Jamie Lynn Spears and Teen Sexuality

Thumbing through OK! Magazine while standing in line at Wal-Mart, my eyes were etched with shock as I was bombarded with huge fonts and a long article about Jamie Lynn Spears’ baby bump. Is pregnancy some mystical factor of the universe now? Did OK! expose the real mystery of what tilts the earth on a 23 degree angle? I looked up from the periodical to help move my mother’s items on the conveyer belt. I laid the magazine down, making sure not to lose my page. While moving a bag of chips and carrots to the counter, my mother could not resist taking a peek at the open tabloid. Wondering which celebrity brought chaos to the A-list party, she was astounded by the article that met her eyes. A gasp escaped her lips, startling the other customers waiting in line. She hurriedly grabbed the magazine and began reading with furious eyes. She loudly vocalized thoughts of scandal, ‘fast’ teenage girls, and pity. Curious as to what she was reading, an older woman leaning on her cart behind us asked her what all the hubbub was about. Exclaiming, my very surprised mother spread the news. “That girl from Nickelodeon is pregnant, Britney Spears’ little sister, and she is only sixteen.” I scanned the grocery store for the impending stares that we would get for speaking so loudly. The stares were there; however, I noticed quite a few people at the next register went over to the magazine rack and picked up OK! along with other tabloids that featured the story on its cover.

My thoughts quickened as I observed the numerous amount of Wal-Mart regulars converse with their shopping buddies. If this is the reaction in this grocery store, imagine the reactions across America. I must say that I was taken aback as well by the news. It is frowned upon for teenagers to have children, especially below the age of eighteen. What would this pregnancy mean for Jamie Lynn’s career as a child entertainer? What would it mean for Nickelodeon’s image as a child entertainment company?

The actress’ teenage pregnancy highlights the issue of the utilization of teen sexuality that is commonly overlooked in the media. Teenage sexuality is presented to viewers and readers with the straightforward message that sexually active teenagers and teenage pregnancy are a disgrace. However, numerous television programs and movies are centered on providing entertainment to viewers with content that involves these sexually active teens. Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy was a scandal that ultimately opened the door for exposing other teenagers for being sexually active.

Born on April 4, 1991 in McComb, Mississippi, Jamie Lynn Marie Spears grew up in Kentwood, Louisiana. (“Jamie Lynn Spears Biography.”) Her father and mother, a building contractor and a school teacher, had two other children, a boy and a girl who are both older than Jamie Lynn. Her sister, who we all know to be Britney, loved singing and now has a career as a singer. Her brother Bryan grew up to be the co-producer of his youngest sister’s television show Zoey 101. Spears moved to New York City with her family as a young child, in order to establish her sister’s career as a musician. When Britney’s career took off, she idealized her big sister and wanted to have a career in entertainment as well. She was introduced to the acting world when she appeared in Britney’s concert movie Totally Britney Live in 2001. A year later, she was casted for the role as the little girl version of “Lucy” in her sister’s movie Crossroads.

Gaining recognition, the teen idol began to create her own identity as an actress. Appearing on Nickelodeon, the actress starred in various roles in the eighth season of the television series All That. (“Jamie Lynn Spears Biography.”) In 2004, after two seasons on All That, the ambitious teen resigned her role to star in her own television show. Zoey 101, a program about the life of a girl at a boarding school, was a hit series that was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program and a Teen Choice Award in 2005. Jamie Lynn played the main role as Zoey Brooks alongside Nickelodeon stars Victoria Justice, Alexa Nikolas, Erin Sanders, Matthew Underwood, Jennette McCurdy, Sean Flynn-Amir, Paul Butcher, Christopher Massey, Austin Butler, Kristin Herrera, and Roark Critchlow. Being versatile in her career, the young actress sang the theme song of the show, co-writing it as well.

Zoey 101 gave tween viewers something to look forward to when coming home from school. The television show was set around Pacific Coast Academy, a boarding school that previously only accepted boys. Dustin, Zoey’s little brother already attended. She joined him, becoming one of the students of the first class at PCA to include girls. Zoey, who entered the class at the age of 13, had to adapt to living away from her family, attending a new school, and making new friends.

