messina class blog

Philosophy (Witt) and Communications (Lillie)

Tech Development, Instagram:Wes, Alec, Joe, James, Udval



Instagram is a social media platform that allows users to share photos and videos either publicly or privately. The app gives the user a profile to share their gallery or feed. Users are able to follow other users in order to see what they are posting and those posts appear on the home screen in chronological order on an infinite scroll screen. Users can like and comment on posts and are also given the opportunity to explore and discover other profiles. It was first introduced in 2010 and created as mix of instant camera and telegram.

Instagram’s evolution can be tracked to photo albums, magazines, and newspapers. The ability to share pictures to others were mainly used in those ways before social media. When social media arrived, Instagram’s predecessors include Facebook and Twitter.  From Six Degrees in 1997, web blogging came to be, which is used to share daily moments or information through the Internet. In 2002, MMS, Multimedia Messaging Service was introduced as a way to send messages that included multimedia content. As Web 2.0 developed in the late 20th to the present, globalization, instant sharing of any kind of information and increased use of mobile phones encouraged a new social media form that would enable the non-professional photograph users to generate high quality photos, view photos and videos of interesting topics and share daily moments similar to blogs. Although it seems like Instagram is just a simpler version of the other two, Instagram had quite a few innovations that attracted people to the simple application.

Compared to the older forms, Instagram allows the user to create a greater depth within a photo through its various filters as well as photo editing tools. The user can now post quality photos to show to their friends where as Facebook and other media outlets do not offer the same option. It’s also readily available and rather than a person going to a specialty photography studio to have these sort of edits done, it can be accomplished with a flick of the wrist. In addition, Instagram created different trends that prevail in other social media. For example, hashtag and tags on a photo were example of trends that helped people to connect by searching by similar interests. Also, selfie was a word that was introduced as a result of wide Instagram use.

When Instagram was introduced in 2010, the early adapters were successful companies dominating the niche market who recognized and developed the new social media. These businesses included Starbucks, Gucci, Red Bull, and Burberry who used Instagram as a way to brand themselves and sell products.

Instagram has an influence in the social, economic and cultural context. It essentially creates interest among viewers by capturing their attention through the use of higher quality and resolution pictures. Through similarity searches through hashtags and tags on photos and videos, you can develop social connection with users who have the similar interests. Instagram’s usage as online shops, branding, selling products and emerging advertising media, it encourages economic development. It is also used as a political movement and campaigns. In cultural context, it developed terms and trends that are widely used in other social media such as hashtag and selfies.

Although there are no strong enforcement or regulation on Instagram because it is a business based on re-shared content, it tries to ban photos that are inappropriate such as sexual services, selling and buying of illegal drugs and recreational drugs. There are buttons to report inappropriate content for the users to erase the content. Moreover, there are few regulations by the Instagram that they emphasize. They encourage to share only photos and videos that you’ve taken or have the right to share and post photos that are appropriate. However, other users such as “corpsman” continue to use nudity and violent and inappropriate images.



Technological Evolution – Ginnie, Mollie, and Meghan

For our study of technological evolution we will be researching Snapchat.  Today Snapchat is mostly used by young adults communicating with their friends.  We will find how this app started and the predecessors.


Snapchat fits the idea of Web2.0 because it aligns with the idea of ‘architecture of participation’. Snapchat is a Web2.0 medium because it gives users the ability to control the content and the app relies solely on users to work. Some statistics showed that more than half of daily contribute content. Web 2.0 is identified as companies facilitating user-generated content and capitalizing on users. Snapchat is exactly that because it provides a platform for users to communicate and interact. Plus, the user-capitalizing factor of photos lasting for only a few seconds draws consumers in. Prior to Snapchat, no other App had the same idea of photo’s being able to be seen for such a short time then disappearing forever. The idea of photo sharing had been present for along time, with apps like Facebook, MySpace and simple text messaging. However, Snapchat is an innovation over these other photo sharing mediums, because it is the first application to provide a private method of sharing pictures.

Snapchat is utilized by a large span of people, but a majority of its users are younger and part of the age that interacts with technology 24/7. Culturally, Snapchat is used by cultures that have immersed technology into their daily lives. For example, Americans have brought technology into their daily routines and Snapchat is an App that would appeal to them, because it is an addition to their technological use. There is controversy that surrounds Snapchat’s idea for its app. A lot of people question if the pictures that are sent over the app actually are erased forever. Users are able to ‘screenshot’ a photo sent over Snapchat, which they then have in their albums. On their website, Snapchat does claim to regulate the content. The company outlines various offenses and concludes with explaining that users who violate any “rules”, an account will be terminated.

