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

some good (free) articles from our friends at MIT if interested that are relevant to this discussion:

Montgomery – youth and digital democracy

Bennett – changing citizenship

» Posted By Ryan On April 26, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

The Frost piece taking Habermas’ ideas of a public sphere and Anderson’s work on how print media helped to engender and reify nationalism and solidarity through literacy and language, Frost tries to connect their ideas to the internet to see if it has a similar or new effect through four facets: 1) sense of community 2) systems of meaning 3) political engagement and 4) social inclusiveness.

Upon arguing that internet identities are anonymous and disposable, I think that this actually pertains to Harris’ last travelogue to see how one’s online identity translates or connects with their real-life identity. Questions of authenticity arise, however, with respect to Frost’s argument I don’t think that identities can be reduced to such simplistic words. Whether online or not, identities are extremely complicated, fluid, and sometimes contradictory as online users whether blogs or social networking sites can often strategically develop their identities to look great whereas other times individuals can also write or post texts, images, or videos to damage their own image or identity. How this translates to a sense of community online and/or offline becomes murky. Communities that come to mind are gaming fans, political groups (Tea Party Movement), and other communal groups advocating for something. I tend to disagree on a certain level with Frost, the online anonymity that seems to dismantle social bonds I feel is not justified. Who’s anonymous online? Sure, people can create different identities (avatars) but these can be masks of their real ones that might be a way of protecting themselves online, but when people meet up, these masks or anonymous identities soon become dismantled. However, I would agree with her that online identities can in a way a illusory or exaggerated social network rather than dismantling social bonds.

Again, as Elizabeth and Alexandra bring up, a digital divide of access is clearly evident that seems to be undermined by this democratic ideology that the internet empowers everyone. Also, the fact that English seems to dominate the internet architecture also speaks to who it is for and who it excludes. I do think that the internet can help to foster a sense of meaning, but I question like others its ability to sustain these meanings and solidarity. Politically, it can be utilized in ways to engage people to participate democratically e.g. Rock the Vote, Obama’s campaign, and more, but it can be limited on the level of the quality and value of engagement. For example, the difference between being engaged through making a donation on behalf of a political or social cause or actually doing something more. It makes me think that the internet creates a false sense of belonging or participation in certain cases. “these “loose constituencies of shared interest cannot lay the groundwork for the demanding task of political life” >> To which I would agree.

Frost’s conclusion was interesting because it made me feel like those who utilize a ‘grassroots campaign style’ with much more to gain by “pioneering new ways of social relations, meaning, and engagement than others… I wonder who these people are??? What do they look like all around and what are they fighting for to gain? I wonder too, usually great movements do have great leaders and causes that people are willing to put their lives on the line. I don’t necessarily believe that the internet has the capacity to do this because of its freedom. Yet, Morozov’s example of how those in Iran who used Twitter are now deemed enemies of the state highlights what Lanier and the others’ comments with the difference between how governments, corporations, and individuals use the internet > censorhip, spying, democracy, networking, etc.

Plus, national solidarities aren’t just born from the modes of communication like print or net literacies, but more so stem from ideologies, economies, and power and so much more. For example: America, capitalism, freedom, democracy really masks disparity of wealth, greed, selfish, independence, etc. that lie at the heart of its prosperity, not to mention the military power which has helped the US to be so great.

I would say that when the governments step in and censor or use these social networking sites, what does that say about its power of communication. Other countries governments understand the importance of severing communication to strategically hinder their subjects efforts to mobilize, collaborate, spread ideas, and act. Neither democracies or internet-based contention come first, dictatorships do which spawn both of these. But using the internet to push for democracy is a possibility. I think that the people are just trying to utilize the internet as a newer tool for achieving their goals. It’s not that things or people have changed, it’s just that technology has and that people are trying to either keep up with it and/or use it to achieve their goals. But this poses the question of how effective it is in achieving political or social goals? What are the goals?

I keep thinking of other great historical movements and what were the key ingredients to their success. I’m sure it wasn’t only the modalities of communication, but it was the people’s commitment and willingness to do whatever it took to achieving their goals.

