The Topoi: A Connection Among Discourse Communities

The readings for this post were heavy! Not because of the amount but solely on the complexity of the language and connections that need to be made. One word that stands out is “topoi”. Topoi, singularly topos, is a theme or connection piece. When tying this into the understanding of memes it all goes back to discourse communities. Memes are single ideas that together, connect entire discourse communities. Regardless of the chosen affinity, a well constructed meme “will be one that triggers the appropriate set of conceptual and emotional associations for a given audience within a given cultural context” (Wetherbee 2).

The meme comes from the Ancient Greek word¬†mimeme¬†which means “imitated thing” (Cohen & Kenny 86). The meme as described in Richard Dawkins’¬†The¬†Selfish Gene, starts as a single idea or piece that crosses cultural and ideological barriers to connect single thought strands. These single ideas evolve into a world of strategic discourse.

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To take an independent case not examined in the texts, The Willy Wonka meme. This since still image is a topoi that paved the way for a funny image that covers the everyday thoughts and belief behind each meme that covers the internet. These memes encourage each person to contribute their individual ideas in a cultural context.

Another overlooked effect of the meme is the breakdown of language. In many of the memes circulating the internet, it is common to see “iz” in the place of “is” and other letter replacements.

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In the above meme, the first image shows the use of language in a way that fits the context of the idea while deconstructing the English language as many have come to know it. Shortened languages known as “txtspk” and “lolspeak” (Cohen&Kenny 92-93), contribute to language breakdown. While the shortened language becomes more convenient on the quick exchange of ideas, when switching back to basic communications there is some confusion.

I know I’m going off into different ideas but the do all tie back together. Going back to the topoi, this connector contributes to the interaction across social media platforms. The meme connects users for Facebook to Instagram and Instagram to Twitter. Sites such as Tumblr, Reddit, and individual blogs in WordPress are a part of a larger idea. To take the case of the “binder of women” comment made by presidential candidate Mitt Rodney. The meme launched the election into social media spotlight across platforms with a common agenda. The need to speak out against gender inequalities broke down political barriers and at the same time, used visual and¬†textual ques based off of a single moment.

The moment when used correctly, can lead to the longevity of the meme. As it reaches across topics there are three questions that I have.

  1. How does the meme further restrict the political world?
  2. With the evolution of the meme, will language become a larger issue with further generations?
  3. Is multimodality effectively used in the design and evolution of the meme?

Response 7- Memes

When we think about how we communicate on a screen several things come to mind, text messages, emails, Facebook messages or maybe twitter. What we don’t think about is how these modes of communication change how we send each other information. As it says on page 90 of Chapter Four (Cohen and Kenny) “one of the biggest downsides of digital culture is transmission loss of meaning and depth in text in short messages”. This along with the combination of emoji’s and short speak make us pre programmed to keep it short and get to the point. It also opens the door to miscommunication because how I type something may not be the way its read by someone else, which can either be a funny misunderstanding or something more serious like offending someone.

This idea relates to page 338 of the Gries article where she talks about the consequences of an image as it circulates. When we post something to our social media accounts they’re ¬†no longer ours, they can be reposted and reworked thousands of times and the message we set out to send has now been revised half a dozen times. Think about the most popular memes out there right now and how many captions they can host or how many variations of that same meme you’ve come across in your scrolling. For example this picture has been apart of so many memes,

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Those are just two examples of how that one picture has been used. The two captions are totally unrelated but the picture still applies. When memes like this get changed and circulate they’re breathed new life. In memes like this its mostly for humor. However sometimes like Gries points out on page 342 sometimes images meant to be powerful and leave a lasting impression, like the obama hope poster, get remixed into context far outside their intent. Like the Obamicons which mock or make spoofs of the original content there is no limit to what people can do with something they find online, apps like twitter or instagram clearly state in their privacy policy that once you post it they can do what they want with it.

With the political scene heating up the memes surrounding the candidates are circulating more and more, some hilarious, some a little crude but all making jokes on the candidates campaign. Donald Trump in particular is a popular meme character, with thousands of variations of his face appearing all over social media.