The idea for snapchat was first born at Stanford University in the spring of 2011. Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, and two friends created the idea during a product design class when they were juniors. The idea developed further over the course of the summer and the platform truly took off in fall. Spiegel’s idea revolved around the concept of disappearing pictures. He realized that people didn’t always want the messages they were sending to be around forever. The platforms that proceeded this, such as text messaging or even Facebook did not cater to this need, and that is where Snapchat stepped in.

However, Snapchat would not have been as successful if it were not for their early adapters. Snapchat was created right when all age demographics started to join Facebook. This social media platform was no longer a place for only teenagers to communicate. They therefore needed a new app that would allow them to interact away from the prying eyes of their parents and grandparents. This is why Snapchat was the perfect switch. It was new and innovative and older generations had not caught on yet. They were also able to send pictures and messages with few repercussions since they would soon disappear.

The platform continued to gain momentum as the Snapchat team made new innovations and changes. In the fall of 2013, after they had about 10 million active users, they introduced Snapchat stories. This allowed users to share snaps with all their friends for 24 hours. This change put Snapchat in the spotlight and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, took note. He offered to buy Snapchat for a whooping three billion dollars. Spiegel declined the offer, however, seeing how much potential the app still had. Geofilters were soon introduced and soon after Snapchat’s “discover” was created. Discover is Snapchats way of advertising. Companies can pay to be featured on the discover page. These innovations and more have led Snapchat to the forefront of social media today. The platform is now so big that it rivals Facebook. Everyone from Kendall Jenner to the White House are making use of the app. And with it being the fastest growing app today, we can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Global Advertising: Natalie, Erin, Udval, Cassidy, & Adam


There are three main points in the reading, “Translating Advertising”: Culture, language and consumers’ needs, motives and emotions. First of all, without cultural reference, an advertising cannot make it to the audiences’ minds and hearts. There are different set of symbolic references and values in many cultures. Some ways to distinguish cultures are concepts of power distance, individualistic and collectivism, masculinity and femininity, uncertainty awareness and long term and short term orientation. Similarly, language is an essential part of translating advertising as there are words, sentences or idioms that are uniquely meaningful to one culture but not for another. Delivering the same value in other language is difficult because it can mean different things when you translate the brand names, pay-offs or objects. Furthermore, consumer’s needs, motives and emotions correlate with both language and culture. Depending on the culture, lifestyle, economic situations and values of the country, their functional and social needs, motives of consumption, emotions for appeals are different. For example, in the US commercials, certain emotions such as anger and humor affects the product as approachable and appealing but in some other countries, those emotions can affect the product as not having strong reliability.

One commercial that uses “global advertising” techniques is the extremely Nike’s famous “Snow Day”. This commercial without a doubt translates to different cultures. Nike is undeniably one of the most dominant clothing brands, not only in America, but all over the world. The commercial doesn’t have a lot of talking in it, making language less of a problem for viewers world wide. There is a wide variety of athletes in this commercial, both men and female, in almost every sport. Every country has a “main sport” so to speak, so everyone watching this commercial in which ever country they live in is able to make a connection.

Chapter 7 Required Reading Response – Meghan, Mollie, Ginnie

With the globalization of the mass media market the conversation surrounding the translations of advertisements has increased.  In the required reading of chapter 7 this translation, and the factors that affect it are discussed.  The author suggests that certain factors often limit the effectiveness of an advertisement when the targeted audience is changed.  The three main points the author focuses on is the actual translation of language, different needs and wants, and the various communication styles.

The author states how often the most common way to translate an ad is to simply to translate the language.  However, this is often not as simple as it first might appear.  Due to the structural differences between languages the meaning often shifts.  This causes the purpose of the ad to be lost.  In addition the language of a nation is essential to the culture.  Therefore if the only the language is simply changed, the language and culture that the ad presents do not align.  This translation of language also plays a key part when deciding whether to translate the actual Brands name.  The success of business is reliant on the audience and media time it can obtain.  Therefore by keeping the same name they keep a standard image of themselves, however, the question arises whether the name will be as effective in other nations.

The reading also suggests that the needs and desires of the people change across borders.  The advertisements that are the most successful play on the needs, wants, wishes, and desires of their target audience.  These differences can be seen even between affluent nations.  For example, the present desires of Americans and Brits may differ depending on the current media culture in the country.  Therefore, this change in the needs and desires require a change in the advertisements as well.  Global companies need to tweak their media campaigns based on the emotional and logical tools that will work best on their target audience.