I believe Alexandra has a point, in certain other countries cell phones (SMS) seem to be more accessible than computers. However, the one’s who can be empowered by using the net will largely depend on who’s literate enough to use and navigate it and who has means to access it. Communication is depends a lot upon who’s listening. The net is so big too so it creates an interesting paradox because either so little listen or it could catch on to millions.

Lastly, before I’ll shut up, the responses to Morozov/Shirky debate were very complementary to what was discussed. It all seems to come back to an idea surrounding the politics of digital communication and media where democracy, collaboration, access, and engagement are the impetuses behind the discussion.

» Posted By Ryan On April 26, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

The You in Youtube – Conclusion for Travelogue 4

Nice conlusion. So you mainly focused on Youtube videos it seemed in the end where identities were accepted or rejected based on others’ comments. Interesting. So basically other people had the authority to dictate whether or not the person was fake or real – wow. But why do you think people post videos of themselves then? Is it to reaffirm their own thoughts on who they are or to find out through others’ affirmation or negation if they are who they think they are (tongue twister)? Or does this online identity depend upon what context the person is under like trying to perform an act or talk about a topic? Or do you think that it’s a self-reflection of one’s own narcissistic desire through the desired goal to be affirmed and lauded by others?

» Posted By Ryan On April 20, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

Concluding post: What makes people collaborate online?

Great job, I thought the best thing about this was seeing what you learned from experimenting along with the actual experimental contest. I loved your media use and thought that it was very clever and unique. I enjoyed how you broke it up into 10 points and included text before the video to contextualize the video. Thus, they both complemented each other to enrich the travelogue post.

I could see how planning is very important but also like you said knowing how your audience or the environment communicates. I wonder why your idea of what was most important shifted from “incentive” so that people would collaborate and participate in the first place to “planning” where you recognized that the responsibility in generating online participation started with great planning.

I was surprised by the most popular photo. It didn’t wow me but was cool. I also thought even though you could have the best plan, things always don’t go as planned or as anticipated, but still, preparation is essential.

What were your thoughts on how you marketed your competition via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr? I thought this would have been another vital point to having a successful project such as this? Did you feel like it was a success or a work-in-progress success?

» Posted By Ryan On April 20, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

Weekly Summary: Education Evolution in the Age of New Media

I always feel more depressed after I read about educational structures, institutions, and traditional vs. progressive pedagogues. I think it is because I have yet to find an actual job with the degrees that I have spent so much money on, or better put, have utilized other forms of payment – loans which place me in a ton of debt. To say that my education has been useless is wrong, however, I think its more a matter of whether or not I have retained what I learned or have applied what I learned. These weeks readings were interesting on many accounts.

Personally, I thought Sunstein’s piece on personalized education was, well, kinda weak and hyperbolized opinion. I didn’t really see any gaping statistics or relevant facts to back up his trend or generalization of the personalization of education. I understand what he’s saying and would agree with how personalization or customizing one’s curriculum can be efficient, at the same time it could be deemed as fragmented and filtered. Thus, he expounds upon the concepts of unanticipated encounters and common experiences. Of course there needs to be a balance of commonality and individuality. Any extreme of these would be chaotic. For what we learn about that’s common, their needs to be a better way to engage the students’ motivation within the teaching methods of the teacher. Again, we probably don’t want to learn everything that we ‘have’ to or read everything/every article in the newspaper but sometimes it can be exciting to step out of our own personal affinities or comfort zones to stimulate our minds in a deeper ways.

I thought Tapscott’s piece was well composed and articulated at the conflicting paradigms of old and new pedagogues and the systems that what we have been used to. Top universities are accredited to research because of the endowments that they receive because of the research, hence students want to go their because of their production of material with the top people in whatever field. Research takes money, grants, scholarships, and endowments help to fund this. It’s a system based off of incentives to produce valuable work. Thus, top universities receive the most money for research, which translates into those who teach others.

