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Media survival is to a large extent determined by its ability to satisfy the demand of its audience and the sustainability in the provision of such information over the long-run. Accordingly, the media must deliver in accordance with these expectations in order to ensure continuity. Notably, media content has considerable effect on the audience and may change an individual's perception and behavior. The media tends to deliberate on these possibilities to keep such individuals glued to their anecdotes and thus retain the audience. Media logic is intrinsically important for any entertainment blog endeavor and remains the key reason why media organizations thrive in the market. This paper forms an analysis of the Bitch magazine blog with a view or relating it to the four media-centered perspectives
History of Bitch magazine
Considered to be "the Feminist Response to Pop Culture", Bitch was launched by Lisa Jervis, Andi Zeisler and Benjamin Shaykin in 1996 (Bitch magazine website). Lisa and Andi were highly obsessed by pop culture. They were both interns at Sassy Magazine and therefore had particular interest in magazines. Further, they were feminists and were constantly looking for fun and nonacademic scrutiny of sexism on television, movies and advertising. They were frustrated that the analyses done by others did not satisfy their interests. As a result, they decided to start analyzing feminist pop culture in a way that they considered smart. Since then, Bitch Magazine has been pointing sinister sexism present in popular culture; with a view of proposing alternatives, celebrating pro-woman and promoting pro-feminism products.
Bitch published its first issue in 1996 and sold 300 copies (Bitch magazine website). They were well received and regarded as liberating to modern journalism. In 1997, Bitch produced the first magazine with a colored cover. In the same year, an article by Spin Magazine, titled "girl power" recognized Bitch magazine as the best girl-centric zine in terms of writing and editing. It was not until 1998 that Bitch got an actual office space in SanFranciso. The magazine marked an important time in its history when Lisa and Andi quit their day jobs in order to fully concentrate on the project (Bitch magazine website). To date, the magazine has received numerous accolades and continues to attract interest among readers. Bitch was officially renamed Bitch Media, with an aim of emphasizing that it is not just a magazine but also a nonprofit media organization.
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About Bitch media blog
Bitch media is a nonprofit organization that aims at analyzing contemporary pop culture in a feminist perspective. The blog is neatly organized such that it is easy to navigate the various areas of interest. On the home page, one can easily select options at the right hand corner to read about the organization, the magazine, blog topics, sponsorship, donation options and advertisements. In order to protect vital information, members are expected to register so as to become regular bloggers. The home page is eye catching and instantly attracts readers into reading analyses about various topics. On this particular day (October 28, 2010), the blog has a large sign of "Mad World" which has been hosted on the blog for a few weeks. It gave people an opportunity to discuss advertising, identity and gender and received exceptional visitation. This definitely attracted people to contribute given that it was the last week that Mad World would be hosted. The blog's approach to pop culture is quite relevant; even though it could be considered disrespectful to a certain extent. This is because of the kind of forthrightness that characterizes discussions on pop culture.
Bitch magazine sources its funding from sponsorships; given that it is a nonprofit organization. Interested individuals and businesses may support the organization through making a pledge to donate to Bitch magazine. The businesses in turn benefit from visibility and marketing opportunities as a result of supporting the organization's activities (Bitch magazine website).
The blog has a group of writers and bloggers who constantly post reviews, interviews and analyses based on different observations in pop culture. Examples include Sarah Jaffe, Ashley McAllister and Katie Presley in the music section; Evmaroon, Megan Carpentier and Thea Lim in the sex and sexuality section; Kjerstin Johnson, Erin Andrews, Wallace in the sports section; and Joe Manchin, Kendrick Meek and EvMaroon in the science and politics section among other writers.