Lastly, the author talks about the different communication styles of cultures around the world.  The largest variation he sights is between direct and indirect communication styles.  In indirect cultures the point of the ad is preferred to be embedded into the ad.  This can be done through metaphors, music, images, etc.  With a more direct communication style the meaning or purpose of the ad is preferred to be more blatantly stated.  This leads advertising agencies to often map the different communication styles to make their ads more meaningful.

However, while it is difficult to do, some companies have mastered this advertising translation.  An example is the Google 2010 Superbowl ad.

This ad plays on common human empathy – incorporating messages of love and family.  In addition people around the globe use Google and English, making the ad successful in countries such as the USA, Australia, Canada, etc.

Translating Ad Activity – Ali and Claire

The article consists of ideas that illustrate that advertising is based of many different concepts, ideas and visuals. One of the main points of the article touches on is the idea of advertising style. Each brand has its own style, and they choose how to connect with their audience, with either a direct explicit or personal contact. Their style also can include whether the ads are more serious or structured.

Another main point is the focus of the advertisement and whether the advertisement reaches out to need, motives and emotions. Different cultures have different motives in their lives and strives for different successes. Therefore, companies focus their ads to appeal to the motives of their audience. They also keep in mind sensitivity when reaching out to audience’s emotions. Such as, using motives such as unemployment to trigger sadness with American audiences.

Language is another important ideal in global advertisement. Many ads that are created in English require subtitle if they are shown in other countries. They keep in mind how to express their ideas, because words and sentences are important in some cultures, but not in other cultures.

We felt like this ad translated the appeals very well as it reached out to happy emotions with music and symbols of love. The idea and global theme of love is very universal and there was not any speaking so that it didn’t only include one culture’s language. It also appealed to several languages as it had english and French shown in the video. It made it even more international when it showed Facebook and how people can connect through Coca Cola Light and Facebook. It connects personally, with the idea of sending their message throughout the world to specific individuals directly.


Translating Advertising Activity Alec, Joe, Wes, James

Japan’s interpretation of American fast food culture doesn’t express the same opinions Americans have towards McDonalds. The commercial expresses McDonalds as a restaurant serving high quality food and fast. It shows food that is very well displayed and employees who are very happy at what they’re doing. The U.S. sees a different side of McDonalds as a greasy fast food stop with anything but real ingredients. Employees often complain about the low pay so it might come as strange for Americans to see these employees happy. It may translate well to other branches of McDonalds in other country due to the heightened food quality standards. For example, in Japan, food is made to order and if its stays out for more than a certain amount to time they throw it away.

Celebrity Research Project-Cassidy Kolczun

Monday: Celebrity #1: Kylie Jenner

kylie-jenner-01-600x800.jpgKylie Jenner of the Kardashian family is known to be the queen of Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. She sends tweets, Instagrams, and snapchats multiple times a day. She has over 55 million followers on Instagram and 15 million followers on Twitter. She uses social media to share her life with her fans and promote her brands.

Celebrity #2: Ellen DeGeneres

ellen_degeneres.jpgEllen DeGeneres is most famous for her talk show. She interviews guests who include celebrities, newsmakers and ordinary people with extraordinary talents providing her crowd with non-stop entertainment. She has a large presence on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Ellen. Through these various social media platforms she informs her viewers on who she will be interviewing. Ellen has over 56 million followers on Twitter and over 26 million followers on Instagram. 


After observing the social media platforms of Kylie Jenner and Ellen DeGeneres I have found both similarities and differences in the ways in which they use their social media. Both Jenner and DeGeneres use their social media to promote themselves. For example, Kylie Jenner recently developed a line of lipstick (Kylie Lip Kit) and uses social media to inform her fans of release dates, new colors, etc.

now we have 8 😋 @kyliecosmetics

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on


Similarly, Ellen DeGeneres uses her social media to inform people of guests that will appear on her show in a later episode to pull them in.

Here Ellen provides a sneak peek of her interview with Jessica Biel to encourage her fans to tune in. It is clear that a large use of Kylie Jenner and Ellen DeGeneres social media platforms is dedicated to self-promotion. I would say the biggest difference between the two celebrities use of social media is that Kylie Jenner’s is more personal. She tweets about her life like what she is doing and who she is hanging out with. I attribute this difference to the age gap. It is evident through Kylie’s social media that she takes her jobs seriously but also has a fun social life as a teenager that she wants to share with her fans. Another big difference between the two celebrities social media use is that Kylie’s is a lot more personal. Ellen’s social media is pretty formal so she doesn’t often reply to her fans. However, Kylie is in constant communication with her fans by replying nice things to them or defending herself if they are rude.

