Integration of Technology in Sports

There are not many things that can unite a global audience the same way sports can. It is not difficult to see these instances during such events such as the Olympics or the World Cup, but it is extremely unlikely to successfully recreate such an atmosphere. Sports create a global village quite similar to, yet possibly more joyous than the global village Marshall McLuhan wrote about. Even with such unparalleled power, changes are still necessary for athletics. There are constant adjustments being made to sports in the forms of technology, rules, equipment, and even the athletes that participate. Some of these changes are made to protect the people involved in the competitions, others are made to create more offensive opportunities, but perhaps the most interesting changes are those being made to keep pace with the ever-changing world of technology. All of the changes made have their own impacts on the sports in which they are involved.

Technology is a major factor when it comes to how sports operate and how they evolve over time. There are also many different ways to look at what is classified as technological advancements. The first thing that comes to mind when somebody thinks of technology in sports is most likely the use of video replay and its integration and growth since its initial use in the 1960’s. Obviously since its inception, the techniques, systems, and efficiency of video replay have all drastically evolved, but the creator witnessed his invention’s impact. He noted “I changed the way things were normally done. That’s very hard to do in life” (1). The creation of instant replay led to the ability to review plays and decisions. With that ability, some basics of sports began to change. In the current age, it seems as if video review is becoming more expansive each year. There are no arguments that attempt to say video review results in fewer correct calls. However, there are still negatives to the heavier integration of technologies such as video review. The use of these new technologies is often seen as taking the human element out of the sports, therefore fundamentally changing the sports that were created centuries ago. The aspect of human error has created some of the most memorable sports moments in history. The spirit of the game comes from the human error not only in the players, but also in the officials. As well as the spirit of athletics being tarnished, a major concern with a technology such as video review is the potential damage it does to the timing and flow of a match. Momentum and rhythm are influential, yet often overlooked. With the entire process of reviewing a play taking a substantial amount of time, the adrenaline and flow can easily be lost. For both the MLB and NFL, not including officials stopping the game, finding out exactly what must be reviewed, walking to the review station, explaining the decision to all parties involved, and restarting the game afterwards, the average review time hovered right around two minutes. To go along with the time wasted, approximately half of all reviews did not constitute a call being overturned. This may not seem like a long amount of time, but when a game changing play can happen in a fraction of a second, those minutes of being completely removed from gameplay can, and does, make a monumental difference (2)(3). The main positive associated with the use of new technology is more accurate and consistent officiating. The main negative is the possibility of damaging the spirit and flow of a game. The positives outweighing the negatives is still up for debate according to many people.

With new technology coming to prevalence, new rules and regulations must accompany them. This may be the easiest area to see how new technology directly affects how a game or match is conducted. For a new rule to be fully implemented, it takes time. Like any other change to a major league, it must be approved by the governing heads of the league and usually by a majority of the teams involved in the league. With many different interests and affects for each proposed rule change, it can take a years to pass the proposal. Some rule changes connected to technology are minor while others present more of a major change. For instance, a more minor change occurred recently in the National Hockey League regarding television timeouts. After an icing occurs, television timeouts are no longer allowed to interrupt the game. This is meant to keep tired defensive players on the ice and create a more offensive, generally exciting game. This relatively new rule does not change the basic fabric of a sport. For more impactful rule changes, it is helpful to look at the National Football League. Recent times have seen concussion lawsuits and much discussion on the topic of head injuries. As a way to combat these discussions, new rules were created that limited the way a player is allowed to make contact and tackle another player. To some fans, this may decrease the excitement by limiting some of the larger hits. The new rules also have an effect on players. For a professional who has played the sport a certain way his entire life, it is not easy to change habits, especially when they have gotten him to the largest stage of the game. A player having to change his technique is much easier said than done, and it can create a disadvantage for the player who excels in the newly outlawed practices. Some changes are made to protect the athletes, and some are made to create a product more desirable for fans. Sometimes the two interfere with each other. Never do the rules have absolutely zero impact on the game that athletes and fans have grown to love.

