Author Archives: Alex Feng

The Real Face of Social Media by Alex Feng

Throughout the early 2000s to present day, this particular digital technology, social media, has evolve and made a huge impact on the average teenager and young adult life. Websites and applications such as Myspace, Aim, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and many more have made sharing and creating content easier than never before. All it takes is a few clicks with a mouse cursor and anybody will receive an update with the latest news about their friends or updating their profile for friends and the public to see what has been happening in their life. However, despite how social media makes communicating with others extremely easier, it obstructs people’s empathy for others and themselves. Social media is literally a source for anybody to cyber bully others, it negatively affects some individuals’ self-empathy, and creates a false sense of connection with others. I will first discuss how social media has affect individual’s self-empathy. Then I will discuss how cyber bullying that is form by social media, not only obstructs people’s empathy for others, but worsen it, too. Afterwards, I will mention how social media creates a false sense of connection that cripples empathy between individuals. Lastly, I will bring up possible counter arguments of how social media may improve empathy between individuals.

Social media has redefined communicating with others, but most importantly drastically alter our view on ourselves. Some people may find themselves comparing themselves with their friends who are very popular. As they look at the comparison between themselves and their popular friend, they will notice what sets them apart from each other and it will hurt their self-esteem. According to this article from Reader’s Digest called, “5 Weird Negative Effects of Social Media on Your Brain”, researchers discovered that one in three people felt lonely and frustrated after spending time on Facebook due to comparing themselves with friends. This decreases their empathy in general because these angry individuals will not want to understand how others feel and share only their jealousy and hatred since they are lonely. Another method of how social media obstructs individual’s empathy for others is by hurting the brain’s ability to think independently. The peer pressure that is born from social media affect’s people decision to fit in with the majority instead of the minority. How can empathy be increase from social media if someone relies on another person’s opinion to make a decision? Empathy is suppose to come from the understanding and ability to share feelings, but it cannot be understood properly if there is a third party interference. Therefore social media obstruct’s people’s empathy for others. 

An additional way of how social media not only obstructs, but worsen people’s empathy for others is cyberbullying. Take a second to stop and think about this question. Does cyberbullying actually increase empathy or decrease and obstruct empathy? According to this article on, a student shared his embarrassing personal story and material, but it was leaked onto social media. Due to bullies toying with him and not being able to handle the embarrassment, the student committed suicide. This is what the misuse of social media can do and it will not increase the empathy between people. Instead it will only wither away the temporarily empathy people have for each other and lead to others hurting others mentally. 

When has socializing from person to person become so quiet and awkward? Before social media has made a serious impact on the daily lives of the average teenager and adult, conversations were rich with emotion and passion. Friends were able to understand each other easily through empathy, but all that came to a halt since the creation of websites and applications such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Nowadays when a group of friends hang out with each other everybody takes out their phone and goes on Facebook or takes selfies and post them on Snapchat and Instagram. Where is the empathy? It is simply gone because this digital technology, social media, is emotionless and does not provide the rich emotion and passion that conversations have. Instead social media has instead of connecting individuals together is actually pushing them farther away from each other. According to this article, social media sites makes it more difficult to distinguish between sincere relationships that can only be establish in the real world to the casual relationships that are formed through social media. My colleague, Karen, said,”Every couple of days I receive a new friend request on Facebook, but the thing is half the time I don’t even know who these people are that are adding me. If I eventually meet them in person, I will probably only think of them as a stranger or an acquaintance, but definitely not a friend. I feel kind of bad through because some of the people that have added me actually think I am their friend when I know nothing about them.” This shows how a misunderstanding between two parties due to social media can lead to a decrease in empathy for each other. 

Despite how I portrayed social media to obstruct and worsen empathy between individuals there are plenty of counter arguments that would lead to the possibility of social media increasing the empathy between people. My mother, Lily, who is now 56 years old is working hard to support me and my sister. She left behind her friends in Guangzhou, China, but thanks to the advances in social media she has been able to reconnect with her old friends through applications and websites such as Wechat and Facebook. “I don’t like technology in general because I see you playing games all the time, but I am thankful for it at the same time to reunite me with my friends,” said Lily. Due to social media, it has given my mother the opportunity to communicate with her friends and reminiscent over the past thus increasing empathy between both parties. Also social media has saved lives by being an extremely versatile and useful tool during the recent Paris terrorist attack. According to this article from Academic Search Complete database City Tech, social media has saved lives and brought people closer together. Through Facebook, people offered to shelter the injured, wounded, and anybody caught up in the attack. Also there was a trend where Facebook users and countries around the world switched their profile picture and important monument to the colors of France’s flag. This is a perfect example of how social media can increase empathy between people in times of need.