The tween program quickly ascended to popularity as one of Nickelodeon’s top rated shows. Zoey was a role model for viewers. Her character was genuine, friendly, respectable, studious and creative. The producers of the show even brought a special one hour event of a Zoey 101 movie where the cast visited the beach for spring break. The show was such a hit that Nickelodeon made free online games available on the Teen Nick website called Class Note Pass, Puppy Academy, and Gift Shift. (“Zoey 101 Games.”) Zoey 101 ran successfully for four seasons before being jeopardized. Jamie Lynn’s career and future at Nickelodeon would now be in question.

In December of 2007, the famous teen idol sat down in an interview with OK! Magazine and confessed that she was twelve weeks pregnant, not too long after she confirmed the news through a home pregnancy test and a visit to the doctor’s. Casey Aldridge, who she had been dating for two years, would father her unborn child. A high school junior at the time, Jamie Lynn explained in the interview that when she confessed the news to her parents, her mother was “very upset because it wasn’t what she expected at all.” (“Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney’s Sister, is Pregnant.”) Lynn continued further, stating that her daughter had “always been so conscientious. She’s never late for her curfew. I was in shock. I mean, this is my 16 year old baby.” (“Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney’s Sister, is Pregnant.”) It wasn’t until one week later that her mother accepted the pregnancy as a positive factor of her daughter’s life, despite her age. Jamie Lynn confessed to OK! that she waited two weeks after her doctor’s visit to spread the news. She wanted to thoroughly think about a plan that would fit her and her longtime boyfriend without the implications of negative opinions. She and Casey agreed to raise the baby in Louisiana, in order to provide the best chance at a “normal life.” (“Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney’s Sister, is Pregnant.”) However, negative opinions swarmed the media once OK! stocked the shelves with the new issue of the latest news with Jamie Lynn front and center on the cover.

Questions were raised for Jamie Lynn’s career as a child entertainer at Nickelodeon once she made the announcement public. In regards to Nickelodeon, Jamie Lynn admitted to OK! that she had yet to speak to the child entertainment company “personally.” She continued, “…but they have always been so great to me and have given me so many opportunities.” (“World Exclusive: Jamie Lynn Spears.”) The magazine finally asked an unavoidable question that would ultimately shatter her future at Nickelodeon, which targeted the message she might be sending to her young fans about pregnancy and sex at her age. In response, Jamie Lynn stated, “I definitely don’t think it’s something you should do; it’s better to wait. But I can’t be judgmental because it’s a position I put myself in.” (“World Exclusive: Jamie Lynn Spears.”)

The soon-to-be teen mother was bombarded with different reactions in the media. The spokesperson for Nickelodeon issued a statement the Tuesday after the interview was released on December 19, 2007. “We respect Jamie Lynn’s decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn’s well being.” (“Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney’s Sister, is Pregnant.”) The company announced the cancellation of the television show just two weeks after the Zoey 101 star reported her news to OK! The final episode of the third season aired on the Friday after the declaration. The filming of the fourth season was already completed, but the decision to air it had yet to be decided. (“Jamie Spears’ TV Show Cancelled…”) After long consideration, the producers of Nickelodeon decided to premiere the fourth season as Zoey’s final goodbye to fans and the company. The company had acknowledged and accepted the numerous critics that reported their comments on the matter of the idol’s pregnancy.

Bonnie Fuller, Founder of Bonnie Fuller Media and a contributor to the Huffington Post, released an article on December 19, 2007 that focused on the negativity of the teen pregnancy and how Jamie Lynn Spears’ mother is responsible. She opens with, “Lynne Spears, what were you thinking? Or not thinking and not doing? Did you never sit down with either of your daughters—Britney, now just turned 26, and the divorced mother of two toddlers or Jamie Lynn, 16 and now three months pregnant—and give them The Talk?” (“Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnant at 16…”) Referring to Britney Spears’ numerous events involving her children and marriage, Fuller goes on to say, “Jamie Lynn won’t be deemed an appropriate role model to continue starring in Nickelodeon’s hit show, Zoey 101. Her character on that show, after all, is smart and savvy and since I’ve watched it a lot, I can say that I doubt her character would be careless enough to get pregnant at 16.” (“Jamie Spears Pregnant at 16…”) Questioning Lynn’s decision to make a profit in her daughters first interview with OK!, the critic ends by stating, “After all, Jamie Lynn’s already pregnant, why not cash in?” (“Jamie Spears Pregnant at 16…”)