I also think there is an over emphasis on broadcast/mass teaching in the forms of lectures and one way communication. It’s not like student’s don’t ask questions, or contribute to enriching the class or what’s being taught. True, lectures can be boring, but they don’t have to. It’s not just about the material, but ‘how’ the material is presented. This goes back to McCluhan’s the medium is the message concept. Also, I don’t know anything about X subject. So I need someone to teach me. However, I would argue that the best way of learning is through experimentation and discovery. This is why I feel the best teachers do not teach, but guide you along their own path of knowledge while allowing you to deviate and explore new possibilities and come up with your own knowledge. They don’t give you the answers, but provide you with the ‘tools’ to figure out the answers to your own questions.

While the present digital environment has altered the way our generation and even older generations have learned in many ways, adapting to new trends and how people learn are very important. Still, tradition should not be thrown out the window completely. I think Tapscott addresses again one-way communication, and how this new generation of learners desire dialogue and discussion and learn better in groups or collectively sharing or collaborating with others than individually receiving, processing, and regurgitating data for testing purposes only. I think it is a combination of technology and pedagogy at the core and what’s happening is (sic) students are challenging more and more the traditional architecture of pedagogy but with it trying to come up with different ways of learning e.g. online classes or customized curricula (Gallatin School).

I don’t think that big/top universities are vulnerable – people will still pay gratuitous amounts of money for higher education (depending on the area/subject e.g. medical, law, business, etc.) because the monetary system still dominates societies economical architecture of jobs. Why do we then pay people with higher degrees more money??? Computers definitely have the potential to change pedagogy – University of Phoenix online degree. Yet, I ask > is there a difference in value with an online degree than a traditional one or does it matter that you earned the title/degree?

“Universities should be places to learn, not to teach” – Okay. Well, how do we learn without teaching or doing. The best teachers are the ones that instruct you in ways to take what you learn and can apply these lessons across all facets of life, both inside and outside of the classroom. To accomplish and achieve goals and to succeed in whatever one strives for are what define great teachers. And what’s most important of what defines a great teacher is his or her ability to be a great student. In other words, great teachers are great learners/students.

I loved this >> “The scandal of education is that every time you teach something, you deprive a child of the pleasure and benefit of discovery.” Maybe so, but without teaching we can’t discover everything on our own, we need others to help us to discover what we want/need to learn.

Even though MIT is releasing all those free lectures, it’s because they can. Trust me, MIT is making that money! It is true what Tapscott says, “Universities, in other words, cannot survive on lectures alone.” However, I think his potential globalized online Wikinomics cannot sustain itself. Money is the key ingredient that would greatly affect this in a negative way.

“Why, for example, are universities judged by the number of students they exclude, or by how much they spend? Why aren’t they judged by how well they teach, and at what price? Wishful thinking, I wish this were the case too, but the best researchers and experts are not always the best teachers (unfortunately). Teaching is an art that many dilute/bastardize into lecturing. There is much more than just spitting information at someone in hopes that they can retain it.

Lastly, I don’t think universities will be changing dramatically anytime soon. For that to happen it would have to be with the combined effort of society itself in jobs and much more. Until something like the University of Phoenix beats out Harvard I don’t see much of the current/traditional modus operandi changing other than the inclusion of online teaching or personalized learning.

» Posted By Ryan On April 19, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

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

Why do we necessarily need to “let go” with regards to the mourning process? I think we just need to come to a closure and accept what has happened, as the first psychologist said. I thought the psychologists that you interviewed were a great addition to the depth of the topic. I think you do a great job with the audio editing and how you engage the interview responses. I thought the psychologist that said that we need to let things out and talk about our feelings and thoughts helps us in the mourning process. I think it is essential to be open and transparent with our feelings because holding things in is not good.

I think that the biggest problem is the photos that are on facebook. Is that the way we want to remember that person like Leslie said. This is a great point. “How” do we want to be remembered. The illusory feeling about the account was a profound point because how do we connect with the dead or as you keep mentioning “letting go” or disconnecting with the dead. Where’s the balance??? Or should there even be a balance?

