Topic #3

(The Video) Deb Roy: The Birth Of A Word

I agree with Bob McChesney in that we have come to a point in our history in which we have to opportunity to do something amazing using technology. The video of Deb Roy proves that there are people out there who are trying to do just that, something amazing. Watching the video I believe Roy and his team are most definitely in the right direction. Roy has come up with a system of video cameras and microphones that he has set up in his home to document every moment of his son growing up. He ran the cameras eight hours a day for three years and recorded 90,000 hours of home video. The video was sifted through and then used to show what words his son learned first and why. His son’s first word was ga-ga which is what he associated water with, over time ga-ga formed into the actual word water. By breaking the videos down and analyzing them Roy was able to construct a 40 second time lapse of his son learning to use the word water. From ga-ga to water.

By using this same format Roy was able to analyze how language connects to certain events which in turn provide common ground for people and how we learn as children. Roy started using tv content analyzing the structure of tv episodes and commercials. He collected 3 billion comments a month from social media sites and placed them in order according to event structure, common ground and conversations about the two. Linking the two shows the content which in turn shows the cycles that drive the overall behavior. Essentially meaning that starting with one event a person decides to tweet about it or update their Facebook status which in turn causes someone to comment on that tweet or status which brings more people into the conversation which then drives those people back into the original media text, causing one large media cycle.

I believe there are people out there, scientists, professors, media activists who are relentlessly studying media and social media to find a way to somehow fully understand how the media affects the world. Within the past few years social media sites have blown up, so many people use them and I don’t think we completely understand what links for example, the average American college student with someone in Australia. It wasn’t so long ago that in order to talk with anyone overseas you would have to hand write a letter to them or wait for a certain time of day or night to call them because of time differences. Today a person can jump onto Facebook type out a message and press send, done they have their message in a matter of seconds. Most smartphones are connected with Facebook and Twitter meaning that the message that person just sent wouldn’t just go inbox on Facebook it goes straight to their cell phone so even if that person is away from their computer they still receive the message right in their hand. I believe Deb Roy is a media pioneer and is helping the world better understand our own behavior around communication.