – they exchange social information before deciding whether to move on to the next stage/level. From a sociological angle, indeed, this is a case of stimulus generalisation in which you adopt an orientation toward the other party based on how similar he/she is to others. You ensure that the other party is not a ‘misfit’; and gels in with the other peers. Is such conformity really needed just to be accepted?

Personally, I feel that there is no need to conform to such norms. Many things in this current culture are not right but many people still follow it for the sake of wanting to be accepted into the society & their peer groups. “Everyone’s doing it. Why not?” Come on! How does a guy not having sexually explicit photos of himself on his mobile phone be considered gay? Many terms are evolving to mean something else; removing the original meaning of the word totally. And to blackmail someone by publishing such a photo on Facebook? No matter which angle I look at it from,  it is not moral at all.

Social interaction today has indeed evolved; so much different from the past. Remember the days of snail mail, email, or simple MSN messages with emoticons (okay the latter is still existing today, but Facebook supersedes it definitely)?

Do you agree with this new form of social interaction? I certainly don’t. Values inculcated from the past such as filial piety, no pre-marital sex, no cohabitation before marriage, etc.. Conservatism has indeed decreased as this society paces on rapidly with thoughts such as ‘its okay’; ‘does it really matter?’ etc.

Family values. So important, yet forgotten..

Would you like to read something light? Here you go!

Hint: Meowwww..

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Listen With Your Eyes! September 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — huiyingk @ 8:24 am
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Can you tell from the title what I am talking about?

Do we just analyze our environment based on what we hear? What really soaks into our mind when we communicate? Think about it.

In actual fact, 93% of our communication abilities (i.e. in getting a message across effectively) is nonverbal communication. This is based on a study carried out by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Thus it complements verbal communication, i.e. one cannot work without the other. Of this percentage, 38 % makes up for the tone of voice (paralinguistics) whereas body language (kinesics) takes up 55%!

Nonverbal messages always serve to complement/substitute/repeat/contradict/accent/regulate verbal messages. We are basically mind-wired to do so. 🙂 Let me give a few realistic examples:

  1. You smile; you lit up with joy when you’re ecstatic after finding out you aced that English examination. Your actions portray your emotions – while you (might) go around telling people ‘I’m happy, I’m really happy I aced my exam!’, nonverbal message of your emotions complement the verbal message of voicing your happiness literally. I mean, you can’t possibly say you’re happy but yet you look downcast and gloomy. Our emotions will match how we feel. (Unless of course, you’re faking it in a certain situation – that will be contradicting!)
  2. You appreciate that driver slowing down in the lane next to you for allowing you to cut into his lane. Logic tells you that you do not wind down the driver’s window, poke your head out, turn your head behind and yell a ‘thank you!’ to that nice driver. That will be way too dangerous! So in this case your body language (nonverbal) substitutes my verbal message – you signal your thanks by giving a wave, and perhaps a smile if possible. 🙂

Recently (actually today) in the Straits Times:

In response to the article on the left, Willow the cat has been reunited with her family after missing for five years. I believe her family would have felt much joy to see their beloved pet back with them. One of the family members, three-year-old Lola, had squealed with happiness and exclaimed ‘Hey, kitty cat!’ and you can see from the picture that the family members were all smiling! This relates to paralinguistics, whereby it consists of the tone of voice and vocalics, when Lola squealed with joy.

As to the article on the right, I believe I do not have to introduce the long-standing Korean wave that is sweeping many teenagers here in Singapore off their feet with the superb singing, dancing and their gorgeous looks. K-pop band Big Bang was in town as they were performing at the Formula One concert which commenced yesterday (23rd Sep, Friday), and apparently ended in ‘a high and set the standards for the following concerts to come’. Note that the article mentioned (almost) every single teenage girl was able to sing along to the seven songs that Big Bang had performed. Given that Korean is not a native language, how was that possible? What exactly had sparked off the excitement in Korean pop culture?

