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Weekly Summary : Interface!

The major theme that ties this week’s material together includes how on the Web, interface (“a point of interconnection between two independent systems” Mushon) is being shaped in a way that break the balance of power depriving users (as one side of the 2 systems) of their power. The Web is often considered as an open and free media yet users’ experience does not seem to be under their control…

Dan Ariely, Are we in control of our own decisions?

Israeli Professor Dan Ariely teaches Behavioral Economics at MIT. Passionate about rationality, he is the author of Predictably Irrational. Ariely performed this presentation in December 2008. It is obviously meant to push his audience to question itself. He wants people to recognize and understand their limitations…

  • Visual illusions are a physical limitation people are well aware of. They can demonstrate it yet they cannot escape it. Therefore they adapt to it.
  • Cognitive illusions would also be mistakes that we cannot avoid but worst as we cannot demonstrate and understand them.

However some people well aware of this weekness take advantage of it to influence others… Using different examples (organ donation forms, tour operator advertisings, doctors’ instructions and the hottest guy to date…) Ariely demonstrates how you can shape the message you send in such a way that you help people figure out what they want. Here are little tips : working on the format of the question you ask, emphasizing the default option, presenting a worst option than yours etc. While everybody remains in the illusion that they decide, you almost decide for them.

Ariely concludes on a very positive note: what if we put our pride aside and aknowledged our cognitive limitations? Then we would be able to design a better world.

Questions:

  1. Ariely takes for granted that understanding the cognitive illusion we are submitted to would allow us to adapt to it. But these two illusions are not the same at all: visual illusions are very specific and defined while cognitive illusions come down to rationality which is much harder to demarcate and control… Do you still think Ariely’s argument is relevant?
  2. Also, how to raise awareness on cognitive illusions when it could be the mean for some people to acquire so much power over others?

Chris Messina, The death of the URL

Chris Messina is a designer who believes in the open web. He is a member of Open ID and maintains a blog, he works at Google (for the record!). In this post Messina makes a plea on behalf of the URL. He wants to make people realize that URL could disappear which would put our freedom on the Web in jeopardy. To make his point the designer uses 6 examples:

  1. Web TV. A simplified, toned version of computer : no browser, no keyboard, no mouse. It will be “user friendly” but allow no flexibility at all.
  2. Litl, chromeOS, JoliCloud, and Apple Tablet… The design of these tools is  definitely “cool”. Yet it leads to “a  predetermined set of options” always restricting our freedom on the Web.
  3. Top Sites. This features provides you with a selection of the websites that you visit the most. As convenient as it is it prevents us from thinking. We don’t even need to think about the most accurate website to find what we are looking for. Everything on our browser tend to be preset, predetermind. We are becoming passive users.
  4. Warning interstitials and short URL frames. The annoying format of those warnings that we experience everyday contributes to deter us from clicking through certain link. Another way of restricting our freedom.
  5. The NASCAR or this tendency to turn everything into logos for the sake of simplicity. Another abstraction of URL
  6. App Stores or “a cleaved out and sanitized portion of the web”. Big business has the power. Companies, brands are taking control of the digital environment. “The hardware makers got into the content business” and are turning the Web into a shopping mall.

Messina concludes by reminding why there is so much at stake with URL: it allows anyone to create a website and to propagate it. URL empowers users, if users loose access to it they will be cast out of the Web.

Messina also cleary stresses on the interface that are the key issue of the Web: the battle to win “the universal interface for interacting with the web is just now getting underway ”

Questions :

  1. What do you think of Messina’s plea? Do you think the Web will be just like TV, reducing its audience to passivity?
  2. Do you feel that you lose control, that you are driven to a predetermined set of options?
  3. As Messina, do you think companies are responsible for the death of the URL and that they have interest in it?
  4. I feel that the discrepancies between different types of users will be increased and that some people are going to be able to preserve their freedom while other will lose the freedom of their experience. What about you?

Andrew Rasiej & Micha L. Sifry, Social networking, new governing

This article written in March 2009 clearly defers from the two other documents as it is mostly optimistic regarding the power of users on the Web.

The authors draw their argument on Facebook. The social network has reach such a number of users that it plays a key role in our societies: “it is a meaningful platform for political engagement”. But “is Facebook a public square or a private mall?”. In response to users complaints about a unilateral control of the site, Zuckerberg decided not to change the website but to include users in the website policy and organized a “virtual town hall”. Zuckerberg said he wantes to develop “new models of governance”. So far so good but in reality this seem a bit fake:

  1. It is very unlikely that Facebook will mobilize 30% of its users to take part in the company’s governance.
  2. Facebook did not promote this new development at all. (Indeed, who heard about that?)