As science and knowledge progress, the opportunities for advancing the human body arise. Over time, we are able to witness the evolution of the athlete. This is due to better knowledge on what to put into your body, how to get the most out of your body, and how to recover from serious workouts or injuries. There have been many new treatments, supplements, and drugs to help any of the processes listed above. Another key component of the advancement of athletes is the constant drive for success and superiority. Advancements in technology have allowed athletes to become exponentially better over time. A prime example is looking at the world record for a one mile run. Back in 1865, the record was a time over four and a half minutes. Less than one hundred years later, the record had plummeted and reached the first ever sub 4 minute mile in 1954. The current world record was set in 1999 with a time of approximately three minutes and forty-three seconds (4). It is easy to see the correlation between time and athletic performance. However, a common belief is that the human body is quickly approaching its limits. If, and more likely when, this happens, it will be interesting to see if there is any new technology to help push through the physical barriers that hold back the barrier. With the advancement of technology helping to advance the athletes, it is beneficial for those involved. Although, it is beneficial, it also creates scenarios previously unvisited. With such improved athletes, new rules must be created on occasion to keep the boundaries of the game stable.

As previously mentioned, athletes and rules are constantly evolving and changing in the world of sports. Equipment is not an exception. Companies strive to produce the best option so players are willing to pay top dollar for their products. Depending on its purpose, a product must stand up to the competition in the performance areas, safety areas, or most likely, both. New technology allows the safety equipment to be stronger and lighter at the same time. This is where companies cannot sacrifice structural integrity for weight. For high performance equipment where protection is less necessary, structural integrity can be compromised. For instance, hockey sticks are much lighter and much more powerful than traditional wooden sticks thanks to their construction, but anybody who has watched a single professional game in a recent season has more than likely witnessed a few broken sticks. The tradeoff of improved performance for the possibility of the stick failing is one most players are willing to make. The newer, more advanced equipment is meant to help players perform at the levels they desire. As far as safety equipment goes, helmets are the main point of focus. Since head injuries are usually considered to be the most serious, there are companies trying to innovate new ways to better protect the head. From season to season and game to game in the major football and hockey leagues, new helmets with new technologies will make their debuts. Riddell, the largest helmet manufacturer in the nation, recently unveiled their latest model with goals to decrease concussions when the head is impacted. The design is heavily altered compared to previous models, and that innovation helps keep Riddell at the top of the chain when it comes to helmet manufacturers (5). These goals to protect players also tie into the rules that are created for protection of players, especially when it comes to serious head and brain injuries.

Perhaps the largest change sports have seen with the advancements in technology is that pertaining to money. With televisions, internet, radio, and other mediums being involved in the money making world of sports business, the amount of money thrown around has multiplied. Salary caps and contracts have become much larger, stadiums and arenas have become more lavish, and advertisers have become willing to spend astronomically to get their advertisement out there. In the MLB, which does not have an active salary cap, the average salary jumped by nearly $500,000 to a record high 3.8 million dollars. With 910 current MLB players, that is a lot of money, not even including the managers and other staff members. This is astonishing considering the average was as low as one million dollars as recently as 1992 (6). The boom of the internet, expansion and growth of the television and its networks, and new gadgets with internet capabilities have all led to larger monetary gains by the league. The increased monetary inflow led to increased salaries, especially in the big market cities. With such large salaries, the intents of the athletes can reasonably be questioned. Playing a sport for passion and for love is a complete different action than simply playing for a paycheck. Somewhat connected to the idea of self-representation over different mediums discussed by Julia Watson in “Studying the Digital Self”, most fans never personally interact with their favorite players. They don’t get to discover their motives for playing in a certain city, or even playing that sport. A hot topic for the MLB to consider is their neglect of a salary cap. A decently popular opinion with a strong backing is that the lack of a salary cap allows the teams with larger incomes to possess an unfair advantage over smaller clubs. Not only is there an unfair advantage, but the integrity of the game can also be damaged. A player’s loyalty to one team can dissipate when a larger offer from better funded club arrives. The money will never stop growing because the technology involved in sports is only growing faster.

Technology and sports have become intertwined. There are many positives that are the driving force behind this continuing integration of technology into sports, but there are also some negatives to consider. From video review and television to protective and performance equipment, the world of sports is ever-changing. Athletes also change with time, and so does the nature of the sports they play. With something as unique as sports, something that holds the power to unite people from all over with countless differences, it is important to not let these changes destroy the basics that billions have come to love. Change is important, but it is also dangerous.

