Scavenger Hunt

Stacy Cacciatore

COM 601G

Week 2 Assignment – Scavenger Hunt

Friday, September 6, 2013

 

Works Cited

 

Bochner, Arthur P. and Ellis, Carolyn (1992). “Personal Narrative as a Social Approach to Interpersonal Communication.” Communication Theory 2 (issue #), 165-172.

Brooks, Bradley W., Burson, Timothy E. and Pupchek, Leanne (2010). “Skydive Carolina – ‘Welcome to my world’”. Journal of Critical Incidents 3 (issue #), 110-116.

Brooks, Bradley W. & Cox, Steven M. and White, Zachary M. (2012). Spirit Airlines controversial promotional campaigns. Journal of Case Studies 30 (2), 44-58.

El-Nawawy, Mohammed and Khamis, Sahar (2012). Divergent identities in the virtual Islamic public sphere: A case study of the English discussion forum ‘Islamonline’. Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research 5 (1), 31-48. DOI: 10.1386/jammr.5.1.31_1

McArthur, John (2011). ‘What happened?’ Teaching attribution theory through ambiguous prompts. Communication Teacher 25 (1), 32-36. DOI: 10.1080/17404622.2010.528001

Moss, Michael (February 20, 2013). The extraordinary science of addictive junk Food. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

My Plate. (n.d). In Encyclopedia Britannica online. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1783253/MyPlate

Payne, David (1989). The Wizard of Oz: Therapeutic Rhetoric in a Contemporary Media Ritual. Quarterly Journal of Speech 75 (1), 25-40.

Pupchek, Leanne (2010). A Review of: “Carolyn Ellis, Revision: Autoethnographic Reflections on Life and Work. Southern Communication Journal 75 (4), 454-456. DOI: 10.1080/1041794x.2010.504462

Reinagel, Monica M.S., L.D./N. (2009, 30 September). “Junk Food in Disguise” [Nutrition Diva]. Retrieved from http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating/junk-food-disguise

Schuldt, Jonathon P. (2013). “Does Green Mean Healthy? Nutrition Label Color Affects Perceptions of Healthfulness.” Health Communication. DOI: 10.1-80/10410236.2012.725270

Schwartz, Marlene B., Kunkel, Dale & DeLucia, Sarah (2013). “Food Marketing to Youth: Pervasive, Powerful, and Pernicious.” Communication Research Trends, Volume 32 (Issue 2), p4-13.

Zorn, Theodore E. & Gregory, Kimberly Weller (2005). “Learning the Ropes Together: Assimilation and Friendship Development Among First-Year Male Medical Students.” Health Communication, Volume 17 (Issue 3), p211-231. DOI: 10.1207/s15327027hc1703_1

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Literature Review – Equipment for Living in Movies Using the Conscious and Subconscious Mind

Equipment for Living in Movies Using the Conscious and Subconscious Mind

Stacy Cacciatore

Queens University

Introduction

This paper explores four published articles that evaluate Kenneth Burke’s equipment for living communications theory. While the theories, strategies and method’s vary greatly among the sources, they all have one theme in common, which is that audiences can correlate lessons learned from media to their specific circumstances to help them navigate life’s challenges. Supporting Burke’s theory, I believe that the movie Forrest Gump provides equipment for living for those who believe they can control their own destiny. Forrest Gump achieves this through rhetoric, semiotic communications tradition and symbolism. This paper explores how the authors interpret Burke’s equipment for living theory and evaluates how audiences use both their conscious and subconscious mind to make important decisions based on guidance provided in movies.

