The Technological Changes of Music Production

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, we see can observe many changes that have taken place. Music production is an area where this is just as apparent. If we look back just 100 years, more technologically advanced countries are almost unrecognizable from their dated counterpart. Music has almost fundamentally changed over the years. But, how has ever-advancing technology changed the core of music production? This paper sets out to observe the recording process to collaboration and the changes that have taken place as technology has advanced, beginning with the recording process.

One of the first and most fundamental changes that has taken place in music production is the recording process. When music was first being recorded and produced, the musicians all had to get together in one room and record their song until they all played their parts perfectly and with minimal error. The song structure was strictly limited to what the band had decided on, before any recording took place. The sound of the instruments and vocals were also pre-determined. A lot of thought and effort went into writing and practicing this so that their song would sound exactly as they had planned. The effort was all in the pre-recording phase. Today, most of the effort goes into editing in the post-recording process.

Unlike music that was recorded in the past, song structure and overall sound is developed after the recording has taken place. The pre-recording process still requires a certain amount of preparation and planning. However, the majority of the work takes place after the recording is finished. The artist is no longer limited by what the instrument or vocals sound like as they are being recorded. Any recording can be tweaked and altered to fit whatever sound they desire. If the artist or producer prefers a higher octave or a different note in the recorded vocals, they can simply edit it without needing the vocalist to come back in and re-record it. This opens up incredible possibilities of song structure and sound that can have an intense effect of the mood of the listener.

When thinking about how the song is to be structured and what mood the listener should feel, the artist is open to a wide variety of possibilities. In electronic dance music (EDM), the song’s structure plays a huge roll in the effect the song has on the listeners. There are many different techniques that are used in EDM specifically used to hype the crowd up. The techniques are used to give the listener to feeling of being lifted off of the ground, filled with anticipation, and then dropped back down to the ground. These techniques are analyzed and explained in an article called “Waiting for the bass to drop” by Ragnhild Torvanger Solberg. Solberg used commonly used terms such as “build up”, “drop”, and “uplifters” to describe the production techniques that are used. He also introduces a new term, which he calls the “drum roll effect(Solberg). The “Build up” refers to the part of the song that gives the listener an increased feeling of being lifted. “Uplifters” refer to the kinds of effects the artist will use to enhance a “build up” section. The “drop” is the part of the song, at the end of a “build up”, where the listener gets the sensation of being dropped back down to the ground after the feeling of being lifted. He describes the “drum roll effect” as “a frequently used technique in newer EDM where the prominent rhythmical pattern, often the snare drum, becomes increasingly divided until the return of the core, starting out with quarter notes and culminating in a drum roll right before the bass drops and the bass drum returns.”(Solberg) Solberg’s article goes onto explain the effects by using a spectrogram of a song’s (“Icarus” by ‘Madeon’) wavelengths to provide a visual of the production that takes place.


You can see from the image that the song’s frequencies show a clearly visual increase as it approaches the drop and into the core section of the song. These production techniques create an unmatchable mood shift that can only be achieved through modern, post-recorded editing techniques. This fundamental change in technology opens the artist up to be able to alter the sound bytes to intensify the emotion desired. This technology allows artists to move away from the idea of writing a song and recording the “one perfect take” to more compositional piece in which the artist has total control. This opens the floor up for an even greater element of creativity: collaboration.

With each artist’s album release, each album gets better, or more complex. This complexity can be viewed as the artist growing and mastering his or her craft. This is without a doubt a factor in the evolution of all artists during their careers. However, one big reason that the music becomes more complex and involved is the new people and technology that they are introduced to through the technology of music production and producers.

The average person does not give much thought into the amount of production and collaboration that goes into making this new album what it is, which is mostly done by relatively anonymous producers. In some cases, the original artist has little to do with the overall sound of the album. The record company will generally hire experienced producers and engineers to master and re-master the song ideas. The artist may have originally written the song on an acoustic guitar to plan out what chords, timing, and vocal melody he or she wants the song to incorporate. Then, the artist will sit down with a producer and begin to record. The producer, depending on the artist’s contract with the record company, has the final say in what chords to actually use and what lyrics to sing whether the artist wants this or not. Typically, it’s, economically, for the better, because the producer has a better feel for what demographic the particular artist is appealing to. Max Martin is a famed record producer with over 17 #1 hits that he either co-wrote and/or produced. Including: Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, “E.T.” 2011, Maroon 5, “One More Night,” 2012, and Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” 2012(Billboard). “He ranks behind only Paul McCartney, with 32, and John Lennon with 26(Billboard). This is an amazing feat in the field of music writing. That being said, it’s astounding to think that he is still relatively unknown to the average person. These top artists owe a huge debt to Martin for his expertise in writing and mastering their songs. His skill in appealing to the masses and, particularly, to the artist’s target demographic. In an interview, Martin said this, “I think the ‘target market’ and ‘audience’ tends to come with the artist. If I’m doing something with a young pop artist I may not choose to have a brass section in a song, for example. Sometimes you have to think about what the artist already is”(Ask Billboard). Although these producers work behind the scenes, popular music today would not be the same or, arguably, as good without their expertise and the technology they use to master the tracks. Technological changes and the exploitation of collaboration have no doubt changed the direction, style and execution of music. But, there is some controversy surrounding one element of collaboration. Often times, a less consensual form of execution. This is called sampling.

