Loh & Kanai, Jenkins, and Selwyn

Social Media in Higher Education by Neil Selwyn

Social media is used around the world for the same purpose, mass socialization. Although, there are different social media platforms used based on geographic location. The internet used to be a one-way broadcast and now it is described as collaboration, open, bottom-up, and creative (Selwyn, 2012). Social media has been used in higher education as a successful tool in order for students to communicate with one another. A lot of clubs and activities have created pages on social media in order to reach students of the school. Social media has been used for educational purposes but overall “we should not mistakenly presume all of the everyday life aspects of social media use to be of educational significance” (Selwyn, 2012). Thinking about my social media use, for the most part I use social media to escape from educational responsibilities. I occasionally use social media to post on the Converged Communications Facebook page.

How has the Internet Reshaped Human Cognition? Loh & Kanai

“The Internet surfaced as the latest technological invention poised to deeply reshape human cognition” (Loh & Kanai, 2015). The internet changed the way people go about their everyday lives and this article supports brain changes with media multi-tasking.

“Digital Natives” is a term used by society to group together people who were born into technology and have not ever lived without the internet. “Digital Immigrants” are people who used the internet later in life. Digital natives have been argued to have cultivated a shallow mode of information processing and the reasoning is because there are now hyperlinks embedded so the reader does not have to do the extra research and because there are search engines that come up with the answers immediately (Carr, 2011). Since there are search engines and hyperlinks, there is no need to convert the information into memory since it can just be looked up again. The internet has become the one-way information holder because people know that it will always be there; they just have to learn where to find the best information.

Studies were performed on students in class with other devices available and tested to see how well they retained the information in a 20-minute lecture. The students that were not multi-tasking or distracted did better on the post-quiz than the students that were multi-tasking (Loh & Kanai, 2015). There was another study that put people in a driving simulator and tested their driving and their brain with uninterrupted driving and driving with an auditory task. The drivers with uninterrupted driving performed better and their brain was more active in the parietal area (Loh & Kanai, 2015). The two studies came to the same conclusion that people who media multi-task do not retain as much information and perform worse on their primary task.

Jenkins Chapter 3

In chapter 3 in Jenkins’ Convergence Culture, he goes into depth about transmedia storytelling. He focuses on The Matrix while referencing some others like The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Pokémon. For people who have not seen The Matrix or any of the sequels, it was hard to relate to the chapter. The overall idea of transmedia storytelling was comprehendible with how the movies and games were linked and gave clues for each platform.

An experienced storywriter told Jenkins:

When I first started, you would pitch a story because without a good story, you didn’t really have a film. Later, once sequels started to take off you pitched a character because a good character could support multiple stories. And now, you pitch a world because a world can support multiple characters and multiple stories across multiple media.

The relativity of this quote is spot on even years later. There has been a large amount of sci-fi releases over the years, which proves the interest in the different worlds and stories. These films have created large fan bases and knowledge communities. There have been games, products, and even lands created at theme parks to satisfy fans.

Some popular films are the Harry Potter series, Avatar, and Avengers movies, which are based on worlds: Hogwarts, Pandora, and modern society Earth. Yes, stories could be made and characters could be made into different stories, but these films created worlds where multiple plots could be created. They all have strong characters that go throughout the sequels, like Harry, Ron, Hermione, Jake Sully, Neytiri, Black Widow, Hulk, and Captain America. The creation of characters within worlds seems to the most successful pairing. Credit does need to be given to the creators of the books and comics which were then turned into films.

Now, going into the details of the transmedia portion of these films; theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventures have lands, worlds, or sections of their parks dedicated to the worlds created. Islands and Universal has a Harry Potter land that contains Hogsmeade, Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley. In this world guests can eat like wizards and witches, drink the famous Butter Beer, and see replicas of Diagon Alley, shops, and the Gringotts Bank. Walt Disney World is in the process of creating an Avatar world. They have recently upgraded the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom to have a nighttime show to be similar to the glowing forest in the movie. Islands of Adventure has a superhero section, not solely Avengers, but there are rides, eateries, and shops dedicated to superheroes and some of them are part of the Avengers team.

Jenkins Chapter 6

A parody of The Apprentice was created of President George W. Bush having to be president. Due to his actions, he was fired by Donald Trump. The founder of this parody was Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. The reason for creating this parody was to increase awareness about the 2004 election. This campaign and others are to “shift the public’s role in the political process” (Jenkins, 2006). Using this example, average citizens can have things brought to their level or at a vocabulary that makes sense to them. Words and phrasing in politics are usually confusing, so when someone takes the time to take the material and make it simpler, maybe even considered “dumbing it down” the average person can now understand it. American voters play a vital role in the United States elections and they need to be informed in order for the election to have the proper outcome. Consumers and fans participate in social media to express their passion through blogs, forums, and videos. “What would it take for us to respond to the political world in the same fashion” (Jenkins, 2006)? The problem with politics is it can be boring to some people, well most people. They also tend to think, who cares, because decisions in government have not directly affected them. Politics could become more interesting if it was in a simpler format and the debates could be a little less bashing the other candidate and more on focusing on the issues. People cannot be forced to be interested in politics, if they are not interested they will not show interest. There are so many pieces to form government, I’m sure people could find one niche they are passionate about: feminism, racism, climate change, environmental issues, and so on. People have to have a passion for something in order for their effort and work to be shown.


Carr N. 2011. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: where old and new media collide. New York: New York Univ. Press.

Loh, K. K., & Kanai, R. (2015). How Has the Internet Reshaped Human Cognition? The Neuroscientist, 22(5), 506-520. doi:10.1177/1073858415595005

Selwyn, N. (2012) Social Media in Higher Education. The Europa World of Learning.

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