Equipment for Living in Movies Using the Conscious and Subconscious Mind

Kenneth Burke is a communication theorist who is known for his equipment for living theory. He not only developed the theory, but he experienced it for himself, as he wrote his novel, Towards a Better Life, when he fell in love with his wife’s sister (Littlejohn & Foss, 2011). Burke spent a lifetime developing the equipment for living theory, which states that rhetoric helps audiences understand and manage life’s challenges. According to Burke, rhetoric can provide us with a map to help us determine the best path to take. This map allows us to follow a path that has proven successful. Part of the trick is to focus only on the details that will serve YOU in your goal of providing your own paper with a theoretical springboard. Most of the paper will be YOUR analysis. You are providing the Literature Review to help readers theoretically locate your work. They can go to read the sources if they are more interested. ]

An analogy I used to better understand Burke’s theory of equipment for living is the way my family uses a Walt Disney World park map. The map provides us with a framework to explore the park, providing us with locations for attractions, characters and restaurants. The map also provides us with several routes we can take to reach out destination. The map doesn’t tell us which path to take, nor does it provide us with detailed step-by-step instructions for reaching our destination. Rather it provides us with a pictorial view of the layout of the park. We use it as a guide to help us reach our destination. Out of the millions of guests who visit Walt Disney World and use the same park maps, they don’t all choose the same path, but they are able reach their destination. Just as a map provides many paths that can lead to the same destination, movies can be interpreted and used in a variety of ways to serve as equipment for living for one’s individual circumstance.

Burke suggests that rhetoric offers words, vocabulary, emotions and actions for helping others both understand and cope with real-world situations (Littlejohn & Foss, 2011). Equipment for living doesn’t have to be a detailed guide with a complete set of directions for one’s exact situation, but rather it can provide an overall attitude, emotion and feeling for others to adopt.

This can be explained further through Daniel Lair’s (2011) evaluation of The Apprentice. Lair explains that not only did the show provide equipment for living for those who want to achieve success in business with specific examples of how to handle real-world scenarios in the workplace, but it also demonstrated this through the hidden sub-context.

Lair refers to “textual winks” throughout the Apprentice (p. 83). By “textual wink” Lair is referring to hints in the dialogue that foreshadow an upcoming event. The “textual wink” serves a purpose to savvy viewers who can look beyond the surface of the show to understand the deeper meaning of the content (p. 84).

Lair provides an example of a “textual wink” which occurred when producers played a clip with Jessie Connors, a contestant, commenting, “If Omorosa comes back I’ll question what this is all about.” Omorosa does come back, so the producers of the show are sending a hidden message to the viewer (“Tit for Tat”, 2004). Is the meaning of this statement to allude that this show is for entertainment purposes only? Is it meant to advise aspiring leaders on how to succeed in the corporate world? The interpretation is up to the viewer.

These hidden winks also bring the conscious vs. subconscious mind into the equation. How often are we influenced consciously by the words, action and images on the surface compared to subconsciously being influenced by the metaphors and deeper meaning within the sub context?

Researcher, Stephen Young (2000) explores the conscious vs. subconscious interpretive processes. Young explores whether an audience consciously makes life decisions based on content in a movie or are if decision-making is a result of subconscious interpretations. It is difficult for a researcher to measure subconscious decision-making since the viewer won’t be aware of changes made as a result of subconscious thinking. This is difficult to measure, but at the same time, I think the overwhelming majority of viewers aren’t aware of the effect a movie has on them, at least not at the time of viewing. Young also takes the analysis a step further by looking at the action that takes place outside of the viewer’s immediate line of sight. Movie components such as camera angle, setting and even the plot are ignored on the surface, but can have tremendous impact (2000).

Lair (2011) uses this same concept when exploring the sub contextual meaning behind The Apprentice, as he explains that The Apprentice serves as a metaphor for corporate America and “New York as a jungle (2011). I believe that The Apprentice serves as equipment for living for young professionals who move to New York find career success. Similar to how other shows, such as Friends and Sex in the City, they depict life in New York for the young professional as challenging. All of these shows help provide equipment for living for this target audience. The Apprentice not only provides concrete strategies, but also attitudes for those who personify life in the big apple.

On this same token, researcher, Lisa Perks (2007), makes a correlation between two reality shows, Supernanny and Dog Whisperer. Perks argues that both shows provide equipment for living for those who need to create an organized home, even though the subjects differ. Supernanny works with parents of small children while the Dog Whisperer deals with pet owners (Perks 2007). Perks argues that both shows provide strategies for establishing household order, which are important for disciplining children and animals. While I agree with Perks evaluation that there are some similarities and homologous forms of discipline that apply to both subjects, I disagree that the same strategy or “equipment for living” can be used for both children and animals. Children and animals differ tremendously.