Several families shared their thoughts on the subject in a New York Times article. Viscariello, a participator, stated, “There is no excuse not to use contraception.” (Rimer) Others conversed about now having to speak with their children in an age group of 8-12 about sex and contraception. Younginer, another participator, claimed Jamie Lynn to be a role model in the statement, “She was supposed to be one of the good, clean actresses for girls to follow after. I think it just sends an awful message for the young girls.” (Rimer) Akusis, friend of Viscariello, asserted that the teen actress’s character of Zoey was “still a good role model.” (Rimer) Viscariello agreed, stating, “It would be wrong to cancel her program and tell her she can’t come back because she is pregnant,” concluding that the idol should just take time away from the industry to focus on her family. (Rimer)

In response to the comments, Dan Martinsen of Nickelodeon assured fans and critics that the produced content of the company had not changed and still promoted positive television programs for young viewers. In an attempt to address the negativity in the media, Martinsen explained that he and Linda Ellerbee, the host of Nick News, were discussing airing a special about teen pregnancy, which would educate viewers on how to “navigate and interpret and understand it.” (Rimer) Although the program would be created in a positive outlook, D. Hinckley of the Daily News explained that a special about teen pregnancy aired on Nickelodeon would jeopardize the network’s fan base and would alter their reputation for seemingly exploiting the teen idol. (“Nickelodeon Considering Jamie…”)

Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy at such a young age brings to light the issue of teen sexuality in the media. Teen sexuality is frowned upon, in which parents, including the educational system, strive to steer their children away from becoming sexually active until they have reached a mature age. However, these tries have been suppressed by companies that utilize teen sexuality as a form of entertainment. MTV is well known for its reality television programs. It has produced the hit television series Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant, Engaged and Underaged, Baby High, and True Life, all of which are programs that have included and are dedicated to exploring the consequences of sexually active teenagers.

16 and Pregnant is a perfect example of the utilization of teen sexuality. The series began in June of 2009 premiering as an hour long documentary that focused on the life of one soon-to-be-teen mother who was exhibiting changes physically, emotionally and socially. (“MTVs 16 and Pregnant.”) Episodes of different girls aired every week until the season was complete. MTV is dedicated to providing its young viewers with information in regards to sexual intercourse, hoping viewers everywhere would learn from the documentary and think about being sexually responsible. Although used as a good cause, the program utilizes teen sexuality as a form of entertainment, in order to make a profit.

With 16 and Pregnant such a success, MTV continued to produce three more seasons. Following the first two seasons, Teen Mom aired. Teen Mom was dedicated to following the girls from the first season of 16 and Pregnant and so on. (“Teen Mom.”) This television program explored life after birth, the different circumstances for each teen mother. There were a variety of episodes that revealed supportive families as the new mothers attempted to be responsible and become mature. There were also episodes that revealed alcohol and drug addictions that challenged each individual’s attempt to be more responsible. For example, Janelle Evans appeared in season three of Teen Mom 2. (“Teen Mom.”) Evans struggled with a marijuana addiction that altered her decision making in choosing to be home for her son or smoke with her boyfriend and friends. Fortunately, Evans’ mother took care of her son, forcing Evans to sign over custody until she was fully able to mother her child. MTV has taken the initiative of exposing the consequences of teen pregnancy, a penalty of being sexually active at a young age. Although these television programs are designed to educate the sexually active, they also utilize teen sexuality as a form of entertainment.

ABC Family mimics MTV as the Secret Life of an American Teenager revolves around the life of a teen mother. (“The Secret Life of an American Teenager.”) Amy finds herself pregnant at the age of 15, in which she decides against abortion and adoption. The television show began following Amy; however, other subjects appeared as different focuses, two of which found their selves in Amy’s situation. The main topic that is explored in each episode is either sexual intercourse or the consequences of sexual intercourse. It has been expressed by the subjects in the program, specifically Adrian, that sex is beneficial, ultimately promoting teen sexuality. The matters of teen sexuality being advantageous and disadvantageous are both explored in the program.