» Posted By Ryan On April 13, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

Online collaboration–pre-conclusion.

Jimena, Great job! Like everyone else, I also look forward to how you report the results from the competition. I really liked how you kept things consistent from last week like Elizabeth said, and that you made progress after a trial and error type format. I think the hardest thing is the time constraint to set something like that up or even Leslie’s project. Projects/Travelogues like these take more time to really develop, but I admire and respect you for trying something different that was challenging.

Lastly, I would like to know more about what kind of pictures that you gathered and some of the finalists with the competition and how the competition was judged. Again, I think Elizabeth has a good point in allowing the users to rate the photos and judge the contest.

…eagerly waiting for the ‘real’ conclusion.

» Posted By Ryan On April 13, 2010 @ 11:12 am

Museums struggling for life?

It seems to be that social media and incentives are really the key ingredients here. Trying to come up with a new and sustainable business model for engaging people to visit museums through online seems to be where things are headed. But I wonder how that changes the dynamics of the experience in itself. It reminds me once again of Benjamin’s concept of the aura. if this catches on, then how will it affect the museums if more people are viewing art online vs. coming there to actually witness it. I think this would be a good international tool i.e. having museums in other countries use it so that people from other countries can access it without visiting it.

I also think if this continues to catch on if utilized in the right way, will this revolutionize more types of visitation activities. Will the zoo adopt live video feeds of the animals instead of actually coming to the zoo? The possibilities are becoming more televised either through tv or the computer.

Mushon’s point on the contradiction of old and new makes me think of trying to synthesize the two to create a hybrid museum, much of what they are, i guess, trying to do – jump on the social media bandwagon trying to keep up with the changes of times.

Nice job adding Whitney’s audio clip. That enriched your podcast/slideshow.

I think ideally it would have been nice for you to actually take us through kind of a mini online tour :) But I guess I will have to wait until next time.

And what does this all tell us about access and who does and doesn’t have smart phones e.g. iPhones, blackberries, etc. to access this type of content. Or would it be more catered to computers?

» Posted By Ryan On April 13, 2010 @ 11:41 am

Ice Cream Spy’s Conclusion…For Now…

I must say this has been the most wonderful and creative travelogue! The stickers are the coolest! I want one! I hate to constantly comment and have to agree with Elizabeth but ‘incentives’ a la Jimena’s project really help to promote and attract people to getting behind it. Advocating for the purpose of it is important as you need people who are dedicated and aware of this. I think this will pick up during the warmer months.

My big concern is this: ok, someone geotags a truck, but these trucks are constantly moving, so how do you track it more efficiently. It’s like ok, I saw one, but it’s a truck, and it’s driving away somewhere else. Ok, so here’s my suggestion. Go back and talk with the drivers again and try to convince them to give you their routes. Color coordinate each drivers route which will add to the effectiveness of the geotagging so that people can anticipate the truck after viewing a recent tag. Furthermore, you don’t want old tags to keep lingering on the map, so maybe have a way where you can keep the map and geotaggs updated. Anyways, I am inspired by your project and admire your work. I humbly bow to your ice cream spy geotagging travelogue. Oh, by the way, the website is cool too. I know that you’ll get it better as you learn more about coding and how to formulate the website, but it’s simple and cool. I like how the tweets are on the sidebar.

Lastly, yesterday I saw an ice cream truck drive right by me off of Washington square park and I IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT of you and wanted to desperately tweet about it, but was sad that I don’t have an iPhone :( Now I think of icecreamspy every time I see a truck.

Your use of media (website, geotagging, twitter, STICKERS!!!!) was definitely complementary to your travelogue idea.

Question: How much did the icecreamspy stickers cost???? Curious

» Posted By Ryan On April 13, 2010 @ 11:26 am

Networking Knowledge: Sharing is Caring

I would like to choose “AUGMENTED REALITY” for my topic. This was something that I stumbled upon recently and was amazed at it. Stand by for now > “If I’m not back in 5 min… wait longer” – Ace Ventura

» Posted By Ryan On April 15, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

Weekly Summary: Genomes, Singularity, and Biomedia

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about that – the case where some people are trying to own patents on genes or something like that. Thanks for posting it. I’ll try to incorporate that into our class discussion on Tuesday.

