Fred Hill Retirement Conference

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Twitter After Dark

Late last night, I was in bed scrolling through twitter and found something that I thought was really interesting. One of my followers retweeted this image from an account called “BaseballBoners” with the caption “Dear Lord, thank you for baseball. Amen.”

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But if you’ve ever been to a baseball game or watched a baseball practice, the guys don’t practice or play with their shirts off. The guys that play baseball don’t all have big muscles and six packs. So what does that say about our generation’s interpretation of baseball players? I was surprised at the twitter account  itself, not just what the account was posting. I believe many people have inaccurate perceptions of what male athletes are and it takes away from the sport. 

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It seems girls and young women thrive for baseball players and their butts, which has nothing to do with the actual games. Players started wearing pants as part of the uniform in the 1990s, and one of the reasons wasn’t because it made the players’ butts look nice. So next time you see a female obsessing over baseball, ask yourself whether it’s because she actually likes baseball, or the “hot” baseball players.

“Acid Rain” Podcast (Acid Rap)

Chance the rapper is the new upcoming popular artist of the century, delivering songs that are meant to create controversy and address issues that are unspoken of. His music is something new, maybe categorized as hip-hop but can definitely be a topic made to be discussed. This unique artist released his album Acid Rap on April 30, 2013 featuring great artist such as Childish Gambino and many other talented musicians. My favorite song from his 13 song album is Acid Rain, which is the song I have selected to discuss in my podcast. I hope you like it, enjoy!

Bibliography
Resources used for to achieve this project:
1. http://rapgenius.com/Chance-the-rapper-acid-rain-lyrics
(This link helped me view not just others opinions but the deeper more informative meaning of many lines in Chance the rapper’s verses that I was not personally familiar with.)

2. http://www.stereogum.com/1338682/mixtape-of-the-week-chance-the-rapper-acid-rap/franchises/mixtape-of-the-week/
(This link provided me with more of a larger view on his music and meaning for writing it and the purpose Chance the rapper had in his mind set.)

3. http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/2013_05_chanceacidrap.html
(Different interpretations for his lyrics since many have different twist to them, further explaining his references to mentioning people in his lyrics.)

4. http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/interviews/id.2099/title.chance-the-rapper-talks-the-chicago-scene-his-acid-rap-mixtape-
(Written interview on why he wrote the song, and personal information on chance the rapper as an artist.)

5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwZS_Sxr1oA
(video title Chance the rapper talks about the interpretations of acid rain, which really allowed me to hear chance the rapper himself on his own music.)

6. Casey Sanchez. CHANCE THE RAPPER Acid Rap (self-released) . Sana Fe New Mexican.The (NM). 2013
http://infoweb.newsbank.com.proxy.libraries.rutgers.edu/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_action=doc&p_topdoc=1&p_docnum=1&p_sort=YMD_date:D&p_product=AWNB&p_text_direct-0=document_id=(%20146ED015348363D0%20)&p_docid=146ED015348363D0&p_theme=aggdocs&p_queryname=146ED015348363D0&f_openurl=yes&p_nbid=I54D4ARFMTM5NzQ1MTIxMy45ODM3MTI6MTo5OkVCU0NPODE1Mg&&p_multi=SNMB
(This article goes in detail about Chance the rapper and gives a different opinion on his genre and his style of music along with a bit of input on some of this other song within the album.)

Maintaining A Balance

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Every year calls for progress in the digital and media world. Along with the positive contributions it provides for individuals such as making it easier for communication and meeting people online, it also limits and jeopardizes the interpersonal relationships that individuals should develop. In Merkle and Richardson’s Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships there are four dimensions that compare computer mediated relations versus face to face relationships. “(a) the process of relationship formation and dissolution, (b) the nature of self-disclosure, (c) methods of conflict management, and (d) the meaning of infidelity.” Merkle and Richardson both argue that computer mediated relationships are limiting the face to face encounters that individuals should be having. Through the easy access that technology grants, one can lose personal connections that should be created while being physically around others. One gets so accustomed to the formed relationship online that they forget to form physical relationships as well. Another big dimension they touch on is infidelity. Having relationships formed behind a computer can challenge relationships and trust.