In my personal opinion I would think (to a huge extent) that this is attributed to physical appearance first of all. Being attracted to the pretty faces of these pop stars, be it male or female, may have kindled the interest in wanting to find out more about Korean pop. And then they find out how well they are able to sing and dance, after watching more videos online and reading about them. After which what sets in will be the desire to learn the language so that fans will understand the meaning of the lyrics, as well as be able to sing along to the songs when in the shower or at live concerts. But of course, this form of communication will not be personal, i.e. one-to-one (unless if you get to have a meet-and-greet session); most of the time such forms of communicating reaches out to the masses on a global basis.

In a nutshell, judging a visual without the usage of words allows us to still be able to piece the story together – based on the symbolic objects, the environment, emotions portrayed or sometimes even the action depicted. Interesting, huh?

Orange comes home after a tired day at work. Alas, why is his wife’s peel lying outside? He walks in , only to realise that the only wife he has ever given his whole heart to, is with Banana.  How did he know that they were having an affair? Well, they were both within intimate distance –  the closest zone of personal space (proxemics). Going white with rage, Orange bellows at his wife. “Why? Why did you do this to me? And of all people, Banana. Banana’s my friend!” The pair caught lying together were dumbfounded; they had nothing to say. Hurt and despaired, Orange turns to his confidants – Pear, Grape and Peach. But they could only listen, empathize and feel sorry for him. Orange turns to smoking and drinking to drown his sorrows, and disappears from the corner of the earth as a sad fruit soul.

Amazing that we can piece a story together based on what is depicted without any words at all, isn’t it? How about you? Do you have any other different interpretation of the above depiction of the fruit photo strip? 🙂 Comment under this post!

 

Organising The Thoughts In Our Minds September 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — huiyingk @ 3:54 pm
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Perception is the process by which we make sense of the world around us.

All of us have different notions of what to perceive, even though what when we may be looking at the same subject matter or issue. Interesting, isn’t it?

Have you ever wondered why then? It is the way we organise such information in our minds. How it is arranged. One of the ways we organise them is through cognitive schemata. In layman terms, it is also known as the mental framework developed over time.

I believe we all know what should be the qualities that a flight steward should have. Tall; decent-looking; clear articulation;  you name it. So would a flight script in terms of standardization. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 101. Please fasten your seat-belts before the flight takes off. In the meantime, please observe the safety protocol procedures demonstrated by our staff……”

And I will like to ask: When you travel and are on the plane, do you listen intently to the instructions given?

I will be honest about this fact – I don’t! In fact, I would have been burying my nose under a travel magazine or a food menu (yum) in front of my seat, and gawking at more interesting stuff. Yes, the word that springs to my head will be ‘boring’! This is a prototype which we adhere to most of the time, meaning a typical representative of a subject. In this case my general statement is that ‘flight safety announcements are so typical’. How about you? 🙂

Having seen the above video, I would say that (besides it being funny) it is indeed very interesting to garner the audience’s attention through a rap so as to convey the Southwest Airlines flight’s safety announcements and other information to take note of whilst on board the flight. One in his/her mind must have expected the flight script to be carried out in a formal statement.. so much so that it becomes subconscious in the mind already. However it was not the case!

I believe the rap actually helped in etching the information that the steward wanted to convey. He even got the passengers to clap rhythmically, which you can see even the businessmen did too eventually after some hesitation! Everyone was engaged in his form of communication.

Just a thought though – he should have waited for all passengers to be seated properly before starting his interesting rap!

 

Thoughts in Week 2 September 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — huiyingk @ 1:11 pm
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The Field of Communication is whereby…

I’m just kidding! 😀

Ah!

I’ll be sharing through this social space of what I will be learning  in my Communications class  and applying concepts through videos, social media, pictures, music, and anything basically!

I hope you will enjoy reading my posts as much as I will like to enjoy writing this.. so here goes!

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