As one listens to popular music, whether it is on the radio or in one’s own personal collection, one cannot help but to hear a piece of another artist’s music embedded within. This can be subtle to the point that it goes unnoticed by the average person. It could be in the vocals, a guitar lick, or something as small as the drum kick that only comes in once every 3 bars of music. But it is, in essence, a rip off of the original artist. This technique is called sampling. The perspective of the original artist varies case by case. Some are ok with the idea of hearing their voice or drum beat incorporated into other songs. Others are furious that their work has been copied and pasted into someone else’s work for their own benefit.

There is a lot of gray area to this issue. There are laws in place to help rectify the matter. But, is this enough to keep all parties happy? Even in the event that strict permission is given, there have been parties that have felt wronged. An article by Molly Mcgraw helps shed some light onto this issue. She tells the story of David Johnson and Jan Hammer. “David Earl Johnson who allowed computer-keyboardist Jan Hammer to sample his drum sounds on rare, eighty-year-old Nigerian conga drums. Later, after Johnson recognized his drum sounds running through the entire Miami Vice soundtrack, he sought payment for what he perceived to be his contribution to the composition. He was told by Hammer’s manager that he wanted ‘money for doing nothing’ and the American Federation of Musicians refused to take his case.”( In this case, there was arguably nothing done wrong by Hammer. He asked for permission to use Johnson’s drums sample and Johnson gave it. Johnson could have been more specific about the limit of usage of these. But even the legal system has no test case that a court can use in a copyright case. Each lawsuit must be individually decided on a case-by-case basis based on whether the sample used is original to the plaintiff. The law states that “Originality denotes only enough definite expression so that one may distinguish authorship, i.e., there must be an identifiable element of personality.” ( So, with these safeguards in place, it makes it easier for artists to win in a lawsuit against copyright infringement. However, the problem lies in whether or not the original artist’s music can be discernable on the track. Frank Zappa was the first to fully protect a full album from copyright infringement from sampling down to the wave pattern level. It requires more effort and money to get this type of protection than what is provided at default from simply recording and distributing an album. Should the law be changed to protect the artist further by default? This issue definitely deserves some more legal attention to decide what the limits should be in regards to sampling. However, this advance in technology has the ability to enhance the effectiveness that music has on mood the listener.

As music becomes more digital and become stored into massive databases online, it creates an incredible archive in which one can pick just the right elements to create a composition of emotion and intensity. In a book by Ann Cvetkovich called An Archive of Feelings she talks about an “archive in which my own feelings are deposited”(Cvetkovich) that the artist Le Tigre created with the songs they played at a live concert. This same concept can be applied to the archive of recorded music available online. Through the advances in technology, an artist can select and modify any one sample of another artist’s work and, with permission, can create an emotional masterpiece for the world to become engulfed by. This level of depth could not be achieved without the more recent advances in technology. And it is exciting to see what the future holds for musical technology and production.

Works Cited

“Ask Billboard: Max Martin Notches Another No. 1.” Billboard. N.p., n.d. Web.<;.

Cvetkovich, Ann. Archive of Feelings. N.p., n.d. Print.

“Max Martin Interview – Popjustice.” Popjustice RSS. N.p., 27 Apr. 2009. Web.<;.


TORVANGER SOLBERG, RAGNHILD. “Waiting For The Bass To Drop”: Correlations Between Intense Emotional Experiences And Production Techniques In Build-Up And Drop Sections Of Electronic Dance Music.” Dancecult: Journal Of Electronic Dance Music Culture 6.1 (2014): 61-82. Academic Search Complete. Web.

Our Blog as an Archive

When starting this class, I was both captivated and a little skeptical of using this blog site. I have never used something of the sort for a class before so I did not really know what to expect. I also struggle very badly in terms of new types of technology (funny considering this class topic) and do not always grasp certain things, like tagging, easily. After getting going with the blog, I noticed how laid back and easy to use it is. I really do think it is the best way to structure this class with our writings, topics, and opinions. In terms of the final assignment, I have noticed some trends amongst our classmates. Since we are able to create our paper entirely off of a topic we choose to write about, there are many topics that relate to things typical to be interested in by college students: gaming, music, cell phones, sports, etc. Although seemingly typical, the people writing about such topics are exploring something very broad and creating pieces of writing that intrigue to reader since most of us have similar interests in today’s society.

I was also very intrigued by some of the topics that I did not expect to see. For example, I did not necessarily picture someone to write about honey bees, solar panels, or neuroprosthetics.  Topics such as these differ from the ones I shared before because they are topics it typically thought about or expressed. I am very excited to read about these topics because they are all things that I did not have much knowledge about previously.

