DIGITAL AMERICA

Author Archives: Ali S

What’s Next? (Final

// Posted by Ali S on 04/11/2012 (8:27 PM)

Research is done, a conclusion has been met now new questions are raised read more here.

Social Media has grown. Immensely. Facebook is the third largest country.  Ninety Percent of… Read more

Research is done, a conclusion has been met now new questions are raised read more here.

Social Media has grown. Immensely. Facebook is the third largest country.  Ninety Percent of people thirty and younger are on a social network sites like Facebook and twitter. That’s half the population of the world. Social Media isn’t a generational thing, that will become old like parachute pants or perms. It’s a revolution.

But is it a good one? Are we fighting for our freedom of speech, are we expanding are social horizons or are we simply just throwing all of our time into useless internet roaming? Everyone has something to say on the internet but do we say these things out loud in a room full of people or do we tweet about it followed by the all too common #hashtag?

Is there a reason we are looking into the future through the pages of Facebook and Twitter?

In Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, he writes about how social sharing relieves some of the burdens when it comes to developing interest groups and sharing thoughts and ideas. But is it to much? From this comes my question of how much is too much and does it really help. After watching the Social Media Revolution 2012 video I took a hard look at the questions they asked and wanted to know if they could have an supporting truths.

One of the most thought provoking points of the video is when you see a quote from Erik Qualman, the quote simply reads “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media; the question is how we do it.” We are all somehow apart of the new age of social media; we have Facebooks, Twitters, email accounts, and LinkedIn Profiles. We tag locations is statuses, tweet about annoying professors, and Instagram every photo we snap.

But why? Why would we tweet about our annoying professor instead of turning to the person next to us and saying “Hey, his lectures are so annoying”? Why is it appropriate to tweet “Professor Han makes me want to ram my head into a wall #annoyinglecture”? Is it wrong to say these things out loud? Have we lost our ability to communicate?

My initial question started off as Is Social Media hurting the social skills of Americans or protecting the rights as Americans? As I’ve researched and looked more and more into Social Media and what it has become my question has changed with it. It took 38 years for 50 million people to have a radio. In one year, Facebook had 200 million users. So now my question has changed into where is this going to take us next, is it going to further our social education or are we going to become a world like the one depicted in Disney’s Wall-e?

Is this where social media will take us or will we use it to flourish in creating new ideas and reaching people across the country?


Categories: Discussion, Uncategorized

Be The Hero

// Posted by Ali S on 04/01/2012 (12:30 PM)

After watching Jane McGonigal’s Ted Talk on how gaming can make the world a better place it got me thinking. I dove in a little further and asked how is this possible how could the superheros of video… Read more

After watching Jane McGonigal’s Ted Talk on how gaming can make the world a better place it got me thinking. I dove in a little further and asked how is this possible how could the superheros of video games become real life? McGonigal specifically talks about how much time we spend on video games and how you could be using that time to make a change as well as have fun. Video games bring people together. People from China are playing people in the United States and people from the United States are playing people in England. Video games have there own little web of five degrees of separation where in some instances, everyone knows everyone. There are the best players and the worst players, then the new ones and the old ones. But all these players have skills. So what if we harness these skills use them for good instead of evil in a sense.

Like McGonigal said we should create a video game that lets people help solve the oil crisis, theses gaming superstars could become superheros. They could help save the world in their own way. People try to be superheros all the time and people try to make a difference. Sites like Great Americans talk about average everyday citizens who make these incredible acts with no reward in mind, they do it because no one else is.

In this video a firefighter talks about how she saved a man and his son while driving home from work one late afternoon. She didn’t have to do it but she did. I think we are naturally inclined to help people so why wouldn’t a video game that makes a difference work? I think given the option and knowing it makes a difference we would be more inclined to play it and become that real life superhero.


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#OccupyEverything

// Posted by Ali S on 03/17/2012 (2:06 PM)

After reading an article on Occupy Together I was astonished to see just what people are occupying. Each week the site posts a list of movements that are occurring around the globe, from right… Read more

After reading an article on Occupy Together I was astonished to see just what people are occupying. Each week the site posts a list of movements that are occurring around the globe, from right here in the capital of Virginia to Iran to Russia; people are attempting to make someone notice they are suffering. So what happens in one week of occupying? Do people sit around and make a building inaccessible? Do they have rallies? I had no idea. Searching around on YouTube I came across the video of an occupy movement in Richmond, Virginia on March 3, 2012, International Women’s Day.

