Sarah J.

Edmonds
English 101
Berit Elvejord
16 March 2015

Social MEdia: The New Age of Communication, or the New Age of Exclusion?
In this piece, the laws and restrictions of modern communication, mostly circulating
around the internet, are examined and analyzed. Many argue that the discourse of social media
users is an extremely exclusive one; one must be born in a certain time frame to truly understand
the culture, actions, and purpose. Yet many users of these sites do not fit that description, and
may be using them for reasons other than what they were invented for. Mary Louise Pratt uses
several terms in her work, The Art of the Contact Zone, that are defined and used as tools to
investigate the topic of communication as a whole. Bringing in the theories of Mary Louise Pratt,
essay looks at how different cultures use this resource, and whether or not it helps or hurts the
overall communication in modern day society.
Tags: Marie Louise Pratt, James Paul Gee, Elizabeth Daley, Social Media, Communication
Communication is everywhere. Whether it be online, face to face, written, verbal, visual
— we are always communicating with one another. It is imperative for human existence, and has
been a part of culture since the very beginning. First, there were cave drawings and verbal stories
passed down from generation to generation, then letters rode into town by horse drawn carriages,
and now we have come all the way to where we are now: social media. Online communication is
by far the most used in today’s culture, and social media methods that people connect through
the web. In Marie Louise Pratt’s work, The Art of the Contact Zone, she talks a lot about
communication between different groups of people, and and defines transculturation as
“processes whereby members of subordinated or marginal groups select and invent from

Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon all have Youtube channels. Also. these people don’t necessarily use social media in the same way the people who created this culture do. and then links to those videos. For example. one of the most dominant cultures in society currently is social media. especially regarding communication. talk shows such as Conan. to connect with people. But in these cases. None of these talk show hosts actually run these social media sites. people aren’t connecting with the people they think they are. however. and they wouldn’t be able to if it weren’t for their connection through those sites. how is this relevant? Whether people like it or not. But why? What is the point of having social media if it isn’t genuinely run by the person who’s account it is? That is the point behind social media. This ending consists of the host popping up on a prerecorded screen saying something along the lines of “If you liked this you should check out our channel’s other videos to my right!”. In the modern day world. People now have been forced into using it even if it outside of their comfort zone. Facebook pages. short segment (usually under five minutes — anything else is hard to convince someone to sit through). Youtube channels of these talk show hosts always have the same format: introduction. and Twitter accounts. They hire “social media consultants” to run these accounts. They do this because those hosts need to stay relevant. and ending.materials transmitted by a dominant or metropolitan culture” (110). There is a whole audience who they are trying needing to reach. Youtube has recently also put in a feature that is similar to Netflix in that you don’t have to click on a new video for one to .

she wants media to be emerged into the classroom. While they are using it for purely advertising and marketing purposes. a video that is relevant to the one you just watched will automatically start in ten seconds or so if you don’t click away. and methods of publication and teaching that are essentially different from this of text” (35). In Elizabeth Daley’s essay. the dominant culture is using it for what they created it for: the ability to share and connect with people around them. In every situation that transcutulration plays a role. This is certainly an example of transculturation. Some say that this integration would bring great things for both media and the classroom environment. She believes that “the multimedia language of the screen enables modes of thought. she talks about something similar. and fight for what they believe in. This is something that is not going away. In short. so hypothetically it would fit into that category. she is taking something from one culture and trying to bring it to another culture. But whether or not it is effective is up in the air. Expanding the Concept of Literacy. and perhaps that makes the difference. while others say that the traditional use of texts is the best way to go. The dominant culture of social media is run by the people who created it. some may claim that they aren’t using it in the same way.start playing. there will be a battle between the sides. and even though the people outside of that culture (in this case the hosts. So is this transculturation by Pratt’s standards or not? These people are taking aspects of the social media culture and using them for their own purposes. . but is it a good thing? Yes. and people just have to realize that. who even hire people to provide them with an online presence) are using some of the same aspects of it. ways of communicating and conducting research.

for example. this is a space in which two things can come together and be understood by a group of people that otherwise . In short. viewers. and subsequently higher ratings? I think it is pretty clear that the idea that these hosts are reaching out to their fans for the sake of communication is outruled. it would appear as though this does more harm than hurt as far as communication goes. they are. just waiting for them to stop to you can talk. So no matter what. So considering that this seems more like a marketing ploy that anything else. But another term that Pratt uses in her essay is autoethnography. Taking these two different generations. None of them were part of what I will refer to as the “internet generation”. seeing as the vast majority of the time they aren’t even the ones posting as their social media personas. It boils it down to its most primitive form: like when you’re talking to someone. Yes. none of them will ever truly be a part of that discourse. meaning that they were all born after that technology had started advancing. Do we really think that they are on there for the purpose of communication with a section of their fan base they otherwise would not be able to? Or is it purely to gain more popularity. but not listening. But this process that Pratt defines in her work gives the chance for them to try and become of this group by taking aspects of its members and trying to make them their own.No matter where you stand on the issue. but technically speaking. this process of transuculturation greatly affects the communication process. But does it work? Is this process harming or hurting the overall communication between these generations? What first must be considered is the goal that these shows truly have in mind when getting onto the social media platforms. it may be a generalization to say that all these late night talk show hosts are from the same generation.