I have seen how these blog posts have developed in their depth over this semester and how topics have come about. I know personally that I would start with a topic and then find myself exploring a different branch of it than I expected. I really enjoy the limitlessness of this blog and how open ended it can be. It is rare to have a class where you can write about definite things that are of interest to you and put a spark in your mind. I love being able to navigate through this blog and wonder what sparked someone to write about their topic of choice. It not only allows us as students to express ourselves through our writing, but also to relate to others and find a new relatability to some of our classmates.

I think many of us in this class could say that this was one of the classes where you did not have to know everyone’s names or speak outside of class, but that you felt comfortable to talk and express your ideas in the classroom. I believe the blog is a big part of this and became an archive of all of our personalities coming together.  I am very excited to see what everyone has to offer in their final papers because I think we can all learn a lot about ourselves from each other’s posts and could spark future ideas of our own. I know that after getting in our small groups and discussing our topics with some classmates, I became very intrigued by the topics and could see myself exploring some of them in future works of my own.

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.

Class Archive

As I was looking through some of the previous blog posts, and remembering others throughout the year, one thing I noticed, and realized a few others also noticed, was the great variety of topics that we as a class have covered.  Blog posts have ranged from Egyptian funerary practices to sports technology to digital aspirin.  With our class wrapping up, and all of us exploring incredibly diverse topics for our final papers, I wanted to look back on one of the first topics we were all charged to write about—artifact politics—, and analyze how we all took a very different perspective on how to write about this topic.  I also wanted to look at one of the topics a classmate has chosen for his/her final paper—cinema.

Earlier in the year, we discussed how an artifact can have a certain political dimension after reading the work by Langdon Winner, and tasked with choosing an artifact and writing about its political dimensions.  I remember that I chose a gun, partly because I felt that it could have both democratic and authoritarian aspects when put into specific hands.  When going through all of the other posts about artifact politics, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the astounding diversity of topics we as a class chose.  Two posts that specifically interested me were about GPS and the pen.  The post about GPS really interested me because I had never fully realized all of the information wireless service providers, and even the government, had on us, which I believe to be an invasion of privacy.  The post about the pen also interested me because I never really thought about how influential, yet simple, an object a pen is.  I guess the saying “the pen is mightier than the sword” really is true.

Now to talk about one specific topic, which is cinema.  One student is choosing to write about cinema for his/her final paper, and this caught my eye because I have always had a special interest in movies.  I even considered writing about movies for my final paper, but ultimately  I have always been fascinated by the fact that two hours of film has the ability to change a person’s life.  Take The Wolf of Wall Street for example, a movie about a big-time executive on Wall Street during the 1980’s named Jordan Belfort.  After this movie hit theaters, many teenagers and college kids decided they wanted to major in business or finance so they could live the wild lifestyle shown in the movie.  One thing I enjoyed about this student’s post was how he/she evaluated the history of cinema, starting with a photograph and now today having CGI effects.  We discussed cinema in my communications class, and this student was basically spot-on when describing the history of movies.  I also like how the student described the evolution of film as an art form, from realism to surrealism.  One thing I would have liked for this student to include in his/her post is an analysis on the social impact cinema has had on society, particularly the United States.

In conclusion, I believe that we as a class have really developed a great blog site that analyzes various technologies and their different functions.  I hope that students in the future will look at this site and perhaps use it as a resource, or simply inspiration, for their own work.

Class Archive

When looking at the archive that this class has created throughout the semester, what really strikes me is that even though we have all received the same assignments the whole year, the range of topics that were chosen for each assignment could not have been more different from each other. For example, for the final project alone, one person is talking about bees, another is talking about hip hop, and another is writing their paper on concussions. Those topics could not be more different, yet they still explore a common theme: technological progress and its impact on how we live our lives.

This common thread is what amazes me the most about our archive – it’s incredible how many different perspectives can be used to illuminate the issues we face today. One assignment that I appreciated reading different opinions on was the one that focused on the Digital Self. It was a relatively narrow topic, which is why the different perspectives really were useful for me – they forced me to reconsider my views, and expand them. Specifically within that topic, the focus on the readings from “alone together” that some people had was something that I enjoyed reading about, mostly because it’s a common feeling sometimes (the feeling of being so connected yet so disconnected at the same time), and it was nice to see that there are common experiences between all of us, even though we do all have our own opinions and perspectives and ideas. For example, the post about the differing perspectives between cultures in respect to connection really made me think. As an American, I have pretty much come to accept that my parents want me to be continually available. I don’t speak to them every day, or even every week sometimes, but if I can’t get in contact with them for some reason or another, they tend to get very worried. However, the connection between parent and child through different cultures can be very different. In the blog post that I’m referring to, the Chinese norm was addressed. It makes me wonder if I would be different in terms of my independence if my parents were less concerned about connection. As it is, I tend to do what I feel is best, regardless of their input, but I wonder what extremes my current independence (my mother might say strong-willed bullheadedness) could reach if I had even less obligation.