The video is simple, it’s someone standing in the crowd with their camera directed to the steps where women are sitting in a pro-choice rally. They are protesting a new bill that requires women to have an ultra sound before receiving an abortion. 14 men and 17 women were arrested on that day, having done nothing but sit on a flight of stairs. I guess the primary question is what is Occupy? What do we occupy and why do we do it?

5 days after this event 5,000 protesters formed a 3 mile line from lower Manhattan to Union Square, protesting unemployment. But what is protesting? Does it actually accomplish a task or does it do more harm than good? Can progress be gained from a protest or is it just as good as signing a petition? The Occupy movement originated from Occupy Wall Street, where groups gathered in September of 2011 in Liberty Square to fight back against major banks and multinational corporations that stand over democratic process. But now, there is occupy everything. Occupy has become in retrospect a sit-in, where a group of people or an organization becomes unhappy about a situation and decides to “occupy” someplace where a difference might possibly be made.

As all of this can be a great cause does it ever become too much? Does the term occupy become a laughing matter where people are over doing it? Does occupying have any real result?


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The Honest News?

// Posted by Ali S on 02/28/2012 (11:26 PM)

Wiki-leaks creator Julian Assange has been under heavy fire the past few years with his honest posts about what is truly going on in the world. The website has been criticized and governments have attempted to shut it down but… Read more

Wiki-leaks creator Julian Assange has been under heavy fire the past few years with his honest posts about what is truly going on in the world. The website has been criticized and governments have attempted to shut it down but it stays strong. Is there a reason? Assange believes so.

Early this month Phylicia posted about how America receives watered down news in comparison to other countries and its true. Like Assange says Wiki-leaks is a site where you can get true information about things that are happening that we are not being told. Some may say that there is a reason we aren’t being told, that its to protect us or the people it involves, but shouldn’t it be our decision? This can also be tied to our discussion on the war in the Middle East. Although we know we are in a war, we don’t really know why we are there or what is actually going on, Wiki-leaks gives us actual information and gives us the option of knowing what is going on.

So is Wiki-leaks something that needs to stick around or to governments have the right idea in trying to shut it down?


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Why We Support.

// Posted by Ali S on 02/25/2012 (2:53 PM)

After watching the documentary Why We Fight by Eugene Jarecki, I realized that the film was missing something very important. Why we support. The average everyday Americans aren’t fighting in the Iraq War nor… Read more

After watching the documentary Why We Fight by Eugene Jarecki, I realized that the film was missing something very important. Why we support. The average everyday Americans aren’t fighting in the Iraq War nor have we ever been. We go through our daily routines, with the war far from our minds. Unless you know someone in the war or work in some way to supply or fund the war, you don’t think about what’s going on. The documentary in some ways turned against the war, because at this moment we don’t know what we are fighting for; so what’s the reason we are fighting? And while that makes a valid point, there are over 100,000 American troops in the Middle East fighting for our freedom because that is what they are told to do.

They are not allowed to question what they are doing; they don’t even have the time to. They are busy protecting themselves and their companies. Their goal isn’t to win a war, it’s to get home safe and alive. So, we turn against it because we don’t agree with why we’re fighting? Weapons are continually getting more advanced and the United States feels this is a reason for them to show off their muscles. Is it becoming less of a war based on an actual cause and more of a war based on making sure no one will challenge the United States again? We have bombs that are guided by GPS coordinates, guns that can hit over a mile away, and robot technology that basically does the fighting for us.

But those are all definitions to why we might be fighting. Not to why we support. We support because there are over two million soldiers in the armed forces, and over one third of these soldiers are in active duty. We support because they are Americans. They are average everyday Americans that made a choice to fight for what they believed was right, the least we could do is support. We support for the families they left behind, for the injured who return, and for the ones who don’t come back at all.

There’s nothing wrong with asking the question of why we’re fighting. It’s a reasonable and needed question. But that doesn’t mean you can support the soldiers who are fighting for you. So next time someone asks you about the war, what will you say? Will you comment on how we don’t have a reason to be there? Will you talk about how the United States is trying to show off? Or will you simply say I don’t agree with why we’re there, but I support the men and women who are fighting for our freedoms?


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I-Campaign Funding?

