Home > Uncategorized > It’s Friday, Friday: A New Age in Communication

It’s Friday, Friday: A New Age in Communication

Rebecca Black’s video for her song “Friday” is one of the most widespread internet memes of all time. At this point, I’m sure our whole class (aside from Professor Rejack… perhaps) could easily sing along to the mindless lyrics of this unintentionally hilarious and addictive new formulaic pop song. According to Youtube, “After attracting less than 1,000 viewers during its first month, the video went viral on March 11, kicking off a bizarre media craze that dominated national news for weeks. Before the month was up, “Friday” had cracked the Billboard charts and racked up more than 64 million views on YouTube, despite an almost universally negative response from media outlets.” And now, just a few weeks after this craze peaked, Rebecca’s song has nearly 120,000,000 views.

While certainly humorous, this video’s popularity says a lot more than just that “everybody’s looking forward to the weekend.” Rather, it sheds light on the growing power of social media in global communication. How could a piece of information – even if it is just a terrible, formulaic pop song – spread to reach 120 million people so quickly?

Social media and networking websites like Twitter and Facebook played a huge role in the spread of this video. In the past decade, these types of social media websites have evolved and grown to encompass much of the world’s population. As Kaitlin discussed in her blog post on social media, “Anyone who was anyone in middle school had a Myspace,” and even though Myspace has decreased in popularity, “through Myspace failings came new social networking sites that remain popular today.” With each new social media site more popular than the previous, it seems that online dispersal of information – through Tweets, Facebook posts, or other media – will only continue to grow as it becomes the leading form of communication.

Of course, while the accessibility of information online is certainly powerful, it comes with inherent costs. Katie remarked in a post about twitter, “It is somewhat creepy to me how much we can quickly learn about each other through the Internet.” Most people have become aware of this (through Facebook stalking, for example), and have in response learned to limit or at least think twice about what they share online. However, in this new digital age in communication, we are not always in control of what information about us is shared online or who it will reach. Certainly Rebecca Black did not anticipate 120 million people around the world seeing her video (or 2 million clicking the “dislike” button), but at least she was responsible for this video being released into the public internet realm. With websites like CollegeACB, dark truths or fictional (and dangerous) rumors about a person may spread across a campus without the subjected individual even knowing, much less consenting. In her post about CollegeACB, Christina concluded that “The internet (in the form of CollegeACB and other sites like it) is becoming the virtual avenue for the collegiate-level bullies, where they can gang together to pick on their fellow classmates. However, the internet becomes even more dangerous than the playground because no “time-outs” are ever handed out.” This dangerous anonymity is inherent in the nature of online communication. Overall, this all shows how technology shapes culture and human relationships around the world. As online communication has become the leading medium for spreading information, new risks and benefits have emerged that have changed the way humans communicate forever.

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