Another thing that I find interesting about our archive is not even the depth or breadth overall, it’s the depth that can be found with just one post. For example, the post on mummification that was read aloud gave us a huge amount of knowledge on a topic that most of us (I assume) are not familiar with – I know that I’m not. This access to new knowledge is something that I feel is prevalent throughout our archive. There are so many different topics and different passions that we have somehow come up with a fairly comprehensive look at technology throughout time and throughout society. Considering this, I kind of wonder what would happen if we had another semester to write even more.

CS 2367 as an Archive

This comparative studies class has worked as an archive by simply archiving the ideas of society. The blog contains a wide range of posts written by students talking about various social and technological topics that range from bitcoins to MRI technology to online relationships. The class contains the views of the younger generation and the older generation where we evaluate articles of technology that have very much affected society.

The class is given an article to read pertaining to We have progressed through a range of blog posts. We re-defined the idea of technology beginning with important pieces of “technology” that we cannot live without and leads up to our main project papers. We defined an archive in class as an extension of ourselves. Each of the student’s posts has to do with their interests and their opinion, which makes writing more fun and anyone can read it. Overall, the blog idea was a much more entertaining idea than writing short responses for a basic English class. It allows the class to be closer together and share more than we would share in class. Blog posts can be casual and it can be fun to read the ideas and interests of the other students in the class, it is also fun to comment on other posts and share interests on other posts. I liked this class and the layout of the class. The blog post was definitely the best idea yet for students to record and share their work, definitely keep it around!

One of the most influential articles we had read is by Marshal McLuhan. In Marshal McLuhan’s book The Medium is the Massage, he described a variety of items that were an extension of the body. “The wheel is the extension of the foot, the book is the extension of the eye, clothes is the extension of the body, and electricity is an extension of the central nervous system.” In class, a big topic that we talked about is the many ways the technology we have works as an archive, like Facebook and music. How Facebook archives our pictures and our memories, how music archives our feelings, how our phones archive our lifestyle.

This class works as an extension of our lives (insert intense music). The main purpose of a blog is to record feelings and journal about events in our lives. Journals can come in many forms and originally they were in the form of books to record in and can now be in the form of a digital website. We as students are writing about the big events that are happening in the world now, like genetic engineering or change in social norms. The blog archives and preserves what is happening right now in our lives as Ohio State students and what we love. Ten years down the road if we happen to stumble upon this website, it will be a reminder of how we lived. Maybe after we have passed and life is different, people will find it and it will somehow help make an impact or an important record on their society.

Our Class Archive

At this point in time, the class has created an archive of blog posts full of many different ideas, ranging from the effects of music to robots. As a whole, these blog posts all relate to one specific topic: technology. Having a topic chosen but also having a lot of free space to write gives the student guidance while still giving them the ability to write about what they’re interested in.

This same idea pertains to when the blog must relate to an essay read previously; everyone has a general topic to write about (like “the self”) but everyone approaches this topic in a different way. This is what makes the blog posts as a whole interesting and enjoyable to read. It groups them together in one way but also allows for individuality as everyone has their own opinions and thoughts about certain concepts. As a fellow student, I enjoyed looking through all the blog posts because I got to pick up ideas that I didn’t think of before.

The best way to describe a lot of the blog posts is passionate. Especially when it comes to the blog posts pertaining to the final paper (in which people chose their own topics that they are interested in), they show passion and excitement about a topic (because of the leniency of the paper). To be able to see this on a massive scale while scrolling through the blog is inspiring.

Our class’ compilation of blog posts serves as a mix of ideas. This can be seen through the ability to write comments. One person may write a post expanding on a thought, while a few people might comment and include their own thoughts on the same topic. The same goes for the option to tag something. This gives a reader or fellow blogger the ability to look up a topic and find slightly different ideas about the same thing.

As the archive continues to grow every week with each person’s new blog post, more ideas are developed that otherwise would not have been. Before the blog posts, there were certain topics I hadn’t thought about, or certain thoughts I haven’t shared with anybody. With the posts, I received the ability to do both of these.

Even as the semester ends and everyone in the class moves on with different plans, we are all still interconnected through the blog. Every one of us can go back onto it and read through our old posts along with others’ posts. As we continue to gain more knowledge on different topics, our views may expand or change. This means they might be different from what we wrote on the blog. However, it is still good to know that the blog posts are available to see and it is interesting to think that we can look back and see how our views have changed. Maybe we will even rediscover an idea we forgot about that can inspire us in the future. Either way, the blog isn’t just a technology that aids us in the past and until the end of the semester. It can affect us far into the future if we let it.

Comments on Artificial Intelligence Posts: An Archive from Konno8

There are many great and interesting points brought up about Artificial Intelligence within these blogs. Many of these points speak on the effects that some Artificial Intelligence may bring in the future. These possible effects can be both good and bad. I’m going to analyze a few of these points and share some of my thoughts on the topic.

