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Stop Multitasking Persuasive Speech



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Persuasive Speech

Thinking more deeply, we can recognize that certain media are better at certain roles. Media have characteristics that influence how we use them. While some forms of mass media are better suited to entertainment, others make more sense as a venue for spreading information. For example, in terms of print media, books are durable and able to contain lots of information, but are relatively slow and expensive to produce. In contrast, newspapers are comparatively cheaper and quicker to create, making them a better medium for the quick turnover of daily news. Television provides vastly more visual information than radio, and is more dynamic than a static printed page; it can also be used to broadcast live events to a nationwide audience, as in the annual State of the Union addresses given by the U.

However, it is also a one-way medium—that is, it allows for very little direct person-to-person communication. In contrast, the Internet encourages public discussion of issues and allows nearly everyone who wants a voice to have one. However, the Internet is also largely unmoderated and uncurated. Users may have to wade through thousands of inane comments or misinformed amateur opinions in order to find quality information. McLuhan emphasized that each medium delivers information in a different way and that content is fundamentally shaped by that medium. For example, although television news has the advantage of offering video and live coverage, making a story come vividly alive, it is also a faster-paced medium.

That means stories get reported in different ways than print. A story told on television will often be more visual, have less information, and be able to offer less history and context than the same story covered in a monthly magazine. This feature of media technology leads to interesting arguments. Others disagree. We do not have to cast value judgments but can affirm: People who get the majority of their news from a particular medium will have a particular view of the world shaped not just by the content of what they watch but also by its medium.

The Internet has made this discussion even richer because it seems to hold all other media within it—print, radio, film, television and more. If indeed the medium is the message, the Internet provides us with an extremely interesting message to consider. Choose two different types of mass communication—radio shows, television broadcasts, Internet sites, newspaper advertisements, and so on from two different kinds of media. Make a list of what role s each one fills, keeping in mind that much of what we see, hear, or read in the mass media has more than one aspect.

Consider the following questions: Does the type of media suit the social role? Why did the creators of this particular message present it in the particular way, and in this particular medium? We have spoken easily of historical eras. Can we speak of cultural eras? It can actually be a useful concept. There are many ways to divide time into cultural eras. But for our purposes, a cultural period A time marked by a particular way of understanding the world through culture and technology. Changes in cultural periods are marked by fundamental changes in the way we perceive and understand the world. This change in cultural period was galvanized by the printing press. In each of these cultural eras, the nature of truth had not changed.

What had changed was the way that humans used available technology to make sense of the world. Using technology to make sense of the world? You likely can anticipate that for the purpose of studying culture and mass media, the modern and postmodern ages are some of the most exciting and relevant ones to explore, eras in which culture and technology have intersected like never before. The Modern Age The post-Medieval era; a wide span of time marked in part by technological innovations, urbanization, scientific discoveries, and globalization.

It is also referred to as modernity. The Modern Age is generally split into two parts: the early and the late modern periods. Scholars often talk of the Modern Age as modernity. During the early modern period, transportation improved, politics became more secularized, capitalism spread, nation-states grew more powerful, and information became more widely accessible. Enlightenment ideals of reason, rationalism, and faith in scientific inquiry slowly began to replace the previously dominant authority of king and church.

Huge political, social, and economic changes marked the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the late modern period. The Industrial Revolution, which began in England around , combined with the American Revolution in and the French Revolution in , indicated that the world was undergoing massive changes. The Industrial Revolution had far-reaching consequences.

It did not merely change the way goods were produced—it also fundamentally changed the economic, social, and cultural framework of its time. However, during the 19th century, several crucial inventions—the internal combustion engine, steam-powered ships, and railways, among others—led to other innovations across various industries. Suddenly, steam power and machine tools meant that production increased dramatically.

But some of the biggest changes coming out of the Industrial Revolution were social in character. An economy based on manufacturing instead of agriculture meant that more people moved to cities, where techniques of mass production led to an emphasis on efficiency both in and out of the factory. Newly urbanized factory laborers no longer had the skill or time to produce their own food, clothing, or supplies and instead turned to consumer goods. Increased production led to increases in wealth, though income inequalities between classes also started to grow as well.

Increased wealth and nonrural lifestyles led to the development of entertainment industries. Life changed rapidly. It is no coincidence that the French and American Revolutions happened in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. The huge social changes created changes in political systems and thinking. In both France and America, the revolutions were inspired by a rejection of a monarchy in favor of national sovereignty and representative democracy.

Both revolutions also heralded the rise of secular society, as opposed to church-based authority systems. Democracy was well-suited to the so-called Age of Reason, with its ideals of individual rights and its belief in progress. Media were central to these revolutions. As we have seen, the fusing of steam power and the printing press enabled the explosive expansion of books and newspapers. Literacy rates rose, as did support for public participation in politics. More and more people lived in the city, had an education, got their news from the newspaper, spent their wages on consumer goods, and identified themselves as citizens of an industrialized nation. Urbanization, mass literacy, and new forms of mass media contributed to a sense of mass culture that united people across regional, social, and cultural boundaries.

A last note on the terminology for the cultural era of the Modern Age or modernity: A similar term—modernism—also has come into use. However, modernism is a term for an artistic, cultural movement, rather than era. It celebrated subjectivity through abstraction, experimentalism, surrealism, and sometimes pessimism or even nihilism. If you go on to graduate study in almost any field in the humanities or social sciences, you will eventually encounter texts debating the postmodern era.