Social media obstructs empathy between individuals through first affecting ourselves. Before anybody can learn to understand how others feel and share their own feelings, they must be able to understand themselves otherwise they will never truly understand how other people feel. As social media messes with our empathy for ourselves, it will also affect our self-esteem which makes individuals an easier target to become a victim of cyberbullying. It not only obstructs any empathy between people, but also worsens it since both the bully and victim are not bothering to understand each other or how anybody else feels. Also social media corrodes away at the few sincere relationships that people have with each other as individuals get more distant from each other and conversations become silent and awkward. This will only worsen as time goes by due to technology always evolving and eventually the part of our brain that is used to vocally communicate our thoughts will be rendered useless. To avoid this from happening, everybody should start throwing away their desire to constantly check social media and plan more indepth friendly activities to understand each other better. This will lead to empathy increasing. 

Works Cited

“5 Weird Negative Effects of Social Media on Your Brain.” Reader’s digest. Web. 1 Dec 2015

Jung, Brian. “The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals.” Chron. Web. 30 Nov 2015

Karen. Personal Interview, 1 Dec 2015

Lily. Personal Interview, 2 Dec 2015

Rash, Wayne. “Social Media Save Lives, Brought People Closer During Paris Attacks.” Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Dec 2015.

“The Top Six Unforgettable Cyberbullying Cases Ever.” Web. 2 Dec 2015.


The Perfect Fit of Communication Design and Marketing by Alex Feng

My name is Alex Feng and I am currently in the Civil Engineering major. What I really want to major in is Communication Design Management. After supposedly receiving my associate and bachelor degree in that major, I want to become a marketing manager. This career and major is the best for me because I have an sincere interest in this major thanks to an opportunity I was given at Brooklyn Technical High School, the promising job aspects towards the future in the marketing manager career, and the skills I obtain in this major which appeals to me. I will first broadly discuss about what I can do with a degree in this field. Then I will specifically explain my three reasons about why this major and career for me is perfect for me. Lastly I will mention what my plans are to succeed towards the future of my career and where I see myself in six to fourteen years from now.

I am currently enrolled in the School Of Technology And Design in New York City College of Technology and according to the New York City College of Technology College Catalog 2015-2016, this degree that I seek to attain is called “Associates in Applied Science in Communication Design Management”. After obtaining this degree, the three entry-level jobs that I can pursue are advertising, marketing and graphic design. Using what I learn from this major such as content delivery and the principles of selling, I will pursue my career as a marketing manager. Furthermore not only do I want my education at City Tech to provide me with the knowledge and skills to become successful as a marketing manager, but also to broaden my world in media in the fields of photography, filmography and web design.

The first reason about why Communication Design Marketing is the best for me is due to my previous experience in this major. My first footprint in the world of Communication Design was when I was still a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School. I was blessed with the opportunity to major in media which was known as Communication Design. This major was broken into classes of photography, typography and filmography. At first I thought it would probably end up being a couple of other boring class because this major was consider where the students mostly just slack off. Yet, given some time and after being taught the basics in all of those areas, I have developed a sincere interest, appreciation and love for Communication Design. Only a handful of students other than myself were actually engaged in the activities of what the classes had to offer. My media teacher at the time, Ms. Buglione, once said, “Follow your passion and the money will follow.” Money is no issue of mine,but ever since my passion for Communication Design started to burn since that day, I know that this major is definitely the right one for me.