“You may not realize it, but artificial intelligence is everywhere.” This is a great point and one in which I completely agree with. At a basic level, Artificial Intelligence is technology created by humans, that has human like qualities. For example, things like being able to make decisions or recognizing speech may be considered Artificial Intelligence. Many technologies in the modern age have these qualities.

The idea of Artificial Intelligence in movies is another interesting topic. I think it’s important here to realize that most of this stuff is highly fictional and will not likely exist in the near future. At the same time, however, it’s exciting to think about AI in the present and the possibilities we have for AI in the future. I’d also like to comment on the possibilities of AI for good vs. bad, or the fears that it brings upon people. The good plays in where AI is able to do things for humans, often times much faster and more efficiently. This can be seen in financial technology, often making decisions for humans and taking some of the work out of their hands. AI also allows us to learn new things, and provides us with endless hours of enjoyment. This is seen through AI in video games. A new movie came out called Chappie, which involves a future where crime is controlled by a set of mechanized police. When one of them is stolen and given new programming, however, it allows him to be able to actually feel emotion and think for himself. I think this is one of the biggest worries that humans may have about robots and Artificial Intelligence in general. It’s crazy to watch movies like this and imagine that technology could go so far as to be able to have real emotions. At the same time, if technology we create can think for itself, what control do we have at that point? Also, what would stop them from doing things for themselves or even taking over the world? These ideas are interesting to explore, and this is really where the idea of fear plays in with Artificial Intelligence. For me, this doesn’t seem like it would ever be possible, but obviously I can’t predict the future.

So again, the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in the future seem to be endless. We have no idea about the exact future of this technology. However, we can fantasize about some of these possibilities, and it often seems like AI could make the world much more productive and in many ways easier. At the same time though, people like to think about the bad side of AI, and many of the fears that come from these possibilities. Artificial Intelligence is exciting, and I can’t wait to see some of the changes that will come in the future.


Andrea Mayer

Professor Josephson

COMPSTD 2367.04

4 March 2015


                In 1741, the first two magazines in North America were published by Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Bradford. Franklin competed with Bradford to see who could publish their magazine first. Bradford’s American Magazine, or Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies beat Franklin’s The General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations in America by just three days (American Magazine). Magazines have come a long way since the 1700s and target specific audiences in today’s society. As a medium, magazines are tangible, book-like bound packets of information on any possible topic. Magazines target specific audiences such as pre-teens/teenagers, young men, young women, expecting parents, middle age parents, and grandparents. By targeting a specific audience, the publishers of magazines are able to relate to a certain genre and topic.

The first “teenage magazine” created in the United States was Seventeen in 1944 (History). Pre-teen and Teenage directed magazines such as J-14, Girl’s Life, and Seventeen use vibrant colors to gain the attention of their desired audience. They typical portray a well-known celebrity on the cover with a flashy headline. Magazines for this age group express themselves as a medium by containing posters that you can tear out and hang up, surveys for the reader to take, and quizzes such as “What actress are you most like?” By using such tactics in the set-up of the magazine, the publishers are able to acquire and keep the attention of the reader. However, teenagers do not stay teenagers forever and grow up into young men and women with magazines directed specifically for them.

Men’s Health and Sports Illustrated are two of the most popular magazines that target young men, ages 18-35. These magazines relay information about recent Sports topics and also give tips for men to use on how to lose weight or stay fit. Built like any other magazine, Men’s Health grabs the eye of the reader by having a shirtless man with chiseled abs on the front.  Sports Illustrated is known for either having a recently important athlete on the cover, or a woman in a bikini for sex appeal.  Sports Illustrated is credited with the first photographs through the use of an object in sports for a better angle (for example, in the net at a hockey game or through the glass backboard during an NBA championship) in 1965 (Sports Illustrated).  Contrary to these genres of magazines are magazines directed towards a young women audience.

Vogue and Cosmopolitan are two of the most famous magazines focused towards young women, roughly age 20-40. Vogue made its first appearance in American in 1892 and contained basic yet direct titles such as the 1916 September issue, “Forecast of Autumn Fashions”. Although modernized, Vogue is still directed towards the same audience as it was in the late 1800s and keeps women up to date on the latest fashion trends. Magazines as these typically portray a beautiful woman in appealing clothes on the cover to make the reader want to know how to have a body image like the model. Through the use of neutral colors with a pop of red or pink, magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan bring the reader in to what’s “hot” in the fashion world. Many times, these magazines will have multiple pages of perfume samples where the reader can lift a tab and smell a fragrance. This hands on experience is one of the many reasons women still love to get their magazines at the end-cap at the grocery store. For the women who are a little bit older and ready to start a family, a different category of magazine is specifically for them.