While the exact definition and dates of the postmodern era A cultural period that began during the second half of the 20th century and was marked by skepticism, self-consciousness, celebration of difference, and the reappraisal of modern conventions. Modernity—the Modern Age—took for granted scientific rationalism, the autonomous self, and the inevitability of progress. The postmodern age questioned or dismissed many of these assumptions.

If the modern age valued order, reason, stability, and absolute truth, the postmodern age reveled in contingency, fragmentation, and instability. The aftermath of World War II, the Holocaust, the Cold War, the digitization of culture, the rise of the Internet, and numerous other factors fed into the skepticism and self-consciousness of the postmodern era. Remember, this is a thought experiment, and is not real.

Both potential states are equally true. Although the thought experiment was devised to explore issues in quantum physics, it appealed to postmodernists in its assertion of radical uncertainty. What is reality? Rather than being an absolute objective truth, accessible by rational procedures and experimentation, the status of reality was contingent, and depended on the observer. Novelists and poets, for example, embraced this new approach to reality. The emphasis was not on the all-knowing author but instead on the reader. But the postmodern era called into question the sorts of theories that claimed to explain everything at once.

The postmodern age, Lyotard theorized, was one of micro-narratives instead of grand narratives—that is, a multiplicity of small, localized understandings of the world, none of which can claim an ultimate or absolute truth. The diversity of human experience also was a marked feature of the postmodern world. William S. Everything belongs to the inspired and dedicated thief. They belong to anyone who can use them. Loot the Louvre! Vive le sol long live the sun -pure, shameless, total. We are not responsible. Steal anything in sight. Its title and many of its lyrics are taken from numerous sources across cultures, eras and fields.

Draw a Venn diagram of the two cultural periods discussed at length in this chapter. Make a list of the features, values, and events that mark each period. Is there any overlap? How do they differ? Each cultural era is marked by changes in technology. When radio was invented, people predicted the end of newspapers. When television was invented, people predicted the end of radio and film. Such actions are enabled by media convergence The process by which previously distinct technologies come to share content, tasks, and resources. A cell phone that also takes pictures and video is an example of the convergence of digital photography, digital video, and cellular telephone technologies. A news story that originally appeared in a newspaper and now is published on a website or pushed on a mobile phone is another example of convergence.

Media theorist Henry Jenkins has devoted a lot of time to thinking about convergence. Jenkins breaks convergence down into five categories:. Cultural convergence has several different aspects. One important component is stories flowing across several kinds of media platforms—for example, novels that become television series Dexter or Friday Night Lights ; radio dramas that become comic strips The Shadow ; even amusement park rides that become film franchises Pirates of the Caribbean. The character Harry Potter exists in books, films, toys, amusement park rides, and candy bars. Another aspect of cultural convergence is participatory culture A culture in which media consumers are able to annotate, comment on, remix, and otherwise respond to culture.

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans aged 8 to 18 spend more than 7. These statistics highlight some of the aspects of the new digital model of media consumption: participation and multitasking. Instead, they are sending text messages to friends, linking news articles on Facebook, commenting on YouTube videos, writing reviews of television episodes to post online, and generally engaging with the culture they consume. Convergence has also made multitasking much easier, as many devices allow users to surf the Internet, listen to music, watch videos, play games, and reply to emails and texts on the same machine.

However, this multitasking is still quite new and we do not know how media convergence and immersion are shaping culture, people, and individual brains. Carr worries that the vast array of interlinked information available through the Internet is eroding attention spans and making contemporary minds distracted and less capable of deep, thoughtful engagement with complex ideas and arguments. He mourns the change in his own reading habits. In other words, multitasking makes us do a greater number of things poorly.

Whatever the ultimate cognitive, social, or technological results, though, convergence is changing the way we relate to media today. When was the last time you used a rotary phone? How about a payphone on a street? When you need brief, factual information, when was the last time you reached for a handy volume of Encyclopedia Britannica? Maybe never. All of these habits, formerly common parts of daily life, have been rendered essentially obsolete through the progression of convergence. Take cassette tapes and Polaroid film, for example. The underground music tastemaker Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth recently claimed that he only listens to music on cassette.

Several iPhone apps promise to apply effects to photos to make them look more like Polaroids. Cassettes, Polaroids, and other seemingly obsolete technologies have been able to thrive—albeit in niche markets—both despite and because of Internet culture. Instead of being slick and digitized, cassette tapes and Polaroid photos are physical objects that are made more accessible and more human, according to enthusiasts, because of their flaws. The distinctive Polaroid look—caused by uneven color saturation, under- or over-development, or just daily atmospheric effects on the developing photograph—is emphatically analog. Media theorist Henry Jenkins identifies the five kinds of convergence as the following:.

Make a list of points, examples, and facts that back up the theory that you think best explains the effects of convergence. Alternatively, come up with your own theory of how convergence is changing individual and society as a whole. Stage a mock debate with a member of the class who holds a view different from your own. The idea that ordinary citizens with no special resources, expertise, or political power—like Paine himself—could sound off, reach wide audiences, even spark revolutions, was brand-new to the world.

In all eras, cultural values shape the way media are created, used, and controlled. How do cultural values shape our media and mass communication? And how, in turn, do media and mass communication shape our values? The U. Thanks to the First Amendment and subsequent statutes, the United States has some of the broadest protections on speech of any industrialized nation. We can see the value that American culture places on free speech. However, speech and the press are not always free—cultural values have placed limits and those limits, like values, have shifted over time.