The well known movie American Pie is another great example of the utilization of teen sexuality. The teenagers in this film are all ‘sex crazed,’ making a pact to lose their virginity by their high school graduation date. (Weitz) They are exposed to naked women and sex at wild parties. The movies that were produced to follow the first American Pie all focused on the common interest of sexual intercourse, in which the main characters included students under the age of 20, qualifying them as teenagers. American Pie utilizes teen sexuality in a different light. Rather than focusing on the consequences of being sexually active at a young age like 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, and the Secret Life of an American Teenager, it focuses on teen sexuality as a stepping stone to achieve popularity, women, and adulthood.

One film that includes the negative thoughts and opinions of teen sexuality is Saved! Starring Mandy Moore and Macaulay Culkin, the film is centered on the life of a teenage girl who attends a catholic high school. (Dannelly) Once the public learned of her pregnancy, she was condemned as a sinner. She received judgment and glares as she passed through the hallways of her school. The principal, also a priest, and a very religious classmate openly expressed their view towards the main character, urging her mother to transfer her to a different high school. This film utilized teen sexuality through a religious stand point, including both views of those who are religious and non religious.

MTVs and ABC Family’s television programs utilize teen sexuality just as much as films like American Pie and Saved! With Jamie Lynn Spears pregnant at the age of sixteen, controversy was conjured in all forms, summoning both views of whether or not Nickelodeon should continue Zoey 101. Representatives of Nickelodeon were forced to give public announcements regarding the matter and to figure out how to dismantle the unwanted attention for their company, as well as for Jamie Lynn. The child entertainment company decided to discontinue the program, in order to avoid the negative views of fans and the media.

Teen sexuality was not regarded as a positive factor during Zoey 101’s existence in 2005 until 2008. The same went for the film Saved!, produced in 2004. (Dannelly) However, American Pie, produced in 1999, did not exert any negative views in regards to sexually active teenagers, more so utilizing them as a form of entertainment. (Weitz) The Secret Life of an American Teenager follows some of the aspects of American Pie. Although the program includes negative and religious views of teen pregnancy and sexuality, it also expresses sexuality in the same light in which American Pie presented it. Multiple characters in the show revealed sex as fulfilling, despite their age. Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy at a young age opened the door for the idea of exposing teen sexuality. Regardless of whether or not it is shown as a negative dynamic, it is utilized in the media for entertainment purposes.

Bibliography of Sources

Dannelly, Brian. Saved! Comedy, 2004.

“Jamie Lynn Spears.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, November 25, 2012. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jamie_Lynn_Spears&oldid=524870017>.

“Jamie Lynn Spears Biography.” BIO, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.biography.com/people/jamie-lynn-spears-262390>.

“Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney’s Sister, Is Pregnant.”, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1576746/jamie-lynn-spears-britneys-sister-pregnant.jhtml>.

“Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnant At 16: Is Lynne Spears An Even Worse Mother Than Britney?”

The Huffington Post, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012

<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bonnie-fuller/jamie-lynn-spears-pregnan_b_77503.html>.

“Jamie Lynn Spears’ TV Show ‘Cancelled’ After Teen Pregnancy.” Mail Online, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-505825/Jamie-Lynn-Spears-TV-cancelled-teen-pregnancy.html>.

“MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.” MTV n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.mtv.com/shows/16_and_pregnant/season_4/series.jhtml>.

“Nickelodeon Considering Jamie Lynn Spears Teen Pregnancy Special.” NY Daily News, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv-movies/nickelodeon-jamie-lynn-spears-teen-pregnancy-special-article-1.275083>.

Rimer, Sara. “TV’s Perfect Girl Is Pregnant; Real Families Talk.” The New York Times, 17 Dec. 2007. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/21/us/21girl.html>.

“Teen Mom.” MTV. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.mtv.com/shows/teen_mom/season_4/series.jhtml>.

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” ABC Family. n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://abcfamily.go.com/shows/secret-life-american-teenager>.

Weitz, Paul. American Pie. Comedy, Romance, 1999.

“World Exclusive: Jamie Lynn Spears.” OK! Magazine, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.okmagazine.com/babies/world-exclusive-jamie-lynn-spears-%E2%80%94-im-pregnant>.

Zoey 101. Comedy, Drama, Family, 2005. Web. 17 Dec. 2012

“Zoey 101.” Emmys.com, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

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“Zoey 101 Games.” Teen nick. n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2012.

