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In response to the Afterward from The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian

In the context of this article, is advertising good or bad for society?
In what ways do you agree or disagree with the author’s statements?
How has this article changed your view of advertising? television?
In what ways could internet-based communication fall into the same traps?

The “Social Aspects of New Media Technologies” by Williams, Strover and Grant brings up interesting parallels between that era’s “new media,” such as cable television and VCRs, and modern internet-based communication tools. This article is similar to Paul Haridakis and Gary Hanson’s 2009 “Social Interaction and Co-Viewing With YouTube: Blending Mass Communication Reception and Social Connection,” which I covered as a discussion leader. It would appear that the two articles use several similar sources, most notably Katz, Bumler et al.’s “Utilization of mass communication by the individual,” which defines the Uses and Gratifications principle that both articles mention.

The Haridakis and Hanson article brings up the interesting point that YouTube has an extra social dimension because people can share both the video and their thoughts on it by either linking to the video in an email or blog post or leaving a comment on the page. This makes me wonder what other unique uses for internet-based media might exist. Read the rest of this entry »

My first reaction to Garrett Hardin’s 1968 article “Tragedy of the Commons” was that Hardin must be some sort of pinko commie fascist hippie. Arguing in favor of coercion? Advocating human breeding limits? Stating that private property and inheritance is unjust? My second reaction was that the article must be a joke, some satire along the lines of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.” Isn’t limiting the freedom to breed about as ridiculous as eating one’s children?

Communist, prankster or not, Hardin’s points are backed by sound logic. Ecosystems are limited in the size of population they can support. Poor parents with many children may actually end up with less decedents than poor parents with fewer children, as the families with fewer children are better able to care for the ones they have and thus ensure their survival.  By giving people all of the freedom of ownership and none of the agency, they are less inclined to treat things right– look at how customers treat rental cars. Read the rest of this entry »


Berg, P., & Jones, R. (2003). Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project. Journal of Agricultural & Food Information, 5(4), 69-75.

  • This article discusses the Historic American Cookbook Project, Michigan State University’s attempt to digitize cookbooks from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries; these efforts will make hundreds of public domain recipes searchable on the project’s website, as well as preserve the books for future generations of cooks. Read the rest of this entry »

In what ways do predictions for the future potentially shape it?

Social Interaction and Co-Viewing with Youtube: Blending Mass Communication Reception and Social Connection” by Paul Haridakis and Gary Hanson.

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February 2010
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