Obscenity, for example, has not often been tolerated. Indeed, the very definition of obscenity Indecency that goes against public morals and exerts a corrupting influence. Obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court case, Roth v. The United States , tried to lessen restrictions and defined obscenity more narrowly. Sexually explicit magazines, such as Playboy , are available in nearly every U. Artist Shepard Fairey, creator of the iconic Obama HOPE image, was sued by the Associated Press for copyright infringement; Fairey argued that his work was protected by the fair use exception.

Copyright law Law that regulates the exclusive rights given to the creator of a work. Here we see a conflict between cultural values of free speech and the right to protect your creative rights. Intellectual property law was originally intended to protect just that—the proprietary rights, both economic and intellectual, of the originator of a creative work. Inventions, novels, musical tunes, and even phrases can all be covered by copyright law. The first copyright statute in the United States set 14 years as the maximum term for copyright protection.

This number has risen exponentially in the 20th century; some works are now copyright protected for up to years. In recent years, an Internet culture that enables file sharing, mixing, mash-ups, and YouTube parodies has raised questions about copyright. Can you refer to a copyrighted work? What is fair use of a copyrighted work? The exact line between what expressions are protected or prohibited by law are still being set by courts; and as the changing values of the U. Cultural values also shape mass media messages when producers of media content have vested interests in particular social goals. The producers offer media content that promotes or refutes particular viewpoints. Governments, corporations, nonprofits, colleges, indeed most organizations, all try to shape media content to promote themselves and their values.

In its most heavy-handed form, at the level of government, this type of media influence can become propaganda Communication that intentionally attempts to persuade its audience for ideological, political, or commercial purposes. Propaganda often but not always distorts the truth, selectively presents facts, or uses emotional appeals. In war time, propaganda often includes caricatures of the enemy. During World War I, for example, the U. The commission used radio, movies, posters, and in-person speakers to present a positive slant on the American war effort and demonize the opposing Germans.

In no degree was the committee an agency of censorship, a machinery of concealment or repression. Our effort was educational and informative throughout, for we had such confidence in our case as to feel that no other argument was needed than the simple, straightforward presentation of the facts. World War I propaganda posters were sometimes styled to resemble movie posters in an attempt to glamorize the war effort. Advertisers craft messages so viewers want to buy their products. Some news sources, such as cable news channels or political blogs, have an explicit political slant. For our purposes, we simply want to keep in mind how cultural values shape much media content.

In , journalist A. Gatekeepers The people who help determine which stories make it to the public, including reporters who decide what sources to use, and editors who pick what gets reported on, and which stories make it to the front page. Media gatekeepers are part of culture and thus have their own cultural values, whether consciously or unconsciously. In deciding what counts as newsworthy, entertaining, or relevant, gatekeepers use their own values to create and shape what gets presented to the wider public.

Conversely, gatekeepers may decide that some events are unimportant or uninteresting to consumers. Those events may never reach the eyes or ears of a larger public. Almost one million people were killed in ferocious attacks in just days. Yet, as Thompson notes, few foreign correspondents were in Africa, and the world was slow to learn of the atrocities in Rwanda. Instead, the nightly news was preoccupied by the O. Thompson argues that the lack of international media attention allowed politicians to remain complacent.

With little media coverage, there was little outrage about the Rwandan atrocities, which contributed to a lack of political will to invest time and troops in a faraway conflict. Newspapers have to make profits. Cultural values by gatekeepers on the individual and institutional level downplayed the genocide at a time of great crisis, and potentially contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Gatekeepers had an especially strong influence in old media, in which space and time were limited.

A news broadcast could only last for its allotted half hour, 22 minutes with commercials, while a newspaper had a set number of pages to print. The Internet, in contrast, has room for infinite news reports. The interactive nature of the medium also minimizes the gatekeeper function of the media by allowing media consumers to have a voice as well. News aggregators like Digg. And unlike traditional media, these new gatekeepers rarely have public bylines, making it difficult to figure out who makes such decisions and on what basis.

In , an epidemic swept America—but instead of leaving victims sick with fever or flu, this was a rabid craze for the music of Swedish soprano Jenny Lind. American showman P. Barnum who would later go on to found the circus we now know as Ringling Bros. Ever the savvy self-promoter, Barnum turned this huge investment to his advantage, using it to drum up publicity—and it paid off. A town in California and an island in Canada were named in her honor. Enthusiasts could purchase Jenny Lind hats, chairs, boots, opera glasses, and even pianos. A little more than a century later, a new craze transformed American teenagers into screaming, fainting Beatle-maniacs.

When the British foursome touched down at Kennedy Airport in , they were met by more than 3, frenzied fans. The crime rate that night dropped to its lowest level in 50 years. Lisa A. Lewis New York: Routledge, In the 21st century, rabid fans could actually help decide the next pop stars through the reality television program American Idol. Derived from a British show, American Idol hit the airwaves in and became the only television program ever to earn the top spot in the Neilsen ratings for six seasons in a row, often averaging more than 30 million nightly viewers.

Newspapers put developments on the show on their front pages. Fans also could sign up for text alerts or play trivia games on their phones. An important consideration in any discussion of media and culture is the concept of popular culture. If culture is the expressed and shared values, attitudes, beliefs, and practices of a social group, organization, or institution, then what is popular culture? Popular culture The media, products, and attitudes considered to be part of the mainstream of a given culture and the everyday life of common people; it is often distinct from more formal conceptions of culture that take into account moral, social, religious beliefs and values; it ia also distinct from what some consider elite or high culture.