(1)          Schiavenza, Matt. “Instant Replay’s Quiet Revolutionary.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

(2)          “Has Expanded Replay Worked Well In Baseball? Here’s Our Call.”FiveThirtyEight. N.p., 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

(3)          “Breaking down an Average NFL Game.” N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

(4)          “The World Record for the Mile Run.” The World Record for the Mile Run. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

(5)          Avila, Jim, and Serena Marshall. “Riddell Unveils Overhauled New Football Helmet SpeedFlex.” ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

(6)          ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

Personal Research Reflection

All throughout my life, I have been very big into sports. It didn’t matter if I was playing a sport, attending a game in person, or simply watching a game on TV while sitting on my couch. Before I could even walk, I would have a soccer ball at my feet or a stick or bat in my hands. I had a natural love of sports and competitions in general. As I grew up, I became more infatuated with the concept of competition. I grew up with three siblings, and being the youngest, I had plenty of competition to grow up with.

If someone has been with me while I play in a game or watch my favorite teams play, they know that I get very emotionally invested in the game, probably to an unhealthy level. One of the aspects of sports that bothers anyone who is involved is the fact the refs sometimes get calls wrong. In the professional leagues and some major college sports, they have something most people never have the chance of using in a game; they possess the ability to have advanced technology to try to get the right call every time. Of course, the most widely used technology is that of instant video replay. I can’t even count the amount of times I would be in the middle of a competition and wish there was a way to go back and watch a play that recently occurred. However, with that being said, some of my favorite moments in sports were only able to occur because the use of advanced technology wasn’t available to be used. Another possible downside to the use is that it could ruin the momentum and flow of a game. Many people love sports for the roller coaster ride of events and emotions they provide.

Not only was I born with a natural love of sports and grow up around siblings that created a sense of competition in everything we did, but I witnessed my hometown sports teams win multiple championships throughout my life. Thanks to this, I became even more inclined to follow sports closely. I loved sports for more than just the competition and adrenaline rush that they provided. They give a way to learn valuable lessons and time to just relax without any worries.

For a while, I have thought about the effects that advancements in technology have in the world of sports. I never had any real desire to write a paper on it, but as I dug a little deeper and looked a little further into the topic, I found it would be easy to write about a subject I have been thinking about for years. Obviously there are many different opinions from many different people on how much, if any, advanced technology should be used in modern day sports. With all the opinions out there, I am more interested in the facts that lead to opinions. With a love for sports and competition I have held for my entire life, along with the events that led me to growing as a fan and participator, investigating something that affects sports so drastically is something I find easy to do.

Class Archive

Taking a look back at the numerous blogs posted over the course of the semester there was one simple thing that really caught my eye, and that thing was the length and contents of the list of tags. I noticed the list at the beginning of the semester, but I never paid too much attention to it as the class progressed. When I finally took another look at it, I realized how much it had grown and how diversified it has become. The most commonly used tags are the largest, and most of those are the general topics we were given for writing our blogs. However, the smaller, less commonly used tags are where the spirit of this specific class is shown.

We were all given the same assignment and the same basic topic on which to compose our blogs, but we each explored our own ideas that we felt connected to the basic topic in one way or another. One of the most interesting aspects of this class is seeing our discussion topics from multiple different points of view. Admittedly, I am sometimes a stubborn person when it comes to changing my view on something. However, reading some of the blogs posted throughout the semester were able to accomplish just that. Not only were the postings interesting and thought provoking, but the atmosphere of the class as a whole, I believe, helped form a more relaxed and natural feeling. For example, being able to write in a way that is not completely formal, in my mind, makes it easier to get a point across. Combining with the more relaxed style of writing is the fact that I conducted most of my class work while I was comfortable in my room. Reading others’ blogs was a way to get my mind off all the stresses of other classes.

A good example of the positive structure of the blog posts was one of the first blogs I read, and it was a post about rock climbing. The subject was something I knew nothing about, but it made me think about the effects the sport has. If it wasn’t for the author posting something they enjoyed writing about, I doubt I would have had the same connection to the post. I was opened up to a new topic I would have most likely never covered if I didn’t read that specific blog post. It was also easy to connect to the thoughts and ideas of the author thanks to the relaxed nature of the text.

Being able to write on ideas conceived in your own mind is much easier than having to follow strict guidelines, and I think that is evident in the blogs posted. This led to the expansive list of tags that now exists on our site. If an outsider looked at two of the posts that stemmed from the same assignment, they might not think they have any relation to one another. The topics were stretched and used as each of the authors saw fit, and I think that is a good representation of what the class was intended to do. Reading others informal thoughts on subjects that are more important today than ever before makes it nearly impossible to keep a closed mind and remain stubborn in your own ideas. Science and technology is involved in every aspect of our lives, even in ways one may have never realized without reading what others wrote. Being the first discussion class I enrolled in here, I was looking forward to this class. My expectations were exceeded due to the structure of the class and the blog posts that I took the time to read. The blog posts present ways of how science and technology consist of much, much more than the robots and smart phones that many think of when they hear the words science and technology.