» Posted By Ryan On April 10, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

Electronic Waste: A Conclusion

So when I want to throw out my macbook or recycle it I know who to come to and ask where. I like Jimena’s idea of giving incentives to motivate recycling or donating your old computers and other electronics. It reminds me of the “Cash for Clunkers” federal program. I think that greener products will come out in the future, but we will still need to effectively manage e-waste on all levels from a federal to an individual cohesive effort. Everyone has a responsibility from the manufacturer, the government, the corporations, and the individual consumer. Again, everyone needs to play their part.

I thought your posts were great. Scholarly informative, engaging, and clear. I thought your plans were interesting with regards to enforcing these issues. Who do you think should be responsible for enforcement and how seriously do you think people will take these issues if they don’t see that it directly affects them (apart from the conscious people that care about the environment)???

Overall, another great travelogue with nice use of media. Do you write out what you say before you say it? I would think you do or do you just talk about it?

» Posted By Ryan On April 13, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

what makes people collaborate online?

Excellent job! Great fast paced photo stream podcast. I really liked it and it was like a visual fast photo feast to my eyes. I thought it was something unique and it worked really well for you. As far as your topic, I really appreciated and admire you for how you learned from your media mistake with the website, but that you continued on and found what was lacking through the help of the reading about video games. I thought your competition of best subway photos was a great idea and I look forward to checking out your actual contest to see who wins. I might have to listen to it again but who will participate in the voting and judging of the best photos? And more than just bragging rights, is their any further incentive for winning?
Great job Jimena!

» Posted By Ryan On April 6, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

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

Awesome research! (Not just because I have a narcissistic desire that I like to hear myself) but you did a great job of organizing the interviews and the material that you gathered. I also think that you made your topic much more richer by the fact that you interviewed three people and found various perspectives across the spectrum and compared and contrasted each person’s viewpoint on death and social media.

I would comment on your topic, but I guess all you have to do is listen to what I said in the interview ;) I look forward to your last conclusion on the matter. It would be great if you could find a family to interview that has their son or daughters profile on facebook. That would be a great final post. It would require some tough legwork but it would really make this travelogue end on a high note if you were able to get a hold of a family.

Again, great job with the podcast. Maybe you could do a slideshow + podcast combination to enrich it even more. Worth a try.

» Posted By Ryan On April 6, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

Simulation of museums?

This is a great way to mash up the art work using Adobe photoshop if a person wanted to. Bringing art to photos and the web. It reminds me of Benjamin’s “aura” being displaced of the prints of Mona Lisa versus going to the actual real site where it hangs. Yet, at the same time, it allows millions of people the access to see the reproduced work. This is a tough one…hmmmm. Museum or art on the web???

» Posted By Ryan On April 5, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

Weekly Summary: Representation, Simulation and Fun

I think the difference between representation and simulation is interesting because one tries to model itself as an almost an identical copy with similar behaviors and a representation is more something that doesn’t have to mimic or look ‘almost exactly alike’ but just represent it. I thought the example of the Van Gogh painting as a representation of the city versus the picture that simulates the city was helpful. I think his argument that games are more simulations is quite good. I think that Frasca could have touched upon the fact that their could be a narrative or different narratives that develop within a simulation such as video games. They do simulate reality but there are plenty of ‘simulated narratives/plot lines’ within the video games that make it challenging and fun. For example, even in Sim City as a simulation of a real life city, there still exists a narrative that develops as you build the city.
With respect to Koster, I think that his premise that games are more than just stories is exactly what categorizes them as games and in addition helps them to generate such popularity amongst users. The different levels of fun depending on the particular type of game varies accordingly. Some games are fun because you fight and compete against someone or something, whereas a game like Wi sports game you are competing in a different way. I think that’s what makes games both hard and fun because you are learning to master either the computer or your friend as an opponent. That’s why games are very popular amongst males because it touches a nerve of masculinity amongst boys and men. Sports games, fighting games, and other kinds of games like Guitar Hero are all geared to different audiences but I believe that most of the game market is more for males than females. I think that the simulations of competition, fun, and mastery of a skill or success in a virtual simulation helps to build special techniques and a masculine confidence that could translate into the real world. However, the real world does not always mimic a video game. You can’t always reset or die or continue with your progress. Life is a lot harder.
Lastly, I think it depends on the very essence and context of the game and who it’s tailored to and what type of game is it e.g. Warcraft vs. Streetfighter.