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and social media in general is taking over the world! By living through these social networks, individuals are no longer able to form strong and healthy relationships. It is very difficult to have chat conversations with your partner all the time. Written words can never truly determine what you feel. Eye contact, body language and tone of voice are all important in communicating with a partner.  Not being able to touch, feel, hug, kiss or smell your partner makes it difficult to stay attracted and interested. Relationships are formed and developed because of physical interaction as well as great interpersonal communication.

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In the film Noah (2013), he supports the idea that individuals become habituated to the virtual world and refuse to create interpersonal relationships. This film is bases upon a young man, Noah, who sits behind his computer screen and tries to maintain a relationship with his girlfriend Amy. While on Skype, Amy tries to discuss their relationship. Skype fails to work so she sends Noah a text message. Noah insists that they continue having a conversation online. Why couldn’t they schedule a time to meet or see each other? This small encounter could have made the entire situation different.

balancingAs a college student I have learned that digital media is extremely necessary. I am living hours away from family and friends who are extremely important to me. It would not be possible to maintain these relationships without constant updates and chat messages. However, when it comes to romantic relationships it is very important to maintain a balance. It is vital to spend time with someone who you are devoted to. One cannot spend hours online without also spending a few hours together. The way we act impacts future generations that look up to us. If we develop online computer mediated relationships without having interpersonal connections, we will not be able to have healthy and successful relationship.

 

“Internet Dating”

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Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson suggest that computer mediated relationships (CMR) complicate the way we traditionally form interpersonal romantic relationships in “Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships” in several ways but one idea that was interesting to me was the “sheer proximity.” The importance of being able to have a face to face conversation in “real life” and not just the cyber world is important. Is talking to someone on skype, ovoo and facetime the same as having a face to face conversation? I personally don’t think so. I believe there has to be face to face interaction for a healthy relationship. Not necessarily everyday face to face interaction because I believe that long distance relationships can work if it is true love but an occasional personal time together is important. The physical part of interaction is obviously missed in online relationships.The face to face interaction keeps people updated with whats going on in their partners life. Face to face interactions allows you to see the good and bad side of your partner. When your talking to someone online I think you never get to see who they really are you only get to see what that person allows you to see. I do not believe you can truly find love on the internet because not everyone is who they say they are on the internet. If you heavily rely on online dating or online sites to talk to people it is easy to get fooled and lied to.

Online communication should not be the main source of communications for any relationship. In Noah it was clear that online communication was one of the reasons for their break up. In the movie a young couple is having trouble about rather or not they can be together in the future and instead of having this important conversation face to face they have it on skype. Noah loses skype connection with his girlfriend and everything goes down hill from their. Noah constantly begins to check his girlfriend’s Facebook relationship for verification of a break up. Noah goes ahead and uses her password to log in on her account and change their relationship status. A simple meet up at a coffee shop where the two could actually sit down and talk face to face could have stopped the whole thing from going as far as it did.

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“You can’t have my heart, And you won’t use my mind…”

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Lady Gaga’s 2013 song “Do What You Want,” on her new album ARTPOP has inspired a lot of conversation among fans and critics alike. She has been criticized and shamed for her supposedly distasteful and obscene lyrics. However, these labels are really missing out on what the song accomplishes for Gaga as an artist and a performer. In our podcast, we discuss that despite what a listener may think, Gaga’s song is an anthem of empowerment and pride. Tune in to hear what Gaga really wants to express through her lyrics in the carefully written “Do What You Want.”

Sources

We used an article on Gigiwise, entitled “Lady Gaga Talks 2013 Depression, Following The Release of Artpop,” for a few quotes and for a general understanding of Gaga’s feelings following the release.

This next article, from Spin or Bin includes the interview with June Brown. We used a direct quote from Gaga to explain what the song means for her.

We used an interview with MTV news as well for quotes by Gaga.

We sourced a quote about the ARTPOP album as a whole from this wordpress blog.

We trusted AZ lyrics to give us the most accurate lyrics to the song.