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Your Stupid Rage by Brian Phillips

Phillips’ piece about the connection between soccer and rage was very entertaining. The writer establishes a relationship with the reader by speaking in a conversational tone. Instead of appearing academic, he tailors his essay to be very relaxed and comfortable, ultimately appealing to the reader’s comprehension. If the reader feels relaxed, the message of the essay is more likely to be received. If the reader feels tension, which normally happens while reading an academic essay, the message is less likely interpreted. Also, to fully connect with the audience, the writer utilizes examples with which his audience is familiar. By doing so, the audience becomes more engaged with Phillips and better understands his point.

The essayist offers a bit of insight into the phenomenon of the rage. First, he presents the issue, explaining that it first arises when the manager complains about the referee. Secondly, he furthers the essay by explaining that the larger problem, the rage, is never really about the referee. It is about the underlying system of the game of soccer. Phillips states, “From the outside, the system looks almost the same, but from the inside, there’s a subtle difference, a minor bias against earnest efforts that would succeed if the bias weren’t there.” The writer develops the essay further by giving examples. He states his disbelief about Mourhino believing that the UEFA is against him. Finally, Phillips explains this issue to stem from hyperpartisanship.

Phillips offers the “uncommon sense” by exploring deeper into meanings and explanations. He presents the reader with an issue and gives the “common sense” explanation for the issue. Then, he investigates the “common sense” explanation and brings to light the truth about this explanation, which he explains that the truth, hyperpartisanship, is a miserable way for a sports fan to live. Instead of saying, “Rage is an issue. It is an issue because of bias in the UEFA and can be solved through the idea of hyperpartisanship,” Phillips goes the extra mile and explains how ludicrous hyperpartisanship really is.

“Consider the Lobster.”

David Foster Wallace begins his essay introducing Maine’s Lobster Festival.  Wallace describes every aspect of the harbor, from The Black Pearl on Harbor Park’s northwest wharf to the rich and subtle taste of the lobster. He gives quite a bit of a description of the lobster itself and then includes brief reviews of restaurants located on the harbor. For example, he warns readers that Main Eating Tent’s suppers come packaged in Styrofoam trays with offerings of flat soft drinks and “convenience-store” coffee. He goes back to giving the details of the lobster, explaining at which temperatures it is most active and the process of the insulation of sea water.

Wallace continues on in the essay to explain the roles of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and PETA, in which these groups are conspicuous in attending the Maine Lobster Festival and urging boycotts. He brings in the counterarguments of the groups and analyzes their statements, rebutting them with facts. For example, in response to Mary Tyler Moore’s “Lobsters are extraordinarily sensitive,” Wallace quotes the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, stating that Lobsters do not experience pain due to their lack of a cerebral cortex. To elaborate further, the writer includes the two main criteria that ethicists most agree upon, which are the suffering capacities of animals and the behavior of animals associated with pain. After presenting both sides, the writer comes to the conclusion that lobsters do experience pain when a cook hears clanking in a pot filled with boiling water and the push of the lid enclosing the crustacean inside.

Wallace concludes by presenting his curiosity of what his readers believe. Will his readers side with scientific fact? Or will they side with PETA and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? He also presents his own beliefs, stating that he believes animals are less morally important than human beings, in which he feels this way so that he can keep eating the animals that he finds tasty.

While reading this essay, I noticed that Wallace did more than just write about the Maine Lobster Festival. He gave elaborate descriptions on the lobster, its history, life span, pain level, and scientific analyses. He also included two sides of the lobster’s suffering capability for his readers, in which he explained the thought process for both arguments. Then, he concluded with his own thoughts and a critical question for his readers. These important aspects of the essay turned it from ordinary to captivating. In my opinion, talking about a lobster is not very exciting; however, Wallace did not just talk about the lobster. He analyzed the crustacean from its organs to its shell to its life in the ocean and to its life in a boiling pot. What made this essay very compelling was the presentation of counterarguments. He presented the thoughts of scientists and ethicists, average people that partake in the Maine Lobster Festival, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and PETA. Wallace opened the essay with a question of do Lobsters feel pain, included both arguments, yes and no, and chose his own educated belief after discussing his findings, which was the most important factor in making his essay compelling.