» Posted By Ryan On April 6, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

Electronic Waste: Part Two

Wonderfully informative podcast+slideshow. Your slides were very coordinated as they added a nice visual depth to your media. I have really appreciated your educational/journalistic style of travelogues as you really explore and investigate the environment that your concentrating on. I guess the next step if you could would be to do a presentation of yourself (if you wanted to) and incorporated cut-ins of images. Basically, it would be a newscast like a newsreporter where you narrate your story with cut-ins of images.

Very interesting comparisons of Canada and Switzerland. I thought your predictions, conclusions, and recommendations at the end were great too. I would agree that this is largely overshadowed and slept on by other environmental issues like global warming and energy, where waste management gets pushed to the side. Maybe Al Gore needs to come out with an Inconvenient Truth Pt. 2 “E-Waste”. The interesting thing is that the global warming topic is a debate where some don’t believe in its validity where your case of e-waste at least has some tangible and concrete evidence of the growing problem.

I look forward to your conclusion post. I would love to see you attempt a news reporter style video to conclude it and try to incorporate cut ins of images or video. Or you could stick with this slideshow + podcast thing you got going. Either way, it’ll be great.

I guess it’s kinda harder to when you think about it because you can’t put your computer in the recycling bin nor I doubt people really “like” throwing it in the trash. But I guess most just put it on the side of the road. Am I right?

» Posted By Ryan On April 5, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

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

Nice vid again. Also, I was looking for a little bit more info with it maybe to complement the video. I loved how you used the masks to get across your point. Great clips.

» Posted By Ryan On March 30, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

With little knowledge of HTML, what is involved in making a Twitter Bot that aggregates & retweets geotagged info?

This seems to be a very creative project but difficult as Honeih pointed out. It would be REALLY cool if you could figure out how to mashup the technology of googlemaps and a gps function that would allow people to track the trucks using google maps. The biggest issue with that is getting the ice cream trucks to authorize that they be tracked. Or an alternative would be to ask for their routes and post it on a google map with estimated times of where they would be. However, as it just dawned on me, they stop at random for people which would ultimately affect the timing. That’s why the best thing would be to get the GPS function on their trucks and track them by Google maps. Let me know what you think. If you can incorporate that in your website or continue to try to use your twitter geotagging idea than it would be very cool. I love ice cream trucks :) I can’t wait for summer. I’m very happy thinking about ice cream.

» Posted By Ryan On March 30, 2010 @ 11:14 am

Marketing/Education in Kotex Advertising

Nice job, definitely agree that it was a little fast, but it’s all good. I couldn’t understand what you said in the beginning, but from reading Elizabeth’s comment, now I understand. I realize that it’s really time consuming to make even a short video like this and it seems to suffer from a lack of information depending on what your trying to get across even though its very rich in a media sense. I think you should also add some text along with the video to help support your theme and message from the video. Cool video. I’m further inspired.

» Posted By Ryan On March 30, 2010 @ 11:02 am

What is a museum in 2010?

Yeah, but how do these platforms benefit the museum financially? That’s what I was thinking. Of course its great for the issues of access, education, and experience in a completely different way, but I wonder how it takes away from actually traveling to the museum and getting the experience first-hand. What they should do is start charging so that they can make a profit. Giving it away for free just jeopardizes their financial responsibility. Although I do agree with Elizabeth about trying to get newer audiences. If the people aren’t willing to come to you, then go to them :)

The slideshow could use a little music, maybe even a video of a twitter feed of the musuem, actual photos with twitter feeds of the museum. Nice progression of your media from the first one though. Keep it up.

