Core Connections

For the purposes of this assignment, my topic for the ACAP is #haterz. My primary text is the After School mobile app that has emerged in popularity since it was released in November of 2014. The two readings which I will be referencing in my paper are chapter 2 from Shirky and chapter 2 by Gladwell. In “Sharing Anchors Community”, Shirky expresses the idea that the hierarchal organizations of workplaces have transformed along with recent technological advancements. A wider range of people are connected, which can result in more success and profit in business ventures. With the anonymous message board on After School, more teenagers are being exploited for their shortcomings and embarrassing moments. The concept of hierarchy thrives in U.S. high schools. While technology has expanded connections it has also perpetuated cultural norms within schools. I want to compare and contrast the hierarchy in businesses versus schools. In “The Law of the Few”, Gladwell explains how word-of-mouth epidemics can spread depending on the nature of the messenger. In relation to the app, teenagers typically have a role of being a connector, maven or salesman. Based on these characters, each person can have a varying influence on their peers through anonymous interactions.

Drafting with Groupthink

Online social networking has become a common pastime for the youth of today’s society. This form of social media offers individuals a portal for communication and entertainment. Most recently, the mobile app called After School has soared in popularity since its emergence in late 2014. It has nearly taken precedence over Facebook and Twitter and in such a short time. With the virtual world expanding, there are always potential risks to consider. After School consists of an anonymous message board. This allows for inappropriate behavior to escalate along  with the onslaught of cyberbullying. This app is no different than other prominent social media sites. How far will people allow this technological takeover to continue? Confessions, secrets, and criticisms are being declared openly and anonymously. Thus, many young people are left feeling uncomfortable, distressed, and some even threatened. Cyberbullying can be limited more effectively through user awareness, parental monitoring, and legal regulations.

Texting My Dream

As stated in my previous post, I found the most interesting topic to be cyberbullying. It developed in the early 2000s along with the expansion of the worldwide web through means of online social networking. Facebook and Twitter have been the primary platforms for such negative behavior. But those sites have managed to regulate most of their security and safety issues through monitoring and expanding privacy controls. Facebook and Twitter are also already well-known and commonly used in today’s society. Thus, for purposes of this assignment I wanted to explore something not as common and contrive new ideas based upon my discoveries.

Through research on the internet, I came across a mobile app called “After School”, which was originally released in November of 2014. It provides a private space for interacting online within a defined network based on high schools. Teenagers are able to connect with peers through common interests and classes they are taking. After School has already soared to such high membership including hundreds of thousands of high school students. I worry about the negative impact of the anonymous message board. Cyberbullying had finally begun declining during the early 2010s. But with the expanding of anonymous interaction, the privacy and safety concerns are numerous. Cultural norms, including the typical hierarchal organization of most high schools, are mirrored and further extended through this online sphere of influence.

Week 1 Reflection Post

Based on what we have discussed throughout the first week, I am interested in exploring cyberbullying. The expansion of the world wide web has led to the development of many online social networks, which have brought people together in various ways. People have become more connected with their family, friends, and colleagues now more than ever before. But what is the backlash from this technological takeover? Are people actually making genuine connections with others?

Many folks could be hiding behind their online identity. For some, online interaction could be the only way they are able to break out of their shell throughout adolescence. But is this a healthy form of communication with peers? For others, growing up in a generation with more of a technological presence in their lives has only brought about negative physical, mental and emotional impacts. It is never easy to deal with bullying in person. However, verbal abuse can often hurt much more than physical abuse. And it seems much easier for kids nowadays to get away with taunting and harassing others through online means.

My digital primary text right now could be Twitter. This phenomenon has been around for several years now, but with more recent updates the expanding horizon has given way to both positive and negative impacts. From my own personal experience, Twitter seems to be the most common platform for cyberbullying in today’s society. But I want to see if I can discover a more recent development in the days to come.


Hi there, my name is Rachel Kessinger, 22 years old and a junior here at VCU. This is my third year living in Richmond and I love the university and the city. I have a double major in political science and history. My mom is a lawyer and my dad is a political activist, both with strong political opinions. So I have developed strong interests in law, politics and social issues. Additionally, history was always my favorite subject in school growing up. I have always enjoyed following chains of events and  connecting the dots when it comes to when, where, why and how things happen the way they do.

After college, I have many career goals that I want to pursue. First, I want to do paralegal work. It’s basically the same work that lawyers do, but without representing people in court or having to attend grad school for an additional 4 years. It will give me an even greater understanding of law as well. Secondly, I want to teach at the middle or high school level because teenagers are old enough to understand most real issues, but still young enough that they’ve got a lot to learn about the world. Lastly, I want to work behind the scenes in politics, whether it be as a legislative assistant, lobbyist or campaign manager. I don’t quite have enough courage or confidence to be in the national spotlight as a senator or governor, but I have enough knowledge and passion to pursue a supportive role.

There are a couple reasons for taking this particular UNIV 200 course online. I have actually never taken an online class in college before so I saw this opportunity as being a great, new challenge and learning experience.  I also work so much that being able to do the assignments for this class around my own schedule really helps. Despite my parents earning reasonable incomes, they have always felt that I should earn my way through college. So, I work and pay for school entirely on my own with no financial aid or loans. I genuinely want to be here at this university in this city.  Reading and writing have always been my strong suits along with my love for learning. I hope to get the most out of this class as possible, while also hopefully obtaining the highest possible grade as well.