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Shiftspace: Sidereel.com

Everyday I log onto sidereel.com to watch the TV that was on the night before (or if I’m up past 11, shows from that night).   Sure I also hit up Hulu for the shows that are posted there, but not all can be easily found online. Also, the interfaces on network websites are problematic and buffer a lot.

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Goodbye Temptation

For my ShiftSpace I returned to my previous exploration of the DList site’s interface.  As I had discussed to overwhelming amount of sexuality displayed throughout the site, I shifted the space by completely blocking out the initial imagery on the welcome page.  This, to me, really simplified the site and allowed you to be more open to what the site might have to offer rather than the bombardment of half naked men being thrown at you off the bat.  Granted I wish I could more easily use the source shift to accomplish my space shifting task, alas I think I’ll need more practice before I can do that.

Here is my permalink.

I did attempt to do another while logged into the site but it wasn’t possible to make it show up as a permalink correctly afterwards because you still have to be signed into the site.

“Open the suicide doors, this is my life homie, you decide yours…”

The topic that I am interested in looking at is how musical artists use blogs to express themselves publicly on the Internet. As my preferred genre of music is hip-hop, i will mainly be using examples from the hip-hop community, the first of them being superstar Kanye West’s blog.  I have read his blog daily for the past 2 years (when i discovered it’s existence, shortly after the release of “Graduation”).  The reason that I find this one particularly interesting, is that it is not a purely promotional (as in for the music) blog, but is also a facet of sorts into what things he happens to be into. Known the be a great admirer of design, he habitually posts architectural and fashion related posts.  This being said, he does also post new music by him (that he’s willing to release for free of course!) and by other artists either signed to his label or that he happens to be a fan of (this goes for ALL genres). He also uses it to directly address his fans and the world when he feels the need to express himself directly (usually following some kind of controversy involving him, he does seem to create quite a few of them due to frequent public outbursts). I plan to use this as a stepping stone and monitor his posts for the next week, and move on to another artist , and then i believe this will probsbly lead to to Twitter…i would appreciate any suggestions! .



Hyperlocal Social Networking

Neighbors for Neighbors is a social networking site in Boston that features separate pages for each neighborhood in the city. The idea behind the site is to provide a platform for members of each neighborhood to connect, share ideas, and organize for action. Recently, Boston City Hall got behind Neighbors for Neighbors to explore new ways to engage and connect with its constituency.
In recent conversations with both IMS people at city hall and the founder of neighbors for neighbors, a core objective behind this work is to improve the visibility of resource in the community so as to promote self sufficiency amongst the constituency.
In this travelogue I would like to begin by examining the types of conversations that take place on the site, interview some of the individuals on the habits of their use, and find out more about the follow through for activities proposed on the site and their translation to action. From there I plan to investigate other examples of community based social networking sites in order to learn more about their best practices and challenges.
The idea of the web as complementary public space has been around since the early 1990’s and has been expressed in the field of community informatics which examines the design and implementation of platforms for community dialogue and distribution of community based information.I plan on using the realm of community informatics as a framework for my investigation. On a more theoretical level, I plan on engaging the ideas around new institutional forms to look at how such sites might transform the nature and role of governments and representative systems of democracy.

tl;dr: Attention Span and the Internet

I want to write about how internet usage affects memory and attention span. specifically, I want to look at the evolution of the tl;dr meme, and its causes and implications.

No longer a mere snarky comment at the end of a long blog post, tl;dr (or “teal deer”) is now a cherished standard of length on the internet. It’s even an official template for editing on Wikipedia.

In this travelogue I want to look at how the internet has influenced the tl;dr phenomena. Has the rise in digital communication led to shorter attention spans? Concern over shortened memory is hardly a new thing–Plato accused writing of destroying memory in Phaedrus, and it has always been the goal of journalists to make stories short and snappy. However, the rise of digital media seems to have increased this problem: now, we can’t even be bothered to read full blog posts; instead, we get our news 140 characters at a time.

I plan to use both recent scientific work on attention span and social research into the digital age to look at what sort of effects the internet may have on memory, as well as what the implications of these effects are. I still feel like this is a bit unfocused, though, so I’ll welcome any suggestions.

And for the record, I check twitter about 10 times and played about 20 games of Minesweeper while writing this, so I do think that there must be something there. I didn’t use to be this lazy!