Previously, I may have said that money is no issue of mine, but my second reason about why becoming a marketing manager is the job aspects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook,” 2012 Median Pay is $115,750 per year while it is $55.65 per hour. Also that the job outlook from 2012-22 is 12% and that the employment change from 2012-22 is 25,400.” I am very surprised of the salary marketing managers make and that it sounds like there is a guarantee increase of employment in this career, too. These two suggestions give me the impression that if I become a marketing manager, then I will be financially well off. Nevertheless, there are some things I have to keep in mind in of. According to my mother and sister, I will constantly have to deal with a moderate to high amount of stress and strive to be creative and stay innovative with marketing idea plans. Also that those who do end up as a marketing manager usually has an extremely terrible personality. Given my experience with dealing with high amounts of stress from school, creativeness, an unique, but kind personality and a compromising mindset I strongly believe that becoming a marketing manager is the right career for me. To add on to that, I will aim to become a marketing manager that is more of a people person who tries to understands the customer rather than focus on making profits even through that sounds contradicting to what the job’s responsibility may entail.

The last reason why Communication Design Marketing is the best for me is because of  the possible skills I will pick up and small hobbies I have. I am certified in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2013, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator CC 2013 and Adobe Photoshop CS6. These four Adobe programs that I am certified in are all used and involved in Communication Design Marketing. In this major, the classes that I am allowed to take such as Web Design and Introduction to Film and Video Production Design will only enhance my skills. Furthermore, when I want to provide my assets to a customer, I will be able to effectively market their product with a well design web page and a promotion video, too. For example, currently I play on multiple MapleStory private servers. These servers are constantly looking for a web designer, graphics designer or just staff in general. With the knowledge  and skills I will gain from majoring in Communication Design Marketing, I can start helping small gaming communities and relate it towards the future when I work for a company. Other than helping customers or communities, personally I would just hone my photography and film making skills thanks to the classes that are offered through this major. This is why I believe that Communication Design Marketing is the absolute major for me.

Majoring in Communication Design Marketing and becoming a marketing manager is the right path for me. With the tools in my arsenal to complete any task given to me, the gorgeous aspects of marketing managers in the upcoming seven years and my sincere interest in Communication Design Marketing there is no denying that what I want to major in and my dream career is perfect for me. I plan to have an reunion with my high school media teacher to learn from her insight base on her experience teaching Communication Design. Also that I will seek help from older friends that have jobs in the marketing field already to guide me as I go down this path. In order for me to distinguish myself I already have the four certifications in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Premiere Pro, but this isn’t enough for my standards. I will go above and beyond by seeking several internships at various companies as soon as soon as I complete my associate degree, but still pursue my bachelor degree. In six years, I plan to have a stable job as a marketing manager working for a prestigious company. Then in 14 years or if I need a bit more time to be ready, my plan is to become an entrepreneur and reflecting on my experience as a marketing manager I will create a successful business which is my end goal.

Works Cited N.P. N.D. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.


New York College of Technology College Catalog 2015-2016. New York: New York City of Technology, 2015. PDF


United States. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Marketing Manager” Occupational Outlook Handbook. Washington: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Web. 04 Nov. 2015.

The Dragon Boat Life by Alex Feng

Hello my name is Alex Feng and I am an ASAP student at City Tech. I am currently a freshman that is majoring in civil engineering technology. Hobbies are what differentiate one individual from another individual and a hobby that defines me is dragon boating. For those who do not know what dragon boating is, it is a competitive water sport where you have up to twenty two people on one boat paddling together in unison down a race course against other teams for the fastest time. This sport not only made my life more competitive, but it also completely shaped me into a new person. The sport and the team that I am a part of, the people and community I met, and the races and dinners that happened, all influenced me to become who I am today. From being a part of the biggest team in the city to having several mentors and coaches who had coached the youth team for team USA this year, and to all the events that I participated in, made my past few years incredibly exciting. Prior to joining dragon boating, I lived an average boring life like many other teenagers do. Dragon boating appealed to me as a way to get away from this mundane lifestyle.