Perks overlooks a key component in this research, which is that human’s have, the power of language, deep intellectual capacity and ability for introspection. Animals don’t have this same capacity and therefore the approach to behavior control must vary depending upon the subject. I would have preferred to see Perks review the subjects independently, or group reality parenting shows, such as Supernanny with Wife Swap, instead of combining parenting and animal control.

This is related to what researcher, Stephen Young (2000) stated, which is that Burke’s equipment for living theory is based on the fact that human’s are self-aware and can make conscious connections between art and real world. This is not something that animal’s can perform. The very nature of the study of Burke’s theory lends itself to the uniqueness of the human experience and I would hope that Lisa Perks could translate that in her studies. I think she missed the mark on her research.

I think that a much better correlation in the application of equipment for living is in Burr-Miller’s (2011) research about fantasy baseball as equipment for living. Burr-Miller says that she believes that fantasy baseball serves as equipment for living by providing baseball fans with symbolic ways to connect baseball to their own personal experience. What this means is that the act of participating in fantasy baseball creates a new medium in which to develop friendships, connect and express themselves (2011). The fantasy baseball player relies upon rhetoric and media to understand the games, players and statistics. Through the interpretation of the rhetoric, the player then bridges the analytical knowledge with interpersonal relationships. Burr-Miller provides a personal example of this, showing a conversation she had with others during the fantasy baseball experience. Her experience demonstrates that this medium forged relationships and allowed her to bridge fantasy with reality.

The way I see it, movies are like a dress rehearsal for real life, providing us with the strategies, language and concepts to apply to real-world situations, as well as engaging our subconscious mind and allowing us to mentally rehearse scenarios

A method I used for better understanding this concept is by comparing how I use my dreams as equipment for living. When I’m nervous about something, whether it’s an upcoming race or delivering a project for work, I’ll incorporate that performance into my dream. For example, the day before my marathon, I visualized myself putting on my running gear, lining up for the race and running calmly through 26.2 miles. My dream acted as my dress rehearsal for the real thing the next day. Because I had visualized my roadmap for completing the marathon, complete with a challenge that I was able to successfully overcome, I was able to feel more confident the day of the event. My dream served as my “equipment for living” for my real life event in my subconscious mind.

Young explains movies as equipment for living in the same essence. He says that viewers interpret films and use that synthesis to handle the challenges in their real life scenarios (2000).

In conclusion, movies can provide us with equipment for living in many ways. From serving as a metaphor for real-life situations, to engaging our subconscious mind to providing us with a map for navigating similar scenarios. The movie Forrest Gump uses strong semiotic communications tradition, symbolism and outstanding writing to provide viewers with equipment for living for finding their destiny.

Destiny is a highly debated philosophy, which clearly has two sides of the coin. Some believe that our destiny is pre-determined while others believe that we can take charge of our destiny and life the life we desire. Through the research that communication theorists have uncovered, one can apply a variety of concepts and theories to this movie to demonstrate how Forrest Gump helps others forge the path to find their own destiny and take charge of their future.

References

Burr-Miller, Allison C. (2011). What’s Your Fantasy? Fantasy Baseball as Equipment for Living. Southern Communication Journal, 76(5) 443-464.

Lair, Daniel. (2011). Surviving the Corporate Jungle: The Apprentice as Equipment for Living in the Contemporary Work World. Western Journal of Communication, 75(1), 75-94. Doi: 10.1080/10570314.2010.536966

Littlejohn, Stephen W. and Foss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

Perks, Lisa. (2007). Equipment for Living in an Ordered Home: Disciplinary Homologies in Supernanny and Dog Whisperer. Conference papers– National Communication Association. 1-20.