It seems that Facebook took very little risk. However, the two social entrepreneurs  founders of Personal Democracy Forum consider Zuckerberg’s proposal as the first step towards “an overall change in expectation about the relationship between digital landowners and digital tenants.”

Question:

  1. A year after their article, I am wondering what the authors would have to say about Zuckerberg’s declaration “privacy is no longer a social norm”? This declaration give me very little hope in the new democracy Facebook could provide us with…

Mushon Zer-Aviv, Interface as a conflict of Ideologies

This essay dives into the very question of interface.

Interface as “the point of interconnection between two independents systems” is all about balance. The design, the way the interface is built should aim at respecting and protecting the equilibrium between the two sides. However, interfaces are often used by one system to gain power over the other. Therefore interfaces are at the center of a major conflict on the Internet.

  • Encoded/ Decoded. The Web highlights the importance of interfaces yet we have been using them forever to communicate and interact between us. Languages for instance are a major interface. Referring to Ferdinand de Saussure M. Zer-Aviv explains how language has been conceived as a circuit on which messages could be exchanged as long as the interface is equally shared. However Stuart Hall has demonstrated that language relies on a system of codes and that “the codes used for encoding and decoding are often different”. There are 3 defined types of codes:
  1. Dominant Code: the sender shapes the interpretation od the receiver (Mass Media, advertising do that all the time as we cannot change the message)
  2. Negotiated Code: the receiver understands the message but does not completely buys into it
  3. Oppositional Code: the receiver understands the message but refuses it and uses another code to decode the message in oppositon to the goal of the sender.
  • The Web’s Communication Diagram. In theory “the Web is a revolutionary tool for gaining ownership of media” as it provides different types of communication: one to one, many to many, one to many. But it has also made the hierarchy at work in those communication system much more complicated.  Indeed the identities of the systems interacting are harder to clearly indentify on the web. The identities are somehow blurred. While the comment interfaces on blogs seem to leave room for users, “the only identity represented through the dominant interface (the website) is that of the publisher.” Most of the time on the web, interfaces fail to maintain the equilibrium between the two independent systems.
  • Commons-Based Peer Production – A new Ideology. The example of Wikipedia the free encyclopedia based on Benkler’s principle of Commons-Based Peer Production: “no one person controls how the resource is used, they are either open to the public or a defined group”. There is not one single author and the quality of content is protected by the moderation.
  • The Revolution will not be verified. Wikipedia is a wonderful proof of what common based peer production can achieve. However, Wikipedia’s strength relies in its “tightly policed ideology“. When people edit in Wikipedia they accept and relay Wikipedia’s ideology. The system works because wikipedia’s editor are strong advocates of Wikipedia’s identity (the respect of the power editors have been entitled to in the benefit of “the greater good”). And indeed, the system has proven to fail when reproduced in the LA Times. Even if the control is distributed there is always “one side who holds the key” and has the power to break the balance. The interface is the carrier of an identity and therefore carries a message in itself.
  • Unknowns Knowns in On-line Urban Space. Even though in theory HTML is simple and accessible to everybody, for practical purposes we experience the web through web pages that are “in the hands of the identity behind it”. Everything on the Web is privately owned and therefore under control. Because of these web pages, “the web has never had any public place” directly accessible. This part relates a lot to Ariely’s presentation: as well as we cannot aknowledge our cognitive limitations, there are things we “don’t know we know”. We don’t know we could think of the web in a different way that the one we get.
  • Cracks in the walls. Even if everything is under control, some things are a bit flexible and give hope for a little bit more of openness on the web.
  1. The RSS feed which gives mobility and visibility to content
  2. Application Programming Interface (API) when “the powers of one software can be shared by another”
  3. Social Bookmarking

Those new features are participating to the development of the metaweb which creates “a public space on the web” leading to more flexibility, mobility and participation. Through metaweb users could “retrieve their agency in the interfaces”. Interfaces would not be freezed anymore but the result of an on-going process in which all users can take part.

After having analyzed the interface and all that is at stake, the author suggests to enter into conflict to retrieve the balance in the interconnection between systems through two approaches . A tactical approach consits in destabilizing by questioning something established. It enables able to trully modify and improve the system (the example of Google bomb). A less spectacular but efficient approach is the strategic media one. It is much more sustainable and consits in “influencing the system from within”. Greasemonkey for instance allow users with coding skills to add, remove or fix features on the page, as well as it allows to insert content from other sites into the page.

