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Industrial revolution: for better or for worse?

Industrial revolution: for better or for worse?

 

The Industrial Revolution: a time period between 1760 to 1840 known to many as the greatest heydays in modern history. It was a time where Western civilization began to move from an agricultural dependent society to one where it finds new efficiencies in their lifestyle and improvements to their standard of living using methods of machinery, chemicals, minerals, and steam. This sounds great until you realize the costs involved in achieving these efficiencies, these improvements. Working conditions were deplorable with long working hours for low wages. So, one has to wonder did society as a whole benefit from this time period? Or more importantly, who did this time period benefit? Who were the winners and who were the losers?

 

Well, there were obvious benefits to the industrialization of society. Working conditions as a whole did improve. Work environment moved from outdoors to indoors making work available throughout the seasons. In addition, long distance transportation was made available. This allowed for people who normally would be trapped in rural areas to migrate in search for newfound opportunities. This led to signs of social mobility, where many of the poor gradually became the middle class, which ushered in an age of many social changes and reforms. But just as there were many who moved up the social status ladder, there were even more people who were left behind.

 

So who were these unlucky individuals? They were the many who found themselves exploited by working twelve to fourteen hours a day, five days a week, all year long for low paying wages (Fitzgerald, 2000). Regardless of gender or age, women and children alike were both expected to work these hours (Fitzgerald, 2000). They were the peasants who worked in the noble’s lands, those who lay trapped in the rural areas – places that were never very well industrialized, places that the trains did not reach. This led to unfathomable income inequality. While some were profiting from their newfound factories, buying up estates, amassing household slaves, many were left hungry and deprived of opportunities.

 

In the end, were there winners and losers? Well it depends on the time frame you’re looking at and who you were during the revolution. In the short run and if you were say, a peasant, chances are the Industrial Revolution made you worse off. However in the long run, despite the poor economical situations for many, civilization as a whole wouldn’t be as prosperous as it has become. We wouldn’t be here to discuss the haves and have-nots if it weren’t for the Industrial Revolution. So, we owe it to the peasants who endured and suffered to lay the foundation in which we walk. We owe it to the middle class who furthered social standards, the artisans who had technological breakthroughs that avoided the threat of famine. We owe it to the merchants who acquired charters from lords to establish towns (Fitzgerald, 2000). It is thanks to these people that society profited from its hardships and it is because of them can we have this discussion today.

P.S.

Sorry to my blog readers that this post is rather vague. The topic I chose could have books written on, so it’s my fault for not choosing to tackle a simpler issue. Word limit was 500, so you get what you pay for, I guess.

P.P.S.

A job is a job at the end of the day. I don’t know how the peasants/’unlucky’ individuals were made worse off. They are lucky to get something they didn’t have before. But whatever, it was added in for contrast sake as that’s a popular criticism of the Industrial Revolution.

 

References

 

C.W. “Did living standards improve during Industrial Revolution?”. The Economist: Blog. 2013.  Web. 16 July 2014.

Link:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/economic-history-0

 

Fitzgerald, R. D. “The Social Impact of the Industrial Revolution.” Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Ed. Josh Lauer and Neil Schlager. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 376-381. Global Issues In Context. Web. 16 July 2014.

Link: http://find.galegroup.com/gic/infomark.do?&idigest=fb720fd31d9036c1ed2d1f3a0500fcc2&type=retrieve&tabID=T001&prodId=GIC&docId=CX3408502115&source=gale&userGroupName=itsbtrial&version=1.0

 

Final Essay MDSB02

Youtube: a video media platform that enables content to be distributed to an audience found across the world. It is a place where home videos are found, audio recordings are heard, lessons taught, a place where anything that is either heard or seen, can be uploaded. Now, recordings done by non commercial enterprises (i.e. home videos) are not new; however, exposing it to an audience that can garner more views than some of history’s biggest box office movies is something that should be unfathomable. Yet it is being done, and by the most ‘ordinary’ of people – your coworker, your friend, your sibling. Some of the most viewed videos, with the highest subscriber counts, are from these people and call themselves ‘vloggers’ – short form for video bloggers. These vloggers have followings that are larger than many of today’s most well known celebrities – Nigahiga (a vlogger) boasting at 10 million subscribers while Justin Bieber at 2.5million. In addition, these followers aren’t just your random followers who just happened to pop on in and clicked subscribed. These people are just as, if not more, passionate about the person they follow than some of the greatest die-hard fans plagued by ‘Bieber-fever’. So, how are these vloggers able to acquire such a large audience and earned such frightening loyalty? The answer is ‘lack’ – we as a society are in a state of repression, a constant feeling of being deprived, and vloggers – Youtube, is the medium where our desires can be fulfilled, and whereby businesses capitalize on it.

