Expanding The Social Media Circle

I’m starting to try to branch out more on various social media. So, if you like following me on my site here, go check out what other stuff I’m doing on the web. Follow the links below to stay connected to all of my web shenanigans.

Twitter: SamV_Photo

My Google+

Flickr

Facebook

After you’ve followed me at all those sites above, feel free to post your various social media links down below, so I can get a look at whatever you’re up to.

 

Bowling for Columbine Review

Image

 

Every documentary we have seen thus far has essentially been the story of the subject challenging something. In The Cove it  was dolphin slaughter; Gas Hole, the oil industry; The Human Experience, perceptions of our fellow humans. Bowling for  Columbine is no different, with Michael Moore taking on what feels like the entirety of conservative America at times. Unfortunately, Moore seems not only to have bitten off more than he can chew, but ineffectually gnawing on it like a cranky schnauzer.

More than anything, Moore just comes off as bitter and immature. It’s very clear that he has an agenda, and he has no problem showing it. And, this does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, so long as the presentation and subject matter is handled with a feeling of maturity and respect.

Moore abandons all of that if favor of cheap gimmicks, jabs at interview subjects added when they are not around to defend themselves, and an overall attempt to vilify conservative culture in general. It is a recurring theme in his work for him to chase down those he wants to interview, shove a microphone in his/her face, and then act like a hurt, innocent victim when he is ignored.

All of Moore’s antics radically undercut his message, making me actually feel a tad ashamed when I agreed with any of his stances. Overall, what good ideas that the documentary does present are buried under the sheer breadth of what Moore tries to fight, and the petty behavior on screen. This should really only be watched to get a feel for how not to approach a documentary.

Breaking Free of the Echo Chamber

It’s time for a social experiment. Let’s start with a few quick questions. First off, what are your political and religious views? What sort of lifestyle do you live? What are your hobbies and interests? How do you define yourself? It’s okay, you can be honest.

Now, go scroll through your friends on Facebook, forums you may follow, and any other social media you visit. Chances are, if I asked those people the same questions that I just asked you, the results will probably be pretty similar. That makes sense though. It’s only natural that the people whom you chose to associate with would share common tastes and beliefs.

That brings us to the final step. Take a close look at what media you’re consuming on a daily basis; specifically, news. Are you more interested in what’s going on in your area, so you keep a close eye on the local papers and network affiliates? Or, are you more concerned about the larger scale events, so you turn the national and international stage? Do you just really not care about mainstream news at all, and just reach for a sports, electronics, or gossip magazine to keep up to date on your niche interests? It probably wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine that your media consumption aligns with the answers from the sections one and two up there.

This habit to surround ourselves with ideals which mirror our own is known in the media as the echo chamber, and it’s more prevalent than ever with the advent of social media. Never before has one been able to be completely surrounded by information, and learn so little.

Think of it as mental exercise. Going through the same routine might be enough to get you by, and get easy over time, but it won’t really be improving. The best way to keep getting better is to change the routine, and increase the difficulty to push your limits. Likewise, the only way to challenge yourself mentally is to go outside of your comfort zone, and experience new ideas, even if you may disagree with them. The most important thing to remember is to keep an open mind.

So, today, just try to get out of your comfort zone and bring a little more balance to your media diet. Scroll over to the BBC and get a feel for what’s going on globally. Maybe you could grab a local periodical to read while you’re waiting for the bus. Switch over to CNN during commercials on your nightly reality TV. Scoop up a magazine that you normally wouldn’t from that stack in your doctor’s office. It may be a break from the routine, and I can’t promise you’ll enjoy yourself. However; it is a positive step toward becoming a more informed, well-rounded person.