As a non-Twitter Tweeter, I must say that the new feature is quite refreshing. The usual chaos of Twitter has always been a turn off for me. According to, Twitter’s Moments Will To Tame the Chaos, by Farhad Manjoo,

“The feature, called Moments, tries to transform Twitter‚Äôs chaotic timeline into a series of narratives that are easily navigated by people who aren‚Äôt familiar with the service‚Äôs strange rituals.”

Now with this new addition it is easy to filter through the piles of trending content;  at a first glance shines lights on the changes in the filtering process of hashtags and the actual nature of a hashtag, the archiviblity of twitter, the curating of these said moments, and the actual meaning of a moment. However, it does raise the question of how all this content is being complied:

  1. How are these moments being filtered?
  2. Are “moments of the moment” based on the number of tweets?
  3. In what ways does this addition differ from other Social media feeds that offer the same categorical trending feature?
  4. Is this a loss or a gain for Twitter in the sense that they lose their identity of being the social media that allows users to bounce from one topic to another, or is it a gain because it opens to being a more organized and better structured medium?
  5. How are these moments curated and by whom?
  6. Are moments viewed in different ways via different mediums (smart phones vs. computer screens)?
  7. How long do these moments last?
  8. What are the ethical responsibilities of Twitter in this new feature to Tweets and their content?
  9. How has the Terms and Services changed based on this addition? Has it changed?

How do you feel about this new moment in Twitter’s history? Where do you think it goes from here? How long do think it will last? Will Twitter’s Moments only last a moment?

The Ins & Out of a Privacy Policy

The Ins & Outs of Instagram-Prezi

Instagram is the snapshot into the lives of its users however few understand what they are signing up for. The privacy policy of Instagram has been controversial since it was acquired by Facebook. In the past 3 years privacy lines are still being crossed. This breakdown of the privacy policy will show some of the concerns users are having with this platform.


Prezi ūüôā¬†

I have used Prezi for a presentation several years ago. After a 4 year gap I did have to spend some time relearning how to maneuver the site. I actually prefer Prezi to Powerpoint because it allows more creativity in how the presentation flows. I love the zoom feature and the surprises that can be added to a presentation with the amount of space that is available in one path. The most confusing part of the experience was customizing paths and trying to rework and delete content.

Pinterest : A Virtual Inspiration Board

Pinterest is essentially a photo-sharing site where users can catalog ideas. It’s easy as uploading, saving, sorting, and managing photos, primarily known as “pins” on the site through collections known as pinboards. Pinboards are usually organized around a central topic or them making it accessible for other users to find and add the pin unto their own board as well. Boards range from food & recipes to tattoos and cars. The range of themes and topics are endless. There’s nothing that you can’t draw inspiration from on this social network.

The image above, provides an overview of the social network’s demographic with nearly 80%¬†of Pinterest‚Äôs users being women, most between the ages of 25 and 54, according to Google Double Click Ad Planner.

Prezi vs. Powerpoint

I found myself struggling to use Prezi and didn’t like how time consuming it was. PowerPoint is¬†my ‚Äėgo-to‚Äô software when making presentations because its¬†simple to¬† and doesn‚Äôt come with a whole lot of baggage like Prezi. Powerpoint is without¬†a doubt more user-friendly. The interface of Prezi was a bit overwhelming when I first made an account because it was not a program I was taught to use in school. I had to watch a video before I could begin with my presentation. I have to admit, even after watching a video I was still overwhelmed and frustrated because of all the animations, zooming, templates, etc. I think I’ll stick to using Powerpoint as the simple slide themes can be¬†redesigned to look more professional and modern, while the¬†straight progression of the presentation makes it simple for anyone¬†to follow.

Facebook “Rules”

Facebook contains many popular components such as the wall,¬†which is essentially a virtual bulletin board. Messages left on a member’s Wall can be text, video or photos. Another popular component is the virtual Photo Album where photos can be directly uploaded. Although there is no¬†limitation on quantity, Facebook has the right to remove any inappropriate or copyrighted images. ¬†Facebook also has an interactive album feature that allows its member’s “friends” to comment on each other’s photos and identify (tag) people in the photos. My presentation entails¬†some of¬†the main features and¬†rules of Facebook, predominantly, its origin, uses, and data policy.