» Posted By Ryan On March 30, 2010 @ 11:08 am

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

I like the video and how you juxtaposed different images, cartoons, and other shots of peace and war between the two countries. You gave me an idea to incorporate pictures into my videos from now on – thanks. I think the video does a great job conveying the message that you are trying to get across also. Like everyone else has said, the music definitely gives the video a very wholesome touch. Great job.

In regards to your topic, I think its interesting to see more of how the media has shaped the two opposing sides views of the other country almost showing that they are both guilty of looking into the mirror and seeing themselves in each other. I’d like to know more of what you can dig up about this.

» Posted By Ryan On March 30, 2010 @ 10:43 am

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

Wonderful job! I really enjoyed how you compared and contrasted different website policies concerning mainly photos or profiles. Your podcasts really gets at the issue of control and access. I like how you added references at the bottom to further contextualize your topic.

» Posted By Ryan On March 30, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

Electronic Waste: How Do We Stop It?

Great images of the China problem. Honieh had all the good questions, so I’ll try to think of something else. I think Mushon is also right that you could get “richer with the pictures and slides as you narrate it. If you don’t understand, then let me know and I’ll show you. Why isn’t this getting the type of coverage here in the US? It obviously a health hazard in other countries, but what’s the coverage there? Could this be just as important as global warming or other environmental issues. I still have my old computer I think, unless my mother donated it to salvation army. I don’t think she threw it out. I’ll ask her what she did with her computers. Wonderful presentation. I look forward to next week. You have great journalism skills too.

» Posted By Ryan On March 30, 2010 @ 10:55 am

Weekly Summary : Interface!

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.

» Posted By Ryan On March 28, 2010 @ 9:06 am

In the subway

I’m curious to how much investigating you are going to do to try and “find” things. Have you spoken with the people at “Found” for help on marketing your website or getting people to post to your site.

I really dig the idea though. It made me think about my experience in the subway today and I was looking around for weird/cool stuff apart from all the trash.

Nice touch with the flavors.me website ;) I think it looks great by the way.

» Posted By Ryan On March 24, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

Death and social media

Social Media and death is a topic which I am ambivalent about. As I told you before and Honieh commented, the ‘virtual tombstones’ left over are kinda weird and honorary at the same time. However, what if the parents want their son’s or daughter’s facebook profile removed for some reason? I wonder what people’s thoughts are on it. Like I said this is a topic that you could develop into something bigger if you wanted to. You have some great questions by the way. I wonder what kind of approach – I’d assume an ethnographic approach with people online asking them their experiences. I also wonder if you could actually perform an experiment somehow using maybe yourself without freaking people out.

» Posted By Ryan On March 23, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

The Art of the Mashup/Remix Culture

You’re very right Harris, these things can be very time consuming. But I wonder if video popularity online might motivate them without any commercial incentives. It took me some time to put it together too. I also want to investigate how certain artists have put their songs online and made contests for anyone to remix it as a marketing tool.

» Posted By Ryan On March 23, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

I was thinking that Harris and I could give a breakdown of using Windows Movie Maker for you PC users and I’d give a rundown of how to use iMovie with Mac users. We could see when people would have a moment to learn it. It was a learning by doing process that involved a Firefox plug-in to download the Youtube videos and iMovie. I hope to improve upon it in the following weeks.

I’ll try to look into Girl Talk, the evolution of music formats and technologies and how they have encouraged and amplified sampling, remixing, and mash-ups. And I’ll also check out bastard pop too.

» Posted By Ryan On March 23, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

When the museum gets to YOU…

Yeah, but why would they choose twitter, if you can’t see it. How could you comment on something that you can’t see or are they going to rely on just twitter feeds???

I’m curious to see how you would incorporate this into your travelogue of a richer media :) Good luck. Unfortunately, I’ll be heading to NYU at 2:30.

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

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