Growing up from a child to a teenager, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or the direction that I want to take it in for that matter. As I attended my high school, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. Then junior year started. For that year’s resolution I vowed to myself like everybody does to themselves to change. So I thought of multiple ways of how I could accomplish this objective. Then I remembered that a couple of my friends had recommended me to join their club, dragon boating. I initially was not interested because it sounded like I had to put a lot of time, effort, work and dedication into this club. Despite these thoughts I had, I started attending the club activities, which was primarily going to a gym in Queens that was in somebody’s basement. Upon discovering this, I was skeptical, but my worries were dissolved when I got the opportunity to meet students from other high schools. Later on, as the temperatures began to increase, I had my first water practice which was incredibly fun, but still freezing. I began to show sincere interest and curiosity in this sport as I watched my fellow peers push themselves to their limits at the gym and on the water and gained admiration for the adults. Afterwards, I did some research about this club and learned that it was actually part of the biggest dragon boat team in the city, DCH. Being part of this team and sport taught me dedication, commitment, courage and loyalty. Becoming a dragon boat paddler who paddles for DCH gave my life a new purpose and opened up my social life. The team taught me to be dedicated to what I do, to give my best effort, and to always be thankful for those who helped me to where I am today. While it showed me the beauty of loyalty, the team also showed the negative social aspects of being in a club. There was always someone talking behind another’s back. Fortunately, I had the courage to face this one negative aspect of the club and remained unfazed by the drama. Having said this, my fellow peers and teammates played the most important role in shaping me.

When I first joined this club, it was extremely awkward as I did not actually know how to interact with others normally. When I went to the gym in Queens, it was full of students who I did not know from other high schools and my high school. As a result, I was a lonely individual who looked gloomy all the time. The only two people I was acquainted with were my two friends that recommended me to join and a few others from classes that I had. However, as time passed and I learn about others from their conversations, I slowly started to unconsciously open up to them and tried to interact with them. I really admired and envied them on how they could be extremely funny and be openly weird without caring about how others viewed them. These same people that I admired, my fellow peers and teammates, reached out to me to eventually and I joined their circle. Prior to this happening, I had never experienced that feeling of warmth and defining moment of making a friend. My new friends made me feel like they were the family that I never had. Today, I would say that two of them are my best friends and I am glad that I met them by joining this dragon boat club. Aside from the friends I met, there were also two particular coaches that influenced me as well. Randy Ng, the head coach of DCH racing and the head coach of team USA U18, and Irene as well. Randy Ng, the head coach of DCH racing and Irene Hu, head junior coach of DCH. Never before in my life did I have a role model until I met Randy and Irene. Randy is a man full of charisma, open minded, tough, but caring at the same time and can crack a few jokes here and there. While Irene is very kind and dedicated as well since she sacrifices a huge amount of her time to coach the juniors while studying to become a doctor.  What Randy and Irene is capable of doing and the sacrifices they make is very touching and I hope to follow in their footsteps by becoming a junior coach this year and continuing their and the team’s legacy of coaching a youth program as it helped me changed.

As I was part of the youth program in DCH, all youths were invited to attend all sorts of events that DCH hosted or was participating in. There are countless amount of races across the country, but as a team, DCH usually only participates in the closest ones. Although we were all teenagers, we won against adult teams. This accomplishment boosted my own self-satisfaction and ego. However, aside from the competitiveness at these races, every single paddler at these races, regardless of gender, age and race, are very friendly and have good sportsmanship. I realized what a great and united community this is and I was astonished by how random strangers would lend a helping hand to other strangers. Living in New York City, it is natural to see people ignoring each other while commuting. However, I immediately became a member of the dragon boat racing community and found myself interacting with strangers and helping them with my team. Aside from attending races, the team hosts their own team dinners such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and the annual sponsor dinner after the New York race. At these dinners, I was interacting with everybody from playing cards with the juniors to dancing and lip synching for the adults. Every single time that I attended any of these dinners it was a fun experience that I would never forget. Also other than the races and dinners, as a team annually we would fundraise during Chinese New Year, clean up our team equipment when the season is over and clean up the whole area near the docks where we practice at. There is never a boring moment for me as a paddler in DCH and I am glad that it has helped me improve with my social interaction with others.

If I had to tell another about dragon boating, then I would say, “DCH for life.” I acknowledge that DCH and dragon boating is what completely changed my life. Dragon boating, the people I met and will meet, and the countless of events that I will attend are what defines my life aside from currently being a college student. My plans this upcoming year is to become an apprentice junior coach that assists both Randy and Irene. Also to continue to improve my social interactions to the point that I can be weird and talkative without caring to much about other people’s views on me. Lastly for all the years to come, I would love to give back in any way I can to the team as my sincere thanks for the existence of DCH and dragon boating.