It is often distinct from more formal conceptions of culture that take into account moral, social, religious beliefs and values, such as our earlier definition of culture. It is also distinct from what some consider elite or high culture. For some people, American Idol is pop culture and opera is culture. For as long as mass media have existed in the United States, they have helped to create and fuel mass crazes, skyrocketing celebrities, and pop culture manias of all kinds.

Historically, popular culture has been closely associated with mass media that introduce and encourage the adoption of certain trends. Similar in some ways to the media gatekeepers discussed above, tastemakers People or organizations who exert a strong influence on current trends, styles, and other aspects of popular culture. Sullivan hosted musical acts, comedians, actors, and dancers, and had the reputation of being able to turn an unknown performer into a full-fledged star. Or if a guy is an architect that makes the Empire State Building.

Sullivan was a classic example of an influential tastemaker of his time. Television hosts and comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert can be understood as tastemakers of progressive national politics. Along with encouraging a mass audience to keep an eye out for or skip certain movies, television shows, video games, books, or fashion trends, tastemaking is also used to create demand for new products.

Companies often turn to advertising firms to help create a public hunger for an object that may have not even existed six months previously. In the s, when George Eastman developed the Kodak camera for personal use, photography was the realm of professionals. Ordinary people simply did not think about taking photographs. Kodak became a wildly successful company not because Eastman was good at selling cameras, but because he understood that what he really had to sell was photography. Tastemakers can help keep culture vital by introducing the public to new ideas, music, programs, or products.

But the ability to sway or influence the tastes of consumers can be worth millions of dollars. In the traditional media model, media companies set aside large advertising budgets to promote their most promising projects. For example, the Payola Scandal of the s involved record companies paying the disc jockeys of radio stations to play certain records so those records would become hits.

Companies today sometimes pay bloggers to promote their products. Media choices were limited. Many cities and towns had just three television channels, one or two newspapers, and one or two dominant radio stations. Advertisers, critics, and other cultural influencers had access to huge audiences through a small number of mass communication platforms. However, by the end of the century, the rise of cable television and the Internet had begun to make tastemaking a much more complicated enterprise.

While The Ed Sullivan Show regularly reached 50 million people in the s, the most popular television series of — American Idol —averaged around Table 1. The Internet appears to be eroding some of the tastemaking power of the traditional media outlets. No longer are the traditional mass media the only dominant forces in creating and promoting trends. Instead, information can spread across the globe without any involvement of traditional media.

Websites made by nonprofessionals can reach more people daily than a major newspaper. Music review sites such as Pitchfork. Mobile applications like Yelp allow consumers to get individual reviews of a restaurant while they are standing outside it. Blogs make it possible for anyone with Internet access to potentially reach an audience of millions. Some popular bloggers transitioned from the traditional media world to the digital world, but others became well known without formal institutional support.

The celebrity gossip chronicler Perez Hilton had no formal training in journalism when he started his blog, PerezHilton. Email and text messages allow for the near-instant transmission of messages across vast geographic expanses. Although personal communications continue to dominate, email and text messages are increasingly used to directly transmit information about important news events.

When Barack Obama wanted to announce his selection of Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate in the election, he bypassed the traditional televised press conference and instead sent the news to his supporters directly via text message—2. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, and microblogging services, such as Twitter, are another source of late-breaking information. Thanks to these and other digital-age media, the Internet has become a pop culture force, both a source of amateur talent and a source of amateur promotion. However, traditional media outlets still maintain a large amount of control and influence over U. One key indicator is the fact that many singers or writers who first make their mark on the Internet quickly transition to more traditional media—YouTube star Justin Bieber was snapped up by a mainstream record company, and blogger Perez Hilton is regularly featured on MTV and VH1.

New media stars are quickly absorbed into the old media landscape. Not only does the Internet allow little known individuals to potentially reach a huge audience with their art or opinions, but it also allows content-creators to reach fans directly. For example, the media establishment has been surprised by the success of some self-published books: First-time author Daniel Suarez had his novel manuscript rejected by dozens of literary agents before he decided to self-publish in Through savvy self-promotion via influential bloggers, Suarez garnered enough attention to land a contract with a major publishing house. E-readers offer authors a way to get around the traditional publishing industry, but their thousands of options can make choosing hard on readers.

However, how then does the content reach the public? Does every artist have to have the public relations and marketing skills of Suarez? And with so many self-published, self-promoted works uploaded to the Internet every day, how will any work—even great work—get noticed? Or they can post them on services like Urbis. The commingling of the Internet and popular culture poses many intriguing questions for our future: Will the Internet era be marked by a huge and diffuse pop culture, where the power of traditional mass media declines and, along with it, the power of the universalizing blockbuster hit?

Or will the Internet create a new set of tastemakers—influential bloggers or Tweeters? Or will the Internet serve as a platform for the old tastemakers to take on new forms? Or will the tastemakers become everyone? Now ordinary people can tell their own tales. The Internet, which has turned everyone with the time and interest into a potential reviewer, allows those ordinary people to have their voices heard. In the mids, websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor boasted hundreds of reviews of restaurants, hotels, and salons provided by users. Amazon allowed users to review any product it sells, from textbooks to fertilizer to bathing suits. By crowd-sourcing The act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an individual, and delegating them to a usually unpaid crowd.

