Youtube HQ Shooting

Today there was a shooting at the Youtube headquarters where a woman is believed to have shot multiple people. It has been stated that she had later died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. This shooting is still under investigation and we will hopefully find out more information in the upcoming days.

I thought it was interesting to note that the shooter was a woman, since most mass shootings have been perpetrated by men. Studies have shown that women commit (only) 10% – 13% of homicides in the United States.

When will we see an end to these shootings?

-Rachel Stasolla



Four-day school week

Something that I found interesting…

Colorado school district wants to switch to a 4-day school week instead of 5. Students would attend classes Tuesday-Friday and have Monday off. Each school day will be extended 40 minutes longer. The reason for this change would help teachers and staff better plan their lessons. It will help to recruit and retain quality teachers, minimize disruptions, and save money. This district will hear a reply sometime in June to determine if this schedule will be set in place. “There are 98 other districts in Colorado who have adopted the 4-day school week.” This switch seems popular and the majority of people are for it. On the other hand some parents say it is a hardship, since they still have to work a 5-day week and it will interfere with their work schedule. Although, families can pay 30 dollars per child for 12 hours of day care service on the Monday they have off.

I personally think this is a good idea, but also see where the parents are coming from. What do you guys think?

-Rachel Stasolla





Research Paper

Research paper proposal – 

For my research paper, I would like to propose the topic of writing about issues of accuracy in the media. Within this paper I will explore fake news and why it is that so many people fall for fake news and share false content. While there’s not a straightforward answer to this question, there are factors such as the bandwagon effect and confirmation bias.

The bandwagon effect is a growing phenomenon where people tend to believe things because many other people believe the same thing. I see this everyday on social media where one parent will share something that happened whether it be true or not, and all other parents will begin to comment and share it. As more parents share the same “fake” story the bandwagon effect emerges, and it starts a filthy cycle.

People use their own judgement and beliefs to weigh out whether information is credible or not. This is known as confirmation bias and while it may be unintentional, it becomes problematic because we begin to ignore information that challenges our thoughts. In the media we are overwhelmed with news and information, but it is important that we always take both sides into consideration rather than basing it off our own biases.

The line between what’s real and what’s not has been blurred in the media from fake news. With all these factors in mind how do we avoid falling for fake news?

Sources to use in research paper –

This website talks about why people are drawn to spreading fake news and this is something that I want to research specifically in my paper. Researches have shared hypothesis in which they found that fake news is more appealing to share, and therefore that fake stories reach a larger audience and spread much faster on Twitter than real stories by verified people.

I found this website interesting because it brings up many points about fake news being shared on social media. Whether it be posts from real people or a bot, people are more likely to share information that is closer to their beliefs. People feel inclined to read and focus on what they are used to, and in doing so they ignore any new possibilities (this is known as confirmation bias).

“Why retweet that post before you know whether it’s actually true?”

“It took the truth about six times as long as falsehood to reach 1,500 people.”

Additional possible sources –

– Rachel Stasolla

Social Media affecting our self-idenitity

In today’s society the Internet and social media have altered our self-identities in ways that we may not even realize. People are so focused on social media that they are often living in this reality of someone they want to be, and not who they truly are. This is something I see especially in popular culture where people do whatever they can to feel accepted and attractive. Our identities are influenced by how others perceive us, rather than who we really are. People are no longer unique because they are trying so hard to fit in to conform to what they think is acceptable in society.

It’s also important to note that while on social media people get validation from others on what they post through likes, comments, followers, shares, etc. In our generation especially, I think people are less focused on the content they are posting and more worried about the audience that will stem from each post. People are posting what they think will bring the most attention to them. People are putting high levels of effort into their posts where they sit for hours trying to find the right filters to make their post more appealing. If there wasn’t a section for likes, comments, followers, and shares I believe that social media would be MUCH different today.

Celebrities and influencers on social media don’t make this issue any better. People are constantly comparing themselves to them and with the rise of social media this is only hurting young individuals. This is something that I see particularly on YouTube where people will post content almost identical to someone else’s channel. In reality people want to see new content, not the same video they saw last week from another channel. In trying to fit in they are actually losing the attention they are seeking to gain, because they are doing something that was already done by someone else.