And indeed you can contribute to the metaweb!

Mushon as contributed to the creation of ShiftSpace “an open source browser plugin for collaboratively annotating, editing and shifting the web”. It allows users to move out of their passivity for a much more active and interactive experience of the web. They have the opportunity to react, produce content and share it among Shiftspace users.

Questions :

  1. This text bring us back to the role of design. What is good design? Is it what prevents us from thinking?
  2. Private interests seem to be responsible for the loss of control of the users on the web. Can we think of a another Web (Web 3.0?) which could not be privately owned?



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9 Comments

  1. mushon 07:40, Mar 27th, 10

    Very good job summarizing this week’s reading. I obviously have an invested interest in this week’s comments discussion and the one in class (where I’ll also preview the next version of ShiftSpace to you).
    Just a quick remark about your last question. Web 2.0 is bullshit / Web 3.0 is also bullshit / The future is here, it is just unevenly distributed

  2. Ryan 09:06, Mar 28th, 10

    I enjoyed this week’s topic on interfaces very much because of how pertinent and important it is to the overall architecture and the way that we interact with media. Dan Ariely’s presentation was interesting and amusing to watch with his examples of how irrational we can be because of the way a question is phrased or because of a seemingly third option. Although understanding his premise and argument, I had a hard time making the connection (from his speech to my brain – in an interface sense) about how it affects maybe more relevant or larger issues of society. I agree that we make irrational decisions a lot and are far from perfect. However, what if we made the right or the most rational decision all the time? Where would the fun be in making mistakes and learning from them. That’s part of the learning process that we have developed. Still, the discernment process of how we come to make or choose is very complex and can depend upon a variety of factors. I wasn’t totally convinced by his examples even though his point was well taken. It took me back to “The Trap” and how it seemed that people were making irrational decisions that influenced millions of others. While true, I think that it paints a very bleak picture of our decision making process based on his argument. I think the point of the matter is why is my decision irrational? Maybe I want to pay $150 dollars for both types or maybe the uglier form of Joe has a better personality than his friend with a better face. Getting at the concept of the value and why some consider something irrational or rational should also be examined. And Juliette’s second question raises another good issue, how do we take into account the influence of others or even the ‘McCluhanesque’ message is in the medium with its codes to interpret? Interface important – of course!

    Messina’s piece was touching. I agree with his fear that the URL is at risk and our freedom is in jeopardy according to the changes in interface which impact our decision making process even more and more. I think this piece complements Ariely’s piece quite well because of the fact that the changes in these different interfaces on the web e.g. top sites, NASCAR, App stores, web TV, and more have evolved I believe as a need for efficiency. Efficiency and ease are the main proponents which have stimulated these types of interfaces. Take top sites for examples. To me, its obvious that people have habits and certain sites that they visit more frequently than others on a daily basis. Well, why don’t they just create a quick click interface to get me there instead of wasting a millisecond typing in the address. Yet, Messina would argue, as would I to a certain degree, that this inhibits or hinders one’s freedom of possibility to step outside of the box. I think Messina makes a great case based off of how we can become dependent on new interfaces which makes things more efficient for us and at the same time trains us to make a more ‘programmed’ choice. The only flaw is that what happens if the interface fails for some reason or we get bored with it, will it prevent us from returning to our old ways? Options are a central underlying theme here as well, the more we have or less we have creates a bit of a paradox. On one hand it can help us to make more ‘rational’ and free-er decision, but on the other hand, it can cause us to possibly make an ‘irrational’ decision a la Ariely’s argument. I guess again, mistakes and irrationality can be good for learning.

    Lastly, the facebook article and Mushon’s piece helped to reinforce that interfaces do have a governing agent behind them e.g. software developer or Wiki authorities. It reminds me that even though we seem to boast about the web’s democratic and public spaces, there are still forces and agents that have the power to control these different interfaces. But at the same time, anyone as Mushon mentioned can write HTML code and make a website these days – it’s relatively easy. What I see is a mix of battles and wars where people engage in tactical and strategic methods to combat these ideological apparatuses that govern the architecture and structures of these interfaces. This reminds me of the debate on open source and copyright and Benkler’s and Lessig’s terms.