One powerful reviewer would no longer be able to wield disproportionate power. Instead, the wisdom of the crowd would make or break restaurants, movies, and everything else. Anyone who felt treated badly or scammed now had recourse to tell the world about it. By , Yelp boasted four million reviews. One study found that a handful of Amazon users were casting hundreds of votes, while most rarely wrote reviews at all. Savvy authors or restaurant owners have been known to slyly insert positive reviews of themselves, or have attempted to skew ratings systems.

In order to get an accurate picture, potential buyers may find themselves wading through 20 or 30 online reviews, most of them from non-professionals. Hamlet does too much talking and not enough stuff. The critic visits a restaurant several times, strives for anonymity and tries to sample every dish on the menu. Find a popular newspaper or magazine that discusses popular culture. Look through it to determine what pop culture movements, programs, or people it seems to be covering. What is its overall tone? What messages does it seem to be promoting, either implicitly or explicitly? Next, find a website that also deals with popular culture and ask yourself the same questions. Do they focus on the same subjects?

Do they take similar attitudes? Why or why not? A literate population, many reasoned, would be able to seek out information, stay informed about the news of the day, communicate with others, and make informed decisions in many spheres of life. Because of this, the reasoning went, literate people made better citizens, parents, and workers. In the 20th century, as literacy rates grew around the globe, there was a new sense that merely being able to read and write was not enough. In a world dominated by media, individuals needed to be able to understand, sort through and analyze the information they were bombarded with every day.

In the second half of the 20th century, a name was finally put to this skill of being able to decode and process the messages and symbols transmitted via media: media literacy The skill of being able to decode and process the messages and symbols transmitted via media. Media literacy seeks to give media consumers the ability to understand this new language.

Our exposure to media starts early—a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 68 percent of children aged two and younger spend an average of two hours in front of a screen either computer or television each day, while children under six spend as much time in front of a screen as they do playing outside. As previously noted, U. Today, Americans of all ages get much of their information from various media sources. One crucial role of media literacy education is to enable all of us to skeptically examine the often-conflicting media messages we receive every day.

Many of the hours people spend with media are with commercial-sponsored content. The Federal Trade Commission FTC estimated that children aged 2 to 11 saw, on average, 25, television commercials a year, or more than 10, minutes of ads. Adults saw 52, ads, or about Children and adults are bombarded with contradictory messages—newspaper articles about the obesity epidemic are side by side with ads touting soda, candy, and fast food. Advertising raises other issues as well.

It often uses techniques of psychological pressure to influence decision making. Ads might appeal to vanity, insecurity, prejudice, fear, or the desire for adventure. This is not always a negative thing—antismoking public service announcements may rely on disgusting images of blackened lungs to shock viewers. Nonetheless, media literacy attempts to teach people to be informed and guarded consumers, and to evaluate claims with a critical eye.

A politician may hope to persuade potential voters that she has their best interests at heart. An ostensibly objective journalist may allow his or her own political leanings to subtly slant articles. Magazine writers might avoid criticizing companies that advertise heavily in their pages. Broadcast news reporters may sensationalize stories in order to boost ratings—and advertising rates. An important part of media literacy is remembering that mass communication messages are created by individuals, each with a set of values, assumptions, and priorities. Each claimed that the other agreed to policies that benefited sex offenders. According to the media watchdog site Factcheck. Media literacy attempts to give people the skills to look critically at these and other media messages—to sift through various claims, and to make sense of the often-conflicting information we face every day.

In the past, one goal of education was to provide students with the information deemed necessary to successfully engage with the world. Students memorized multiplication tables, state capitals, famous poems, and notable dates. Online technology surely has changed how we learn. For example, Wikipedia, a hugely popular Internet encyclopedia, is at the center of a debate on the proper use of online sources.

In , Middlebury College banned the use of Wikipedia as a source in history papers and exams. A computer registered to the U. Ultimately, media literacy teaches that messages and images are constructed with various aims in mind and that each individual has the responsibility to evaluate and interpret these media messages. Mass communication may be created and disseminated by individuals, businesses, governments, or organizations, but they are always received by an individual, even if that individual is sitting in a crowded theater. But media literacy skills help us to function better in our media-rich environment, enabling us to be better democratic citizens, smarter shoppers, and more skeptical media consumers.

As a means to this end, NAMLE has come up with a list of five questions to ask when analyzing media messages:. Did your impression change? How does this piece of mass communication attempt to get its message across? Questions for Section 1. The Evolution of Media". The Evolution of Culture". In a heavily mediated world, almost every organization, from a university to a multinational corporation, employs media specialists.

Many organizations also use consultants to help analyze and manage the interaction between their organizations and the media. Independent consultants develop projects, keep abreast of media trends, and provide advice based on industry reports. These two pages will help you answer the following questions:. Previous Chapter. Table of Contents. Next Chapter. Define culture. Pose questions that will be explored in the rest of the text. Figure 1. Key Takeaways Mass communication refers to a message transmitted to a large audience; the means of transmission is known as mass media.

Many different kinds of mass media exist and have existed for centuries. Both have an effect on culture, which is a shared and expressed collection of behaviors, practices, beliefs, and values that are particular to a group, organization, or institution. Culture and media exert influence on each other in subtle, complex ways. The election is an example of how changes in media technology have had a major impact on culture. But the influence goes both ways, and culture shapes media in important ways, even how media evolve. Exercise Reread the previous questions about media and culture. The Evolution of Media Learning Objectives Discuss events that impacted the adaptation of mass media.