Before getting to why there’s such a huge following, one has to appreciate the economical accomplishment these vloggers have achieved. The Youtube motto known as ‘Broadcast Yourself’ is an idea, a system, which allows the general public to engage in an activity known as ‘broadcasting’. Traditionally, broadcasting is in the domain of large, powerful conglomerates (Christensen, 2007). Conglomerates like the “Big Five” (Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, News Corporation, and Bertelsmann) who paid billions of dollars to become vertically and horizontally integrated in order to distribute their content to a larger audience are now being ‘outsourced’ by Youtube users. Entertainment no longer needs to be a $100 million studio budget; instead, a creative vlogger can take his or her digital camera, gather a few friends, and create something just as entertaining for a fraction of the cost. With Youtube as their platform, the term multinationalism is now being redefined. Individuals, no longer just corporations, are being able to produce and distribute media content on a global scale. And the best part is that these vloggers have done what very little corporations are able to do, which is to have a subscriber count. Subscription is something many corporations strive for (e.g. Netflix, WSJ). Subscriptions provide the content provider with reoccurring viewers, allowing for a constant cash flow into their bank accounts. This is important as it guarantees them available money if whenever they need it for another project, to pay the broadcasting networks, their employees, etc.

Now the question at hand: how do vloggers, these Youtube sensations, celebrities, acquire so many followers. There are two sides to the equation. First, there’s the content provider and then second, the viewer. Before getting to the provider, it’s best to talk about the viewer. In Molyneaux’s study, it is to note that 10% of the male particpants who were asked to evaluate 4 chosen vlogs told the researcher that the female vlogger would be watched again because “she’s cute”. One may argue this is a desire, an appetite for such fetishism, in order to possibly satisfy their lack of socializing. This candidate may have shown signs of scopophilia, voyeurism – a pleasure from looking from afar, with little to no chance of being caught and reprehended. The viewer, assuming a man, is faced directly with a ‘cute’ female counterpart, and the only thing that separates the two is a screen. She is succumbing to the male gaze. Though mind you, though it’s ‘just a screen’, she’s an unreachable ‘object’. He will most likely forever remain as a fan, and the woman, a person who he’ll never make contact with. But perhaps, he enjoys being in such position – being able to derive pleasure from it. Perhaps this cute woman is someone who he wouldn’t normally be able to interact, but through the Internet, he may feel something special, unique, that no other man has felt before. Here on Youtube, is where the reality principle – the curbing of desires known to be unacceptable in the laws of society – may be loosened – fantasy now becomes reality, if only temporarily.

As for the content provider – Youtube, it is a platform perfect to spark discussion and cause ‘virality’. There are two main ways to generate discussion on Youtube. One is through a ‘video response’ (whereby you make your own video that tags to the original video) and the second way is through comments below the video. These methods are what are known as a ‘cool medium’, where the technology known as Youtube, allows for a high participation rate from the audience. This creates a social network of connected videos, as the viewers are not only just allowed to write a textual comment but they can make a personalized opinion by voicing it through a video response. From there, people may respond to your personal video with a video response or textual comments, which further fans the flames, so to speak. So, with all of this creates an incredibly complicated, interconnected web of social interactions.