To get a true understanding of how Gaga is the ultimate “performer” and how she is a feminist hero, we looked to none other than Jack Halberstam’s book Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Queer Action/Queer Ideas) Published by Beacon Press in Boston in 2012

Computer Mediated Relationships VS. Face-to-Face Relationships

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In “Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships”, Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson suggest that computer mediated relationships (CMR) follow an opposite development sequence compared to the face-to-face romantic relationships. “The development of a face-to-face relationship moves from initial encounter, based on spatial proximity and physical attractiveness, to discovery of similarities and to self-disclosure. In contrast, most Internet romantic relationships progress through an inverted developmental sequence” (189). I totally agree with this idea. However, based on this acknowledgement, the authors further claims that “it is plausible to suggest that because of the inverted developmental sequence described previously, CMR may be characterized by a higher degree of personal investment of time and self-disclosure that typical of face-to-face relationships. This greater investment may result in a stronger commitment to work through disagreements and maintain the relationship” (189). I want to bring another point of view to challenge this idea. Computer mediated relationships may reveal more information than real ones, but the quality and credibility of the information should be doubted. Behind the screen, people have time to think and reply. They also don’t have to expose their facial expressions and tone of language. Moreover, fake identities are often created to achieve certain purpose. Thus, misunderstanding and misinterpretation may easily happen. From my point of view, computer mediated relationships lack authenticity and realness. I would rather choose less but real information than more but fake one.

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In the film Noah (2013), we can see the shortcoming of electronic devices as well as the importance of physical presence. Graduation departure causes Amy start to worry about their relationship next year. If they decide to go to the same college and distance is not a problem, maybe the whole breaking up thing will not happen in the first place. With the high technology right now, Noah is able to define possible rival in love through Facebook, which raises more suspicion. Essentially, I think this sad ending is all caused by themselves. Nowadays, people like to change for a new one when something is broken instead of fixing it in the past. Not having a boyfriend or girlfriend suddenly makes you a loser. More and more people get involved in a relationship just because they need one, not because they like or love the person they are with. In addition, people feel empty and lonely physically and spiritually when they are not in a relationship. In another word, they don’t know how to deal with solitude so that they avoid it by all means. However, the truth is solitude is a very important ability because we can know ourselves better through it. If we don’t know ourselves really well, we cannot get along with other people well either. Acknowledgement of oneself is not only the bedrock for forming relationship with other people, but also crucial for self-development along the way.

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Personally, I don’t believe in long-distance relationship and neither do I support for online dating nor virtual relationship. My only boyfriend and I have been together for nearly six years and we broke up a few weeks ago. He is my first love and junior high school classmates. We got into relationship when we were high school students in different cities and could only see each other during holiday. Then we went to the same city Shanghai for college but different schools. Basically we see each other every week at that time and two years passed. I decided to study abroad which he wanted to continue his in China. We know something will be very different when we are in different country, but on the other hand, we also have faith in each other according to our history and experience. However, you can never image something when you have actually gone through that. Time difference, future development direction, family issues all become conflicts between us. Holding on to such situation for half a year, neither of us could stand it anymore and we broke up. What I am trying to say is important physical presence and geography factors are. If you eventually want to be with someone and get married, you two have to live together and see each other almost every day. Without these physical conditions, I don’t think anything is going to work out.

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Love and the Internet

Relationships and romance are two complicated subjects. When you add the internet, dating websites, and social media, that makes everything twice as complicated and twice as confusing. In Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson’s article Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships, the authors say the internet and computer mediated relationships (CMR)  complicated some of the basic concepts in relationships. These ideas include intimacy, faithfulness, and the steps in creating a relationship. As article continues, the authors note that the space in which a relationship is created via computer is much different than a “face-to-face”. This is not to say that it is bad to have a computer mediated relationship, but it is different than the traditional relationship. It is more complicated because there are no strict set of standards for the CMR. A prime example is when a conflict arises, which the author mention. In a face-to-face relationship, you cannot just ignore the issue at hand. On the other hand,  in a CMR one can “freely disengage” from what is happening.

After reading this article, watching the film Noah, and reflecting on personal experience, I do not think it is possible to have a truly fulfilling and sexual relationship that takes place primarily online. In the film, when Noah went into Amy’s, his girlfriend, Facebook and changer her relationship status, the scene showed how insecure he was. He kept checking her status and made a big deal when she changed her profile picture. This is not to say insecurity is not present it a “face-to-face” relationship that the article above talks about, but it is easier to talk about the insecurities and get rid of them. Online, every change, every comment, every photo affects the relationship. To Noah, these changes she was breaking up with. Since she was not responding to his texts or messages, this intensified the insecurity. Time and change are two major factors in an online relationship. While watching the film, Noah is constantly on different websites, especially when he communicates with other. Multitasking is a skill, but when you multitask in a relationship, especially an online relationship, the intimacy disappears. Even when he is video calling with her, he is browsing Facebook, closing out of a porn tab, and so on. He is not focused on her. The only time he is focused is when the call is disconnected. I think that an online relationship can assist a “face-to-face” relationship. For example, if one person is studying abroad or on a long business trip, being online can help the relationship. However, I think the basis for a relationship should be in person. There has to be a body present. You cannot receive a physically hug from a screen, you cannot hold hands with a computer screen, and you cannot receive a physical kiss from a computer screen. With an online relationship, all the physical intimacy disappears.