The notion of media logic to a large extent defines how various media avenues see and interprets social affairs. This then flows down to how such information is relayed to the public and how the material is organized with regards to which material that is considered relevant to the target audience (Eighmey and McCord, 1998). The media should be in a position to identify which area to emphasize on and what kind of language to use in order to captivate the target audience. Bitch initially recognized the importance of interpreting pop media in a feminist manner and has made this the core activity of the blog. Accordingly, social issues observable in other media such as TV, radio, movies, advertising and songs among others are of particular interest to Bitch and form a significant composition of the blog's content. The blog is aware that people are highly interested in critical feminist analyses of social happenings and behavior across the world and therefore offers an avenue for readers to access such information and to contribute through discussions on its website. Bitch aims at expressing opinions and ideas that would otherwise be ignored either due to their complexity or shame attributed to such opinions. This explains the name "Bitch" which in the blog's explanation is likened to the epithet flung at women who do not shy away from expressing their opinions and who freely speak out their minds when they are bothered or offended (Bitch Magazine website). Bitch also recognizes that pop culture is deeply rooted in the modern world and it is therefore bound to attract outstanding attention.
The source of material used in any form of media reflects standard goals, routines and adaptations that often represent what the audience demands (Eighmey and McCord, 1998). This is evident in Bitch magazine blog which tends to focus on fashion, sports, celebrity news, music and videos as the major content sources. It would be notable that Bitch Magazine would not get as much audience as it enjoys now if they were to eliminate topics emanating from such sources and start blogging in other areas. The blog must keep the audience entertained and satisfied; and like any other media channel, Bitch definitely maintains their focus on what their customers are willing to hear.
Media organizations often tend to maintain a theme or specific specifications that dictate the nature of their contents (Berger, 2007). Bitch magazine has chosen the line of feminist pop culture and aims at providing the most informative content for the readers. Beach Magazine plays a significant role in the defining pop culture. It has the objective of providing and encouraging an empowered feminist rejoinder to conventional media and popular culture. The magazine attempts to revitalize contemporary feminism through providing a medium that welcomes intricate arguments in the unequivocally gendered world while encouraging the expression of contradictory and uncomfortable truths that are often ignored (Bitch magazine website). Bitch connects messages that are derived from observations in the media and relates them to pop culture; thereby introducing topics that many consider to be good for discussion. Bitch media wittingly provides thought-provoking observations and analysis of films, TV, music, advertising and books among other media. Critical essays, interviews, incisive reviews and thoughtfully reported pieces characterize Bitch's works; providing a thorough insight of culture. It is not only thoughtful but also an exhibition of honesty, reason, brilliance and candidness that most blogs have not managed to achieve.
Like most media channels, Bitch is highly concerned with advertising as a means to earn revenue. The blog displays goods and advertises businesses that are likely to appeal to the audience that visits the blog. Hotels, clothes stores, beauty shops, mobile phones and network shops are among the most common businesses that advertise on Bitch blog.
Social learning theory
The social learning theory connotes a situation where people learn behavior by observing their surroundings (Miller, 2005). In essence, observations of desired outcomes emanating from other people's behavior are likely to trigger the need to imitate such behavior. On the other hand, negative outcomes discourage the adoption of observed behavior. The media is highly influential as far as social learning is concerned because it tends to describe and expose the activities and achievements of various people whose profiles may be considered likeable or unlikable. These observations are likely to influence individuals in different ways.
Bitch media often features celebrities and famous people on its blog and different ideas and opinions often emerge in the analyses. While some of these can be considered interesting to the readers, they also influence their way of thinking and may even affect their behavior in a significant way. This is in regard to the fact that Bitch Magazine mostly attracts an audience consisting of young people who are yet to define their personality and preferred direction in life. The contents of the blog that describe the behavior of people and the consequences of such behavior could lead the readers into imitating them. This can be evident in the blog discussions where contributors often express the need to be like various individuals featured in the blog. For example, the dress code evident in some of the models, musicians, actors and actresses could highly influence young people into wearing such clothing in order to attract attention. Some could find the idea of plastic surgery fascinating after reading 'amazing results' that stars obtained when they had their bodies modified. In a blog article on the "The Dating Game" written on 31st August for example, Megan Carpentier makes note of how her partners were cheating on her by placing dating advertisements online. Unfortunately, she was able to get them because they had placed personal information on the dating sites. Megan gives advice on things that one should never put on their dating profile (Carpentier, 2010). The information exudes mixed reactions and it can be observed that this was a very enlightening article. It means that the readers are likely to take caution and even change the information on their dating profiles to avoid being caught. It would therefore be true to say that Bitch blog plays a role in social learning and that it is a source of reference for people who constantly visit the site.
