While prepping for my Media Literacy class on journalism and mainstream news, I came across this site on Fake TV News.Â Even for a critical (and old) media consumer as myself, it is still pretty amazing how constructed and manipulated our news environments.
Teaching this class has awakened my awareness about how much consumer society and corporate agendas are seemlessly woven into our experience of reality and our information / communication systems. Consumption, capital, corporations – you know they are there, but its good to get a wake-up call every once in a while.
I’ve encountered several instances lately when I’ve found myself in the challenging place of trying to communication my vision. I see things so clearly in my mind, yet the language to make it clear to other evades me. I’m usually really excellent at this. Maybe I am finding myself in these situation where I am still not clear and the specifics are not clear and hence other not so much.
I do know this:
- communication is essential to communities, a community unable to communicate its values, ideals, and needs will find it difficult to grow or compete
- the tools and systems of modern communication have never been more accessible, but so many still are without access to or the skill in using these new tools
- corporations and governments are rapidly changing how we organize society, and if communities don’t advocate for the public sector we will loose a core ingredient for a true democracy
- I want to be one of those working to make sure that all of this happens and I want to work with other committed souls who have this as their mission
And so I found this:
Developing and communicating vision from the Community Toolbox.
So what does it mean to have a sustainable communication and information ecosystem. How do you build community capacity to insure that the information and communication needs of all are met? How do you ensure that local skills and infrastucture are built. This is the direction that I’ve begun working in at UML these days.
Here is part of a concept paper I have been working on that I’ll be brainstorming with ohters next week.
Communication and information systems are forming an ever-present ecosystem that is becoming harder and harder to separate from our daily lives. These systems are the roads, shipping lanes and railways of the 21st century form the bedrock of commerce and culture. Without access to the technologies that form these systems, both creative and consumptive, communities will simply not be able to compete. Individuals who lack access and the ability to use these systems will find they are unable to be engaged citizens. Some may find they are unable to support themselves or to participate substantially in the culture around them.
CONNECT collaborates with community-based organizations and individuals to create communication capacity within a social and economic development context.
CONNECT sees the opportunity to form sustainable communication systems that serve a variety of information needs for those in the Merrimack Valley and contributes to the overall health of the region. At the core of this system are content production & distribution activities, learning opportunities, community-based research and technical innovations that span across university, city, regional, and community organizations.
There is more, but you get the idea.
This semster I’ve been teaching a Media Literacy class at UMass Boston. Today the topic was advertising, brand identity, emotional branding, and the increasingly blurry lines between commerce and content. I was using Frontline’s “The New Pursuaders,” as a key discussion point.
At one point in the report an expert says that brands, like Apple, attempt to create a sense of community and belonging around them. That brands are filling voids left by the erosion of schools and churches.
It seems to me that in a globaizing world controlled by corporations brands are the new types of national flags. Kinda of like the world of Rollerball where the turf is the minds and dollars of cosumers. I asked my class if they felt that these newly constructed brand identies were any different than the early construction of clans, tribes, and nations.
One student indicated that national / ethnic identity was different because it is part of her and who she is. Will the next generation or the generations after being saying the same about their identification with a constellation of consumer goods that represent their “clan?”
I can picture the triptych clearly. All three panels are Bruegelian. The right panel a 60’s Woodstock scene of partying and over indulgence entitled Boomer. The colors are psychedelic and intense. The motion moving forward with debris and trash scattering the far left of the panel which trails into the right side of the center panel which is titled GenX. In the middle of this panel is populated by a smaller army of edgy individuals. They are focused on sweeping and picking up the scene. The colors are blacks and grays. The looks are serious and intend. On the far left of this 80s panel is a pristine meadow which bleeds into the final panel on the left. This panel, titled Millenial, depicts a mass of shiny happy people entering the scene with picnic baskets and blankets. They are a multicultural group looking like updated preps. Technology and creative exuberance are in abundance.
This is how I envision the relationships between my generation (GenX) to those before and after. If only I had the talent to make this artistic vision happen.