-Rachel Stasolla

Radio Replay: I, Robot Podcast

For my podcast assignment I decided to listen to NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast series, which uses science, medicine and storytelling to help curious people understand the world and themselves. Shankar Vedantam is the host of this podcast where he unfolds patterns that drive human behavior, biases that shape our choices, and triggers that direct the course of many of our relationships.

This episode Radio Replay: I, Robot stood out to me among the others because I found it to be very relatable and provide listeners with real life examples. In particular I enjoyed listening to Seth Stephens-Davidowitz who was a former data scientist at Google, and through his Google searches he was able to measure topics like biases in gender and diagnosing illnesses through Google search patterns. He brought up a valuable point by stating finding data through surveys may not be accurate because people tend to lie, instead he realized an alternative way to finding out this data would be from analyzing Google searches. One example that he brought up was that parents will say that they treat their children equally. But through the Google searches he read by parents, he noticed the exact opposite. Seth noticed that when parents searched questions about their sons they would use words like “Is my son genius or gifted,” and for their daughters “Is my daughter overweight and/or ugly.” As a result, through these Google searches he found that in fact parents are bias of their children and are more focused on the intellectual potential of their sons, while concerned with the physical appearances of their daughters. (20:05-22:50)

Google search patterns that can lead to Pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

We also hear from Kate Darling who is a research specialist that investigates our interactions with robots through experiments on human-robot interactions. In these experiments she explores the emotional connections between people and life-like machines. She specifically talks about a Pleo robotic dinosaur that is touch sensitive and includes both a camera and microphone, and ultimately acts and reacts just like a human. Kate conducted an experiment where she did a workshop with 5 of these robotic dinosaurs and had people give them a name and interact with them for an hour, and at the end of this session she asked them to torture and kill them. Through this experience she found that because these robots act like a human and respond to getting hurt people hesitated and would not “kill” these robots. In other words, the way we interact with these machines say something about who we are. The way people treat robots may have implications in similar ways of how we treat other humans.


In conclusion, this podcast kept me engaged the entire episode and brought up many interesting points. I decided to blog about this podcast because after looking on ITunes I felt that as students we can closely relate to this episode, especially since in our generation we use technology for basically everything.

-Rachel Stasolla




Florida Shooting: Social Media

Today in class we talked about the school shooting that happened in Florida on Wednesday. While in discussion, we started to talk about how students were posting Snapchat and Instagram videos of the situation on social media. People began to criticize these students for posting on social media instead of calling 911. For example, one tweet that has now been deleted said “Someone tell Generation Z kids that in the event of a school shooting, they should call 911 instead of posting videos of it on Snapchat.” One student responded to this man along saying that they were calling 911 to the point where they told them not to anymore.

Social media plays an essential role in how we communicate these events to the media. Almost all students today have a smartphone, and if they are able to share their perspectives on the attack why is that such a bad thing? Personally, I find it ridiculous that people feel the need to respond back to these posts on social media questioning these students on why they weren’t calling 911. Im sure that many students in each class were calling 911 as well as their parents and that law enforcement were well informed prior.

-Rachel Stasolla


Classroom Discussion: Memes

Memes are a powerful tool in today’s society because although they are typically used as a joke, they can go a long way in getting the attention of groups of people. I personally am not surprised at how many political memes have been, and are being posted. Political memes are often exaggerated and humorous, but maybe this humor can encourage our generation to actually look up these candidates (or other people) online and actually see what they can/can’t contribute. The political memes that we see result in much controversy in the media but in reality, they bring up some of the most important points of these campaigns. I think it’s interesting to note that while news sources have limitations on what they can say to the public, memes don’t and this is something that makes memes so widespread on social media.

-Rachel Stasolla

Partner Introduction: Victoria Oluwole

My partner is Victoria Oluwole and she is a currently a senior who lives on campus. Her major is Digital Media Production and she minors in Marketing. She is involved in numerous activities on campus such as Film Club, SGA, and she has also interned for SheKnows Media. Victoria has taken many Digital Media classes in Video Production, Computer Graphics, Photography and more. In addition to her classes she also enjoys planning events, and attending concerts and music festivals.

-Rachel Stasolla