Presentation Zen

Presentation Zen is a very useful website in promoting different strategies to make a presentation a success. “The Importance of Doing” article is brief; however, it reveals to readers and viewers how different strategies make an effective presentation. The article includes a short video featuring Gever Tulley’s presentation on the importance of tinkering. By watching and observing the video, I noticed that Tulley utilized quite a few strategies. Tulley employed the use of visual material without words that followed his speech. For example, when speaking about having children play around with toys, a picture on the screen was shown of children playing with different toys. This technique furthered the success of his presentation because it revealed to the audience that he was knowledgeable about his topic and allowed the audience to follow and understand his speech. He made certain to use engaging photos of participants practicing what he was talking about in his presentation. This allows for the audience to fully comprehend what the speaker is talking about, what he means by certain words, and the purpose of his entire presentation.

Another technique Tulley utilized was the proper use of language in his speech. He spoke calmly and at a relatively semi-slow pace. He spoke as if he was having a conversation with someone, meaning that his speech was normal and not quickened. When speaking too fast, the audience will be likely to misunderstand and/or not be able to follow the speaker. However, this was not the case in Tulley’s presentation. The speaker spoke at a normal pace, allowing the audience and viewers to grasp the substance of his speech and therefore, his presentation.

A very important strategy that Tulley used was his use of eye contact. He never broke eye contact with his audience. As he walked back and forth the stage, he connected with each section of the audience. Utilizing the space of the stage is also important in making a presentation successful. It reveals to the audience the comfort level of the speaker and allows the speaker to connect with each section of the audience. These strategies are extremely important in furthering the success of a presentation because they allow the audience to connect with the speaker, in which the individuals understand the content of the speech and find the speaker more relatable.

These strategies employed in this presentation are key factors of a successful presentation. I found Tulley’s presentation quite effective and believe that these strategies made up the foundation of the success of the presentation. I will definitely adapt the strategies of appropriate visual material, paced speech, and eye contact in my presentation. I will go about doing this by displaying photos of dubstep artists and clubs known for playing that genre of music. Instead of posting words to the presentation, I will display the photos and speak about each one. I will also make sure to keep eye contact with my audience and slow down my speaking, for it is a habit for me to speak fast when speaking publicly. All of these strategies will further my presentation the extra mile to reach success.

Shirky’s Chapter 8 and Communication Tools

Communication is key when working collaboratively in a group. Each group member must be accessible, flexible, and considerate of the other group members’ schedules, ideas and input. My group utilizes different forms of communication, including: text messaging, e-mail, and Google Drive. We make sure to keep in touch through the use of cellular devices, in order to confirm meeting times and tasks, as well as ask questions. These communication tools have an impact on the groups and communities to which I belong.

I belong to numerous groups and communities. I am a part of a group of friends and a group of classmates. To contact my friends, I text message them. Actually picking up the phone and calling someone is entirely overrated in my generation. Texting influences my group of friends by it allows me to communicate with them silently without greatly disrupting my activity at the moment. For example, if I am in a doctor’s office that does not permit talking on phones, I can put my phone on vibrate and communicate with others without disturbing my surroundings. It also allows me to keep in contact with my group of classmates, which is supremely important. Talking is not always an option at specific times during the day, in which texts and e-mail takes its place. It is a fast way to respond to others when in situations where talking is not convenient.

The tool of e-mail plays a very important role in the academic community. Keeping in contact with professors and advisors is a must during the school year. E-mail is a more efficient way of contact, in which it allows academic figures to respond to e-mails when their schedule permits.

Clay Shirky emphasizes a very important communication tool in chapter eight of his book. The Prisoners’ Dilemma is a situation where Shirky promotes communication and understanding. The Prisoners’ Dilemma is a circumstance where two friends are questioned by the police and are uncertain of which alibi to use. Shirky lays out the stories: both suspects agree on a lie to tell the police, suspect one turns in suspect two, suspect two turns in suspect one, or both suspects turn in each other. Shirky is emphasizing the importance of communication. If both suspects do not talk and agree on a plan, how can they avoid the situation? It is very important to communicate with group members, in order to form and execute a plan where the end result fulfills each members’ purpose.

Communication is the only way to assure organization. Organization is an aspect of communication that has an impact on how a group or community will perform in a given task. Without communication, groups and communities cannot adequately express ideas and concepts that are necessary in the progression of society.

