Learning Outcome #4 – Reflection 2

Randy Otis
Comm and Technology in Society – Summer 2010
2nd Reflection for Learning Outcome #4

This presentation allowed me to develop my public speaking skills by speaking about something I was passionate about. I feel in order to keep an audience’s attention you have to find a way to directly relate to them. By choosing the topic of Facebook, it was something that everybody was using. However not everyone was critically thinking about how the website was affecting their relationships and perceptions of others.
In my first couple of years in college I tended to read right off of my notes or off of the screen. I later learned the importance of making eye contact with my audience. Another important aspect that I learned was to be over prepared. Think about questions that may be asked and be prepared to answer them prior to giving the presentation. I have to do this in my current job as an analyst. Much of what I do is gather information and present it to executives and decision makers within my company. If I’m not fully prepared I can be easily embarrassed. The same goes for giving speeches at Carroll U. If I tried to give a speech based off of an unorganized outline or a small amount of notes, I was ineffective. If I was prepared with a detailed outline, followed by a visual aid to my audience, the speeches would go smooth. I also found that being prepared helped my confidence level. Confidence can eliminate nervousness.
Another lesson I’ve learned is to be detailed, but give information in a short but sweet format. Attention spans can be short when you have to listen to numerous presentations. It’s important to capture your audience and keep their attention. Finding an appropriate subject and relating it to the audience with enthusiasm was the key to success. I started my college career a nervous speaker and through the knowledge base learned from research based classes and a speech class I now understand how to convey important information to a group of people face to face. I hated speaking in front of people initially, but now I know if I’m prepared, and confident it’s just like talking to a group of friends.


Learning Outcome #4 – Artifact 1 “What Came First, the Thought or the Post?

Randy Otis
Social Media Research Project
Comm and Technology in Society – Summer 2010
Artifact #1 for Learning Outcome #4

What Came First, the Thought or the Post?

Social media platforms have become a source of constant communication within different social communities. The accessibility of positing thoughts quickly and without accountability is leading people to lose their ability to think critically. Social media platforms are fostering a mob mentality type of thinking, and reducing the amount of self-directed opinions and critical thinking based on analysis, assessment and inference. Throughout this paper I’m going to assess what critical thinking is, how social media is preventing thinking critically, how social media encourages close-mindedness, and how social media creates a lack of responsibility.
Critical thinking is a method of thinking that allows the thinker to improve and reconstruct thoughts based on analysis, interpretation and inference. This is a process where the thinker approaches a thought with a rational and open-mind, with the support of evidence. It is important during this process that thoughts are approached objectively and without the interference of emotions. Critical thinking is an internal process and relates to a person’s ability to control emotions and approach a situation logically. The thought process is an essential part of being a successful communicator, and when the self is taken out of the equation, and given to the masses, people begin to lose the ability to think critically.
As I discussed above, critical thinking is the process that relies heavily on analysis and evidence, and with the popularity of positing on social media platforms, people are relying more heavily on peer feedback. According to 4 Ways Social Media is Changing Your Relationships, there are four ways social media is changing our relationship styles including; allows us to connect with more people rapidly, it’s easier to overestimate the levels of intimacy of online relationships, it makes people more susceptible to adopting behaviors and beliefs of others, and it facilitates a comparison of oneself to others (Rashna, 2012). By allowing these behaviors to change within relationships, people are losing their ability to think critically and independently. People are relying on validations in the responses to posts from their online social communities, and there can be a real danger in forming conclusions based on sentimental responses. Without a lack of evidence and reasoning, a person becomes a follower in favor of popular support instead of seeking out answers independently.
Not only are social media platforms allowing mob mentality communications, but they are also encouraging close-mindedness. The method of thinking critically forces a person to think objectively and openly, and being close-minded stops the process short. Social media is subverting critical thinking (Brooks, 2012). Twitter is a good example of social media platform that is encouraging close-mindedness. Tweets are only 140 characters long, and do not allow the proper amount of space to defend a thought with reason or evidence. People are tweeting instantaneously without taking the time to analyze whether the thought should be posted or not. Facebook is another good example of a social platform that is creating a close-minded approach to thinking. With instant access, through cell phones, people are “liking” posts and creating a contest and not a discussion. The dialogue that is created by commenting on posts is not a discussion, but a popularity contest, and a skewed one at that. Shorter comments are more likely to get “liked” because they are easier to read and people do not want to take the time to digest a longer comment. People are no longer analyzing and interpreting opinions, they are showing support in the easiest and quickest way possible.
Social media is creating a lack of critical thinking, but it is also enabling people to be critical, without the thinking. According to Is Social Media Bad for Business?, there are four bad behaviors that social media encourages; no guilt, mob mentality, relative anonymity, and no accountability (Babara, 2012). Posts are being made without any real responsibility to the communications that are being made public, and online bullying has reached an all time high. People have a tendency to be aggressive in their communications when it is hidden by a false anonymity. With the barricade of anonymity people tend to be more critical and aggressive in their posts, and because critical thinking has left the picture, people’s responses to posts have become less thoughtful, so fewer challenges are made. In addition, people are liking posts that are quick to read and simple, so they aren’t thinking independently, but instead following the mob by liking what is popular. By “liking” a post without any thought, especially an overly critical one, the communication is just perpetuated. Relationships can be hurt over these critical spur of the moment posts, and people are still beginning to grasp this new realm of communication.
Not only are these critical posts bad for social relationships, but they are having a big impact on businesses (Barbara, 2012). More organizations are heading towards social media to market their products and because of that push they have opened themselves up to a platform that allows instant criticism. Social media has become an extension of a person’s thoughts, beliefs and opinions, and because of the quick access to critical comments some businesses have come under attack. In the past, if one person received bad service they told ten people about it. In this new world of communication, when someone posts something negative the whole social community now can see that criticism.
In conclusion, social media platforms can prevent critical thinking, encourage close-mindedness, create a lack of responsibility and promote being critical without the thinking. Social media is a communication tool that the majority of the world has access to. People need to understand what a powerful tool it is, and also develop an understanding of the impact posts and responses have on mass communication. Critical thinking is a method of thought that allows a person to expand from their perspective alone and approach resolution through evidence and analysis. Without the ability to think critically people reach opinions based on emotions, which isn’t always the best way to form a conclusion. Being able to think critically is an essential part of being a good communicator and without our ability to be self-aware and self-manage, communications can become skewed. Although social media has its limitations, it also has a great ability to connect people instantaneously, but greater awareness needs to be reached on the impact social media platforms have on communications and its relationship to critical thinking.