A well-known Youtube sensation ‘Jenna Marbles’, who is figuratively speaking, the ideal woman, is often subjected to the male gaze. The beauty to Jenna Marbles’ video, aside from an attractive young host, is her ability to speak of things that resonates with many people’s lives. She has formed a model, a type of register, which draws audiences in and places a firm grasp on them. People love being reaffirmed of what they believe in, and Jenna’s videos reassures them that someone out there understands them, that someone thinks just like how they do. She speaks in a style that is similar to how you speak to your closest of friends. She often pokes fun about what guys usually do (e.g. when they’re drunk), what girls usually do (e.g. when watching tv, when falling asleep) in a very crude, an informal manner. All of these topics are relatable and understandable. It is because of the way she approaches her audience and delivers highly relatable content in a humorously, nonsensical manner, makes her videos accepted by so many. This perhaps is best regarded as polyvalence, where the audience shares understandings of the content, and though some may find the content being viewed as pointless or useless, it still gives them the ability to resonate with their own opinions.

There is no doubt that Youtube has challenged the fundamentals of the media business: as it once known to be expensive, ran by professionals, and usually beyond the scope of the ‘every day citizens’ (Christensen, 2007). It is also to the amazement of Youtube’s celebrities on how they are able to capture the hearts of so many. But perhaps, it’s not as hard as it sounds, as society has been brought up with many restrictions, guidelines, deadlines, often than not, cornering us, depriving us, and though these rules often protects and advances us, there are still many who are left behind, lack day-to-day emotions, feelings, and comfort, which is what Youtube is able to do is provide for them, to make their day better, if only just a little bit.

References

Christensen C. (2007). Youtube: The Evolution of Media? Screen Education 45: 36-40

Durant A, Lambrou M. (2009). Language and media. New York: Routledge.

Molyneaux H, O’Donnell S, Gibson K. (2009). Youtube Vlogs: An Analysis of the Gender Divide. Media Report to Women 37(2): 6-11

Essay Blog 1: Para-Para-Paradise – Why it caters to the depressive society we live in today

This blog, this essay, this ‘blogessay’ is for my Media Studies class where I am required write an analysis of a pop song. It was difficult in the sense of choosing the perfect song to analyze. Not having listened to many ‘English songs’ recently as my latest playlists are comprised of all instrumentals, trance, dub-step and Japanese soundtracks, it was hard to find a song that I felt I can write a 1500 word essay on. But as I was sifting through the greatest hits, I was reminded of Coldplay – simple in lyrics (at face value), yet always backed by meaning that leaves fans and music enthusiasts wanting to decipher, learn and possibly understand the intentions of the song. So, I chose Paradise by Coldplay. With its bombastic chorus, hypnotic chords, lyrics you can easily relate to, it was the perfect candidate to write an analysis on. Paradise with its emotional story and powerful melodic punches is a compositional masterpiece that caters to the helpless young audience of today.

 

Para-para-paradise – a catchy chorus that most of us have heard at some point. A nominee of the Grammy Award released in September 2011, a song relatively simple in its lyrics, does its job in making it irresistible to not hum or sing along to. In its first verse, tells a story of a girl who was once still blessed with her innocence; some may call it her ignorance. She had high expectations for the world. She expected her future to be like a fairy tale, a common misperception we lead many young girls with today. Perhaps she expected the world to be fair and just, where women are treated as princesses, for her to find her Prince Charming and live happily ever after. However, as the lyrics noted “But it flew away from her reach”, as she discovered that life is not a fairy tale. Bars were set too high, expectations failed to be met; it’s a life where not everything went her way. Dreams not achieved, opportunities not seized, so she retrieved back into her dreams – “So she ran away in her sleep”, “Dreamed of para- para- paradise”, “Every time she closed her eyes”. There she was able to find her fairy tale, her fantasy. Paradise: “an ideal or idyllic place or state” (Oxford). It was there was she able to do anything (“And the bullets catch in her teeth”).

 

The second verse depicts how as the girl grows up, as she goes through life’s trials and tribulations (“Life goes on”, “It gets so heavy”), it breaks her (“The wheel breaks the butterfly”). The butterfly, a symbol of the girl – beautiful and innocent – ran over by the wheel, the hardships of life. “Every tear, a waterfall”, “In the night, the stormy night”, “She closed her eyes”; “Away she’d fly”. In amidst the chaos, she felt reality crushing her, physically, psychologically, emotionally; thus she would once again at night, recede back to her “Para- para- paradise”. It was there where she was safest, happiest; it was there where she felt most comfortable.