Fit Pregnancy and Babytalk are two of the most popular examples of magazines directed towards expecting parents (mothers in particular). By using big names such as Kourtney Kardashian on the cover, publishers are drawing in readers not only for the reason of parenting advice, but also to see what the celebrities are doing during their pregnancies. These magazines give expecting mothers an idea of what vitamins and supplements they should be taking, what vaccines are said to be controversial, what is fashionable to wear when pregnant, and what to expect when having their baby. They are also known for giving advice for the first year of parenting and have been referred to as the “Bible for new moms”. These magazines use pictures and description to let the reader know what is normal and when to seek help with a new baby in the house. Many new parents immediately think the worst when they hear their baby’s first cough, but with the help of magazines like Babytalk, they may learn at what point they should begin to worry. There are also references to designers when coming up with ideas for decorating the baby’s new room.

Magazines like People and Bon Appetit are directed toward the middle age parent. By providing entertainment for the reader, People keeps its audience up to date on all the drama in Hollywood.  People is also a fairly new magazine as it started in 1974 featuring photos of the beautiful Mia Farrow, a major star of the era. A magazine like Bon Appetit is designed to enlighten the reader on cooking habits by providing recipes, how-to’s, photo’s, and responses of those with first-hand experience. These magazines are perfect for a reader who has some extra time on their hands to try some new things. The Bon Appetit website even has a link to its own archive, showing each monthly magazine and its main topic (Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December, etc.).

Good Housekeeping and Grand are two examples of magazines designed for older individuals. These magazines relate to the life of a grandparent and provide the reader with activities and ideas to try when watching their grandchildren next. These magazines also include family friendly recipe’s and “self-improvement” articles. The information is portrayed in an organized manner, making the magazines easier to follow and seem more professional. There are also images that show real-life examples of the topic at hand.

By targeting certain audiences, magazines are made to relate to any individual. Each magazine is set up a little different, but has the same book like design. In Marshall McLuhan’s, The Medium is the Massage, he argues that the context is what we take away consciously, and the medium is what we take away subconsciously. This is seemingly perfect in terms of a magazine. McLuhan continues to share that the way information is portrayed is just as important, if not more important than the actual content of the information itself. Magazines of each genre portray themselves differently as stated before. Through posters for teens or perfume for women, each magazine does something a little different to relate to its target audience. Having a medium with such strong variety, the magazine industry is still thriving even with the advancements of technology.

Magazines are also used for companionship. In Alone Together, Sherry Turkle states, “We are lonely but fearful of intimacy…We are psychologically programmed not only to nurture what we love but to love what we nurture. So even simple artificial creatures can provoke heartfelt attachment” (1). This can relate to how some people thrive off of the information found in magazines. Readers can become so consumed in the lives of others and the drama portrayed to them that they seemingly find companionship in such an artificial item. Magazines can become a source of information and entertainment for many that essentially eliminates them from reality. They are in their own fairytale world simply by feeling involved in the lives of other people whom they have never met.

In the Archive of Feelings, Ann Cvetkovich states that an “archive of feelings” is, “an exploration of cultural texts as repositories of feelings and emotions, which are encoded not only in the content of the texts themselves, but in the practices that surround their production and reception” (7). If we view magazines as an archive of feelings, we are allowing ourselves to question the meaning behind magazines and also the messages being portrayed. This becomes much more apparent in terms of controversial tabloids. If the reader explores the cultural text and the feelings and emotions encoded, it becomes much more than just the latest drama. In terms of magazines such as Sports Illustrated, the reader may begin to look into much more detail than they would have originally. It begins to twist the interpretation of the reader.

The onset of technology and internet has made many forms of writing suffer. Almost all magazine articles are online now and can be viewed with the just the click of a mouse. This will lose the true affect that magazines have on readers. Readers will not be able to rip out posters or write in their answers to a survey, and they will not be able to lift a tab and smell the designer perfumes and colognes. Although the industry is suffering, magazines will never fully leave the paper-back world. Whether it’s in line at a grocery store or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, magazines are everywhere waiting to be picked up and enjoyed.

Works Cited

“”American Magazine” & “The General Magazine,” the First Magazines Published in North America: Both Very Short-Lived (January 1741).” : Jeremy Norman & Co, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.

Cvetokovich, Ann. Archive of Feelings. N.p., n.d. Print.

“History.” Teen Magazines -. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.

McLuhan, Marshall, Quentin Fiore, and Jerome Agel. The Medium Is the Massage. New York: Bantam, 1967. Print.

“Sports Illustrated.” Sports Illustrated. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Social Media as a Medium

Social media can be understood as a medium. A medium is a system that engages our senses. From the information gathered from it, our emotions and feelings can be developed. According to Merriam Webster, social media is a form of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (Merriam Webster). Because social media is able to transmit information by sharing ideas, emotions, and sentiments through content and message in online communities it is understood as a medium.