Tit for tat [Television series episode]. (2004, February 12). In M. Burnett & D. Trump (Executive Producers) The Apprentice. New York: NBC. Retrieved from YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT8h8rxZpk0.

Young, Stephen Dine. (2000). Movies as Equipment for Living: A Developmental Analysis of the Importance of Film in Everyday Life. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 17(4), 447-468.

NOTES:

You don’t need to include the months in parentheses with the year if you have a volume number for a peer-reviewed journal. Daily newspapers and trade periodicals usually need dates within the parentheses.

Italicize the name of the journal, book, series.

Punctuate your entries correctly (this is always a pain-in-the-neck detail): Period follows author; period follows year parentheses.

Lessons Learned (Week 8)

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

I can’t believe this is my final blog post from my first course in my Master of Arts in Communications program. I have learned quite a bit over these fast-paced eight weeks. I will share the top three lessons I learned in this course:

Part I

New Technology

I consider myself pretty technologically savvy, so imagine my surprise when I learn new communication tools my first week of class! I had not previously heard of Prezi an I am thrilled with the functionality. I create numerous PowerPoint presentations in my career as a Communications Manager, but I’ve grown bored with the functionality available in that tool. I think that Prezi offers so many more options to make the material presented interesting and dynamic.

I also created my first vlog and video presentation in this course. I’ve been blogging for years, but have never explored video or audio functionality. What have I been missing! Now that I’ve explored these tools, I see so much opportunity to integrate into my communications strategy for my personal brand. I am going to try shooting a video blog demonstrating cooking some of my healthy recipes. I also think there are times in which an audio clip would serve well as supplemental material on my blog. In particular, I think I should use this functionality when promoting my new book, Lunch, by me!

Lunch by me

Communication Theory

My favorite communication tradition is semiotic. Semiotics is the study of signs. Littlejohn and Foss define the semiotic tradition as “how signs come to represent objects, ideas, states, situations, feelings, and conditions outside of themselves” (2011, 45)[1]. Lair (2011) applied the semiotic communication tradition and referred to inferences as “textual winks”, meaning that which savvy audiences look beyond the surface of the show to understand the deeper meaning of the content (p. 84)[2].

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

I applied the semiotic tradition when evaluating how the movie Forrest Gump provided “equipment for living” to those who want to pursue their destiny. You can review my presentation on Forrest Gump as Equipment for Living for Destiny Seekers to see how I applied that theory. I was able to evaluate the symbolism of the feather and birds in the movie for their deeper meaning.

I also conducted my presentation – Does Green Mean Healthy – during our digital assignment on this article and was able to apply the semiotic tradition to explore how food manufacturer’s use packaging and labels to purposefully mislead consumers in thinking their products are healthy.

The semiotic communication tradition really resonated with me and I was able to apply it to concepts in which I had a real passion. I was particularly excited to evaluate the food manufacturer’s use of purposeful deceitful packaging to portray a junk food as a healthy option. A study conducted by Jonathon Schuldt (2013)[3], assistant professor communication and director of Cornell’s Social Cognition and Communication Lab, found that consumers often mistakenly believe a product is healthy if it has a green wrapper.

Food manufacturers are well aware that they are using semiotic tradition in their communication and marketing strategies with consumers. They use symbols with key words, icons and labeling to purposefully mislead consumers. It was a lot of fun to evaluate these concepts in my presentation.

Writing a Research Paper

 

The concept of writing a research paper in the particular format that we used was a completely new concept to me. When I obtained my bachelor’s degree, we used MLA style, so the APA style was completely new. I visited the Purdue Online Writing Lab daily. I also enjoyed visiting the Queens University Writing Center. I visited the beautiful campus and met with Holly, who was able to guide me in the right direction. It was wonderful to receive one-on-one attention for all of my writing and APA Style questions. I also learned how to use important resources, such as EbscoHOST. I actually felt like an entire world was opened up to me as I searched articles on any topic that I desired. It was a lot of fun finding the latest research on topics in which I was interested. I enjoyed this because it allowed me to focus on those articles that were valid and well-researched. If you simply conduct a Google Search, you don’t always know what you will get.