 

In the final verse: “So lying underneath those stormy skies”, a pathetic fallacy – a literal attribution of her then current state of mind. In her darkest hours, she had a change in mindset. “She said oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh”, “I know the sun must set to rise”. She came to a realization, an epiphany that not all of life is sitting underneath stormy skies. She realized that like a day of the year, the night must come before the sun can rise. She had to brace and endure the dark times for things to come full circle, for her reality, her life to become a ‘paradise’. Followed by this verse and up to the end of the song, the chorus repeated numerous times and changed from “She dream of para- para- paradise” to “This could be para- para- paradise”, signaling that she perhaps have finally achieved her dreams, met people’s expectations, she was no longer in dark times, she has finally made it – a reality that she could perhaps call paradise.

 

Now after becoming familiar with the song and its content, it begs to ask “what of it”, “why is it so successful”, “what did Chris Martin do”? How did he come up with a song where his millions of fans are able to relate to? To have them say “I’m a melancholic, reflective person and this song says exactly what I feel, it describes what I’m going through or have already gone through”, “The ‘she’ described in Paradise is ‘me’, it is an autobiographical song about ‘me’, Coldplay is singing about ‘me’!” (Durant & Lambrou, 2009). So, by the sales figure alone, it is clear that Chris Martin has succeeded in creating a composition that has the ability to make us empathetic of this fictional woman. It wasn’t hard though as the story is about feelings many of us have come across.

 

Chris Martin must have taken notes from Country songwriters. All successful country songwriters agree that first and foremost, lyrics are a song’s first priority. The essence of a country song is the story (Lewis, 1976). Lyrics must be simple and the hook line must be catchy – in this case “Para-para-paradise” repeated several times is just one of the many reasons to what makes this song so catchy. The song was able to convey something relatable; words used were relatively simple, where even the youngest English speakers would be able to understand (Lewis, 1976). It is a song for all ages and for either gender. Following lyrics in what makes good music would be the melody (Lewis, 1976). The melody of this song too proves its worth. With its crisp thumping bass and its smooth electronic instrumentals accompanied by simple piano chords; it all complements the easily memorable chorus and the simple but powerful lyrics.

 

So, why did Chris Martin choose to write the lyrics starring a girl, and not a boy? The dark times, the hopeful future can easily happen to a male. Surely we guys would love to meet our princess just as much as a girl would want to meet her prince. There’s no exclusivity when it comes to dreams, fantasies, despair and hardships. Perhaps this song was meant for the female audience who according to a fellow blogger ‘Laviniasc’, about 50% of 444,965 fans on Myspace are female. It would then make economical sense to ‘speak’ to this audience. But perhaps Chris Martin chose to star a girl because it was the ‘obvious’ thing to do. Maybe it is because we grew up with that innocent younger sister, or read and seen those fairy tales that star a female protagonist who is young and sweet, whereas the boys are tough, bratty, dirty. Thus, will it make more sense and more relatable to have a female star, as we’re more programmed via Disney films, elementary school, our parents, to feel sorry and empathetic for the little crying girl rather than a boy who we may chalk up as whiny/bratty.

 

With all that said and done, is Paradise a masterpiece that caters to all spectrums of society? Yes and no. With its hypnotic melody, its falsettos, at its core it tells a story that is so easily relatable and understandable, at least the majority of society will feel the emotions it tries to convey. Trials and tribulations, success and failure, problems and solutions are all aspects of life we’ve come to experience numerous of times before. It’s hard to look beyond the hills when you’re still climbing them, but it is because we understand all of these things life offers us, do we find it enjoyable and soothing to listen to a song like Paradise. If you’re currently in stormy weathers, perhaps you’ll find the song more impactful. Perhaps it’ll remind you that there are things to look forward to after you made it across those hills. If you’re at the peak of your life, at the top of your game, you may feel reminiscent of the past – melancholic of the fact that you’ve jumped through many hoops to land you in the place you are today. Will we celebrate this song in a few years from now? Probably not as there are many more iconic songs out there but will there be a handful, perhaps a room of people that will remember and cherish this song? Wouldn’t be surprised if that weren’t the case.

References

Durant A, Lambrou M. (2009). Language and media. New York: Routledge.