// Posted by Ali S on 02/11/2012 (8:08 PM)

Imagine being able to accept credit card payments from anywhere. Imagine holding a bake sale to raise money for a charity and being able to take donations straight from your phone. Well that’s what Read more

Imagine being able to accept credit card payments from anywhere. Imagine holding a bake sale to raise money for a charity and being able to take donations straight from your phone. Well that’s what Square does. With the simple device and a easy to use app, you can take credit card payments/donations from anywhere. The entire setup is completely free you get the device and the app for free but there is a percentage taken out of each card swipe that the company keeps. The money is deposited into your account the next day and then you are good to go. Kevin Rose gives a quick demo just to show the pros and cons of the device.

But not just everyday people are using this app. Politicians are jumping on this bandwagon and using Square to start funding there political campaigns. President Obama has always been campaigning in new and upcoming ways. In his 2008 campaign he had an app designed to let his voters read news about the campaign, check local events, and help with campaigning. Now these presidential campaigns are adopting this new technology where supporters can download the app and collect donations for the campaign from anywhere they want. The use of social technologies like twitter, facebook, and myspace have only made the switch to the anywhere donations so much easier. Supporters can follow links and donate straight from there, but now with square anyone can collect donations for these political campaigns.

So what does this change? Campaigning has changed so much over the years and in so many ways. It has become more dependent on technology to spread the word and find more supporters. Is this a good thing or has it become to easy. Are Politicians getting let off easy in there campaigning? Do things like Square make it better for the supporters or easier for the candidates? Is it still a political race and not a popularity contest? Are we voting for people because they have apps and facebook pages or are we voting for people because their views coincide with ours?


Categories: Blog, Pictures, Video
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The Magic in an App.

// Posted by Ali S on 01/31/2012 (10:37 PM)



 

We all knew the possibilities of magic as children, we dreamed of pixie dust and birthday wishes, dragons and fairy godmothers, swords in stones and magic… Read more

 

We all knew the possibilities of magic as children, we dreamed of pixie dust and birthday wishes, dragons and fairy godmothers, swords in stones and magic wands. We were deceived by Disney movies and fairy tales; but we never quite got over are obsession with the magical side of life. We constantly look for it. Marco Tempest a ‘magician’ does just that. He deceives us through one of our most loved devices, the IPhone. He takes it and manipulates or minds showing how they are connected and disconnected. As adults watching this magic show take place we are amazed but can’t help but ask how does he do that?


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The New Hippie?

// Posted by Ali S on 01/28/2012 (4:34 PM)

During the 1960s-1970s the United States went through a Hippie Movement when people made the choice to leave the cities and go back to living on their own. Hippies opposed of the political and social violence during their… Read more

During the 1960s-1970s the United States went through a Hippie Movement when people made the choice to leave the cities and go back to living on their own. Hippies opposed of the political and social violence during their time and promoted an ideology that focused on peace love and personal freedom. Although that seems like it could be a good thing, in some ways it wasn’t. Hippies promoted the use of psychedelic drugs believing that they expanded their consciousness. They left cities and moved out west to live in communes like Drop City and the Farm (which is still going). Communes gave the people that lived there a sense of freedom, everything they did was off the grid and they did it because they wanted to not because they had to. But the peace and love age of the hippies didn’t last long. 1969 brought one of the biggest gatherings of hippies at the Woodstock festival. Hundreds of thousands gathered to listen to music and partake drug use and free love. Soon after Woodstock came the Altamont Free Concert, again hundreds of thousands attended but unlike Woodstock, the Altamont Free Concert was not peaceful. The Hells Angels provided security for the event and it broke out in a chaos. A person ended up stabbed and killed and this brought a bad name to the hippie culture.

The History of the Woodstock Festival

Altamont Free Concert -- Death of Meredith Hunter

 

The end of Hippie movement brought the end of the commune life. Hippies had to learn how to readjust into a mainstream adult world. Stewart Brand founder of the Whole Earth Catalog supported commune life style at its start. He created the Catalog to spread ideas and products to the communes, in some ways creating the first ‘blog’ like publication. People were able to contribute to the Catalog by submitting reviews or how-to’s and this gave its readers a sense of connecting to the document. Although Brand supported the communes at the start, as the digital age came up Brand saw the necessity of becoming involved in this new society. Computers and the internet brought a new world into orbit and everyone somehow became a part of it. Now almost fifty years later what happened to this hippie culture? What happened to the peace and love ideology that so many became part of?