 

Part II

For the second component of my blog post, I will discuss my impressions and insights from my classmates digital presentations. I have been impressed with the quality of the content presented from my classmates! I particularly have enjoyed viewing the presentations on Disney movies, as Disney is near and dear to my heart.

I’ll break my feedback up into three components in effort to provide a comprehensive overview of what I’ve learned, as well as the most interesting projects.

Equipment for Living Application

When reviewing some of my classmates presentations, I felt like their application of equipment for living was seamless. For example, I felt like Angela Stalcup did an amazing job at applying equipment for living to The Shawshank Redemption. She married the movie, research and personal experience beautifully. When I viewed Angela’s mom’s video about her “pink cloud” tears came to my eyes. Her paper, presentation and video were touching. Not only was Angela’s presentation personally touching, but it was clear, concise and explicit. She had a strong thesis that she quantified with data. It felt like a natural fit.

Presentation 

I enjoyed viewing my classmates presentations and the different ways they used visuals, text, graphics and illustrations to convey their points. While some classmates used a minimalist style, others incorporated animation. Some classmates embraced Prezi, while others used PowerPoint. I particularly loved Kim Amaya’s use of graphics, color and presentation style for Beauty and the Beast. The presentation was stunning and I enjoyed how she incorporated her daughter’s voice and perspective into the presentation! It was a creative way to show that her research extended beyond the movie and reading.

I also was blown away with Peggy McGill’s presentation style. She is an excellent presenter and she was clear, confident and concise. Her style was engaging and I greatly enjoyed hearing about the movie Up. She brought up many key points that I had not explored previously when viewing the movie.

Personal experience

My favorite part of all of the presentations was hearing the personal stories and why the author chose their movie. I particularly loved hearing Tenecia’s presentation and why she selected the movie Tangled. Her application of the equipment for living theory for Tangled and her journey for pursuing her Masters degree in Communications mirrored my own experience. The way Tenecia presented the story made me root for her all along the way. I felt connected to her story and greatly enjoyed hearing her analysis.

In conclusion, I greatly enjoyed all of my classmates presentations. This has been a tremendous learning experience and I’ve greatly enjoyed the journey. I look forward to continuing this journey with my classmates.


[1] Littlejohn, S. W. and Foss, K. A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

[2] Lair, D. (2011). Surviving the Corporate Jungle: The Apprentice as Equipment for Living in the Contemporary Work World. Western Journal of Communication, 75(1), 75-94. Doi: 10.1080/10570314.2010.536966

[3] Schuldt, Jonathon P. (February, 27 2013). Does Green Mean Healthy? Nutrition Label Color Affects Perceptions of Healthfulness. Health Communication. DOI:10.1080/10410236.2012.725270

Cacciatore Digital Presentation – Forrest Gump as Equipment for Living for Destiny Seekers

Please review my presentation on Forrest Gump as Equipment for Living for Destiny Seekers

Forrest Gump Prezi Presentation

Works Cited for Images in Presentation:

  • Forrest Gump on bench retreived from thehoppingkiwi.com
  • Kenneth Burke retrieved from americanathenaeum.blogspot.com
  • Stacy Cacciatore (personal image)
  • Low IQ chart retreived from http://grussell903.1accesshost.com
  • Maria Kang “No Excuses” Photo retrieved from MariaKang.com
  • Feather retrieved from everydaysurviving.com
  • Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far away from here retrieved from rantasararex.blogspot.com
  • Forret Gump Running retrieved from runwriterun.com
  • Forret Gump with drill sergeant retrieved from speakinggump.com
  • Forret Gump playing ping pong  retrieved from speakinggump.com
  • Forret Gump breaking free from leg braces  retrieved from ericharr.com
  • Stacy Cacciatore Before and After retrieved from fiveadaythefunway.com

My full paper:

CacciatoreStacy_Week8InquiryPaper_102013

Playing Favorites with Communication Theories (Week 7)

stuart miles on freedigitalphotos.net

stuart miles on freedigitalphotos.net

The seven traditions of communications theory all have varying levels of “truth” and applicability. I can see how each of the seven communication theories can apply to various situations that I’ve encountered. As Littlejohn and Foss (2011)[1] explain, not all of the communication theories will have the same level of importance or meaning to each of us. The seven communication traditions come from Robert Craig’s metamodel (2011, 44)[2]. I will list the communication traditions in order of my preference and applicability to work I’ve conducted.