Lewish G. Country music lyrics. Journal of Communication. 1976;26(4):37-40

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/coldplay/paradise.html

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/paradise?q=paradise

http://laviniasc.blogspot.ca/2012/01/coldplay-target-audience.html

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Media and the times we live in

Media is everything and anything. Vague right? But it is because that’s the time and place we live in today. From the brands on our shirts, to the first thing some of us check every morning – our emails – it is everywhere. Media is communication, whether that is promoting a brand or calling home that you’ll be late for supper. Thus the definition of media would be then be ‘medium’, it is anything that acts as an intermediary platform to facilitate and deliver messages across.

The millennial generation (1980’s-2000’s) is probably the most exposed generation of media. We cannot have a waking moment without being bombarded by advertisement, having the urge to message our friends, or hearing the latest events happening in the world. As of our generation, we are probably the most associated with digital media – social media. It is what continuously keeps us updated and connected.

With all this interconnectedness, has this brought upon a new business of its own. Because of the high usage of social media and online media, has advertisement companies, software development companies, decided to turn their focus and attention on digital media and less on traditional media (e.g. television, newspapers, magazines, radio – mediums some of us may consider as ‘has run its course’). Cost of distribution of media had dramatically fallen in recent years. It is a lot easier and cheaper to get ones word across when videos, advertisement, written articles, can easily go ‘viral’. Because of this connectedness, it is more convenient for advertisers to develop the image of their brand. And we are the reason because of it. They no longer need to aggressively force upon their brand but instead, if it’s ‘good’, we’ll share, subscribe to it and promote the brand for them. Essentially, they don’t need to spend a cent after the production costs.

With all that said, the definition of media will change once again in the future. Media, I believe, will change as technology advances. It progresses with technology and the definition will continuously be refined. We don’t know what is in store but that is what makes studying and observing media exciting. Whether in the future it’ll be implanted chips in our brain, or the recent wearable technologies like the Google glasses or the Samsung smart watch, will there be new opportunities for ‘media’ to appear.

London: A town where cultures clash

Ferrari-Egg-0Hey guys, back again with another blog. I recently came across this article from Jalopnik – a very popular car enthusiast site. It talks about a recent event where an exotic car owner had an egg thrown at them. And here we go again, Main Street vs Wall Street. Here we go again with the melodrama. Fortunately though, today I won’t be talking about class warfare per se, as that topic deserves a whole blog on its own. Today, I’ll be addressing my issue with this article as they spin this event into class warfare when in actuality is a deeper issue in London – a clash between two cultures – the residents and the frequent tourists from Saudi Arabia, the Guelph. It is my duty (or I’d like to believe) to aware the audience of ‘Throughthatdoor’ about what is really going on in London. And I think the documentary called ‘Millionaire Boy Racers’ broadcasted on Channel4.com tells a compelling story.

Within the past decade, there has been a huge surge of wealth in the middle eastern countries. The ‘Saudis’ would frequently visit London in particular during the summers to flee the desert heat, and the overall social repression that their country enforces. In their country, social interaction between men and women outside the family are often discouraged, alcohol/smoking is prohibited and there are no casinos, bars, or clubs. So, London – the central capital of Britain is the perfect nest for the deprived young adults to visit during the summer.

However, though they bring money to London’s economy – the hotels, the local shops, the restaurants –  they also bring their very fast, loud exotic cars. To a car enthusiast like myself, I would be thrilled to see the streets of Toronto flooded with them; however, the residents of London thinks otherwise. The residents think of these tourists as reckless, obnoxious people. The cars would be heard revving late into the nights and they would be breaking speed limits within residential areas. To the residents, these tourists are dangerous and pose a threat to the tranquility and safety of their town.

So is this still a problem of class warfare? Or is it a clash between cultures. One of the exotic car owner interviewed in the documentary said he would often go into a coffee shop and come out finding gum and spit on his car. Another owner said people are jealous, they ask and assume that it is their parent’s wealth that affords them these cars and and perhaps it is true, but it’s not the type of questions he wanted to be asked.  So perhaps there is a story to be told about class warfare but this article (I feel) is trying to fuel a war that is really between the unfortunates and the misinformed. I suppose the next suitable blog should be about: “Why the government saved the banks and not your pension” or something of that degree.