    I believe that at the heart of the interface issue, other topics that we have covered help to frame this debate. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own decisions. Maybe its better that we have more options. Or maybe its not, and I’ll just make an irrational decision. Or I might have an interface which limits my freedom to choose and ability to navigate outside the box and I forget how I used to do things. Or maybe I will confront and have to accept, negotiate, or oppose the authority and power structure which seeks to contain me and others and revert to tactical or strategic ways to combat them. Viva Stephen Colbert for Wikiality President. “The Elephant population in Africa had tripled in the past 6 months.” Perception is reality, wikiality is truth.

  3. Jimena 16:30, Mar 28th, 10

    Very interesting topic.

    I am hooked on the debate between what exactly IS efficiency and why do we look so hungrily for it. It takes us back to the debate of what is good design–the characteristic that relieves us from needing to think? Or what empowers us to make more informed, independent
    decisions?
    I think Dan Ariely makes very important points,not only by demonstrating the importance of design in decision making, but the role that the “useless” plays in the forming of our discernment and critical abilities: “Useless helps people figure out what they want”– so sacrificing what’s apparently useless has a higher price to pay than it seems.

    On the one hand, ‘efficient’ applications/websites allow us to cut off time and hassle to get where we want to be. But in a world of endless possibilities, how do we know where we want to be–what is better, desirable for us? Why sould a browser, or any given corporation, know what is best? As we continously make more and more decissions based on other’s experiences: choose restaurants based on Yelp, roam the city according to Foursquare; how do we enlarge and enrich our network? As we were saying last class, defining a network is hard because they have an exceptional topology, they go beyond what we can see (beyond vision) and are formed by countless layers that link on and on.

    Interface design relates to the water/culture metaphor: as hardware designers participate in content creation, they ‘bottle’ the options and therefore reduce the sources. Still, water always manages to filter through cracks, as Mushon’s essay points out. There is indeed a metaweb that allows for a freer participation. Still, we can’t forget the importance of media literacy for informed, engaged participation to take place. As the Rasiej & Sifry article shows (and many other examples we’ve seen in class), the percentage of users who engage in informed choices in the Web is very low. The possibility of empowering while clarifying seems to be a complex mixture of ethics of power + user engagement and participation. Pretty much like democracy itself :)

  4. ElzbthMllr 18:43, Mar 28th, 10

    I thought Ariely’s presentation was really fascinating, but like Ryan I’m interested to learn how this plays out in more social and political scenarios. I did some investigating of his blog and his book in case anyone is interested, here is the site: http://www.predictablyirrational.com/.

    I also really agreed with Messina’s “The Death of the URL” and it’s something I never really would have considered outside of this class. Although I think he’s right on many points, I think that the majority of his examples (the App store for example) show that we are in a losing battle. I think of this a lot when I think about the concept of convergence culture and how as multiple platforms are becoming more and more intertwined it becomes difficult to tease out what is coming from where, and to figure out what it is exactly we are doing and who controls the access to that information.

    Rasiej and Micah’s piece is definitely dated and I’d be curious to see what they think about the privacy settings a year from now. I think it’s difficult to say whether Facebook is a private space or a public mall because it’s used as a lot of different things for different people and different purposes. But I think they are right in being critical about getting 30% of users to do anything. I keep thinking back to what Shirky said about how as technology becomes boring it becomes socially interesting. I think that the best thing that can come out of the mass adoption on facebook is that we are pushing closer to that point. But, again, it always comes back to the issue of privacy for me, and I just think that Facebook is losing the battle on that one. But I’d be interested to see what everyone thinks, especially people that use it.

    ShiftSpace is cool. Really cool. The concept of interfaces isn’t something that I’m necessarily familiar with, but I think after reading this article and watching the video, I realize that the idea and project have put its finger on something that I’ve been thinking about for awhile, that is the so-called “inherent democratic” nature of the web. In some ways yes, but in a lot of ways no, and I think this project really speaks to that. I haven’t done my critique yet, will do it later tonight or tomorrow, but I think I’m going to do it on my beloved Twitter. It seems to me that although it’s a great idea, it’s success will depend on how many people use it and how they use it. I think the image swap is a really cool part of it.

  5. Alexandra 11:02, Mar 29th, 10

    Very interesting readings this week. I enjoyed watching Ariely’s presentation, although I do identify with your question about whether his argument is relevant given that optical illusions are very different than cognitive ones. I think his broader point about how defaults shape our responses is important – the optical illusions just helped to illustrate (literally) his ideas. We have talked before in this class about defaults with Facebook and of course, Google Buzz. Maybe everyone thinks this about him or herself, but I do read things before I sign them – like whether I want to donate my organs or not. Judging by Ariely’s statistics, I guess most people just make the easiest choice or don’t choose at all.