Advancement in Sports Research Question

Throughout my entire life, I have always been a sports fanatic. I enjoy watching and participating in virtually any sport known to man and I am always interested in trying sports new to me. With so much of the world changing as technology rapidly progresses, I thought it would be especially interesting to look at something I personally have never really spent too much time on before; what effects do he rapid changes in technology have on sports at a professional and amateur statuses?

Growing up, I was always around sports. When I wasn’t participating in some organized game within an organized league, I was most likely doing one of two things. I could probably be found either watching some sport related program on TV, or more likely, I could be found playing some type of athletic game with my friends. It didn’t even have to be an actual game either; plenty of times we would combine multiple sports or come up with a completely new sport in our minds simply because we had a love for sports.

A large influence on my infatuation with sports was my older siblings. Being the youngest of four children, I spent a lot of time looking up to my brothers and sister, and they also spent large amounts of time talking about or participating in sports. Also, some of my earliest memories are set at professional sporting events. For instance, I recall being a young child and attending a hockey game when a hat trick was scored. At the time, I couldn’t get over the fact of how joyous the fans. I remember watching the hats rain down onto the ice and being slightly confused as to why people were doing so. Whether it was being at a game in person or watching a game on TV with friends and family, I always found myself completely invested. It sometimes may have reached an unhealthy level.

Two of my personal favorite things in the world are the Olympics and the World Cup. Not only have I played soccer my entire life and consider myself a fanatic of most sports, but the unity that comes along with these events is unparalleled. For an entire month, the entire world is captivated by sports. Something so ancient and so simple brings people together in a way nothing else can. With the technological advancements we have seen in recent years, the involvement of the viewer, in my opinion, has increased thanks to the ease and multitude of ways to remain informed on the events. The fans from all over the world can forget about problems and wars and violence for a month and focus on sports.

I have a general love for sports. I’ve spent countless hours watching, participating, and researching them. I’ve sat through an entire triple overtime playoff hockey game without moving due to superstitions. I’ve been in love with sports as long as I can remember, and that’s not only for the entertainment it brings me. Playing sports was always a way to clear my mind, forget all problems, and simply enjoy life. Some of my best memories are centered on sports and that has led me to constantly wanting to know more about the subject. Taking something I am so fond of and combining it with topics from our class, I thought the changes in sports due to changes and advancement in technology was a great idea. Sports and technology intertwine. Both are constantly changing, and both have the power to change our lives.

Advancement of Athletics Outline

Question: How are advancements and evolution of sports changing those sports?

Introduction: Present some changes being made in sports. Changes with technology, rules, athletes, equipment, gameplay. Discuss the different issues that are forcing these changes to occur.

Technological advancements: Talk about the inclusion of video review and expanded video review in the recent past. How does this possibly change outcomes of the game? How does it change the flow or momentum of a game? What are positives and negatives of the use of video review in different situations? How could the current process be improved to create a better overall system that more people can get behind?

Changes in rules: Talk about the process to change rules and how long it usually takes to get a new rule in effect. Discuss how rule changes can change the basic foundation of a game? How far is too far for changing rules? How can changing even simple rules change the game that professionals grew up playing? Changing rules has a potential to damage the integrity or excitement of the game in the eyes of the fans. Get source for correlation between rules and offensive potency, TV ratings, and attendance.

The advancement of the athlete: Discuss how the athlete has evolved and changed throughout the past. What has caused the changes in athletes that we have witnessed? Are the changes in the athletes a driving force behind the other topics discussed in the paper? Is there a human limit to how far athletes can excel and how close are top level athletes to reaching that human limit? Talk about different levels of athletes and the differences in training and routines.

Equipment changes: discuss how safety equipment continuously is changing in an attempt to become safer and more effective. However, there is also the goal that many companies try to achieve which is to get the product a light as possible. Thanks to this goal, along with the desire to beat out other companies, does the structural build of equipment live up to the same standards as previous popular equipment? Can the equipment changes cause a difference in skill levels or gameplay of certain individuals?

