Media Deprivation

So I was out of town all week last week and did not get home until 7:30 p.m. tonight Sunday, 9/18. After looking for my kitten that had gone missing I sat down at the computer to catch up on school things and found this assignment by browsing everyone else’s blogs. I feel like maybe Dr. Ryan got this idea after speaking with me. The first day of class I let her know I would be out of town the past week, a week before I was set to go I discovered I would not have access to a phone or the internet without having to pay a ridiculous fee, so my husband and I decided to just do without.

Due to the similarity between the assignment and my lack of media, I feel like I can respond honestly to this writing prompt.

From Sunday, September the 11th at 2:00 p.m. when I last updated my Facebook status until Sunday, September the 18th around 8:00 a.m. when I could check into Foursquare, I was without my phone and the internet. Let me tell you, it was horrible.

Now I was kept pretty busy but when there were times of lull I consistently had the urge to grab my phone and check Facebook or text a friend. None of these things were possible and on more than one occassion I considered paying the exorbitant fees to use the internet.

Not being connected was difficult for nearly 7 whole days. Obviously it was not impossible. I made it. I survived. But I will be honest the moment I was clear to use my phone I was checking emails and voice-mail for the following hour.

If I had to have done this assignment as my peers had done,  I think I would have failed as some of my peers had done.

The fact of the matter is that we use the media so much that it is an integral part of our every day lives. I can foresee this being an assignment that is conducted in grade school in the future, as an exercise in life before the internet and cell phones. The fact that I can remember a day when I could recall all the phone numbers I used from memory alone and now can only remember a handful off the top of my head is not something I like to dwell on.

At least my days are more efficient…

Tiffany Lempesis


The 1st cell phone.

Experiment Testing meet Elle Woods

In class on Wednesday, September 31st we had just begun to talk about experiments when we learned we would be watching Legally Blonde. My first reaction was confusion, because I am pretty familiar with the movie and I could not factor in how Legally Blonde related to experiments, moreover media effecting research. Once the clip was over and the testing complete, it all made sense. Initially, however I made the executive decision to just go with it, because even though I could not see a parallel to the movie and experiments there had to be one.

Upon completion of the testing, I have to admit experimental testing based solely on the activity in class, I would say is very beneficial to how media effects research. Earlier in the week while in small groups, I had contributed the question to our set of five questions for our topic of advertising, about whether or not subliminal advertising was effective. While we did not receive many responses, of the responses, only one of the individuals felt subliminal messaging was an effective means of advertising. The exercise we conducted in class on Wednesday rather disproved any assumptions that subliminal messaging was not in fact effective.

Who knew that we were being introduced to products in movies and television that was not completely apparent? Okay, you got me, I did know. However, what I did not know was how prevalent these products were. Usually I can spot blatant, unabashed advertising. And not just the kind the professor used as an example like from the TV show Heroes. I pride myself on my observatory skills, I do not miss too much, especially in moves. So let me blame lack of sleep on momentary lapse Wednesday during the Legally Blonde clip.

Something that surprised me was that these messages stick with you. Not just the ones you are aware of but the ones you are not, too. It is almost a bit scary to think that brands like Pepsi and Prada are making an impression on us without our being aware of it.

Now back to the whether or not I feel like experiments are beneficial to studying how media effects research. My answer is yes. According to our textbook, “the experiment seeks to gather [this] data under controlled conditions” (pg. 35). Unlike qualitative surveys and open-ended questions used for survey purposes, experiments are less subject to the participants and capable of more control by the researcher. The book goes on to discuss variables using an example of the sugar substitute in diet coke in relation to cancer. The sugar substitute is the independent variable causing the dependent variable, the cancer. In comparison to the movie clip we watched, the independent variable would be the product placement causing and increase or decrease in sales, the dependent variable.

Random assignment and identical treatment are then discussed, imparting on the reader the importance of keeping the experimental conditions equivalent (pg. 36). Ensuring that everyone has an equal exposure to the products placed in the moved and that they are being introduced to them in the same ways ensures equality in the research process with no group more likely to be affected than another.

Another key factor in experiments is the control group. A control group is vital to the success of an experiment, because a researcher’s results can be completely changed by the results of a control group (pg. 37).

When reading over the example assessing the effects of mood on music listening choice, the role of experiments as it pertains to media effecting research is enhanced by the careful detail the experimental testing had on the research. And I completely agree.

Tiffany Lempesis