  1.  Semiotic
Stuart Miles with freedigitalphotos.net

Stuart Miles with freedigitalphotos.net

My favorite communication tradition is semiotic. Semiotics is the study of signs. Littlejohn and Foss define the semiotic tradition as “how signs come to represent objects, ideas, states, situations, feelings, and conditions outside of themselves” (2011, 45)[3]. When I read about the semiotic tradition my first thought was, “this is it!” I applied the semiotic tradition when evaluating how the movie Forrest Gump provided “equipment for living” to those who want to pursue their destiny.

The semiotic tradition also ties right into an area that I’ve been interested in, which is food manufacturer’s use of purposeful deceitful packaging to portray a junk food as a healthy option.

A study conducted by Jonathon Schuldt (2013)[4], assistant professor communication and director of Cornell’s Social Cognition and Communication Lab, found that consumers often mistakenly believe a product is healthy if it has a green wrapper.

I conducted my PowerPoint presentation during our digital assignment on this article and was able to apply the semiotic tradition to explore how food manufacturer’s use packaging and labels to purposefully mislead consumers in thinking their products are healthy.

Food manufacturers are well aware that they are using semiotic tradition in their communication and marketing strategies with consumers. They use symbols with key words, icons and labeling to purposefully mislead consumers. They are aware of consumer’s perceptions and inference they will use when selecting their products. Consumers can protect themselves by becoming aware of their perceptions and ensuring they base their food purchasing on facts rather than inference on the packaging of a product.

My favorite example of this exists with a popular brand of granola bars. The Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars seem like a healthier option than a candy bar, but with 190 calories and 12 grams of sugars, don’t let the green box or “100% Natural” label fool you: this is no health food. You’d be better off with an entire package of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Squares for only 130 calories and 10 grams of sugar (CalorieCount)[5].

In this case food manufacturers use semiotic tradition, or a sign, to communicate misleading information. Food manufactures know that consumers associate a green food label with health food. Therefore they rebrand packaging on foods to purposefully mislead consumers. A study found that 50 percent of consumers use food labeling to help them make purchasing decisions (Gorman 1991)[6].

This is just one of the many examples of how companies use semiotics to communicate with consumers.

2.    Critical

Image courtesy of stockphoto on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockphoto on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My second favorite communication tradition is the critical tradition because of the applicability to understand gender communication. Littlejohn and Foss (2011) explain that the critical tradition explores how power, special abilities, influence and privileges influence communication in society. Language is an important component of the critical tradition, as the dominant language is often used to further oppress marginalized groups. Feminist studies use critical communications tradition to explore how females and other marginalized groups are kept from participating in the general public arena.

I’m particularly interested in the communication between men and women in the workplace. In Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, she explores gender in the workplace. She discusses how women often are expected to speak and communicate like a man in order to be successful in the workplace. (Sandberg, 2013). Sandberg mentions that women must develop a thick skin and not act emotional in the workplace. The preferred communication styles in the workplace often emulate the male style, which is direct. This critical communication theory would say that this is because the dominant language of men is being used to continue to oppress women.

Researchers at the University of Victoria found that these gender differences in communication perpetuate themselves in electronic and verbal communication. Females use the words “could” and “would” more often while males were more direct and assertive (Luong, et. al. 2007)[7]. This demonstrates that there is a difference in style between communication among men and women, but my question is, why is the female style viewed as inferior? This is because it has become ingrained, subconsciously, that the male style of communication is superior.