Money: Money is perhaps the largest change sports have recently seen. Talk about the differences in professional contracts. Discuss how salary caps have changed the way that professional sports are handled. What is the point of salary caps and max contracts? Discuss what makes an athlete become classified as a professional instead of just an amateur. Explore if college athletes deserve to receive monetary gain for their services as athletes. Finally talk about the monetary deals involved with TV deals, advertisements, and sponsorship deals.

Relation: Discuss any relations between seen between the advancement of athletics and readings assigned in class.

Conclusion: Using different sources found along the way, come to multiple conclusions for the different topics within the paper. Make sure all questions are answered and no loose ends still exist. Answer the main question about the effect of advancements in sports today.

Is Technology Really Advancing Sports?

The world of sports is ever-changing. Older players retire and new stars break through. Outdated rules are washed away while new rules are ushered in to provide a safer, yet still more entertaining game. However, the changes being made today are far more than just names and guidelines; they are technological changes that are seeing the sports be updated with the world around them. As new technology comes out, new applications appear within the boundaries of major sports associations across the nation and throughout the world.

Sports are quickly becoming highly mechanized. While, on the surface, the increased mechanization of different aspects of games seems like an ideality for consistency, some view the changes in a much different, more pessimistic way. Questions arise about the soul of athletics. For instance, how much human error should be involved in a sporting event? Obviously, the competitors themselves do all they can to become successful and victorious. Even with countless hours of training and preparation, human error is inevitable for the athletes, but nobody is arguing that self-sufficient robots would create a more entertaining event than watching human rivals battle away. However, the area with the most persistently ridiculed actions is that of officiating.

The flow and outcome of any game can be largely affected by those in charge of making all the calls. Whether the calls are correct or incorrect, participators and fans alike will never be uniformly satisfied. With a switch to automated machines for all applicable non-judgement calls, some of the human error would be eliminated from the officiating. Also, with the advancement in technology that is only a short time away, it could soon be possible to completely eliminate the need for human officials in any sport. The debate still exists as to whether decreased human error in officiating is a positive. A simple way to look at it is that it does increase consistency and therefore creates competitions that are won on skill more likely instead of luck. However, sports are based on human error. That’s the beauty held within athletic competition. The randomness that comes along with the possibility of human error creates a sense of mystery that heightens that excitement for competitors and spectators. With the addition of technology and the subsequent removal of some of that randomness, the core values of sports can begin to diminish.

Much like the majority of debatable topics with two opposing sides, a middle ground is most likely the ideal situation. For instance, goal line technology, which has recently been implemented into Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) matches. A main push for this change came after a crucial non goal call was made in the 2010 World Cup when a shot from English player Frank Lampard beat the German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. An instance like this presents no downside to increased technology. On the other hand, the Immaculate Reception is well known partially because no cameras had the right angle to see if the ball touched the ground or not. Due partly to this mystery behind the catch, it is still talked of today and is one of the most well-known football plays of all time. If there can be an effective amount of technology implemented into different sports without harming the beauty of those sports, then that is when new technology is truly a step forward for athletics.

Analyzing YouTube

John Gottron

COMPSTD 2367.04

Seth Josephson

March 11, 2015

Few websites possess the ability to grow as furiously and as quickly as YouTube has since its creation in February of 2005. What started out as a project to create a video based dating site saw its creators make the life-changing decision to change the website to a destination purely for sharing and watching videos. The inability to find a video of Janet Jackson’s infamous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction and the problems contributed to sharing video files over email influenced the creation of one of the most widely used and most popular internet databases the world has ever seen (1).

When a new media, such as YouTube, is introduced, it is not easy to analyze until it has run its course for a number of years. With YouTube passing the decade mark since its inception (2), it now holds the ability to be looked at on a deeper level consistent with the likes of social media mega sites. Thanks to the immense nature of the website, there are many different viewpoints one can take when approaching the subject. However, there is a fundamental fact that remains true from all views; the creation and growth of YouTube has changed the way people see the world.