    Messina makes a great point that has never really occurred to me up until this point. I do think the web is becoming a more passive experience – again, the concept of the default (or the logo right in front of you that’s easier to click than to type in http://www…) However, as with Ariely’s message, I hate to give up complete hope in people and assume that they are incapable of typing in a URL if they want to visit it. The question is whether people will have less opportunity to become aware of new websites because of this NASCAR effect. As far as whether companies are scheming to cause the death of the URL, well, I just can’t buy into conspiracy theories like that. I doubt executives sat around saying, “let’s plot the end of web browsing as we know it so we can dominate with our logo!” i think it is more of the way things are naturally going, with old media/TV leading the way.

    As far as Facebook is concerned, we have talked a lot about this. I think Zuckerberg has wishful thinking that “privacy is no longer a social norm.” Maybe he is trying to be a trend setter by saying that publicly and then having it catch on after the fact. I think people have misinterpreted the younger generation’s willingness to post things online – as we read with danah boyd, people perceive that only their own friends are looking at their content, not everyone. so the illusion of privacy influences people’s behavior online.

    And lastly, I’m sure we will discuss Mushon’s article further in class, but just to address your question about what constitutes “good” design… i think the answer is, “we don’t know yet.” it’s definitely worth debating. Is it what makes you not have to think, what is intuitive and easy? or is not thinking about your choices, taken to the extreme (NASCAR effect) actually destructive and in the long run going to impact the thing that the web has been applauded for all this time, that anyone can publish anything easily, for free and immediately?

  6. Leslie 23:13, Mar 29th, 10

    I really enjoyed the readings from this week. I definitely agree that interfaces, both in the virtual world and physical world, can shape people’s decisions and how they interact with something.

    Ariely’s presentation did a good job in portraying a general understanding of this concept. His explanation of how shaping a message can persuade people to pick a certain option reminded me of the power advertising can have. The Economist example particularly reminded me of some ads I’ll see every once in a while that will say something to the effect of, “Buy one for $5, or get 2 $10!” , like you’re getting some kind of special deal if you purchase 2 products, rather than 1, when, in fact, you’re getting the same exact deal. I’ve always wondered with those types of ads whether the advertisers did this on purpose, in hopes of catching the consumer off guard, or if the advertiser was the one that wasn’t paying attention to their very own message. Either way, it’s a sneaky little idea!

    Also- I enjoyed his visual illusion examples in the beginning- it reminded me of the ones you see when you go to Ripley’s Believe it or Not. I thought it was a good way of visually presenting his idea.

    Messina’s ideas definitely seem to be slowly starting to take shape presently, at least in terms of having a TV partially taking on the roll of the computer. Current video game consoles really reminded me of this concept. The most recent consoles use icons to try to make it easy to navigate between various options, such as DVD, Blu-Ray, video games, Net Flix, the Internet, etc. I feel like it could be these video game consoles that help to pave the way for better integrations of TV and the Internet.

    I don’t think it’s as extreme as the “blue pill vs the red pill” analogy that Messina uses. While I can see it as definitely being a bad thing to straight-line use of the computer and the Internet, it could allow for a much more easily navigable experience, depending on what the individual user’s own preferences are. I don’t think Safari’s new ‘top sites’ feature really takes away from the Internet in any way. All of the top sites that are loaded are the ones that the individual user visits the most frequently. Is that really taking away from the exploration of the Internet? The user would probably be typing in the url address for those individual websites regardless- they’re top of mind sites for that individual. I was so excited when I first saw that new feature on Safari- it made everything so much more ‘prettier’ (and easier). While I normally use Firefox as my default browser, I actually gave Firefox up for Safari for a time being. But, I have to say, once I was over the initial amazement of the new feature, I switched back to the “red pill” and manually typing in my favorite sites to Safari.

    As I hear from my designer friends sometimes, and I believe Mushon mentioned it too, a “good” design is not really thought too much of by the user. It’s supposed to be a “passive” experience- the design is not to interfere with the actual use of the product/service. Maybe a similar thing is happening to the web? It’s progressing in a way that makes for a more user-friendly experience. But, I guess with this also comes a more “dumbed down” version that might keep users from fully understanding and essentially expanding and changing the web their selves. A bigger rift might thus be created between developers and users, and maybe the progression of the web will become stagnant.