3.    Phenomenological

emailcloud

Littlejohn and Foss (2011, 47)[8] define phenomenology as “the way in which human beings come to understand the world through direct experience – the perception of a phenomenon, whether an object, event or condition.” This communication tradition explores how individuals actively interpret their world and make sense of their experience. We come to know our world through how we engage with it, not just through reading about it. This theory basically says that we must experience something to truly understand it.

An example that comes to mind with phenomenological tradition is going through adolescence. I try to protect my children by telling them about my lessons learned throughout my adolescence and I advise them of situations to avoid and what not to do, but honestly, they are going to have to experience life themselves before they are truly able to apply these lessons. No matter how much I tell them that friendships are fleeting, but family is forever, this won’t prevent them from being devastated the first time they are betrayed by a friend. No matter how much I tell them that the hurt from their first break-up won’t last forever, they won’t believe me until they go through it themselves. Feeling love, loss and betrayal aren’t things you can experience by hearing about it from someone else or reading about it. You must experience it for yourself.

This is my third favorite tradition because I like how one can apply this theory to world experience. As much as I like to research and read about situations, the older I get, the more I realize that no matter how much research, reading and exploration of a topic you conduct, you truly don’t understand something until you’ve experienced it firsthand.

4.    Cybernetic

Stacy Cacciatore

The cybernetic tradition explores how communication is understood by how elements influence each other. Littlejohn and Foss state that systems make up cybernetic tradition and  “systems are sets of interacting components that together form something more than the sum of parts” (2011, 50)[9].

An example of applying cybernetic theory is in family dynamics. Families are made up of many individuals, each with their own personalities, issues and characteristics. Each family member isn’t acting solo, but they influence each other. These interactions create patterns of behavior and a unique family dynamic. Just this weekend I took a road trip with my mother and two children to visit my sister and nephews in Brevard, North Carolina.

We have a interlocking web of relationships, as our family unit is not only defined by Mother-Daughters, but we each have our own family unit, with spouse and children. We have in-laws, nieces, nephews, sisters, grandparents and step-parents all working together to create the overall family dynamic. To understand the relationship of our family, you can evaluate how each of us influence one another and create a pattern of relationship.

An article by Frederick Steier explored cybernetic communication and stated that an important component is how the family members define the family system based on the history of their interactions with each other (1989)[10].Relationships and family history can have deep rooted meanings in family systems.

I find the study of family dynamics fascinating. This is particularly interesting as I come off of a weekend with family and the meshing of several family dynamics and efforts to understand each other.

5.    Sociopsychological

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The sociopsychological tradition explores the individual as a social being that is part of a community. Littlejohn and Foss state that this theory is “most often associated with ‘the science of communication’ (2011, 53)[11]. This theory focuses on message processing. The researchers also find that most of this processing is done without the individual’s awareness.

This applies a great deal to the communication strategies I develop in my workplace. We must take into account how an individual will process the information based on their role in the organization. Even though we are all part of one organization, the employee’s job function plays an important role in the way they will interpret the information. I created a communication matrix that lists the various roles in the organization in which we communicate, along with the communication channels. We use this matrix to evaluate the message and ensure it is relvant and applicable to the audience. For example, when communicating information about a technical issue, we can assume that our technology managers will understand certain terminology. However, if we write a general aarticle about the same technology we must vary the language and information to ensure it’s understood by the broader audience.

6.    Sociocultural

Stuart Miles with freedigitalphotos.net

Stuart Miles with freedigitalphotos.net

Researchers in this tradition explore how people interact together to create the reality of their organization, culture and group.

Something that comes to mind when exploring the sociopsychological tradition is how social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest create alter-egos and personalities in which we interact with each other. I wrote about the social networking phenomenon in last week’s discussion post on virtual watercooler.

I found that the use of a hashtag inherently creates a sense of community as people feel a part of a group or community by curating their content with a shared experience. An article by Lauren Smith and Richard Smith (2012)[12] found that the use of hashtags, particularly in sports, supports the social-identity theory that helps others understand their place in the world. They found that people use Twitter to share information and the use of this social media channel fulfills emotional needs. The use of the hashtag makes people feel a part of something larger than themselves and connected to a larger community.