Explain how different technological transitions have shaped media industries. Identify four roles the media perform in our society. Technological Transitions Shape Media Industries New media technologies both spring from and cause cultural change. Why Media? What Do Media Do for Us? These innovations enabled the daily newspaper, which united the urbanized, industrialized populations of the 19th century. In the 20th century, radio allowed advertisers to reach a mass audience and helped spur the consumerism of the s—and the Great Depression of the s.

After World War II, television boomed in the United States and abroad, though its concentration in the hands of three major networks led to accusations of conformity. The spread of cable and subsequent deregulation in the s and s led to more channels, but not necessarily more diverse ownership. Technological transitions have also had great effect on the media industry, although it is difficult to say whether technology caused a cultural shift or rather resulted from it.

The ability to make technology small and affordable enough to fit into the home is an important aspect of the popularization of new technologies. Media fulfill several roles in culture, including the following: Entertaining and providing an outlet for the imagination Educating and informing Serving as a public forum for the discussion of important issues Acting as a watchdog for government, business, and other institutions. McCroskey, J. Goodwill: A reexamination of the construct and its measurement. Communication Monographs, 66 , 90— Competence The degree to which an audience member perceives a speaker as being knowledgeable or expert on a given topic.

Some individuals are given expert status because of positions they hold in society. For example, Dr. But what if you do not possess a fancy title that lends itself to established competence? You need to explain to the audience why you are competent to speak on your topic. Keep in mind that even well-known speakers are not perceived as universally credible. US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin may be seen as competent on health and wellness issues, but may not be seen as a competent speaker on trends in Latin American music or different ways to cook summer squash. Like well-known speakers, you will need to establish your credibility on each topic you address, so establishing your competence about the energy efficiency of furnace systems during your informative speech does not automatically mean you will be seen as competent on the topic of organ donation for your persuasive speech.

The second factor of credibility noted by McCroskey and Teven is trustworthiness The degree to which an audience member perceives a speaker as being honest. Nothing will turn an audience against a speaker faster than if the audience believes the speaker is lying. The speaker could be percent honest, but the audience will still find the information suspect.

For example, in the summer of , many Democratic members of Congress attempted to hold public town-hall meetings about health care. For a range of reasons, many of the people who attended these town-hall meetings refused to let their elected officials actually speak because the audiences were convinced that the Congressmen and Congresswomen were lying. In these situations, where a speaker is in front of a very hostile audience, there is little a speaker can do to reestablish that sense of trustworthiness. These public town-hall meetings became screaming matches between the riled-up audiences and the congressional representatives.

Some police departments actually ended up having to escort the representatives from the buildings because they feared for their safety. Check out this video from CNN. We hope that you will not be in physical danger when you speak to your classmates or in other settings, but these incidents serve to underscore how important speaker trustworthiness is across speaking contexts. Simply put, we are going to listen to people who we think truly care for us and are looking out for our welfare. Human communication in everyday life: Explanations and applications. As a speaker, then, you need to establish that your information is being presented because you care about your audience and are not just trying to manipulate them.

The fourth major function of an introduction is to establish a connection between the speaker and the audience, and one of the most effective means of establishing a connection with your audience is to provide them with reasons why they should listen to your speech. However, this relationship starts the moment you step to the front of the room to start speaking. Instead of assuming the audience will make their own connections to your material, you should explicitly state how your information might be useful to your audience.

Tell them directly how they might use your information themselves. It is not enough for you alone to be interested in your topic. You need to build a bridge to the audience by explicitly connecting your topic to their possible needs. The last major function of an introduction is to preview the main ideas that your speech will discuss. A preview establishes the direction your speech will take. In the most basic speech format, speakers generally have three to five major points they plan on making. During the preview, a speaker outlines what these points will be, which demonstrates to the audience that the speaker is organized.

A study by Baker found that individuals who were unorganized while speaking were perceived as less credible than those individuals who were organized. Baker, E. The immediate effects of perceived speaker disorganization on speaker credibility and audience attitude change in persuasive speaking. Western Speech, 29 , — It also helps your audience keep track of where you are if they momentarily daydream or get distracted. Typically, there are four things to consider in choosing a specific attention-getting device:. First, when selecting an attention-getting device, you want to make sure that the option you choose is actually appropriate and relevant to your specific audience.

Different audiences will have different backgrounds and knowledge, so you should use your audience analysis to determine whether specific information you plan on using would be appropriate for a specific audience. Second, you need to consider the basic purpose of your speech. As discussed earlier in this text, there are three basic purposes you can have for giving a speech: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. When selecting an attention-getter, you want to make sure that you select one that corresponds with your basic purpose. Remember, one of the basic goals of an introduction is to prepare your audience for your speech.

If your attention-getter differs drastically in tone from the rest of your speech e. Your third basic consideration when picking an attention-getting device is your speech topic. Ideally, your attention-getting device should have a relevant connection to your speech. Not every attention-getter is appropriate for a given topic. Porn in the U. The last consideration when picking an attention-getting device involves the speech occasion.

Different occasions will necessitate different tones, or particular styles or manners of speaking. When selecting an attention-getter, you want to make sure that the attention-getter sets the tone for the speech. Miller Miller, E. Speech introductions and conclusions. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 32 , — The rest of this section is going to examine these eleven attention-getting devices. The first attention-getting method to consider is to tell your audience the subject of your speech.

This device is probably the most direct, but it may also be the least interesting of the possible attention-getters. This sentence explicitly tells an audience that the speech they are about to hear is about the importance of understanding statistics. The second attention-getting device to consider is a direct reference to the audience. As human resource professionals, you and I know the importance of talent management. In this example, the speaker reminds the audience of their shared status as human resource professionals and uses the common ground to acknowledge the importance of talent management in human resources.