Links to documentary and article:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bce_1357533657

http://jalopnik.com/class-warfare-breaks-out-as-londoner-eggs-woman-driving-730138135

Twitter’s IPO

What’s more about Media than one of the largest social media platforms going for its IPO (initial public offering). Yes, Twitter! The social media company is said to be trading in the public markets soon (exact date unknown but expected late 2013 or early 2014). I wonder what changes will be in store for the upcoming months. A public company will be operated much differently than a private one because of investors pressuring them to generate revenue/returns. So perhaps Twitter might start rolling out products that may jeopardize user’s confidence. Maybe Twitter might infringe on user’s privacy for the sake of ad sales, or simply bombarding your twitter feeds with ads right in between your tweets!

I haven’t used Facebook in awhile but I do remember last year they went for their IPO and it was a disaster. Their stock plummeted and people were really worry that Facebook may just be a ‘fashion trend’ if you will. Hopefully Twitter doesn’t go through that disaster.

Just some interesting stats I found from a Bloomberg video:
83% of people age 18-29 uses social media.
500M tweets per day.
Unique Twitter visitors in July alone – 167 MILLION people.
Forecast for 2015 – $627M in MOBILE ad revenue

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But if you notice, Twitter has a long way to go in capturing market share. I always thought Twitter was on par with Facebook but the numbers says otherwise. I think people are beginning to trend towards Twitter but perhaps that’s just me and my experience with friends.

Well the good thing about Twitter is that they’ve already began generating mobile ad revenue, whereas Facebook in 2012 during its IPO had zero mobile ad revenue, which really worried investors – especially given how everybody thinks mobile phones are the next generation laptops, desktops, etc; thus making it crucial for investors to that Facebook, Twitter or any social medias begin capitalizing on mobile usage.

Sources:

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/twitter-by-the-numbers-500m-tweets-a-day-hQ46IKLoTzeLh_2cvObKZg.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/twitter-most-highly-anticipated-ipo-since-facebook-erBOQLozQtC2xM95f5Y8Tw.html

http://www.insidefacebook.com/2013/08/28/study-facebooks-market-share-in-mobile-ad-revenue-is-growing/

Flamers and trolls and the online world we live in

I’m  going to be frank by asking, are people truly this stupid nowadays? I was playing a game recently – some of you may know Dota 2 – and by making one mistake, I get this person who I don’t even know trash talking me and tells me to kill myself. Really? Is this how people behave on the Internet nowadays? Is it because they are shielded behind their screen and prevented from saying that to my face? Would he behave differently had we meet each other in real life? It’s not only gamers, ‘Youtubers’ or really any online forums, social media, etc., will you find these types of people? People who are ill willed and pull no punches online.

I had a friend recently who told me, ‘you should just ignore them’. Yeah, I guess I can do that; however, it still dumbfounds me till this day that these are real people. These are people, strangers that you and I could potentially meet today or tomorrow. They may be the nicest people when face to face but suddenly they become a different person online. And even aside from the people who bad mouth seemingly out of enjoyment, there are those who speak as if what they say are facts and written in books and publishing. There is little to no humility on the Internet. I really don’t get it. It’s like these people wear some kind of facade where their online ego is tied to. And any time they admit that they’re wrong, it’s as if they would lose their house – something they cannot afford to do.

Unfortunately with all this said, I can’t offer up a solution. It’s just these are events I’ve occur over and over through my many hours online. In fact, now that I think about It, I’m perhaps guilty too (to a lesser extent in my opinion lol – some people just take it to the extreme, which are people this blog is about). I suppose the people found online especially in games or on Youtube are people still in their teens, so it shouldn’t be expected that they have the same level of maturity. However at times, I’ve visited these peoples blogs, profile pages and they are in their 30s and over. So, at the end of the day, I really don’t know. Perhaps it’s best to heed my friend’s advice and stay clear/ignore these types of people. There is after all a block function on Youtube and a mute function on the game Dota 2.

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Welcome!

Welcome to my blog. I originally started this in Oct 7, 2012 as a place where I can freely write my thoughts and opinion. Unfortunately I’ve been neglecting this blog for over a year, but I have recently found incentives to start blogging once more.

Currently I am blogging for my MDSB02 course (Media and Languages), so be sure to expect upcoming blogs relating to the news and other shenanigans found on social and online media.

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