Collaborative Project

I must admit that when we were first assigned this project, I was intimidated by the number of pages that we had to come up with. Then, I worried about my group. In my experience, I have been a part of groups that did not communicate properly, slacked, and were late on deadlines. I am one student who likes to be prompt, on time, and invest effort into an assignment. So, you can see where I was worried. However, I am very surprised, yet pleased to say that I am happy with my group members. We all communicate via e-mail and text messaging. We set up dates and times to meet to work on the project, in which we actually show up. In our proposal we created a schedule that included deadlines for all assignments. So far, we have stayed true to our schedule and have delivered assignments by the deadlines listed. I am very impressed with our team work. Although we meet twice a week in person, we meet online several times during the week as well. We all log on to Google Drive at the same time and actively work on one document together.

As far as the format of the project, we are planning on making a short documentary to best suit our topic. Our strengths are in video production, which made us want to design a film, or in this case, a documentary. Our topic is the crossover of Dubstep from the UK to the US. Since we are not able to film in the UK at this time, we are planning to tailor the film around interviews of artists, listeners, and music samples in the States. Although we are stressed during the current process of the written portion of the project, I am sure we will have fun filming the documentary.

Longshot and TK Zine: New Models of Publishing and Authorship

Yes, it has finally been made possible. Magazines can now be created within a short period of 48 hours. Now, that is true dedication. However, the real dedication lies in the process of the creation. Online magazines like Longshot and TK Zine have become internet sensations. Both web magazines are products of group effort made possible by submissions from anyone. The theme of each issue is posted with a deadline to submit articles and other pieces to be collaborated with others, which leads to the finished product.

According to the Longshot magazine website, the zine is a creative piece that combines articles, cartoons, visual and data representations, recipes, maps, reports, reviews, scientific and academic papers, and many other compositions of work. It is an “experimental publication,” as stated by Outpost LA, “that is written, edited and designed over a period of 48 hours.” The purpose of the publication, which is stated on Longshot’s Twitter page, is to use “new tools to erase media’s old limits.” There have been two successful issues, in which the last issue was created between July 29 and July 31 of 2011. Each issue has a theme. The most recent issue was about debt and the first issue was about comeback.

TK Zine is another web magazine created in the span of 48 hours. The project was inspired by Longshot and was created by Caitilin Dewey and Kuan Luo, two college students from Syracuse University. The creation of the issue was dated to be May 10 and May 11. However, after following the updates on TK Zine’s twitter page, the issue was not released as scheduled due to events that required immediate attention. The process of this publication follows that of Longshot’s, which is the deadline of submissions is advertised to all viewers who would like to submit work and is then created through the collaboration of submissions.

These two web magazines are fascinating in the fact that they have surpassed the limits of media, those being the required presence to format such a publication and the inability to represent the many voices of one community. Both zines have gone above and beyond to include the voices of the world by posting and crediting the articles and other works of, what Clay Shirky would call, “amateurs.” Also, enormous group effort is required to create such a publication in such a short time period as 48 hours. They are direct representations of the new models of publishing and authorship. They make it clear that anyone can be published. Anyone can speak and be heard. Anyone from around the globe can come together to form new ideas and concepts and contribute to a greater work, a greater benefit. The editing and publishing teams behind Longshot and TK Zine magazines have advanced the internet age by another level.

Here Comes Everybody, Chapter Three: Mass Amateurization

In Shirky’s chapter three, the writer discusses the concept of mass amateurization in traditional media. He brings to light the conflict of websites, such as, Craigslist and eBay, selling space on their websites to companies for the purpose of advertisements, causing a glitch in the ad revenue of print newspapers. “…eBay and Craigslist…and weblogs were letting people like gnarlykitty publish to the world for free… (56)”

Shirky goes on to speak about the purpose of professions. “A profession becomes, for its members, a way of understanding their world. Professionals see the world through a lens created by other members of their profession: for journalists, the rewards of a Pulitzer Prize are largely about recognition from other journalists (58).” The importance of professions is that they master an aspect of the world, including knowing the ins and outs, the advantages and disadvantages, its workings and place in society, and its worth in consumer culture. Shirky recognizes that, “as new capabilities go, unlimited perfect copyability is a lulu, and that capability now exists in the hands of everyone who owns a computer (59).” Referring back to print media’s dilemma, “Digital means of distributing words and images have robbed newspapers of the coherence they formerly had… (59)”