One of the most obvious observations when in the process of analyzing is that YouTube is an archive; it holds videos from the past unless deleted by the uploader or flagged and taken down for violation of terms and policies. However, the site is much more than a simple archive for videos. Videos can possess the power to exhibit an archive of feelings. Especially with many of the videos hosted on the site being related to history, sports, or current world issues, the viewer has no problem connecting with the material. Likewise, if there is a video that revitalizes past experiences or memories of emotional previous events, a nostalgic effect is likely to occur. This specific database of videos is not only an archive for the moving pictures, but also an archive for feelings and emotions through which one may have gone. In fact the example of YouTube is very relatable to Ann Cvetkovich’s An Archive of Feelings. For instance, on the very first page of the introduction, she mentions something interesting about music; “The music helps return the listener to the pleasures of sensory embodiment that trauma destroys.” This sense of escape is not unique to music. Instead, the same effects can be experienced when surfing through different videos. YouTube is not just an archive that holds videos, it also assists the user to access their archive of feelings related to the videos they watch.

In a much different, yet equally interesting, approach of one of the most prominent websites today, one can look at self-representation on YouTube. As the internet has become something most claim they cannot live without, the digital self has become a larger issue. It is extremely easy to present oneself as somebody or something they are not. In some instances, the ease of changing one’s qualities can have a positive effect. However, more common is the case where the opposite occurs. Undeniably, many YouTube users abuse the abilities that online representation has allotted them. Now, there are two basic, distinct groups on virtually every video posted to YouTube. There are the creators of the video, and there are the commenters that follow. Many of the popular videos seen by millions of people are the videos that contain dangerous or ridiculous stunts. Obviously, if there was no camera to document these actions, if there was no drive to get millions of hits on YouTube, the creator most likely would not take part in such an outrageous, sometimes health threatening action. They change their process of decision making and change how others see them because they desire to create content to post. As far as commenters go, well, they have anonymity unless they voluntarily forfeit that option. As a result of this anonymity, a large group of people who use the comment sections choose to not use any filter. Thoughts are posted that would likely not be expressed if a true identity was known. Sometimes the motive is to share an opinion one truly believes in. Other times, the motive is to simply cause an argument or to upset others reading the comment. Either way, the available anonymity drastically alters online self-representation. Noted in the essay Studying the Digital Self, “The expanding range of virtual environments makes identities increasingly manipulable.” YouTube is a prime example of this statement.

Even though a long list of examples as to why YouTube has a negative effect on society, there are stronger arguments in favor of a positive overall effect. First and foremost, YouTube creates an impressive global village. Of course, Marshall McLuhan wrote extensively on this subject and noted how the radio also created such a situation. However YouTube takes the concept of a global village to the next level. With the capability to share important issues to those outside city, state, and national borders with pictures and videos, those receiving the information more easily connect to the issues. Thanks to this, they have a deeper understanding of the current events of the world. Not only does the viewer know more about what is going on, but they also are more emotionally invested in the events. For instance, seeing videos of a protest or political movement can convey the struggles of the oppressed to those across the globe. There is a natural human sense to help those in need. Visual representation of the problems of others only enforces this need to extend a hand. According to Pew Journalism Research Center, approximately twenty-one percent of all YouTube videos are related to politics in one way or another (3). This high percentage of videos related to politics, along with political issues being one of the most commonly debated topics of everyday life, causes the creation and growth of a community who rely on YouTube to receive their news. The majority of their opinions and knowledge are formed from a single website hosting seemingly endless amounts of videos on any subject imaginable.

Statistically, approximately seventy-nine percent of all videos remain for other topics not related to politics. A common mistake may be to conclude that the video not containing dialogue based on crucial international events leads to the viewership being completely domestic. This is rarely the case for any video with a decent amount of views. It is reasonable to say videos that are not politically driven are more likely to navigate the web more quickly than their counterparts. Many people log onto the site to get an escape from the world; they want to forget the problems they face on a daily basis. Many of these problems are also related to politics. When turning to this expansive database to gain an escape, many users, despite nationality or latitude and longitude, enjoy the same type of videos. For this simple reason, the global village aspect of YouTube does not stop at political troubles or successes; it continues on to enjoyment. The mixture of cultures is being seen in a way that has never previously been possible. Not only are the videos able to connect different people from all over the world based on interests, but scrolling through the comments creates a sense of unity. There are many different languages seen all talking about the same subject; it brings people together. No matter if it is a cat playing with a baby, or a protest in a nation on the other side of the world, the sharing of videos brings a sense of unity between people who would have never interacted in any way if it was not for YouTube being a worldwide phenomenon.