Barbara, Juliet. “Is Social Media Bad For Business?” Forbes.com. N.p., 11 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. .
Bradley, Steven. “Social Networking Leading to Less Critical Thinking.” Webpronews.com. N.p., 04 Apr. 2008. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. .
Brooks, Jason. “Social Media Subverts Critical Thinking.” Dailycollegian.com. N.p., 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. .
Ioerger, Roderick. “Is Social Media an Impediment to Problem Solving?” Marketingpilgrim.com. N.p., 02 Apr. 2008. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. .
Jones, Dr. Rachna. “4 Ways Social Media Is Changing Your Relationships.” Socialexaminer.com. N.p., 30 June 2010. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. .

Learning Outcome #4 Reflection 1/2 Written Competency

Randy Otis
Comm and Technology in Society – Summer 2010
1st Reflection for Learning Outcome #4

The artifact provided was an essay and an oral presentation given in Comm 317, Communication and Technology in Society. In mid 2010 popularity of Face book was at an all time high. Facebook related topics were and still are very relevant to society due to the nature of communication used on the website. I discussed facebooks relation to critical thinking and the responsibility we have when we decide to post a comment online. I wrote this essay because I constantly was hearing how Facebook was damaging relationships, hurting companies, and allowing offensive material to reach a mass of people. In my personal life I was seeing people posting things that they would never say to someone face to face. I thought it was necessary to present this information to the class to help them understand that what you post is forever.
Throughout this essay I was able to clearly identify the major communication issues that are affecting not only people posting on Facebook, but companies that are being negatively affected due to negative comments being posted. By Identifying the issues, and providing examples, allowed me to present my thoughts and ideas in a clear concise manner. I was able to show the readers the importance of thinking critically while posting on social media websites. Using examples from professional research conducted allowed me to help the readers relate the issue back to their own lives. Relating to these issues helped the class understand how to improve their communication style, as well as, increased awareness of the issues. Identifying research that had been done also helped my readers understand the serious significance of the issue. I received positive feedback from the class after presenting this paper. I was told, “That’s something I never thought about”, which was precisely my goal. I feel that after my presentation students will not only think critically when posting online, but will also develop education thoughts instead of simply posting whatever comes to their minds. This writing experience was refreshing because I was able to do research and relate that information back to my own thoughts and ideas. Prior to this paper the majority of what I was writing was literary analysis.

