COMM 101, review for final exam.

There will be 33 multiple choice questions, each worth three points. You will receive one “free” point for taking the test.

The exam will include:



We get at least 3600 ad impressions a day on average.

According to quality of life surveys, what are the things seen as giving us happiness? We most value love, friendship, sociability, self esteem, autonomy. After a certain point material “stuff” doesn’t make us happy anymore.

Ads use emotion (social needs) to sell products. They promise to give us what we really want through merchandise. That’s the lie. They can’t really deliver what they are promising. Buy stuff and get “this” when the “this” is the quality of life stuff.

Primary discourse in ads is what they are selling. It talks about the properties or features of the item.

Secondary discourse is the context and interaction between the actors in the ads. It talks about how the product fulfills social needs (love, friendship, etc.)

Mass advertising emerged in the 20s when leaders of the business community began to see the need for a coordinated ideological effort to complement their control of the workplace.

Consumerism helped to pacify the workers. Ads sold consumerism as a gateway to social integration. – A world far removed from the drudgery of work.

Decoding Media and Social Position

We often don’t think about how interpretations come into play. We “decode” messages using knowledge of conventions of the medium. The differences between us such as gender, race, age, social status, and everything else cause us to at times see different messages in the media.

A lot of interpretation is based on things that are taken for granted. “Natural”. Don’t have to be told why we cover the president. Beauty and success and desirable. Relationships between men and women, worker and boss, rich and poor, parents and kids. We have implicit knowledge of these things.

People can arrive at three types of meanings when viewing/reading/listening to media:

The ability of a media form to have many meanings is polysemy.

David Morley studied a British news magazine show called Nationwide and its coverage of economic issues. Very different interpretations of the content based upon class.

Very hard to predict how a different audience will interpret, only that they have a good chance of interpreting differently. Cultural tools associated with a group we may be a part of. 

Children and violence on TV

Study looked at whole season and 23 cable and reg. TV stations. Looked at if violence was rewarded or not. Results: TV is very violent.

Media Technology and Social Change

We’ve looked at production, content and meaning of media. There are those who argue that the medium itself affects our message. After all, we hear or watch a ball game (radio TV) different experiences.

Media means “middle”. Media have a social significance because they affect human communication.

The early years of any new media technology's introduction can often be characterized by mistaken assumptions about how it ultimately will be used. Radio was not thought of as being a medium for news and entertainment until twenty years after it came into use.

Human Agency in Developing Technology

Human agency at work. And not always predictably.

Early Years of Radio

People’s agency made the changes. Businesses, government and amateur end-users. Not technological specifications.

Television into the Home

Quick adoption - 1/10 of 1 percent in 1946 to 90% by 1960.

Today Show tried to become the new morning newspaper showing that they tried to shape their viewers lives too.

But cultural practices of our society shaped TV’s development. Early years of technology are often characterized by people having mistaken ideas about how it will ultimately be used.

Safe Computing

Images from web sites you visit can accumulate in your web browser's cache. If someone searches your hard drive with the wild card *.jpg, they can learn a lot about what sites you visit.

The most common risk of downloading illegal music and movies for your computer is the secret installation of Spyware. Spyware can monitor a number of your behaviors, steal your email list, lock your files, and learn your passwords.

Keyloggers are easy to get and install. They are an easy software-based way for someone to get your login information for Facebook, banking, etc. when you use a public computer.