By Edita Bardhi
Dr. Andi McClanahan, an ESU professor in Communications, shared social understandings last Tuesday at Beers Lecture Hall in relation to this semester’s One Book, One Campus book “The Circle.”
“Andi McClanahan is always considered to be one of the favorite teachers on this campus. She reads everything. If I want to know about a book, I first find Andi and ask, ‘Andi, have you read this?’” shared ESU Philosophy professor and head of the One Book collection committee, Dr. Peter Pruim.
As McClanahan took the podium, she welcomed attendees with a slide-show titled, “Why is Everyone Creeping on Me?”
As creator of the slide-show, she discussed various ways social media, the internet and electronic screens can have an impact in people’s daily lives.
She first began by asking attendees the question, “How did the book make you feel? Did it scare you?”
“One of the things that I thought stood out to me was the whole idea of surveillance and what we are willing to put out there and what other people are willing to watch,” shared McClanahan.
She continued by discussing YouTube videos and the way that students connect with them. She presented students with a 12-minute excerpt of various Vine App videos.
She then asked, “Has anyone ever been sucked into YouTube videos for hours? Why do you watch?”
A student responded, “To avoid doing my homework.”
Others said they watch because the videos involve humor and that they are a good distraction from reality.
A popular YouTube video “Star Wars Kid” was also displayed. Attendees were all happy to see the video, which lead to them giggling and expressing opinions.
McClanahan used this video to discuss the issues revolved around being watched.
She explained in her discussion how viewers may portray the scene as humorous. However, the boy was unaware of its recording.
She also shared how the video was seen by 32.5 million viewers.
As the video ended, McClanahan spoke about the difficulties of stopping yourself from watching or taking part in videos, hence the title “Why is Everyone Creeping on Me?”
She began this subject by introducing students to society’s essential of being watched and to how our society has become restless lawyers.
“People are arguing that we are entering an ocular-centric society,” shared McClanahan.
Throughout the discussion, McClanahan explained how people put more attention on capturing the moment rather than enjoying it.
“People are not watching the concert, but instead they are watching themselves film the concert,” stated McClanahan.
McClanahan clarified to students how this is done by saying, “Look at where I was, and you weren’t.”
A student reacted to this, “They do that to post it on Facebook.” Throughout the discussion, students started to relate to McClanahan’s message in the presentation.
The One Book, One Campus selection, “The Circle” alluded to a larger issue that was later mentioned.
“Are you willing to sacrifice privacy for the public good?” asked McClanahan.
As the question was out in the open, students became silent. Many of the students could not decide.
Even so, the subject of cameras and protection was also a matter of discussion.
After receiving various insights, McClanahan stated, “We have this cultural fear… we have this culture where we don’t trust many people, because it is not enough to state that we have been somewhere. Instead, we need a video as belief.”
A quote, “Are we just amusing ourselves to death?” by Neil Postman was included in the presentation.
As McClanahan explained, “Postman used this quote for television and how people intended to medicate themselves into bliss thereby voluntarily sacrificing their rights for entertainment.”
“We need a place to escape to, so we use these videos and images to see something better,” shared McClanahan.
To conclude, McClanahan shared her reasoning for developing the presentation.
McClanahan is concerned about us and our privacy. She expresses her personal answer to the question, “Why is Everyone Creeping on Me?”
“It is because we let them,” said McClanahan.
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