From my personal experience, I have had a traditional dating experience. We met in person more than talking or communicating online. We talked via online when I was up at school. I think this put a strain on the relationship because we were not physically seeing each other, only using text message or Skype. It is harder to understand how one feels over a text or Facebook message. For me, I am able to “read” someone when in person. It is easier to see their emotions and reactions. With the future generations, I think CMR and online relationships will become more popular. As we gain new technology and ways to communicate, we begin to loose the old ways of communication. For example, people prefer text messaging to phone calling. I have talked to people who ask me why I called when a quick text message would have been good. It is getting harder and harder to talk to people in person. This will affect relationships and intimacy in future generations.

Dating+Twenty First Century=Technological Love?

I found it very eye opening the way in which Erich Merkle and Rhonda Richardson portrayed such a familiar practice in their article. One word that stuck out to me tremendously was the word “exploit.” We do exploit these technologies to use them for things we could do for ourselves by interacting with real humans face-to-face. That’s not to say there are no benefits to social media and other related websites: social media is a great way to connect people across different locations. for example, I have met hundreds of my peers and possible future colleagues at choir conferences over the years, and I have all of them as Facebook friends. I see most of them at least once a year, and for those who are already in the teaching field, it is a good way for me to get my foot in the door and network. On the contrary, social media is so toxic because of its general nature and the way in which we exploit it. The practice of social media makes us think we know a person better than we actually do. Think about it: what was your first Facebook profile picture? Your current Facebook profile picture? When you post a status, does someone “like” it who wouldn’t start a conversation with you on that topic face to face? Do you find yourself “creeping” on a friend you just met in person, seeing what their life background is like, what their hobbies and friends and interests are? We know from experience that all of this information is found in their Facebook profile-and so much more. Facebook brings a new meaning to the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” If humans are the “books,” Facebook is challenging us by providing the sparknotes instead of giving us the opportunity to enjoy the novel. (And I’m sure many of us can agree to survive English class in high school, sparknotes were a pretty decent option, but nothing replaces the feeling you get after you finish a book you are truly interested in reading.) Furthermore, as overdramatized as it may seem in the video below, it is reflecive of our practices: when someone blocks us on Facebook we take it as personally as if they decided not to talk to us in real life anymore. Facebook is different from real life, and it is unfortunately becoming hard to distinguish the two as technology is becoming omnipotent in our everyday lives.

Speaking in terms of the Merkle/Richardson article, I have a hard time believing that a relation can work solely based on technological aesthetics. I personally have a hard time figuring out what I want in general so dating as a concept is hard enough for me to grasp in the first place. Unfortunately so, in liking someone in the twenty-first century I feel obligated to keep up with all outlets of their social media, all outlets of communication and spend quality time in building a relationship face-to-face, it’s all so overwhelming. I have labeled myself (and even have begun telling boys that I meet recently) that I am a “bad texter” just to warn them that if I don’t text them back right away, it doesn’t always mean I’m not interested right off the bat-I’m probably just busy. Texting conversations, or even those through Facebook to fit a CMR situation, are very trite and I try to limit them to share ideas or have long-distance communication (like with friends and family from home). My key word, however, is “try”: I know that as it is customary of the times that when I initially like a boy, I should give him the common courtesy to text him back and settle for a texting conversation, much to my chagrin. The beginning stages of two people being interested in each other are the most nerve-wracking and exciting, but the rawness of these experiences are definitely subdued by the facilitation of technology and CMRs. We will probably never experience the jitters our parents felt when calling the house phone of their crush and asking their crush’s parents to talk to them again in this century. People rarely pick each other up for dates anymore, they decide to meet at a mutual place and exchange texts saying “are you here?” Despite my admittance that I am not very good at dating, I like to think I have figured out the game enough to say that technology has made the practice of dating less authentic. It is always best to remember to value the genuine, tangible human experience more than something that was posted on an online profile.

