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This week’s readings – Nationalism, Postnationalism and Digital Power

I would echo Elizabeth’s comment about the digital divide, but – and this may be slightly unrelated – we have talked about the prevalence of mobile devices in other countries where Internet may not be widespread, but vast majorities of people have SMS capabilities. Of course SMS is not the same thing as Internet access, but it is something. SMS is also not restricted to a particular language.

I am at the airport and have to get on my flight soon, so have a great last class, everyone! Hope to see you in the future!

» Posted By Alexandra On April 26, 2010 @ 9:29 am

Weekly Summary: Education Evolution in the Age of New Media

I felt like Sunstein just tried to split the difference between two different views. He also assumes that students know exactly what they want and would be able to make an informed choice about what they are studying, and I’m sure that’s not the case for everyone. I was not persuaded by anything he wrote.

Tapscott’s major assumption is that the “broadcaster” method of teaching is widespread and the only way to learn. NYU is a great example of how this is not the case. NYU is a huge school, yet we do have small classes. As with other large schools, the intro classes are large and as you specialize, you get to smaller classes. In general I thought he used a pretty broad brush to paint all universities the same way, and that’s never a good sign of a well thought through argument. Our class is exactly the opposite of the broadcast learning method and there are many other small classes like it, at NYU and other schools. His model of pedagogy is based on this one type of teaching, when there are obviously many.

He makes predictions about the next generation of students, but of course we don’t know for sure what will happen when they grow up. Predictions are not facts, and generalizations are easy to make sound good. And I would argue with his claim about how this “new generation” is great at multi-tasking. There have been plenty of studies that show that the brain just doesn’t do multi-tasking. It can switch quickly from one task to another, but it really only does one thing at a time. Just because the computer, phone and TV are all on at the same time doesn’t mean you are absorbing content from all three simultaneously.

His claim that educators should customize learning experiences for each of us, “one on one” would be completely exhausting and unsustainable for teachers. This too is an unrealistic claim.

He also says that universities “cannot survive on lectures alone” – I don’t think that universities are trying to do that in any way. There is campus life, extra curricular activities, and classes where the format is not one-to-many, just to name a few alternatives.

He also quotes the president of the University of Akron, asking why “a university student [should] be restricted to learning from the professors at the university he or she is attending.” Maybe because people like fewer choices. The college search and admissions process is extensive and exhausting, and I doubt many students want to constantly spend their time shopping for professors at other schools above and beyond the shopping time they spend at their own.

In general I found both authors’ positions to be pretty weak.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 19, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

The digital afterlife: what happens in social media when we die? Part III

Great job. I really liked that you included interviews with psychologists to give your story more depth. Your comment about immortality reminded me of our readings from this week. Of course, I think that if it were me, I would prefer to follow the psychologist’s advice – leave the profile up for awhile, and then take it down. Dwelling for too long doesn’ t seem healthy.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 13, 2010 @ 11:34 am

Online collaboration–pre-conclusion.

Looking forward to the audio! I will be interested to hear your results.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 13, 2010 @ 11:37 am

Museums struggling for life?

I guess we will have to wait and see how more museums take their content online in the future. I do understand that they need to stay relevant to a whole generation of people used to going online, but the screen of an iPhone really doesn’t compare to an actual museum. I guess they’ll have to get people engaged through technology with the hope that it will bring them in the doors.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 13, 2010 @ 11:44 am

Ice Cream Spy’s Conclusion…For Now…

Nice work! Did you ask the ice cream truck drivers before putting the stickers on their trucks? It’s great that they are working – sometimes old fashioned, low tech is the way to go!

» Posted By Alexandra On April 13, 2010 @ 11:38 am

Networking Knowledge: Sharing is Caring

What’s left? How about cyber crime?

» Posted By Alexandra On April 19, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

Weekly Summary: Genomes, Singularity, and Biomedia

Juan Enriquez was definitely engaging to watch, and I thought his presentation was kind of terrifying. Kurzweil is just plain off his rocker, in my opinion.

I think the examples about cows giving birth to extinct animals were definitely the scariest. Although I don’t personally believe in god, the only phrase I can think of to best describe this is “playing god.” The whole thing is very Jurassic Park – and we know how that turned out. Whatever the reason, extinct animals no longer found this planet hospitable. If we start bringing back dodo birds, I shudder to think what will happen.

I also thought his “IC” point was interesting, although it doesn’t quite sync with what I thought was sort of generally accepted about the shifting balance of power between America, India and China. He said that the Indian and Chinese governments treat their people like serfs instead of empire builders, which I suppose can be true in some ways. But China … I mean, China has had one of, if not the longest sort of continuous civilization on this earth. Maybe they have a lot of peasants but they must be doing something right, to have retained their culture this long. I’m not really well informed enough on this topic to say much more, but I just thought it was worth questioning him on that point because it seems like a very American point of view.