Travelogue 2 – a social marketing network

I’ve chosen Adbusters as the new media environment for which I’ll base my Travelogue. Adbusters is simply a broad network/organization seeking to advance what they bill as “the new social activist movement of the information age.” To spread their message(s), they’ve mobilized through various media including a not-for-profit print magazine, various blogs, news, spoof ads, “ABTV” [an internet TV channel], and a weekly e-newsletter. They push an extremely broad agenda, seeking to educate consumers on any number of social issues from food to corporatism. Their target is “any industry that pollutes our physical or mental commons.” Read More »

Networking the Gay Male

          Social networking sites have been a booming business in the recent years especially with the more prominent sites such as Myspace and Facebook, and although social networking isn’t altogether a new thing, these versions have brought social networking to a whole new level through the use of new media.  These sites have also opened up the door to other entrepreneurs to find their own audiences to entice through social networking that caters to a particular social subset.  For me, this brings about my interest in new media’s part in the creation of identity for a new generation, as well as questions about the positive or negative impacts of exclusionary social groups. Read More »

A Week Without Google

For Next Week (Sep 29th):

Experiment: A week without Google

In the coming week starting from the end of this class we will attempt to make it through a whole week without using any Google service. Not Google Search, not Gmail, not Google Talk, not Google Video, not Google Docs, not Google Maps, not Google Earth, not Google News, not Google Groups, not Youtube, not Google Video, not Blogger, not Picasa, not Google Calendar, not Google Checkout, not iGoogle, not Google Translate,not Google Voice, not Google Chrome, if you have a G1 phone, you are not allowed to use Google services with it, talk and text only… you get the point.

It’s not going to be easy and hence we will not attempt to create an unfeasible challenge. We will keep a promise to each other to follow some rules:

  1. Whenever we are passively exposed to Google content (an embedded Google video, map, and so on…) we post that link to delicious.com (this is how to post to delicious.com) using the tags ‘tdmcc’, ‘weekwithoutgoogle’ and ‘ambushed’ (+whatever else you want to include)
  2. Whenever we break and use a Google service, we report about it to the blog, as a comment on this post.
  3. If we totally break altogether, we write a post about it as soon as we decide to pull out, summarizing the experience.

We will also try to support each other in the process by:

  1. If you use Gmail, please make sure to set a forward on your email to another email service (either on or offline). Please do that as the first thing you do after this class, and not later than 8am tomorrow morning.
  2. Every time you are about to use Google, and find a way around it, try to propose the alternative to the class by tagging the alternative with the tags ‘nmrs’, ‘weekwithoutgoogle’ and ‘dodged’.
  3. Share tactics on the blog. Work together to try to make it.
  4. Previous classes found the use of this Firefox plugin useful, so if you find you just can’t trust yourself use it to block any Google domain. In the options add the following urls:

    (am I missing anything?)(I know I am)

This is trust based only, but those of us who will manage to take this challenge on and make it through the week will win the class’s medal of honor.

Good luck!
(we’re going to need it)

Positive Liberty and Big Media

What is it that ties together the views of Adam Curtis, Ethan Zuckerman, Clive Thomposon, Gary Kamiya, and Isiah Berlin? All are concerned for the future of rationality, discourse, and the distribution of information within society, or in one very heavy handed word, they are concerned with liberty.

The movement of information throughout society and an individuals ability to process it on their own account has bearing on the decisions they make and the actions they take. As Zuckerman, Thompson, and Kamiya point out, the appearance of the internet has both increased the possibility to access diverse news sources and made it easier to engage those news outlets that best fit ones current views.

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Game Theory in Social Interactions Online: A Case Study

As I was watching Adam Curtis’s The Trap, the one thing that really interested me was the application of game theory to everyday interaction, particularly in the theories of von Hayek, the testing of Nash’s Prisoner’s Dilemma and in the work of RD Laing.

In the documentary, Curtis talks about how the many applications of numbers, and particularly game theory, to human behavior always fails. Irrespective of whether this application is a good idea or not, it seems to me that, in everyday life, there is no practical way to test this. The testing methods he showed were fundamentally flawed: if game theory is correct, humans wouldn’t be trying to achieve the best result in every individual situation, but the best result overall. In this case, it might actually be disadvantageous to go for the most “logical” solution in every situation, because it might harm social standing in the long run.

Additionally, in a group setting, the dilemma of whether to cooperate or betray becomes more complex. In the article “Communication, Coordination, and Camaraderie in World of Warcraft” by Mark G. Chen, he explains that

A common feature of many models of [social dilemmas] is that the whole community benefits when a certain number of people cooperate. What this means is that someone could defect— make the self-serving choice by free riding—so long as enough other people are cooperating, but if too many people free ride, the whole community loses any benefits. It is relatively easy to show how two people can rationalize cooperating with each other (by not betraying each other and maximizing their benefit over time). It is much harder to convince someone who belongs to a larger community that cooperating makes sense. (Chen 49)

Considering the topic of this course, I immediately considered how this might apply to virtual interaction. After all, the ideal testing parameters for something like this would be a completely anonymous world, where no one has any idea who anyone else is, in an incredibly large community, where everyone is entirely unaccountable for their behavior: basically, the internet.  Using the film as a jumping-off point, I explored how von Hayek, Nash, and Laing’s ideas might or might not apply more clearly to virtual interaction. Read More »