If not, you can also use a number of sources that compile useful quotations from noted individuals. Here are some other websites that contain useful databases of quotations for almost any topic:. For example, consider this attention-getter for a persuasive speech on frivolous lawsuits:. During their escape the duo attempted to rappel from the roof of the jail using a makeshift ladder of bed sheets. After being quickly apprehended, Gomez filed a lawsuit against the jail for making it too easy for him to escape. In this case, the speaker is highlighting a news event that illustrates what a frivolous lawsuit is, setting up the speech topic of a need for change in how such lawsuits are handled.

Obviously, this strategy is closely related to the previous one, except that instead of a recent news event you are reaching further back in history to find a relevant reference. For example, if you are giving a speech on the Iraq War that began in , you could refer back to the Vietnam War as way of making a comparison:. The result was a long-running war of attrition in which many American lives were lost and the country of Vietnam suffered tremendous damage and destruction.

Today, we see a similar war being waged in Iraq. American lives are being lost, and stability has not yet returned to the region. An anecdote A brief account or story of an interesting or humorous event. Remember, your entire introduction should only be 10 to 15 percent of your speech, so your attention-getter must be very short. For example, here is an anecdote a speaker could use to begin a speech on how disconnected people are from the real world because of technology:.

In July , a high school girl named Alexa Longueira was walking along a main boulevard near her home on Staten Island, New York, typing in a message on her cell phone. Not paying attention to the world around her, she took a step and fell right into an open manhole. Whitney, L. Girl learns the hard way. A second type of anecdote is a parable or fable. A parable or fable An allegorical anecdote designed to teach general life lessons. For the same speech on how disconnected people are with the real world because of technology, the speaker could have used the Fable of The Boy and the Filberts:.

The ancient Greek writer Aesop told a fable about a boy who put his hand into a pitcher of filberts. The boy grabbed as many of the delicious nuts as he possibly could. Instead of dropping some of them so that his hand would fit, he burst into tears and cried about his predicament. The moral of the story? New York, NY: Wm. After recounting this anecdote, the speaker could easily relate the fable to the notion that the technology in our society leads us to try to do too many things at once. While parables and fables are short and entertaining, their application to your speech topic should be clear.

The eighth device you can use to start a speech is to surprise your audience with startling information about your topic. Often, startling statements come in the form of statistics and strange facts. The goal of a good startling statistic is that it surprises the audience and gets them engaged in your topic. Although startling statements are fun, it is important to use them ethically. First, make sure that your startling statement is factual. Second, make sure that your startling statement is relevant to your speech and not just thrown in for shock value. There are two types of questions commonly used as attention-getters: response questions and rhetorical questions.

A response question A question that the audience is expected to answer in some manner. If so, stand up. A rhetorical question A question for which no actual response is expected. How many students on this campus have had sexual intercourse? Of those who have had sex, how many have been tested for HIV? Humor is an amazing tool when used properly. We cannot begin to explain all the amazing facets of humor within this text, but we can say that humor is a great way of focusing an audience on what you are saying. However, humor is a double-edged sword. If you do not wield the sword carefully, you can turn your audience against you very quickly.

When using humor, you really need to know your audience and understand what they will find humorous. Think about how incompetent the character of Michael Scott seems on the television program The Office , in large part because of his ineffective use of humor. We always recommend that you test out humor of any kind on a sample of potential audience members prior to actually using it during a speech. Humor can be incorporated into several of the attention-getting devices mentioned. You could use a humorous anecdote, quotation, or current event. So when looking for humorous attention-getters you want to make sure that the humor is nonoffensive to your audiences and relevant to your speech.

The Chamfort quotation could be great for a speech on the ills of modern society, but probably not for a speech on the state of modern religious conflict. The tenth device you may consider to start a speech is to refer to a story about yourself that is relevant for your topic. Some of the best speeches are ones that come from personal knowledge and experience. If you are an expert or have firsthand experience related to your topic, sharing this information with the audience is a great way to show that you are credible during your attention-getter.

For example, if you had a gastric bypass surgery and you wanted to give an informative speech about the procedure, you could introduce your speech in this way:. In the fall of , I decided that it was time that I took my life into my own hands. After suffering for years with the disease of obesity, I decided to take a leap of faith and get a gastric bypass in an attempt to finally beat the disease. Your speech topic is the purpose of the attention-getter, not the other way around. Another pitfall in using a personal example is that it may be too personal for you to maintain your composure. While this is an extreme example, we strongly recommend that you avoid any material that could get you overly choked up while speaking. When speakers have an emotional breakdown during their speech, audience members stop listening to the message and become very uncomfortable.

The last device we mention for starting a speech is to refer directly to the speaking occasion. This attention-getter is only useful if the speech is being delivered for a specific occasion. Because of its specific nature, this attention-getter is the least likely to be used for speeches being delivered for college courses. In this section, we are going to explore the five remaining parts of an effective introduction: linking to your topic, reasons to listen, stating credibility, thesis statement, and preview.

After the attention-getter, the second major part of an introduction is called the link to topic. The link to topic is the shortest part of an introduction and occurs when a speaker demonstrates how an attention-getting device relates to the topic of a speech. Often the attention-getter and the link to topic are very clear. In this case, the attention-getter clearly flows directly to the topic.