7. Rhetorical

Ambro on freedigitalphotos.net

Ambro on freedigitalphotos.net

The rhetorical tradition explores the art of using symbols to construct the world around us. Littlejohn and Foss (2011) state that there are five areas of rhetoric:

  • Invention
  • Arrangement
  • Style
  • Delivery
  • Memory

These areas interact together to form the overall rhetorical tradition. The rhetorical tradition can look overall at how race, gender, class and sexuality. There is overlap of rhetorical traditions with many other communication traditions. I think that the rhetorical tradition can be used most broadly, as it applies to such a broad range of situations.

In conclusion, I think that all of the communication traditions are applicable in a wide variety of circumstances. It is important to have a knowledge of all of them, so one can make relevant correlations in a variety of circumstances. Not only can different communication theories be applied to a variety of circumstances, but one situation can also have applicability to a variety of communication theories


[1] Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Floss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

[2] Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Floss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

[3] Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Floss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

[4] Schuldt, Jonathon P. (February, 27 2013). Does Green Mean Healthy? Nutrition Label Color Affects Perceptions of Healthfulness. Health Communication. DOI:10.1080/10410236.2012.725270

[5] Nature Valley. “Calories in Crunchy Granola Bars” Retrieved on September 13, 2013 from http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-nature-valley-crunchy-granola-bars-i57486

[6] Gorman, Christine (1991), “The Fight over Food Labels,” Time Magazine, p52-56.

[7] Luong, Alexandra, Durgunoglu, Aydin, Hennek, Jennifer and Mai, Thao (December 2007). Perception of Leader Effectiveness as a Function of Gendered Language in Electronic Mail. Communication Journal of New Zealand. 8(2) 19-30.

[8] Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Floss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

[9] Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Floss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

[10] Steier, F. (1989). Toward a Radical and Ecological Constructivist Approach to Family Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, 17(1/2). 1-26.

[11] Littlejohn, Stephen W. & Floss, Karen A. (2011). Theories of Human Communication. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.

[12] Smith, L. and Smith, R.  (2012) Identity in Twitter’s Hashtag Culture: A Sport-Media Consumption Case Study. International Journal of Sport Communication, 5(4) 539-557.

Connecting with Classmates

I met with two of my classmates, Angela Stalcup and Kim Madrigal, last week to discuss the Inquiry Project Research Paper.

Retrieved from collegelifestyles.com

Retrieved from collegelifestyles.com

The sessions were extremely helpful and it was great to connect with my classmates. For both of the sessions, we emailed our paper to the reviewer, read, reviewed, made edits, and emailed our tracked changes back to the writer prior to the meeting. When making edits to the paper, I used a peer review checklist that I use in the workplace when I review my other’s writing. I created this checklist this year because we had an article publish with a few common errors that were overlooked. This list helps my team and I ensure that our communications are high quality when they publish. We look at a few key areas:

Retrieved from clker.com

Retrieved from clker.com

Grammar

  • Verb tense
  • Subject and verb agreement
  • Run-on sentences

Style

  • Read aloud
  • Ensure follows APA Style
  • Cut out unnecessary words

Mechanics

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Indentation

Both papers that I reviewed were excellent and required very little edits! The content flowed wonderfully and I enjoyed reading their interpretation of how their movies applied “equipment for living.”

I greatly enjoyed hearing their feedback on my paper and seeing the items that they caught! Sometimes it is difficult to see the errors in your own work when you are working on something so long. You look at it for such a long time that you end up overlooking obvious errors.

It was also great to connect with my classmates and discuss our experiences with the course.

This week I also visited the Writing Resource Center at Queens University. I met with Holly, who provided great feedback on my paper and was able to answer several APA Style questions that I had. I even stumped Holly with some of my APA questions, specifically one on quotation blocks from dialogue in a movie and she is currently researching this item further. It was reassuring to hear that even the expert in APA Style has a need to dig further to find the answers to some of these citation challenges. I am grateful that Queens University has a Writing Resource Center and I look forward to using it frequently!