As far as Kurzweil goes, I’m sorry, but I just think he’s nuts. Maybe I’m too literal, or I’m not scientifically oriented or I’m not a big thinker, but his whole “singularity” sounds like wishful thinking and pretty improbably to me. Does he seriously think in 20 years we are all going to have our organs replaced with some sort of machine? Who is funding this? And how many humans live to 125? And how many people do you think actually want to live forever? It sounds very boring to me.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 12, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

Electronic Waste: A Conclusion

Great job. I think you should send this to the White House and try to get some attention for this issue. You clearly outlined the steps needed to take action on this issue before it’s too late. In terms of consumers demanding greener electronics… I’m not sure that is going to happen any time soon, unfortunately. I think car manufacturers are having some trouble selling hybrids even though they are marginally better for the environment, they cost more and are therefore unappealing. I think consumers need to care enough to demand greener products first, and then they have to be competitively priced against the “regular” products to encourage people to purchase them. Penalties, as you mentioned, are also important – otherwise no one will bother to follow the correct procedures. We are so used to throwing things out and forgetting about them that it is probably quite difficult to change people’s behavior.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 13, 2010 @ 11:57 am

what makes people collaborate online?

really cool! i got so caught up watching your slides go by that it was a little hard to follow what you were saying. but it definitely kept me engaged. i thought it was smart that you took a lesson from our readings and applied it to your thinking in your travelogue. the addition of competition seems like it could definitely help. i also agree with nadine’s comment about the importance of physical networks and social capital. in my travelogue research, i have found that people seem very willing to participate in online forums and post comments, play games, etc. But the brand that is sponsoring the forum is well-known and established. it is harder to break through and grab people’s attention if you don’t have an big online reputation.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 6, 2010 @ 10:10 am

The digital afterlife: what happens in social media when we die? Part II

Great job, Nadine! It was fascinating to hear from our classmates about their own experiences. I like how you integrated some theory in your podcast as well. Looking forward to your conclusion!

» Posted By Alexandra On April 6, 2010 @ 10:00 am

Why are tampon ads so obnoxious?

Thanks for your comments Nadine! I did record it in one shot, but I planned out my notes ahead of time so I would know what to say. I agree, it is too long – I am learning as I go. If I had tried a podcast last week, I could (and should) have done it in two parts like you suggest. So I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do since I thought last week’s needed some more meat.

As far as whether it was planned publicity… I don’t know for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised! It does seem pretty perfect. They probably knew that those commercials would never get on the air and that someone would pick it up and write about it. I am still trying to get the inside scoop from the agency that designed the website, but I am not sure whether I will be able to get that interview. Hopefully more details to come!

» Posted By Alexandra On April 6, 2010 @ 11:46 am

What is a museum in 2010? Part 2

I got on! On my Mac it worked fine but on my work PC no luck. Oh well. Anyway, I found your slides much better this week with sound. I’m sorry to hear you were disappointed with both the virtual tour and the real exhibit, although I’m not very surprised. So much of a museum is being there in person, getting lost in it and coming across new and exciting things. I don’t think there is any way that 140 characters would do a proper museum justice, even if they had better links or answered direct questions. I think it was a worthwhile experience, but maybe not a successful one.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 6, 2010 @ 11:33 am

Alas, I can’t see your travelogue! there’s just a blank space where your slides should be. anyone else having this problem?

» Posted By Alexandra On April 6, 2010 @ 10:16 am

Weekly Summary: Representation, Simulation and Fun

Maybe it’s just me, but I have never found Koster’s idea of “hard fun” (ie meeting a challenge, figure out the pattern, and experimenting until you master it) which is the dominant form of fun to actually be… fun. Is this because I never played video games and so am not used to this type of interaction? I always find pattern games frustrating and I am unwilling to invest the time to figure out how to crack the code. Is it a gender thing? In general, video games are more popular with boys than girls. The few times I remember playing on a friend’s system, I would feel overwhelmed at how much scenery, gold coins, other distractions would go by while I was trying to play the game – I felt like I was missing out on other things and therefore didn’t know what all my options were, and while I was distracted by all of this a dragon would come and eat me. So I guess I prefer “moments of aesthetic delight” over “hard fun.”

In terms of Frasca’s simulated versus representation ideas, they have been much debated. I have studied this previously in terms of whether the “magic bullet” theory is actually true (it isn’t.) This means that violent video games do not automatically lead to more violent behavior in people who play the games. The use of Full Spectrum Warrior for Iraq war vets is very interesting – but I think it is a specialized situation. Those individuals who have fought in the war are dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. It is well documented that in order to deal with PTSD you need to relive – through your memory, talking with a therapist or in this case, a video game – your experience over and over until you own it and it is no longer scary. I can definitely see how this simulation could help soldiers deal with their trauma because it is fairly realistic and complex.

» Posted By Alexandra On April 6, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

Electronic Waste: Part Two

I got it! It works on my mac but not my work PC for some reason. I am interested in hearing more about what actually constitutes safe recycling. Assuming the waste doesn’t go to a developing country where it will pollute the groundwater… is it polluting groundwater somewhere else?

» Posted By Alexandra On April 6, 2010 @ 11:44 am

I can’t see your slides for some reason! it’s just a blank space where they should be. I am having the same issue for juliette’s travelogue. i have tried on several browsers, any ideas?

» Posted By Alexandra On April 6, 2010 @ 10:18 am

Face Off – How do people react when their online identity is questioned?

