By Samandra

How has social media changed you?

21 Apr 2021

I used to think that I had a shield that protected me from being affected by the media. These shields were all the years that I have been active on social media, the trait of being observant to what’s happening, and later on, the media literacy I have earned while pursuing a major in Communication Studies at BYU. 

If I noticed that they wanted me to take a particular action, I would intentionally do the opposite and reject the message. The more persuasive it tried to be, the less power it would have over me. 

This is explained in a social psychological theory developed by Brehm and Brehm (1981) called Reactance Theory. When noticed a threat, we tend to protect our sense of freedom. A “boomerang effect” occurs to safeguard our independence and control, leading to an opposite behavior than initially expected.

How does persuasion work?

When facing a persuasive message, the individual might react to it in different ways:

  • Being Persuaded: when the message is in accordance with what we believe/want, persuasion is very likely.
  • Having a Boomerang Effect: when the message is contrary to what we believe/want, a boomerang effect is likely.
  • Peripheral Cue: when the message is neutral to what we believe/want, we try to associate the received message with something we already think positively about. 
    • If accepted the peripheral cues, there may be a temporary attitude change and possibly future elaboration.
    • If not accepted, the initial attitude is held.

After a few considerations, I realized that I’m more vulnerable to media messages than I thought I was. So why do we think that we are media-proofed while others aren’t? This is explained on the Illusion of Personal Invulnerability study by Levine and Wiley (2004).

“People tend to have a curious illusion of personal invulnerability to manipulation—a belief that we’re not as vulnerable as others around us.”

We might think that because we know how persuasion work, we will prevent any damage from its use. However, just like driving a car, we might understand how things work, but we are still vulnerable to the effects of using it. The illusion that we are not as vulnerable as others might occur because clever and subtle messages make it hard to see that we are being manipulated.

These messages might also not have an immediate effect on us, but the more we see them, the more we get affected by them throughout the times. This is explained by the drip-drip hypothesis which explains that gradual changes occur in the long term in an individual’s attitudes or behavior.

How has the media affected me?

Subtle messages are more persuasive to me. I will be more curious about what people on social media are using if they aren’t trying to sell me on. Here are some examples of how the media has affected daily decisions.

  • Instagram has influenced me to have an “Instagram Worthy” bedroom decor. So if I decide to take a picture, it will look good on it. 
  • I rely greatly on Pinterest to know how to match different pieces of clothing and what I should have on my wardrobe. 
  • I shop for outfits that will look good in pictures.
  • I choose what to wear on a trip according to the places that I will visit, and how good they will look in pictures. 
  • I purchase products that are effective and look good on the shelf–if I decide to share a “shelfie”. 
  • The trip destinations are highly influenced by what I have seen on Instagram.
  • The list of places I want to visit on a trip also considers which pictures I will want to take. 

I have been affected heavily by media messages without noticing it. Can you imagine how much greater it would be if I wasn’t aware of how persuasive messages work?!

“The most effective persuasion often takes place when we don’t recognize we’re being persuaded.”

— The Hidden Persuaders

It’s then crucial to be aware of the media that we consume to not be surprised by undesirable changes. I make choices about the media I consume the same way that I make choices of what I should eat. The saying “we are what we eat” could be replaced by “we are what we consume on the media.”

Are you aware of the media messages that come to you? What has been the media making you become? It’s time to be mindful of the media content we consume, become media literate, and educate others that aren’t equipped with our understanding.


Brehm, S. S. (8). Brehm; JW (1981). Psychological Reactance: A Theory of Freedom and Control.
(Levine, R., & Wiley, J., 2004). The Power of Persuasion: How We’re Bought and Sold. Cultic Studies Review, 3(2).


6 Tips for a Less Stressful Move

23 Feb 2021

Moving–it might be one of the things that I have involuntarily done so many times while I was growing up, and it has become something that I have got used to overtime. While in Brazil, I have lived in three different states and moved a total of eighteen times. After moving to the USA, I have lived in three different states as well, and at twelve different places. I have learned so much during all these 30 moving times. For example, I learned that moving isn’t as bad as it sounds, you make friends everywhere you go, and it’s actually such an exciting feeling to move to a place where anyone knows you, and explore the new place you have moved to. 

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Moving tips and advice:

  1. Get rid of things: in my adult life, I have always handpicked what I was going to bring with me in the next chapter of my life. Then I usually donate or sell the items that didn’t make the cut. The best things to family members, the ones that were too valuable I sold and I donated the rest to whoever wanted it. 
  2. Take a picture of how you want things to go back: If you really like how things are placed in their current place and want to replicate it, take a picture! You might think that it will be easy to remember it all later, but I recommend taking a picture so you don’t need to struggle to remember later if your brain decided to not keep a memory picture of it all. 
  3. Keep clothes on hangers: One of the mistakes I did on my early moving days, was to remove the hanger from clothes. Keeping the hangers will make your work so much easier later, as you can just grab and put them back to where they should be. Extra tip: keep clothes that are folded as they are in your storage, so later you can just grab and put them back. 
  4. Start packing: I start packing the things that I won’t need until the moving date, and I go packing as I feel I won’t need these things until I have everything packed. While packing things, do yourself the favor of organizing them in categories so you know where things are if you need them during the process. I like to say that I can find anything I want, anytime I want. 
  5. Ship it: If you’re a solo rider like me and don’t have furniture to move with, you might just have a few boxes to move to the new place. Shipping boxes instead of bringing them with me in the airplane ended up being less expensive while moving from Virginia to Utah.
  6. Invite your friends to make the move, or hire a moving company: My friends usually resent coming to help me later because I have so MANY things and I joke that I always need to make new friends rotate who will help me with the next move. Jokes aside, it takes a true friend to help you with that, so if you want to spare your people from moving all the crap you have collected all the years, hire someone! This is also probably the best option if you’re specific on how things should be handled because your friends might not be as interested in your “high maintenance” needs. 
  7. Hiring a company: This might be the best option if you want people to have control of how people will treat your belongings. If you’re moving within Utah, The Muscle Men Movers should be your pick! They are experienced movers that have the proper equipment to move it all safely–documents, money, timeless papers, gun safes–to the next destination. 