Ellen DeGeneres way of connecting with her fans is more letting them know what will be happening on her show. Also, she likes to use her sense of humor to entertain her fans. In addition, she often gives away huge gifts at her shows to all of the audience members. In summary, Kylie’s social media is more of a way for her to share her life and products with her fans. While, Ellen DeGeneres is a way to inform and entertain her fans.


In the essay “Imagined Social Relationships” the relationship between the celebrity and the audience is discussed. Celebrities function as “emotional outlets” in which people can vent both positive and negative feelings. In addition, celebrities often serve as role models for people. Lastly, celebrities influence people to behave in certain ways or live in a particular lifestyle. Social media plays a large role in communicating these ideas from celebrity to fan. For example, people often use Kylie as a emotional outlet. People diss her looks and personality all the time on social media; however, many also praise her. Her instagram comments are full of hate and love which shows that people use her as an emotional outlet.Amanda-Stenberg-Kylie-Comment-640x346.jpg

In addition, Ellen DeGeneres is often viewed as a role model. She donates to charities and gifts people with extraordinary things. She posts her deals and giveaways on her social media which inspires people to be like her. In addition, Kylie often posts stories of young woman who have encountered bullying to stand up against it.

Lastly, Kylie often posts pictures of her expensive clothing, furniture, cars and other items (an every day thing). She exposes her fans to her luxurious lifestyle which makes them want to live her life. Imaginary relationships are created with celebrities through social media. The constant virtual connection between celebrities and their fans further builds to their “personal” relationship as if they were friends. Social media allows fans to get to know celebrities in a closer way. The interactions that celebrities have on social media with their fans helps them gain a better name.



Celebrity Research Project – Wesley Contrino


  1. Bernie Sanders is an American politician of the state of Vermont. He is running in the 2016 presidential election as a democrat.
  2. Ariana Grande is an american singer. She is also an actress who acted in Nickelodeon TV shows.

Celebrity Research Project – Natalie McDonald


1425996688_ariana-grande-falls-over-on-stageAriana Grande is a famous performer, best known for her acting and singing career. Her big debut was her role as “Cat Valentine” on Nickelodeon’s TV Show “Victorious” and has become quite famous in recent years for her solo singing career and her role on “Scream Queens.” Ariana is an avid Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat user and frequently posts about her daily life and interacts with her fanbase everyday. Her Twitter account can be found here and her Instagram here.

tumblr_noknuv72Ho1rvekoro1_500Cara Delevingne is an English fashion model and actress. She won the “Model of the Year” award at the British Fashion Awards in 2012 and 2014 and has appeared in shows for houses including Burberry, Mulberry, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jason Wu. She started her acting career with a minor role in the 2012 film adaptation of Anna Karenina. Delevingne played Margo Roth Spiegelman in the romantic mystery film Paper Towns in 2015. Cara Delevingne is an active presence on both her Instagram and Twitter.


After observing the social media presence of Ariana Grande and Cara Delevingne for the past few days I have noticed that both of them have a strong influence across several different media platforms which help them to build their brand in different ways.

Ariana Grande has recently been promoting her newest single “Dangerous Woman” from her upcoming album, Dangerous Woman, which is being released on May 20th. She has been using Twitter to interact with her fans and to drum up a feeling of suspense leading up to her album release. Ariana has also been posting content onto her Instagram including a video advertising her new single as well as a video promoting her Snapchat account. Earlier in the week Ariana posted an a cappella version of her new song on YouTube which went viral almost instantly. This was a smart move which drew even more attention to her single as well as her upcoming album.

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Cara Delevingne has been active on social media this week as well, specifically in support  of World Water Day on March 22, which she posted about on both Twitter and Instagram. Cara is also very active on Snapchat on which she has posted quite a few pictures and videos on a daily basis. This seems to be her most active form of social media which allows her to be seen by anyone who is interested in seeing her daily activities. This platform allows her to build her brand as a model and also give her fans personal and interactive media content to watch and enjoy that shows that she is more than just a serious pretty face. Cara’s Instagram typically features both modeling pictures and casual candid pictures that are quite silly. She does a good job of maintaining a down-to-earth  reputation on social media while also being an extremely talented model and actress.

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Social media allows consumers to form imaginary social relationships with celebrities. These relationships may connect audiences to a celebrity in such a way that mirrors actual friendship so closely that it feels real. People can follow and engage with their real-life friends and family on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, so when they are also able to follow and interact with celebrities on the same online social outlet it feels like actual friendship. This false sense of personal relation to celebrities is what makes social media so useful as an advertising and branding outlet. By interacting with fans on social media, celebrities positively build their image and create an illusion of intimacy with their fans and consumers.

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