Parasocial relationships are considered to be associations in which one party is more informed about the other person as opposed to what the other party knows about them (Miller, 2005; Berger, 2007). It occurs where the information regarding one party is accessible to the other in a dissimilar proportion to how that person can access the other's information. A one-way friendship is likely to emerge on the basis of illusions created by the media such that a bond of intimacy is developed. In most cases, a person could feel as though they really know the media personality and is made to believe that they are having a 'one-on-one' interaction (Miller, 2005). In the Bitch magazine blog, interactions with celebrities are common; both through information provided about them by writers and through direct posts that bloggers make everyday. As with television which promotes an illusion of interaction through talk shows, the internet highly encourages parasocial relationships through engaging in discussions with celebrities and presenting information about them such that readers often feel like they really know them.
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Blogs are aware that people visiting their websites are highly influenced by the existence of parasocial relationships. In a study conducted by John Eighmey in 1998, it was revealed that parasocial relationships were an imperative determinant of visitation rates in any particular website. Further, it showed that websites that portrayed strong personality sense were likely to lead to the development of parasocial relationships. The Bitch magazine blog effectively identifies celebrities who attract particular interest to people and focuses on informing their readers about their whereabouts and important happenings in their lives. Depending on the reader's interest, they are likely to keep visiting the site in order to stay updated about the star's personal life. This is how Bitch ensures that there are constant visitors on its site which in turn translates to increased popularity and a boost to their ability to attract advertisements on their blog. This can also be observed in other entertainment blogs on the internet. Pink is the New Blog for example effectively connects the reader to celebrities through offering updates, gossip and news regarding their lives such that readers want to keep reading the blog in order to be well updated regarding their favorite musicians, actors and sportsmen whom they have formed parasocial relationships with.
The media has often been a subject of controversy; based on the long-term effects that could have on individuals of different ages. This resulted from the concern exhibited by various scholars regarding the effects of television programming on behavior; with particular interest on violent programming. A note is made of situations in which individuals adopt behaviors and attitudes that are influenced by what they observe in the media such as television and the internet (Berger, 2007). These could range from violence to changes in socialization behaviors characterized by imitated acts. Blogs are increasingly exposing the lives of celebrities and this could dictate how visitors in these sites behave in real life.
In relation to this, it is possible to state that the information relayed on Bitch blog is likely to influence the long-term behavior of people visiting the site. Notably, Bitch analyzes different topics in the entertainment docket, sports, politics and social life. In these discussions, they make note of how people behave and thoroughly scrutinize the consequences of their actions. Based on such contents, readers could make conclusions on the preferred behavior and thus adopt them as a way of life. This mostly occurs due to the fact that these readers have high admiration on people they consider stars and are likely to imitate them in order to feel like them. On the other hand, some may tend to avoid behaviors exhibited by celebrities that they do not like because they believe that this is equivalent to supporting them.
It can be established that entertainment blogs as a section of the media effectively portray the four media-centered perspectives. The Bitch blog indicates without doubt that the media content is largely determined by the target audience and that the media must keep readers updated on their favorite subjects in order to keep attention on the media. This is done through establishing media logic which must be utilized by the media to ensure that its audience is always gratified by the content included in their media. The effect of media on behavior is inherent. This is effectively portrayed in the social learning theory, cultivation theory and parasocial relationships. Bloggers are more likely to develop illusions of desired behavior as a result of reading about celebrities, media personalities, sportsmen and politicians which are later adopted into their lifestyles. It is also notable that the availability of such information on blogs is what increases visitation of the sites. This denotes that a blog must be willing to give the readers what they want to read in order to enhance continuity. In essence, media survival is to a large extent determined by its ability to satisfy the demand of its audience and the sustainability in the provision of such information over the long-run.