    Zuckerberg’s statement, “our main goal at Facebook is to help make the world more open and transparent…we must set an example by running our service in this way,” really stuck with me throughout Rasiej & Sifry’s article in the Politico. It seems like a PR gimmick that has no legitimacy behind it. Yea, Facebook might have this “virtual town hall” (which I vaguely remember hearing about), but the rules are so extreme that it makes it almost impossible to instill change. As the 2 authors mentioned, I agree with them that it’s like a scene out of “The Truman Show” film. Facebook is making a statement they know they’ll never have to actually put into action, but they’re letting users have this illusion of being active voters that could make a difference.

    ShiftSpace is a great way of bringing these ideas of the power of interface back into the hands of the user/audience. If ShiftSpace made its way to every person’s computer, it would be fun to be able to go to any website and bring up a list of various ways other users would like to see the website changed/altered. It could make developers/companies think twice about how they design a web page. As Mushon mentioned in has article, this plugin could help to bring balance back to the web page interface. The image swap is awesome- a lot of fun could be had with that!

  7. Harris 07:27, Mar 30th, 10

    I think cognitive illusions are part of all interfaces dating as far as language and before it. And the interface always hides itself to ensure efficiency.
    I speak a language in which assigning feminine gender to objects means they are small and assigning a masculine one means that they are big. There is clear male dominance at play here, and for someone who has grown up speaking this language, it seems like common sense to assume masculine is grand and feminine petty.

    But then, just as to talk about language we have metalanguage, to talk about the web we have metaweb.

    It’s only that being a relatively new interface and being associated with computers, maths and logic, the web is assumed to be neutral, and more recently, always liberating.

    Zuckerberg’s statement that privacy is no longer a social norm is valid in the context of Facebook’s competition with twitter, which is by default a searchable public space.

  8. nadine 12:02, Mar 30th, 10

    Ariely’s presentation was so much fun. I am still convinced that the left table is longer! It is a mystery that- although I know better- I can’t translate it into my brain.
    Interfaces definitely influence your behavior- your actions stay inside the box that the interface offers you. It changes everything! For example, we also have a blog for another class, but there are no photo or video feature. The blog is pretty much dead- the students only use it because it’s mandatory for our grades, not because the interface is (visually) engaging (even it the content is).
    I haven’t realized how powerful the opt-out/opt-in systems are, and how the options influence our behavior. We’ve already discussed this a little bit while addressing the privacy issues of Google Buzz and Facebook. Isn’t this also related to group pressure? If the default option is opt-in- why would you go against the “common sense” and opt-out? The implicit judgement is strong social propaganda.
    @Juliette, I agree with you that interested parties won’t democratize these interfaces, as it would come along with a loss of power.
    Mobilizing 30% of Twitter user is almost impossible. In Switzerland’s direct democracy system, it is sometimes even hard to achieve 30% of participation!
    @Mushon: I was surprised that you characterize the current political crisis in democratic governance as an interface problem. I thought that it was a content problem/problem at the roots. This shows that I am not aware of the nature of interface, because I consider it a superficial/additional layer problem. Are interfaces the new political content?
    I would like to learn more about tactical media activism (as opposed to strategic media). Are we talking about specific campaigns, for example a public art performance or Greenpeace activists lying the railroad to prevent the passage of nuclear waste?

  9. HoniehLayla 12:54, Mar 30th, 10

    What do you think of Messina’s plea? Do you think the Web will be just like TV, reducing its audience to passivity?

    I believe the beauty of the web is that people are able to provide their own creativity and substance to it. In this statement I strongly am against the idea that people will become passive to the web just as they are with television. Currently television (as a medium form) is attempting to engage the user – for example texting messaging of American Idol, choosing movies on demand, surfing the web on your television even. I believe the web is the complete opposite, allowing users to voice their opinions, the sky is the limit, and we are packaged as we are when it comes to television watching.

    Zuckerberg’s statement that privacy is no longer is a social norm may be true, but there are ways that people can avoid having an identity on the net altogether. If you choose to login to facebook, or any other social networking site, you should be aware that there are certain consequences in participating. As for the future, I’m not quite sure where sites like FB may end up. I think the same way in reference to Google, what is there left them to conquer or bombard us with.

    Interfaces bring me back to think what is the best design as far as any sort of tool is concerned on the web. Do we stick to ideologies, rationals, and logic, or do we use something that is more appealing to the eye.

    I am learning quickly about different languages that are used in web technologies, and interestingly enough, each type of language can be molded or edited to speak in another “dialect” you can say. It’s pretty fascinating.

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