One tangible aspect of YouTube not mentioned so far is that of new opportunities. There are endless opportunities created by the immense size and convenience of the site. Some of these opportunities are more obvious than others, but all were not born until February of 2005 and the creation of the world’s second largest search engine. With more than one billion unique visitors, the growth has exceeded the expectations of even the founders (2). As well as this crowd helping to create new modes of advertisement, there are new chances for individuals. Rising to success and fame after being discovered on YouTube is not uncommon. Either with talent, specific skill sets, or other attractive qualities, a company or agency can find somebody on YouTube and turn the posting of videos into unforeseen success in the real world. However, an exhilarating rise is not always the goal. Sometimes the creation of YouTube content is meant solely for enjoyment, but it can also be used as a legitimate career path. With the YouTube partners program providing monetary compensation for different conditions of a video, such as view count and ads in the videos, it is possible for more popular YouTubers to lead extremely successful lives by simply creating and posting videos on a regular basis. It is estimated that the most popular YouTubers make upwards of five million dollars annually (4). The site has truly created a new field of jobs that simply did not exist ten years ago.

YouTube is still a relatively new media and it is still growing rapidly. However, in the past ten years since its creation, it has fundamentally changed many aspects of the lives of many. From creating a global village to representing oneself online to creating new career opportunities, the impact YouTube has already left on the world is more substantial than ever thought possible. New ways of communicating and learning are now possible thanks to an idea for a dating site that turned into much, much more.

(1) Elliott, Amy-Mae. “10 Fascinating YouTube Facts That May Surprise You.” N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2015

(2) YouTube Statistics. YouTube, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2015.

(3) “Is YouTube a Good or Bad Influence on Society?” Mic. N.p., 06 May 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.

(4) Jacobs, Harrison. “We Ranked YouTube’s Biggest Stars By How Much Money They ” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 10 Mar. 2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2015

Online Deception

With technology becoming more and more relevant in every aspect of our lives, online dating sites are gaining more members every day. There are now more than 40 million users of online dating in the United States alone. Thanks to the integration of technology and the internet into our lives, the online dating business now possesses an annual revenue greater than one billion dollars (1). Some say dating is a numbers game, but many others feel that online dating provides ways of deception. Either way, online dating is providing a new way of communication and interaction online.

Since the initial stages of the relationship occur primarily behind keyboards, it is easier to portray yourself as someone you are not. This becomes especially useful to some in the dating world. Due to the fact that the person you are communicating with has most likely never met you in person, you have the opportunity to make a first impression without even making eye contact or speaking a syllable. Some of the most common lies are those centered on occupation and income, physical appearance, and age. While most of these deceptive actions may be slight exaggerations of the truth, the fact remains that the truest form of the person on the other side of your messages is not being seen. For instance, when someone might say one thing in the heat of a verbal conversation, they may respond differently when given time to think about what they believe would help infatuate the other more. It could be argued that the use of lies stemming from using online dating creates relationships that are built on falsities.

Unlike the mystery that lies within the use of online dating, social media connects people that usually know each other to a certain extent. Therefore, users tend to show themselves differently on social media sites compared to dating sites, but many still attempt to portray a bettered version of themselves. I previously mentioned how occupation and physical appearance are two of the most common lies. When dealing with friends on social media, those you know in realms other than just the internet, those fabrications do not apply. Instead, social media is often used to not only share thoughts and moments with others, but also to try to make the user’s life more eventful or more exciting than it already is.

No matter what way one looks at the situation of self-representation online, the connections are not the same as those that occur in person. Whether that is a positive or negative change is an opinion based matter, but it is undeniable that there is a difference. Online dating sees those involved attempt to show others an enhanced version of themselves. At the same time, social media users tend to show an enhanced version of their personal lives. As times change and internet communications evolve into a larger part of our lives, self-representation online is becoming a more prevalent fixture in society. More than ever, we control how others see us, at least in the virtual world of the internet.

(1) “Online Dating Statistics.”Statistic Brain. 11 Feb. 2015. <;

The New Medium: Smartphones

The cell phone, specifically the smartphone, a still extremely new technology, has had greater impacts on our lives than anyone could have predicted. There is a vast wealth of information at our fingertips and the possible uses of the devices’ functions are virtually endless. In an age where the newest and most current events are the only ones that matter, the constant connectivity has fundamentally altered the way we perceive the rest of the world.