Creating this project on Prezi instead of PowerPoint was challenging for me. I have used Prezi before but this time, I went even further and tried using the Prezi CSS editor feature.  I like that it gives me a big space to zoom in and out and that it flows flawlessly from slide to slide; however, it does have deficiencies such as limited fonts.  Although PowerPoint is much easier to use, once you get the hang of Prezi, it looks much more professional and effective.  Overall, I give it the thumbs up provided you have training!

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Twitter: The power of a retweet


Twitter, launched on March 21, 2006,¬†is a popular social media platform which has millions of users world wide. Twitter is unique because posts are limited to 140 characters, meaning you have to say what you want to say and get to the point.Twitter is used by many organizations to reach their customers, fans or supporters and to gain new marketing strategies. A powerful aspect of twitter though is a users ability to retweet posts, meaning you can forward, share and comment on things ranging from political posts, breaking news, weather and things as simple as comedy. Retweeting is both a blessing and a curse because a positive message as well as a negative one can be spread relatively quickly. There is no stopping a post once it gets going, even if the original poster removes the content its been copied so many times getting it back is almost never an option. However all in all twitter has a positive reputation in the social media community and continues to build its brand. Retweeting or just tweeting in general is specific to Twitters brand and it’s how people distinguish where a personal social media content came from. Donald trump has a major following and his tweets both good and bad get dragged all over the Twitterverse sometimes within minutes, showing just how quickly a retweet can spread.

Prezi Summary

This presentation was the first time I had ever heard of prezi let alone used it. I have to admit it was a bit of a challenge because it proves to be much more complex than power point. In my first ten minutes I had circles flying all over my screen, talk about overwhelming. Once I got the hang of it though I organized my content in sequential order, starting at what I was going to be talking about and then the sub topic within it. I typed out all the content and then I fixed the sizing, font and spacing. Once I had all my content in those tricky little circles I played with moving them around the screen and seeing where they looked best but also made the most sense. My big blunder though came when I added the background after I placed the circles, meaning I had to totally redo it when I chose the background.. oops! After all was said and done though I thought prezi was kind of cool though I didn’t find it to be more professional than power point.


Social Media in the Workplace

“According to Lee Rainie and Berry Wellman, communities online are a new social operating system that gives rise to ‘networked individualism’¬†because, when you are in a community online, it is personal and individual and for multiple simultaneous users multitasking in the environment” (Cohen & Kenny 10). Diving a little deeper into the idea of “networked individualism”, I found that what it actually means is the transformation from group-based networks to individualized networks.

I have to disagree with the notion that being a part of an online community is personal; in fact, I think its welcoming to outsiders or those who share similar interests because essentially, users of the digital realm are producing content onto the¬†World Wide Web for anyone and everyone to see. For instance, Republican staffer Elizabeth Lauten took to Facebook to criticize President Obama’s daughters. Take a look at the photo provided below.

GOP Staffer Calls Obama Daughters Classless, Dressed for the "Bar"

After reading her comment, what is your prospective on what she said?

Her comments created a media¬†uproar of social media backlash with people taking it as far as saying she deliberately cyber bullied Sasha and Malia Obama; causing her to delete the post, set her social media account to private, issuing an apology online and finally, resigning. Cohen and Kenny make it a point to explain that “the content or material discussed through text, displayed through visuals, or heard through sound captures the imagination of the web user” in that case, giving digital users the freedom to express themselves freely without sugar coating over anything (10). Elizabeth Lauten did not sugar coat how she felt, as millions¬†of others do everyday without thinking but writing in a digital space where she felt comfortable enough to speak openly to a community online. Unfortunately, what she had to say, not many people took a liking to it.