Generation X-Box

Randy Otis

Professor M. Johnson

Comm 370 Summer Session 3


Generation X Box

For the past twenty years our technology has been advancing rapidly in all aspects of life. Technology for entertainment sake has been advancing particularly fast, especially video games.  The natures of these games are changing. They are becoming more graphic and lifelike each year. Ever since the start of video games we saw an undertone of violent behavior in the games.  Fighting, swords play and gun violence has been intertwined into the theme or “game play” of a majority of video games produced.  But for the last 10 years video game producers have been making games so life like many people think that playing the games will create a violent nature in the persons playing the games.  According to the 2001 article titled, Fair Play: Violence, Gender, and Race in Video Games, “A 2001 review of the 70 top-selling video games found 89% contained some kind of violence”. Almost half of all the games (49%) contained serious violence, while 40% contained comic violence.”  The question is do violent video games lead to violent behaviors in the gamers?  Not only do I believe video games can institute violent behaviors, I believe video games lead to many negative attributes in many individuals that play video games on a consistent basis.

Video games have many adverse affects on society as we know it.  They are known to lead children and adults into unhealthy lifestyles of obesity, desensitization of violent acts, and gender stereotyping.  Video games continue to generate negative lifestyles in our society for all generations alike.  According to an 2008 article titled, Adults and Video Games, “More than half – 53% of all American adults play video games of some kind, whether on a computer, on a gaming console, on a cell phone or other handheld device, on a portable gaming device, or online”.  Often times playing video games replaces physical activities in people’s lives.  It’s ironic that a majority of our population would rather play a video game related to their favorite sport, instead of going and actually playing the sport.  A report from Drs. Anderson and Genitle reports that, “children are spending 13 hours per week for boys, on average, and 5 hours per week for girls”.  Spending this much time playing video games can not only make you lazy, but can assist in developing feelings of isolation.  If you are sitting around for hours at a time it is more than likely you may not feel as comfortable interacting with other people in comparison to someone who might be involved in activities that require face to face interaction with other people.

The major issue with playing video games on a consistent basis is that you may start to imitate what you are doing on the game.  No, you may not go steal a car and start shooting up a neighborhood as you would in the game “Grand Theft Auto”.  However studies say that you are more prone to develop aggressive feelings after playing violent games.  In 1998 a study by Dill and Dill concluded that short-term exposure to violent videogames increases aggression (Lin and Atkin 67).  Research has proven that by playing violent video games you are more prone to wanting to imitate behaviors portrayed in that game.  Players are able to take on certain characters that are fighting, and therefore may want to imitate specific actions of violence in everyday life. An example may be a child playing a ninja turtle game, and then going and whacking someone with a stick to imitate his favorite character.  Personally when I was younger my friends and I would act like certain characters on video games.  We wanted to box like the Mike Tyson video game, so we thought it would be a good idea to buy boxing gloves and start pummeling each other, just like we were seeing in the video game.  Certainly television and seeing acts of violence live can promote violent behavior, but giving a person the option to kill or destroy another person in a video game is sending the wrong message.  You are awarded in a video game if you are more violent, or create more destruction.

The main problem is raising a child to think that playing hours of video games every day is a good way to pass the time.  We don’t offer our children enough alternatives to spending time effectively.  In a society where pop culture rules and whatever is shown on television is popular, we seem to have lost some of the core values in our society.  Younger generations are finding it hard to concentrate on reading literature, due to the fact that it’s not like reading a computer screen, or playing a video game.  It’s solitary.  The words won’t move across the screen for you, and therefore kids lose interest much faster. It is important to instill positive values and morals in children’s lives today.  Playing video games every once and awhile is fine, but don’t play for hours at a time, and certainly don’t allow your children to play for extended periods of time.  Our society needs to start moving toward a more active lifestyle.  We also need to start censoring our children from violent games and television programs.  The younger generations of people today are so desensitized to violence because of their exposure to it in the media.  Violence in video games may not be the reason that acts of violence happen every day in our society, but there is a lot to be said about the negative attributes people are developing from playing video games in an overwhelming fashion.

Works Cited

Children Now. (2001). Fair Play? Violence, gender and race in video games. Los Angeles, CA:

Children Now.

Lenhart, Jones, Macgill.  “Adults and Video Games”. 7 December 2008.


Anderson, C.A., Gentile, D.A., & Buckley, K.E. (under review).Violent Video Game Effects on

Children and Adolescents:  Further Developments and tests of the General Aggression Model.

Lin, Caroly A; Atkin, David J.  Communication Technology and Social Change Theory and

Implications.  University of Connecticut, 2007.        https://my.carrollu.edu/ICS/Student/


I hope you enjoy my reflection of my years at Carroll University. My educational experience at CU has been second to none!


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