Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fab without a fortune!

Are you a style-conscious woman trying to stretch your wardrobe dollars to the max? Well, the Budget Babe wants to show you what to buy and how to wear it by keeping you on-trend for less. The Budget Babe has been around for about four years, providing an outlet for fashion savvy bloggers to connect viewers with celebrity-chic outlets for less.

They take outfits that features high end designers like Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, and others, and find affordable look-a-likes down to every accessory through sites like, H&M and JC Penny.

So, now it really is possible to dress like a star.

"Public" broadcasting

Last night the Park School of Communication's Distinguished Visitor Series featured social media entrepreneur and sister to the founder of Facebook, Randi Zuckerberg. As a woman who has first-handedly influenced the way we communicate in our everyday lives, it was great to hear that some of the trends in social media exist to pick up the slack of commercial media outlets by seeking to give voices to those who go unheard by commercial America.

"Social media is a conversation, whether you're doing a broadcast or a news article," she said. "The days of passive consumption are over. People want to fee like they are engaged in the content."

In a time when even public broadcasting programs are succumbing to the ways of the commercial media by providing right or left wing biases, social media is filling that void. One of the main reasons social media is becoming such leading force in our culture is because it gives people that voice as well as the option to participate in the news—something that is changing the future of journalism forever.

Zuckerberg said another trend is the preference of people to tell real, authentic stories. This feature of social media has altered the way people want to consume their news; they want to know whats going on behind the scenes. Although this ultimately diminishes the journalistic principle of transparency, it gives the audience 'real person, real time' commentary. It confirms to consumers that people behind the news are not robots like it often seems in corporate news outlets whom are forced to mark all biases. Even those reporting the news have opinions, and this is something that independent outlets and social media both succeed at expressing.

An article by Fair said, "what is needed is a call for public broadcasting to fulfill its mission, bringing independent, provocative programming that features voices ignored or marginalized by the commercial media." But according to Randi Zuckerberg, an important element that is missing from all news media that social media provides, is the idea of reaching people on their own turf.

"You need to reach people where they are, and where they are is social media," she said. "Social media brings content to people who would not have seen that content makes it live on and on."

So, when both the public and commercial broadcastings are falling short of their obligations to "see America whole, in all its diversity," it is satisfying to know that an arena exists for Americans and people all over the world to go and can express their voices that would otherwise go unheard. Social media, in all of its meanings, is single handedly connecting our world.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Can't be tamed"

On her 19th birthday, Miley Cyrus posted this video of her song, "Liberty Walk," which featured news coverage of the Occupy movement happening around the world. By doing so, she wanted to show her support for people standing up for what they believe in. Montage scenes of protestors and pepper-spraying police officers are displayed throughout the three minute video to lyrics such as, "It's a liberty walk, walk. Say goodbye to the people who tied you up... free yourself, slam the door, not a prisoner anymore."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Its a 'dog eat dog' world

On the first Thanksgiving, "The Pilgrims had dinner with the Native Americans, and then they all left and got in line at Best Buy." Or at least thats what Ellen DeGeneres told me. And... she has a point. Thanksgiving is often cut short by the anxiousness people have for those Black Friday sales that kick off at midnight, or better yet, 9pm Thanksgiving night. But when the large, dominating retail stores open at 9pm and receive free promoting from all major news outlets, how is it possible for small businesses to compete and survive?

In looking for some of the best Black Friday deals, I haven't seen beyond the names of 'WalMart,' 'Best Buy,' 'Kohls,' and many other the other dominating names in the retail industry. Even here on Lauren Conrad's blog she has the best "Deals & Steals: The Best Black Friday Sales," which include Best Buy, H&M, and an online boutique, What about the others, though?

My point is that it's not just in news that we see the big dogs outrunning the individuals or smaller outlets; we see it in retail as the system gets more and more monopolized. Black Friday means bitter competition in the retail industry, and for small businesses, this requires larger promotions, deals and an extra day devoted to reeling in customers: Small Business Saturday. This is a day, similar to Cyber Monday, where the attention is on small business owners.

So, moral of the story: don't forget about the small businesses because once they go down, corporate conglomerates will continue to monopolize this country. For the economies sake and for our sake, lets do what we can to keep that from happening.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sound Bong

A friend is gaining attention from many independent artists through her music blog, The Jillboard. She began blogging in high school when she saw the emergence of music blogs and thought, "I could do better." This seems to be a similar quality that leads to the start up of many independent blogs, whether it be music or hard news. When the big guys aren't doing what we want them to do, we disassociate ourselves and find an alternative. For her, seeing and hearing "WooHoo" by Christina Aguilera was the motive behind her first blog post, and ever since, the venting, sharing and promoting of music from hop-hop to rap to electric has been continuously flowing. She has established a committed fan base by promoting herself through word of mouth, utilizing social media and You Tube, and creating bumper stickers with sayings like, "Sound Bong- The" She has one advertisement from Full Sail University, which doubtfully creates a solid revenue stream, but as the blog continues to progress it is possible that we will see more and more. Until then, she is doing everything in the right direction to make her blog go viral.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Queen of Rage"

Huffington Post reported on the recent outrage about the cover of Newsweek's portrayal of presidential candidate, Michelle Bachmann. The magazine chose an unflattering, bug-eyed photo of the conservative candidate—what conservative blogger, Michelle Malkin, calls a "photo cliche about conservative female public figures." 

Bachmann is a legitimate candidate in the campaign and this is an example of how mainstream news can consciously affect the public's opinion of an issue or in this case, a public figure. 

Police in riot gear swept into Occupy Oakland

USA Today published photos of Police ordering protestors to leave... even the most peaceful. Protestors mediated while police waiting for the signal to evict the demonstrators from the area.

The caption of this picture says, "An Occupy protestor is handcuffed by police." But are those really handcuffs? To me, at least, the object around his wrists look more like zip ties.

As the allegations for violence surrounding the Oakland site continue to grow, the media is capturing images that help to solidify the fact that police, themselves, are contributing. At the city's first raid, police used tear-gas and rubber bullets to disperse the activists and last week, there was a murder. As the Huffington Post reported, there is no evidence that the occupiers are to blame for the murder. For news media like the LA Times, though, their report of the incident quotes a police officer saying that the shooting victim is tied to Occupy Oakland. They even go as far as to say, "The city was using the incident as further justification to raze the encampment." 

The difference in the reporting is the opinion it creates in the readers mind. The images and the difference in reporting can either creates empathy for protestors and opposition toward police or give the Occupy movement a negative connotation that necessarily does not exist.