Once again, very inspiring! I tried to model my video this week after you, but I think you’ve done a better job :) I did have some trouble reading your text though. It seemed like either the old-movie effect or the youtube quality was making everything a bit blurry.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 30, 2010 @ 11:44 am

Marketing/Education in Kotex Advertising

maybe? do you have another browser you can try? i know it works in safari and chrome.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 30, 2010 @ 10:09 am

What is a museum in 2010?

Nice job! I think I disagree a little with Ryan’s comment about how the tours do or don’t benefit the museum financially. I think a museum’s primary role is to educate people about art. Many museums, if not MoMA, are funded by the government, especially outside the US, and even those that aren’t charge either a nominal entrance fee or have “suggested donation” like the Met and the Natural History Museum. I wonder if MoMA (or others) are for-profit endeavours? I’m not saying the museum shouldn’t be able to make money to sustain itself and promote other new enterprises, just that I think the bulk of their funding comes from donations, memberships, etc. I’d be interested in Juliet and Mushon’s point of view on this, since they are both affiliated with the MoMA and might have insider info!

I do agree though that your slides could use some sort of soundtrack. Maybe next week!

» Posted By Alexandra On March 30, 2010 @ 11:29 am

Voices of Dissent: How Indians and Pakistanis are using Social Media to air their opinions!

Very cool! I don’t know a ton about the conflict/campaign, but I feel like I actually learned a lot from all the political cartoons. I agree with Honieh – the music definitely adds a lot to the images.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 30, 2010 @ 10:29 am

Are Mobile Donations Safe? Why do they take so long? What can we do next?

Your podcast was definitely eye-opening for me. I never donate through text message a) because I only have a company phone so I can’t really donate on behalf of my company but b) because i am never convinced that it’s not some sort of scam or I won’t get follow up spam text messages. So it was good for me to hear that. But I definitely agree with Leslie, if I was going to donate I would rather the organization I’m giving to get every cent, rather than some middleman getting a bunch of it. I can see how this might play out. While it’s good that it’s easy for people to donate and therefore more people do it, the fees imposed are taking a big chunk out of the actual donations.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 30, 2010 @ 11:42 am

The digital afterlife: what happens in social media when we die? Part I

This is fascinating! Great job. I have actually been wondering about this recently. My friend’s brother unfortunately passed away recently and his profile was still up on Facebook last time I checked, and I was wondering what would happen to it. I think it’s kind of weird how people still write on the walls of deceased people. It sounds like a lot of the social networking sites are still evolving their policies. I’m looking forward to next week!

» Posted By Alexandra On March 30, 2010 @ 10:41 am

Electronic Waste: How Do We Stop It?

Man, the China photos you showed were pretty terrifying. Where did you learn about this? I do always try to recycle my electronics when possible, mostly because my best friend works at the Lower East Side Ecology Center and she is always nagging me to recycle. You can check out their site here: http://www.lesecologycenter.org/ They also do a ton of outreach within the city on electronic waste and have local drop off points for people where they can dispose of things safely. I think Whole Foods will also take your old cell phones, although I’m not sure about other electronics.

I think one important way to get people to change their behaviour, aside from outreach efforts by nonprofits and retailers, is to have some they know and trust – like me and my best friend – tell them they should change. I find that in the city people are typically pretty aware of this sort of thing, even with the “I’m not a plastic bag” campaign, and now I always bring my own bags to the grocery store if I can. My parents, who live in the suburbs and drive their car to the grocery store, take all the plastic bags thrust at them. So in general I think it’s a combination of reaching some people who are more aware of the importance of recycling and then getting them to influence their friends and family, whether it’s plastic bags or electronics or anything else.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 30, 2010 @ 11:57 am

Weekly Summary : Interface!

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?

» Posted By Alexandra On March 29, 2010 @ 11:02 am

We’ve talked about porn, now let’s talk about periods

No worries – thanks for your understanding and recommendation.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 26, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

That wasn’t very nice! Just because the answer was obvious to you doesn’t mean it was obvious to me. You might have had a favorite or trusted source for this type of thing. I also mentioned that I might be conducting the interview in person, in which case skype wouldn’t really be the best method for me. I asked you because you know a lot about digital media and I thought you might have some helpful information that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. I can Google myself but I don’t know what’s inside your head.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 26, 2010 @ 11:30 am

Thanks for your comments Mushon. I know this post wasn’t very interesting – but I have some better tricks up my sleeve for next time. I am hoping to interview the creative director at Organic (who designed the ubykotex site) and maybe get some contacts at Kotex out of him. If he gives me permission, I’d like to record the interview and use part of it in my next post. Do you have any suggestions on how best to do this? I’m not sure yet whether it will be on the phone or in person.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 26, 2010 @ 10:34 am

Thanks for the info Leslie! The conference looks interesting and I may check it out!

» Posted By Alexandra On March 25, 2010 @ 8:25 am

Thanks Leslie, I would love her contact info. I’m not sure exactly where I’m taking this yet but I am definitely interested in getting other people’s perspectives.

» Posted By Alexandra On March 23, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

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