The beginning of social media started with BBS (Bulletin Board System). A BBS is an online board where users can share files and games. Before wireless connection, users had to use telephone lines to connect to a BBS. BBS and CompuServe (the first commercial online service) aren’t exactly what we think of when we think of social media. AOL (America Online) is similar to current social media. AOL, similar to current social media, had users create a “Member Profile” in which it would list details about the users. Social media started to grow with sites such as and Sites like that allowed users to connect with other users such as classmates and the start of making groups and creating online profiles (Digital Trends).

By 2002, social media sites such as Friendster (similar to SixDegrees) created communities by having a concept of “Circle of Friends” that let users with common bonds to connect. Because the success of Friendster only lasted for a little especially in countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, Friendster decided to abandon social networking and become only an online gaming site.

In 2003, LinkedIn and Myspace were launched. Although both social media were very different, both became very successful. LinkedIn was a more professional social networking site that enable professionals to connect and network with other professionals. LinkedIn is also known as a professional social media. It is one of the largest and most well-known professional social network that started in the USA. It is used to connect and expand professional networks by showing skills, career information, and academic background. LinkedIn can help users explore opportunities, network, and look for careers.

On the other hand, Myspace started as a popular social media in which users could customize their page, add pictures, profile, friends, music, and etc. Myspace was popular among celebrities and musicians as they shared their music and projects on it. Myspace was created by people in the entertainment industry and not by technology gurus. Because of that, it couldn’t make advances and changes as fast as Facebook. That caused the failure of Myspace and allowed for the popularity of Facebook to increase. Facebook started as a college site by Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook was only for Harvard students but slowly expanded into other colleges and finally becoming open to the public. Facebook was similar to Myspace. Users could post pictures, videos, notes, and etc. The main difference was that when Facebook came into the social media world, it didn’t have many competitors. It only had Myspace and also it was exclusive to college students.

With Facebook already becoming so popular, other social media such as YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest started to become part of people’s daily life. Every different social medium offered something different to the users. Video bloggers, musicians, and actors would use YouTube to show trailers of movies, songs, tutorials, and etc. Photographers and artists would show their work through Instagram. Businesses try to use most social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and etc. They would keep their social media updated by posting something about a new product or promotion. Celebrities would incorporate all social media to become more well-known in the industry. They would tweet new projects, their opinion, post trailers of their movies on YouTube, post pictures on Instagram.

YouTube is a video sharing website that was created in 2005 by three PayPal employees. YouTube allows users to upload, view, and share videos. The content on YouTube includes video clips, TV clips, movie trailers, video blogging, music videos, and etc. The idea behind YouTube came from Janet Jackson’s incident in the 2004 Super Bowl and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The three PayPal employees wanted to create a social media in which people could share videos of topics being talked about. YouTube success wouldn’t have happened if it was limited to the United States. Being a social medium, YouTube could reach other countries. Currently YouTube is located in 53 countries with 61 languages. About 70% of the traffic comes from outside of the United States.

YouTube was able to change the way many different things work. It has changed education and knowledge by having videos of tutorials of “how-to” and with Khan’s Academy’s channel. Tutorials and educational channels have allow users to learn something new or get help on homework and projects. It has sparked innovation and creativity in users by creating new products and new projects and sharing them on YouTube. It created awareness on social issues such as Ice Bucket Challenge and Kony 2012. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a challenge in which people would raise awareness for ALS. Kony 2012 was a movement to capture Joseph Kony.

There aren’t solid ideas of the future of YouTube. Some social media are able to succeed but some aren’t. Although YouTube is very successful right now, that can change with the creation of a better and newer social medium that can replace YouTube. As of now, with the help of other technology and website such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Smart TVs, YouTube can replace the way we watch television. Although televisions might not vanish in the near future, the way we watch TV has changed a lot. Many have Smart TVs that have YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus connected to it. This has decreased the number of households that will get cable to watch television.

Social media is a medium that is used to connect, interact, and meet other users. Social media has changed the way we communicate and interact with others. Not only are we able to reach a greater community through social media but with social media we can personalize and custom the way we want to be seen. Many celebrities, like Justin Bieber, became famous because of social media like YouTube by showcasing his talent. Like Smith and Watson says, we are able to brand ourselves on social media. We can put ourselves out there like a product. Making ourselves look the best way possible. Users can alter their identity and no one would know. Overall, social media is able to help and make human life more convenient but at the same time, has caused privacy issues and other problems. Social media can be used for our advantages such as promoting a business, getting help from friends, communicating with others. (Smith & Watson, “Studying the Digital Self”)

On the other hand, it can cause problems such as privacy, identity theft, and cyberbullying. How much of ourselves are we willing to put out to the public? Social media makes money by collecting your information and selling it to marketing sites. They customize your ads, to items you have searched or liked in the past. They are able to track what we are doing without being obvious. A new problem caused by social media is cyberbullying. According to Merriam Webster, cyberbullying is the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person often done anonymously. Because of social media, cyberbullying has become a problem because we think that we can criticize and say mean comments online because no one will know who posted it. One can create a fake profile just to cyberbully others. Cyberbullying has become a big problem that has causes some users to commit suicide.