Talking About Racism as a Brown Person

08 Jun 2020

Let’s talk about racism. As someone who has suffered from racism in the past, I have some things to say. However, you should also know that I don’t think that making white people feel guilty about the color of their skin–something that they haven’t chosen for themselves–is the proper way to fix anything.

So while I communicate about this, I don’t ask you to agree with what I will say, but I would appreciate it if you would try to see the love I feel for all kinds of people, and try to understand how I feel about this matter.

I have suffered a great amount of racism in Brazil– a country in which usually Americans think that everyone has the same skin color as me. However, Brazil is a very diverse country. There are a great number of immigrants from Germany, Italy, Japan, Austria, Korea, Poland, Lebanon, Russia, China, and so many other countries. So basically, the common stereotype doesn’t give justice to how all Brazilians look.

I was born and raised in the state of Santa Catarina, in the south of Brazil. I have ancestors that are German, Indigenous, and Portuguese. My grandma was white and blonde and my grandpa was tan. Because of this mix, some of my uncles and aunts are blonde, and some are tan–all coming from the same parents.

The type of racism I have suffered in Brazil mostly referred to hearing things such as “it had to be black”, “that’s something that black would do”, “that’s a black’s color (referring to when I used red)”, “blacks shouldn’t use pink lipstick”.

These people made me constantly aware of my skin color, and believe that it wasn’t desirable. So, I became a teenager that didn’t like my skin color. Because of that, I avoided being in the sun and going to the beach so I wouldn’t get any darker. I stopped wearing red because I didn’t want to be labeled “black” for wearing it. And every time I put pink lipstick on, I would think that I shouldn’t wear that color, as that would be faking a lip color I didn’t have. I stopped doing these things because I didn’t want to hear more hateful comments.

Then I moved to the USA, a country with a greater amount of whites than in Brazil. To my surprise, these people didn’t seem to care about the color of my skin. I became friends with a great number of white people, went on a good amount of dates with white guys, and in all these 7 years living here, I have never heard any racist comment coming from them. I also noticed white girls getting spray tans and becoming even darker than me. I noticed that my skin color was something they wanted to have.

As I continued to feel that acceptance, that here my skin color was something desirable and that people didn’t seem to care if I was black, brown, or white, I stopped paying attention to it–something that before, I was constantly aware of.

Recently, I went to an Indian store looking for food and I saw those skin whitening creams and it came to my mind that in the past I would certainly have tried it, but today I don’t feel the need to. I love my skin color and I wouldn’t trade it for anything! It’s just perfect for me.

Although, I must admit that there were a few times in which I felt that being brown didn’t help me much. Living in Provo I felt that girls would have their group of girl friends in which they all were white and blonde. I also applied to a job at BYU, and the person chosen for the position when I applied was female-white-blonde, just like all the other ones that have worked in this job before I applied, and just like the ones that came after that.

I also felt racism once when I went to Carrabas with some close friends in Arizona. They both are white and have four cute kids. The waitress asked them how the food was, and she didn’t look or ask me anything. She probably thought I was the nanny, but no, I was just their friend.

Those were the three situations that I felt that my color affected how I got treated here in the USA. Apart from these examples, I can’t think of any other situation where I felt that my color was an issue.

We like to talk about white privilege, but what about brown privilege? I talk about this because it’s where I fit in. I have received scholarships because of my skin color, and I have received other perks because of that. What if instead, we received these benefits because of our socio-economic circumstances? Some black/brown people didn’t need this help, while some impoverished white families have had a greater need than us. Although because their skin color may not be labeled in the category of “in need,” they may be at a disadvantage in these situations.

I just wish that we didn’t need to talk so much about race and color. This shouldn’t matter at all, just like it shouldn’t matter if I decide to wear a yellow or orange shirt. What should matter is what we do with our lives and how we treat others.

In summary, I have suffered racism by white people a couple of times, but the greater amount of them have treated me with respect and love, so how could I forget all the good deeds they have done me and label all whites as racists? I don’t believe in the “one size fits all”, and I don’t believe that all white people are racist. As I said, I have been on a good amount of dates with white guys, I have a lot of white friends, and also a lot of people from church, roommates, people that I work with, etc. which have treated me so nicely, regarding my skin color.

As I say all of this, I won’t make white people feel bad for the color that they were born with. They are not responsible for what their ancestors did, their only obligation is to do something today, and educate their children to treat everyone as an equal human being, and I like that these events lately have been helping them to be more involved in promoting color equality. We can’t do to them what was done to us in the past! We don’t combat racism with racism, but with love, education, and communication.

I am aware though, that this has been an issue throughout centuries, and that we need to fix it. A lot of damage has been done to black people and it needs to stop.

I love that we all are becoming more aware of what people of color deal with for just being themselves. I love that a lot of people are showing empathy and love towards us and that they are educating themselves, and that we the brown/black community are communicating what we deal with and giving everyone a chance to make things better.