Shirky is saying that the worldwide web has become such an immediate, invasive, quick, intelligent form of communication that the professions involving print media have almost become alarmingly hidden. Amateurs of the world can easily create their own online magazines and newspapers, websites, blogs, and companies. “The web didn’t introduce a new competitor into the old ecosystem…The Web created a new ecosystem (60).” As the internet advances to new extremes, the meaning of a profession dwindles until a business utilizes the internet to its advantage without being intimidated by the number of competitive amateurs.

TPRW, Chapter 3 and the Zakaria, Lehrer, and Anderson Stories

As defined by Steven D. Krause’s The Process of Research Writing in chapter three, “plagiarism is the unauthorized or uncredited use of the writings or ideas of another in your writing.” I agree with this definition. Any utilization of someone else’s work without properly citing it is the act of plagiarizing, a complete thievery.

Zakaria, Lehrer, and Anderson are all classic cases of plagiarism. Each writer misused someone else’s work by not including proper citations and publishing someone else’s words as their own. The cases of Zakaria and Anderson should be treated the same because they both did not properly cite their sources. However, Lehrer’s case should be treated very differently because he claimed Bob Dylan said quotes in an exclusive interview, which was a complete lie.

Although Anderson claimed he once had all of the sources cited in his book before the “screw up,” he still continued to publish the now screwed up work as a correctly cited book with no mistakes. Because he knew that there was a mistake before publishing the book, his case cannot be treated any differently than Zakaria’s. He should have checked his work countless times, making sure that every phrase and quote was properly cited and every summary consisted of his own words before sending the book out for publication. The same goes for Zakaria. Zakaria should have checked his work for paraphrasing, as he had numerous evidence of paraphrasing in his article.

Lehrer’s case is interesting because he chose to invent words, claiming that Bob Dylan said them in an exclusive interview at one point in his life. This case should be treated as more of a high priority because Dylan never said what Lehrer claimed he did. This is a complete lie. Zakaria and Anderson lied as well, claiming someone else’s work as their own; however, Lehrer completely invented words out of someone else’s mouth. It is one thing to copy someone’s work as your own, but it is another to completely invent new phrases and claim that someone else said them.

Here Comes Everybody, Chapter Two

Clay Shirky’s chapters one and two of Here Comes Everybody delve into the realms of the social media as a form of higher communication. In chapter one, Shirky presents the situation of two friends creating a webpage, in order to find a stolen phone. The webpage received so much publicity due to their community showing their sympathy by spreading the word and joining in the search. Posting an issue as little as, for example, someone losing her dollar store hair clip, on the internet and then having so many people follow that story reveals that social media is a greater mechanism for communication than the act of conversing with someone face to face.

Chapter two presented very interesting points. Shirky explains that when it comes to organizations, the bigger the growth, the less of a chance there is of communicating a message and getting things done properly. Although this may hold some truth, social media seems to be overpowering this observation. The short story in chapter one is a perfect example. The amount of viewers of the webpage ascended into great numbers after being covered by the news, ultimately leading to the two friends retrieving the stolen cellphone.

Both chapters directly apply to a project like Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a website that allows users from anywhere to contribute information to a particular subject without being registered as some know-it-all of a collegiate field of study. The purpose of Wikipedia is to unite its users through the power of sharing, revising and linking, while still being considered a reliable resource. Shirky explains in chapter two how this structure of media is carried out when speaking about the photographs on Flickr. “When two or more users adopted the same tag, those photos were automatically linked. The users were linked as well; the shared tag became a potential steppingstone from one user to another, adding a social dimension to the simple act of viewing (33).” He goes on to question, “how do you reach the people you want, without having to broadcast your message to everybody (33)?” Wikipedia makes this simple. Users add and update information to any subject offered on the website, linking their references to the information provided. When searching for a particular topic, only the information that is related to that topic on Wikipedia pops up in the list of generated search results. The story in chapter one applies to Wikipedia by it reveals the effects of sharing information online. The numerous amount of viewers of Wikipedia’s webpages all have access to the information provided, sharing, utilizing, and revising the information posted by others, linking users together worldwide.