Technology is rapidly changing the way business is being handled and social media has become the dominate form of communication. Countless numbers of businesses use social media such as Facebook, ¬†Twitter, and Google+. Social media can act as a customer service tool allowing consumers to interact with product from a specific company. At the same time, these companies must be mindful of balancing an employee’s privacy against the employer’s security. “In social media employees, should be transparent about what they are doing and why” because anything can happen, ideas or opinions can be¬†misconstrued, taken out of context, and it effects negatively not only on the employee but the organization as well (Carroll 250). Recognizing that nothing on the web is truly private should have digital users stopping and asking themselves what is worth putting online for everyone to see.

Social Media and its Effects on Language.

Before using Tumblr¬†my idea of a ‘dashboard’ was only that of in a car. It has never occurred to me how social media has adapted and changed language in the sense of how we reference or relate a word, how we interpret and define, the physicality of that word, and in the biggest way how we use language. Take for example, that tweets no longer only come from¬†Rockin’ Robins¬†anymore, the concept of feed’ is not to give food, certainly a poke is not felt as hard as it used to be anymore, and lets face it; the act of being social is not that social if we are going to get technical. Our language is evolving once again to adapt to the changes that we are being faced with.

Since the creation of language, people have been able to effectiveexpress themselves in ways to portray emotion, action, and judgement. Over time we have become both virtual and real world members,and due to this movement from spaces we have had to adapt our language to fit both real life and online experiences. This shift in our language is created some friction in terms of culture, education, and even expression. Our interpretation of relationships, people, and interests have all changed because of how language is not interpreted.

In,¬†Understanding ¬†Digital Literacies,¬†Jones and Hafner go into detail about how Facebook’s ‘poke” feature and how it exemplifies the ongoing nature of the evolving online culture (pg 119-121). Now it may seem a bit odd that we are examining the simple term of a poke but we must remember that what some cultures may not see fit in person now have the capability to take part in online. Although, this affordance can be seen as an advancement of culture in terms of interaction between sexes it also mirrors the annoyance of being poked in real life. The word ‘poke’ in this case has in some way remained the same in the sense that it still connotates some type of physicality but it has adapted to a new environment which constrains physical interaction but allows the interpretation of interest in a sexual and non-sexual way. From this we can see that as we move more into a social online world the language or words we have been using is losing old meanings and gains new ones due ¬†due to our new nature.

If it is one thing that this ‘evolution of language’ has afforded us; it is that due to this change new mediums have opened up platforms which allows writers to publish and generation attention and participation in their writing. On page 23 of Cohen and Kenny’s,¬†Producing New and Digital Media,¬† they embellish upon this idea that now more than ever due to the affordance of new media platforms writers are able to publish at no cost besides creative influences. Although, this is a great addition to language because of its accessibility and creative qualities; writing in new media has also trickled down to effect students. Sites such as Twitter, only allow their users to write up to 140 characters. In order to master the site users must be able to eloquently and efficiently produce a tweet that gathers all of their information in one single tweet in order to reach the masses effectively.

However, although this may be effective on one front on anotherit is effecting students ability to produce quality writing. Writing and Editing for New Media,¬†stated that “according to a study done by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, in partnership with the College Board’s National Commission on Writing. Nearly two-thirds of 700 students surveyed acknowledged that their electronic communication style, which primarily is an informal, ¬†interpersonal style, found its way into school assignments. About half they sometimes omitted proper punctuation and capitalization in their school-work, while one quarter said they used emoticons.” (Carroll, pg 253).

Even though we have become more sophisticated in the way we use our words online to depict our emotions, our personal vendettas, and issues we have to become more aware that language we were once used to is no more. We have to educate students on how to effectively move from the print based way of language to the media based way language. Students know how to use these platforms but what they lack is the ability to effectively use all capabilities to produce meaningful and quality content.

As our language changes due to social media and aspects of social media users must become more aware of these changes and how they effect education, culture, expression, religions, and even politics. Our language is no longer one dimensional in the sense that when we reference things it only extends from the world around us but also includes the social media world and the world wide web. Our language is now more than ever more than what it appears to be and that must be understood when it comes to understanding and part-taking in social media.