Although we use social media to connect with others, in the end is it really for that reason? Do we use social media to our advantage and use it as a way to make communication easier or is it pulling us apart? Turkle mentioned how even though it seems like we use social media to keep each other updated and communicate with each other through social media, we are actually alone. We are alone together. Turkle explains the impacts of social media using different examples of how people use it and change because of it. She says that technology and social media is able to meet our human vulnerabilities because we are alone but at the same time we are fearful of intimacy. Technology such as social media is able to offer the illusion of a friendship and companionship without demands (Turkle, 1). When we are online, we can ignore others because we can pretend we weren’t online or we didn’t see the message. When we are communicating face to face we aren’t able to hide and ignore others. Talking requires an immediate response while texting and using social media does not require an immediate response.

Another great point that Turkle mentions is the anxiety from social media. As mentioned earlier, people can lie when they set up their profile on social media. No one is checking so one can easily lie. This causes deception in social media. Social media is there for us to represent ourselves in a simple way but knowing that there is an audience, we tend to feel pressured to conform the simplifications. An example Turkle uses is Brad. He makes sure that through Facebook he is seems as “Mr. Cool”. He would omit different likes such as Harry Potter because it isn’t cool (Turkle, 185). Trying to perfect a social media profile and knowing that colleges and work places search for your social media profile had cause a lot of anxiety in humans. We believe that social media is supposed to be there to make ourselves look better but, we know that there is an audience, we spend a lot of time trying to perfect it and because of it, people are stressed.

The online world and social networks makes it seem like we are supposed to share everything on our mind. It doesn’t matter whether those thoughts are ignorant, ill considered, informative, or funny. We should all share our thoughts to broadcast it to the widest possible audience. (Turkle, 276) Sometimes the thought we have can become helpful to spread awareness on certain topics such as the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge. People would share videos of having ice buckets dump on them to spread awareness to educate and support ALS Association. Because of how popular the challenge was, more than $115 million have been donated to support people with ALS (“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”). Another popular event was Kony 2012. Kony 2012 is a short film produced by Invisible Children, Inc to promote and spread education on who Kony was and how he recruited child soldiers. The video was uploaded to YouTube and got a lot of attention. Users would share the video on other social media, tweet about it, and it even got celebrities such as Rihanna and Bill Gates talking about it. The video became viral really fast that within days of the video being posted, it got national and global media attention (Sanders).

Social media has not only created a digital self but it is also an archive of feeling. Even though social media is digital, our feelings and emotions are invested into social media. As Cvetkovich says that peoples’ personal lives were deeply entangled with their intellectual lives. (Cvetkovich, 2) Social media has become an archive of feeling for many because people have feelings and emotions towards them. Technology and social media has become a big part of our lives that a study from IDC Research found out that about 80% of smartphone users will check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up. People wake up to check what was posted on social media, check their emails, and etc. (Pinkham).

This shows that social media has its advantages and disadvantages and the way we use it to create our digital self can be positive or negative. Some will use it to create a digital timeline, advertise, and communicate while others will use it to hurt others and lie to others by pretending to be someone else. Social media can be good to spread awareness but some people abuse that power and are able to post other things.

The future of social media is unknown but with a lot of speculations. YouTube and other video based social media can replace televisions. Other social medias such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube is already a new form of medium in which news are spread. As print media starts to decrease, digital media will increase. New social media will be created to adjust humans’ lives.

Whether one sees social media as a good thing or bad thing. It is here to stay. Some social media might become less popular over time but because we are moving towards a more advanced and more technological world, other social media and technology will be created with the goal of making human life easier. All social media and technology will have its advantages and disadvantages. Some will use to make their lives easier while others might abuse that power and use it to harm others. At the end of the day, will all the technological advances and new social media, it is a medium whether that is used in a good or bad way. Social media was created to become a medium in which engages the senses and information, emotions, and sentiments will be developed and transferred.  It requires our senses to work. We use our sight, touch, and hearing to interact with social media.


Cvetkovich, Ann. An Archive of Feelings. Duke University Press. 2003. Web

“cyberbullying.” Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 3 March 2015. <;

Digital Trends Staff, “The History of Social Networking” Digital Trends. Digital Trends 5 August 2014. Web. 3 March 3, 2015. <;

Pinkharm, Ryan. “80% of Smartphones Users Check Their Phones Before Brushing Their Teeth… And Other Hot Topics” Constant Contact. Constant Contact. 5 April 2013. Web. 3 March 2015. <;

Sanders, Sam. “The “Kony 2012” Effect: Recovering From a Viral Sensation”. NPR. 14 July 2014. Web. 3 March 2015. <;

Smith, Sidonie and Watson, Julia. “Studying the Digital Self.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p. 21 April 2014. Web. 3 March 2015. <;

“social media.” Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 3 March 2015. <;

“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” ALS Association. ALS Association. N.d. Web. 3 March 2015. <;

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together. New York. BASIC BOOKS. 2011. Web