but making sure that everyone know what they themselves are doing as well. Another way to look at this situation is from the perspective of James Paul Gee. film has a way giving someone a whole new take on whatever it may be. Gee states that one cannot make any changes to a discourse unless he or she is a part of that discourse. This definition could not be more fitting for this circumstance — he even uses the term “social network”. Incredible films are made every year that create a sort of portal that connects the audience to a time. he defines several terms. because that is the only situation in which someone has enough knowledge of the group to criticize it. In the 2015 Oscars. Yes. place. but has migrated from the small to the big screen: film. Lou Gehrig’s disease.would not be able to understand it. people can read about it and learn about it in written text. one of which is discourse: “a socially accepted association among ways of using language. there were many extremely accomplished films represented. once someone has criticized a . but films have a way of bringing in a personal side of things that engulfs the audience into the moment and allows them to be in the situation rather than learn of the situation. Yet. situation. One prime example of this is still in the realm of visual media. or experience that they could have never experienced. and nearly all of them had something to say on an issue that otherwise would have been less known by the public. While everyone may have a knowledge of these topics (some of the ones that came up were Alzheimers. which is essentially what this group of young people is. People tend to have an obsession of not only knowing what everyone else it doing. and it is one that is rooted in social activity. We have created our own network. author of the essay: What Is Literacy? In his work. and racism). of thinking. and of acting that can be used to identify oneself as a member of a socially member of a socially meaningful group or ‘social network’” (74).

yet the execution doesn’t equate. the generation gap will always bring people farther apart rather than together. and the highest subscribed user is named PewDiePie. People don’t have to be famous or even have any sort of skill to be able to click “upload” and share with the world what they’re thinking.discourse. For while Youtube is the home for many creative and intriguing people. but learn about one another’s worlds and try to understand it as best they can? In the world of social media. Yet. the same platform on which famed people have made a home for a varied type of show promo. There is no hidden secret to becoming popular. It is merely communication at work. The idea of having transculturation and autoethnography present in this aspect of society is valid. Youtube. social media is an exclusive society. No matter what. people will click on what they find interesting. It seems as though no matter how wonderful (or not so wonderful) social media can be. it is also the hub of formulaic videos that do not adhere to the true spirit of the site. and so forth. So this theory of Pratt’s does seem to enhance communication in a way. this idea can be tested: people come together from every background to share similar. So is auto ethnography the answer to this paradox? A space where people can come together. who’s claim to fame is making videos of himself playing video games out of his basement. they relinquish their membership of it. is one of the largest examples of this. comment. even not in the same discourse. The site has over 1 billion users. It is just one of those discourses that no matter what you do or how hard you try. this is the same example in which her theory seemed to be disproved. or different ideas. Youtube is a center for everyone to upload whatever they wish. you just can’t be a . or gain subscribers.

or how many times I travel to Spain. similar to how my parents will never understand why screaming goats in the middle of a Taylor Swift song is hilarious. even with the great strides it has made in making communication easier for people of all ages. . I will never understand why nouns are male and female. So overall.part of it unless you just are. so no matter how many years of Spanish I take. I will never be a native. we created all these platforms for creativity. That is something that any generation born after this development will never be able to grasp onto. social media. This “internet generation” invented what was funny in that space. so were are the ones who define what we like and what we don’t. And it’s not something that that discourse would ever allow — it’s like our own secret language. seems to have created the generation gap an even harder obstacle to overcome. people can come hang out with us. but they will have no idea what’s happening. It can be compared to different cultures in the geological sense — I was born in America.

” Participating in Cultures of Writing and Reading. Participating in Cultures of Writing and Reading. James Paul. Boston: Bedford/St. 35-44. 2015. Donna Qualley.Works Cited Daley. Donna Qualley. Elizabeth. 104-116. . Participating in Cultures of Writing and Reading. Boston: Bedford/St. Print. Gee. 73-81. Donna Qualley. “Expanding the Concept of Literacy”. Martin’s. Print. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2015. “Arts of the Contact Zonze. 2015. Mary Louise. “What is Literacy?”. Print. Martin’s. Pratt.