Although the basic idea for what we now consider a smartphone was recorded in the 1970’s, the first production models were not released until the mid-90’s (1). The idea and invention did not only spawn a new tool, but it also created a new medium that had never before been experienced. Obviously, whenever the smartphone was initially released, it was extremely expensive and rare to know somebody who owned one. Fast forward to the current day, and it is more difficult to find someone who does not own a smartphone than it is to find someone who does. Not only are the devices extremely common now, but a high amount of consumers refuse to buy anything but the newest, most advanced models available at the time.

Due to such a widespread use and understanding of the technology, this new medium is highly effective in what it does. As mentioned by McLuhan when speaking of the television, which was a new invention at the time, new technology brings about a more immediate means of gaining information. McLuhan stressed the idea of instant news being fed to the masses. His observation is more relevant today than ever before. Even when one is not searching for new information, he or she could receive a notification that delivers the new info. Whether it is world news, sports, social media, or any other source of information, the instant accessibility remains.

The general public is well informed. They have the opportunity to take the information presented to them and turn it into thoughts and ideas that can shape their future. Similar to the impact television had the voting system, the smartphone can change the way voters see candidates. Voters’ decision are not based solely on the platforms of the politicians. Instead, especially in the age of message boards and comment sections being accessible at a few taps of a finger, others’ opinions can have a major influence on beliefs. Therefore, a more charismatic and personally relatable candidate could edge out someone with stronger, sounder ideas.

The world is constantly evolving; changing with every new idea. The human species feels the need to change along with the newfound technology. Being more connected with one another than ever before, opinions of others have the potential to make a larger impact. Finally, most people are never away from their phones for an extended period of time. Without spending much time away from a device that constantly pumps information at you, it is sometimes hard to disconnect from the issues faced in everyday life. It holds the possibility to jeopardize time usually used to relax or spend time with friends or family. Being so intertwined with the virtual space of the internet at your fingertips can take away from face to face interactions. For every advantage that smartphones have offered, the new medium also carries an effect that may sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

1) “Pocket Computing: Evolution of the Smartphone | Pocketnow.”

Artifact Politics – Pen


Few objects, especially those without vital necessities, have been rooted in the everyday lives of humans for as long as the pen. One of the most simplistic of all methods of recording and sharing information, the pen has inescapable political qualities in itself. Being used consistently for well over a century, it has impacted the lives of every person that possesses the basic skills of literacy.

When in use, the pen can be used to express and infinite amount of facts, opinions, images, and emotions. The person creating the words or pictures in a way has an authoritarian rule over others; the artist or author decides what others see and what others have the opportunity to learn. Obviously, the final creations are not the only source of information taken in by the recipient. Therefore, unlike the output, the intake of information is not solely authoritarian.

It is easy to see some of the daily effects that such an important artifact has all over the world, but there are plenty unseen to the common person. For instance, there is always the subject of agreements. Verbal agreements are made all the time, but there is no real weight behind them; there is nothing to back up those agreements. Whenever an official, legal agreement of any type needs to be made, inking a signature is the only way to carry out the process. Ranging from contracts for professional athletes to official laws and agreements between international governments, the pen holds the power to make it happen.

In instances where legalities are far less essential, the pen is still a tool of choice for a large amount of composers of documents. Families or friends who want to communicate can always use the means of the internet or a mobile phone, but some like to add a more personal touch. Even with the use of email becoming more prominent, approximately one-hundred fifty-eight billion letters were still sent in 2013 (2). For those with a desire to get in touch in a more connected way, writing letters has remained a popular decision. Also, before recent advancements in technology that have helped spawn inventions such as the internet, it was not as easy to keep personal communication with those not near geographically.

As previously stated, the creations of authors can be seen as authoritarian when it is only one author distributing work. When history was being recorded by large masses of respected and renowned human beings, the authoritarian aspect of those works being put out was lost upon those reading. There was now a large selection of works from which to choose. With such a large pool of works, a democratic type of historical recording took over. The words displayed in history books and taught to the youth are not necessarily the exact facts of the past. Rather, those words are rough facts that have been selected to be passed on to younger generations. The author did not choose which representation of the past survived, the people did. The words written in pen have paved the paths for the future. What we as humans know today as history is a democratic selection of works representing the past from the viewpoint of others.

The pen has always been a vital part of everyday functions, and it still holds that position today. It is also fundamentally political. Whether it is being used for international government communication, or communication between family members a few area codes apart, the pen is unable to be removed from its political dimensions.


(1)“The Evolution of Classroom Technology” 18 April 2011

(2)“Number of Letters Mailed Each Year.” Statistic Brain