Nothing. It still very much exists. Maybe not in the retrospect that they did in the 1960′s but the hippie culture still exists. Commune like communities are still around and people still live off the land. They just do it in a little bit different way. Instead of purely living off the land and staying away from a governed world they hold jobs in the ‘real’ world but live in these communalistic style communities where they farmed and lived off the land. Groups of over a hundred people will gather together to live and work the land, turning away from some digital technologies and processed foods. There is entertainment through the community where the members perform for each other, instead of blogs there are community boards with things that are going on and events going on. Everyone knows each other and they live in a peaceful state. But is this really like the hippie culture of the 1960s or is this a new culture all on its own?

Virginia Commune Still Draws Members after 40 Years

Today’s hippie culture is a mold of the 1960s past hippie in today’s new age. There is no way a hippie of the 1960′s could survive in today’s culture of digital media and easy access. It’s not probable for someone to live fully off the land and not participate in society, but even though it’s not probable people still do it. The hippie culture still exists. Younger generations today are embracing the hippie culture against government protocols and protecting the natural world that has slowly began to deteriorate. They embrace the sense of freedom that they receive from it as well as the values of anti-materialism and non-violence. Hundreds of communes still operate around the United States, some even thriving. But these new hippies still have cell phones and cars; they are not walking across the country, hitchhiking on interstates to get to the newest commune. They post on blogs about their findings and new areas they are exploring. Instead of the World Earth Catalog they have switched into a digital space where they can reach each other across the country. They gather together to spread ideas keeping the culture alive even today.

Rainbow Family 2011 Gathering

Will the hippie culture rise again? Will we have the counterculture movement that we did almost fifty years ago or will they continue to live in the shadows of this new digital age?


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Rulers of…the Internet?

// Posted by Ali S on 01/15/2012 (11:31 PM)

The internet, mass media, social networking, and communication have reached new levels in the past ten years. Here in Virginia it takes approximately six seconds to download a 4-MB music file according to WIRED magazine. Within seconds information about anything… Read more

The internet, mass media, social networking, and communication have reached new levels in the past ten years. Here in Virginia it takes approximately six seconds to download a 4-MB music file according to WIRED magazine. Within seconds information about anything can be pulled up on the smallest of deceives. Thirteen year old children carry around IPhones, main newspapers have apps in which you can get instant current events, and television shows can be streamed through the internet. The world is connected in every way possible and who is at the center of this? Us. This generation that has grown up in the age of technology and new media is leading the way. We have become authors of the internet; we have changed the face of how information travels.

Websites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Foursquare, and Myspace have changed the way we communicate in between people. We no longer pick up a telephone and call someone when we want to spread news. We simply post a status, send a tweet or long in at our location. You can become the King of Gold’s Gym after logging in multiple times, you can become Tumblr famous after gaining thousands of followers. People like Taylor-Ruth Baldwin a 17 year old high school student created a blog showcasing her chronicle of high school angst one summer as a way to vent her pent up frustration. Now today she has over 15,000 followers. She has become Tumblr famous. High school and college students are becoming rulers of the internet. They are creating trends and running with them. Twelve year old, Thomas Suarez is creating IPhone apps and developing programs to teach other middle school students how to do the same.

But what makes you a ruler of the digital world? Is it your ability to gain followers and friends? Is it you’re content? Are you funny? Are you something fresh and new? What if it’s just the simple fact that you know a little more than the older generations about the internet and this new technology? What if there is nothing extraordinary about you and you are just like every other person your age? If that’s the case then how do we find the balance between these competing generations, both trying to find their place in this new age of technology? How do we find out who is controlling this vast internet world?

We don’t. We will never know who controls the internet because there isn’t anyone who controls the internet, it’s an open vat of information that people can put in whatever they want and take out whatever they want. The internet is what we want to be. People use it connect all over the globe. A stranger picks up a person’s layaway bill out of a simple gesture of kindness, they do this because someone else did it and posted about it on the internet. We are interlinked all over the world because of the internet. We are all rulers of this new digital age where everyone accesses the internet on a daily basis.

If we have sixth graders developing apps and high school students are gaining thousands of followers on blogging websites, are we teaching the right things in school? Should students be learning how to code? Should we be integrating this technology into school systems or should we continue keeping things how they are?

 

 


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