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Just to share a few final thoughts: I will admit that I am a hypocrite. I wish I could practice more of what I preach, but I am guilty of using my Twitter and tumblr accounts to share my thoughts and seek others’ approval to feel validation, and I post pictures on Instagram and Facebook to share with the world what I’m doing in my life. Sure, my family likes getting updated from these pictures, but I would rather tell them about my experiences in person. Plus, while I was watching the short  film “Noah”, I had to put it on full screen to resist doing exactly what the film’s main character was doing-facilitating my short attention span by flipping from tab to tab, conversation to conversation, one thought catalog article to another buzzfeed quiz to another NCAA bracket group. (And honestly, I paused the movie in the middle so that I could write this thought down; as I realized how hard it was for me to focus on one thing, I became pretty appalled with myself.) My biggest fear is becoming a slave to technology to the point that it does interfere with a possible romantic situation. This shouldn’t be a concern, but in this day and age it is always an important factor to consider.

The Internet: The truth or a close second?

The Internet. A place where you can either be yourself, someone you wish you were, or someone you want to be. This thought has always been a concern for me when it comes to Computer Mediated Relationships (CMR). Sure there is a form of interaction taking place online, but how can one tell if the other person is actually being sincere? In Noah I found it rather ironic that Noah thought Amy was cheating on him yet in a way he was cheating on her with the Internet. Instead of actually listening and talking to her on Skype he was distracting himself with pointless internet games and other silly websites. Now where does the irony come in? As soon as Noah changed Amy’s Facebook relationship status he closed out of all his tabs to reveal his background picture of the two of them. When Amy blocked Noah from viewing her Facebook, he almost immediately went to to see if he could see her Facebook page after logging on- not a porn site. It was not until Noah no longer had access to see Amy on a daily basis that he began to think about her day in and day out.

For me, if you truly like someone then you want to talk to them and see them. In a face-to-face relationship, physical interactions are absolutely vital in my opinion. I’m not saying it is easy to just put yourself out there by any means. I myself am shy most of the time until I get a feel of the environment I am in and how the people are interacting around me. Having said that, in the article “Digital Dating and Virtual Dating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships” by Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A. Richardson, Merkle and Richardson bring up an excellent point regarding self-disclosure.

When it comes to responding to a CMR, you have the to time to plan out what you want to say and how to go about saying it. This can either be an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look at it. It can be an advantage if you are able to “let go of the anxiety and apprehension” that comes with having a real face-to-face conversations; however, because it is not face-to-face one can never be 100% certain if the person he or she is talking to means what he or she says. This timelessness affect allows someone to truly say what he or she feels or what he or she thinks the other person wants to hear by analyzing his or her previous responses (that are forever in writing). This leads to another problem with CMR that Noah encountered. When Noah hacked into Amy’s account he thought she was talking to another guy; however, instead of asking her he jumped to a conclusion (a conclusion that ultimately ended their relationship mind you!). On the Internet is it perceived that talking to an opposite gender can be considered “relationship infidelity”, similar to how Noah assumed the guy messaging Amy liked her when he was actually gay. In a face-to-face romantic relationship, a sexual advancement or act with someone other than your partner is deemed as “relationship Infidelity”. To me there seems to be a larger grey area when it comes to CMRs because of all the opportunities and availabilities to spark conversations with other people.

http://www.ted.com/talks/stefana_broadbent_how_the_internet_enables_intimacy?language=en

For me personally I do not believe it is possible to have an emotional and sexual relationship without face-to-face interactions. Yes there are more variables when it comes to a face-to-face relationship, but these variables are all necessary to achieve a fulfilling relationship. Sure it is more of an effort to physically meet up with someone as oppose to talking through social media, but that is how you truly get to know someone! Here is a little experiment: Read a message from one of your closest friends. Now, did you read it in their voice as if they were standing right in front of you? This probably has never occurred to you before; however, you were able to do that because of the numerous interactions you have had with said friend. Little things like that personable connection make me believe that face-to-face relationships are better than CMRs.

When it comes to CMRs I tend to over analyze massages from people that I don’t really know mostly because I am not able to see the facial expressions or hear the tone of voice they used while “saying” something to me. To me the personal interaction is crucial to having functioning relationships simply because you get to interact with them on a 3-D level and not through a screen. I find it rather sad that future generations are only going to understand intimacy through the Internet and not through in-person social interactions. No matter where I go I see younger kids looking at their smartphones instead of what is happening right in front of them, life.