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BLOG 12: Communication 4473 Review

The most interesting things we covered in the course included watching and discussing the Buying a War documentary, reading The Selling of the President, and all the discussions involving how the internet/social media affect politics/democracy.

Bill Moyer's "Buying a War" Documentary

Buying the War was very interesting for several reasons: not only did it provide an unconventional perspective on the Bush Administration, but it also provided important information about how administrations can effectively (even deceptively) get their message to the media and the public.

It was interesting to learn about the media-control techniques used by the Nixon campaign in the Selling of the President.  For those interested in campaigns it offered great insights into the modernization of campaigning.

"The Selling of the President"

The topics I most enjoyed reading and learning about were those that related to how citizens can use the internet and social media to consume political information, be actively engaged in politics, and even start political movements.  Since the internet and social media are still relatively new political tools, and since the full potential of these tools has yet to be realized, it is very interesting to learn how these tools will affect politics and democracy.  I really enjoyed learning about media usage patterns, how different types of people use technology to gather news/be politically involved, and the potential of these tools to increase political involvement.  The video about Gigi and the Egyptian revolution was especially great.

The most boring/irrelevant assignments were the group presentations on The Making of the President 1960 and reading Sunstein’s Republic.com 2.0.

Book on the Kennedy Election

Although the book on the Kennedy election was very interesting, I would have preferred to read the entire book rather than depend on group presentations to convey the information.   Group presentations are time consuming and the result of groups having to put a presentation together is usually that each member only has knowledge of the very specific pages/chapters/slides they are presenting.  Also, they are very boring to watch.  I would have enjoyed that portion of the class much more had we devoted time to reading the entire book (rather than putting together mediocre group presentations) and then blogged about the book and discussed the book in class.

Sunstein's "Republic.com 2.0"

The Sunstein book was very boring to read.  Although he made some good points I would have much preferred to read an article or summary on his theories.  The class discussion on Republic.com 2.o was good, but reading the book was painful.

For the most part, I really enjoyed this class and feel that I learned a great deal.

How can social media lead to increased political involvement among citizens?

I think I enjoyed learning about the potential for the internet and social media to affect politics, increase citizen involvement, bring about change, and promote democracy because it is such a new concept, and one that can have serious implications for our society.  It is exciting to think these new tools may forever change citizens’ role in politics, government, and social change.

One thing that I would have liked to learn more about is what specific social media tactics can be used by political candidates, groups, or movements to get their followers to act in an effective way. None of my journalism, communication, or political science classes have addressed this issue even though I believe it is one that will be very important to communications professionals as new technologies continue to emerge.

How will social media affect social change in the future?

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