However, some attention-getters need further explanation to get to the topic of the speech. For example, both of the anecdote examples the girl falling into the manhole while texting and the boy and the filberts need further explanation to connect clearly to the speech topic i. In this example, the third sentence here explains that the attention-getter was an anecdote that illustrates a real issue. The fourth sentence then introduces the actual topic of the speech. We are constantly trying to grab so much or do so much that it prevents us from accomplishing our goals.

In this example, we added three new sentences to the attention-getter to connect it to the speech topic. Once you have linked an attention-getter to the topic of your speech, you need to explain to your audience why your topic is important. Sometimes you can include the significance of your topic in the same sentence as your link to the topic, but other times you may need to spell out in one or two sentences why your specific topic is important.

Nothing is worse than having to sit through a speech that has nothing to do with you. How would you react to the speaker? Most of us would be pretty annoyed at having had our time wasted in this way. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, credibility is ultimately a perception that is made by your audience. First, to make yourself appear competent, you can either clearly explain to your audience why you are competent about a given subject or demonstrate your competence by showing that you have thoroughly researched a topic by including relevant references within your introduction. The first method of demonstrating competence—saying it directly—is only effective if you are actually a competent person on a given subject.

If you are an undergraduate student and you are delivering a speech about the importance of string theory in physics, unless you are a prodigy of some kind, you are probably not a recognized expert on the subject. Conversely, if your number one hobby in life is collecting memorabilia about the Three Stooges, then you may be an expert about the Three Stooges. However, you would need to explain to your audience your passion for collecting Three Stooges memorabilia and how this has made you an expert on the topic.

If, on the other hand, you are not actually a recognized expert on a topic, you need to demonstrate that you have done your homework to become more knowledgeable than your audience about your topic. The easiest way to demonstrate your competence is through the use of appropriate references from leading thinkers and researchers on your topic. When you demonstrate to your audience that you have done your homework, they are more likely to view you as competent. The second characteristic of credibility, trustworthiness, is a little more complicated than competence, for it ultimately relies on audience perceptions. One way to increase the likelihood that a speaker will be perceived as trustworthy is to use reputable sources. John Smith, you need to explain who Dr.

John Smith is so your audience will see the quotation as being more trustworthy. As speakers we can easily manipulate our sources into appearing more credible than they actually are, which would be unethical. When you are honest about your sources with your audience, they will trust you and your information more so than when you are ambiguous. The worst thing you can do is to out-and-out lie about information during your speech.

Not only is lying highly unethical, but if you are caught lying, your audience will deem you untrustworthy and perceive everything you are saying as untrustworthy. I realize that many of you will disagree with me on this topic. While I may not change all of your minds today, I do ask that you listen with an open mind, set your personal feelings on this topic aside, and judge my arguments on their merits. While clearly not all audience members will be open or receptive to opening their minds and listening to your arguments, by establishing that there is known disagreement, you are telling the audience that you understand their possible views and are not trying to attack their intellect or their opinions.

A thesis statement A short, declarative sentence that states the purpose, intent, or main idea of a speech. A strong, clear thesis statement is very valuable within an introduction because it lays out the basic goal of the entire speech. We strongly believe that it is worthwhile to invest some time in framing and writing a good thesis statement. You may even want to write your thesis statement before you even begin conducting research for your speech. While you may end up rewriting your thesis statement later, having a clear idea of your purpose, intent, or main idea before you start searching for research will help you focus on the most appropriate material.

To help us understand thesis statements, we will first explore their basic functions and then discuss how to write a thesis statement. With a good thesis statement you will fulfill four basic functions: you express your specific purpose, provide a way to organize your main points, make your research more effective, and enhance your delivery. To orient your audience, you need to be as clear as possible about your meaning. A strong thesis will prepare your audience effectively for the points that will follow. Here are two examples:. The strong statement not only specifies plagiarism but also states your specific concern loss of creative learning interaction. A thesis statement should appear, almost verbatim, toward the end of the introduction to a speech.

A thesis statement helps the audience get ready to listen to the arrangement of points that follow. Many speakers say that if they can create a strong thesis sentence, the rest of the speech tends to develop with relative ease. On the other hand, when the thesis statement is not very clear, creating a speech is an uphill battle. When your thesis statement is sufficiently clear and decisive, you will know where you stand about your topic and where you intend to go with your speech. Having a clear thesis statement is especially important if you know a great deal about your topic or you have strong feelings about it. If this is the case for you, you need to know exactly what you are planning on talking about in order to fit within specified time limitations.

Knowing where you are and where you are going is the entire point in establishing a thesis statement; it makes your speech much easier to prepare and to present. Chances are your list is too long and has no focus. Using your thesis statement, you can select only the information that 1 is directly related to the thesis and 2 can be arranged in a sequence that will make sense to the audience and will support the thesis. In essence, a strong thesis statement helps you keep useful information and weed out less useful information. If you begin your research with only a general topic in mind, you run the risk of spending hours reading mountains of excellent literature about your topic.

However, mountains of literature do not always make coherent speeches. You may have little or no idea of how to tie your research all together, or even whether you should tie it together. If, on the other hand, you conduct your research with a clear thesis statement in mind, you will be better able to zero in only on material that directly relates to your chosen thesis statement. Many traffic accidents involve drivers older than fifty-five. While this statement may be true, you could find industrial, medical, insurance literature that can drone on ad infinitum about the details of all such accidents in just one year.

Instead, focusing your thesis statement will help you narrow the scope of information you will be searching for while gathering information. Three factors contribute to most accidents involving drivers over fifty-five years of age: failing eyesight, slower reflexes, and rapidly changing traffic conditions.

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