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Tag: digital culture


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Week 1

// Posted by on 05/14/2015 (11:08 AM)

Perceptions of the Internet-

My perception of the Internet has changed a lot since our first class meeting. I will be completely honest that before our discussion in class I just assumed that Google was the Internet. I was aware… Read more

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Perceptions of the Internet-

My perception of the Internet has changed a lot since our first class meeting. I will be completely honest that before our discussion in class I just assumed that Google was the Internet. I was aware that there were other websites you could go to search such as Yahoo and Bing but I rarely used them so I just thought they were not as powerful as Google. Whenever I open the Internet I go directly to Google. I do this on my personal Apple laptop and work Dell computer. Google is not necessarily set as my home page but I always type it in the search bar and then go find what I am looking for through Google. It makes since now that we have talked about how Google is a search engine and not the Internet as a whole. Another perception I have for the Internet is that it is a place I can go and ask any question and find many different answers. I am aware that not all the answers I find will be correct but I know that I can get a better understanding of something if I search for it on the Internet. From taking classes here at U of R I have always learned that the Internet is not a private place. There is no one monitoring what is put on the Internet and for the most part no rules as to what people can do. Most people would be considerate to others by not hacking into their computer and stealing their personal information but there are some people who have no respect for others and will take any information they can find and use it to their advantage. Another perception I have of the Internet is anything done on the Internet never goes away. My understanding is that once you have typed something on the Internet that it will always be linked back to you no matter what. I feel that there are still many things that I have to learn about the Internet and I look forward to learning more through this class.

Rules of engagement-

One suggestion I would have for rules of engagement for our weekly at home activity would be to have a minimum and maximum word count for all posts. This way we can make sure that our posts are not too lengthy to the point that people do not read them. I think that a fair requirement for minimum post would be 150 words and a maximum of 500 words. Another suggestion that I would have would be to make a deadline during the week for a post to be due and a few days later a due date for the response. It is understood that we are all professionals and have families but we need to make sure we post our work before Sunday night so that classmates are able to engage in a discussion and ask questions about posts. The most important rule that I would suggest is for everyone to make sure there post and responses are always respectful. Everyone comes from a different background with different cultures so not everyone may agree on a particular issue. We should respect other people’s opinion when responding to their posts.


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No Time Like the Present

// Posted by on 03/30/2014 (8:13 PM)

According to Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist and author of Present Shock, everything happens now.  So, what does that really mean?  In the first two chapters of Rushkoff’s novel, we are introduced to the meaning of “present shock”.  Rushkoff argues… Read more

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According to Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist and author of Present Shock, everything happens now.  So, what does that really mean?  In the first two chapters of Rushkoff’s novel, we are introduced to the meaning of “present shock”.  Rushkoff argues that individuals have lost their capacity to take in the traditional narrative because the future has become “now” and we are constantly adapting to the new and unpredictable challenges it presents.  As a result, he continues, we have developed a new relationship with time on a fundamental level.  We are so preoccupied with living in the technological now, which is always active and changing constantly, that individuals are increasingly losing their sense of direction, personal goals, and future altogether.

This idea of a widespread narrative collapse is a significant aspect in the idea of present shock.  The traditional use of linear stories to attract viewers through a sort of shared journey has been replaced with unintelligent reality programming and TV shows.  I think Rushkoff’s argument is a completely accurate one.  In my generation, individuals have lost their ability to fully absorb information through this kind of story / narrative form.  We constantly feel the urge for a change, a new piece of information, a distraction.  Although it is easy to relate this to our current and most popular social media networks, we can perhaps look at something a bit different.  Take music for instance.  Even a decade ago, the process of purchasing and listening to an album or CD was an experience in itself.  You waited for the release of this album, maybe even in line at a local music shop.  After, you might go home and listen to this album with friends or alone and listen to it from beginning to end.  When is the last time you did this? You saw a friend do this? You witnessed anyone doing this?  This imagined visual might even seem abnormal or even weird in our current world.  I believe this is why mashups were created and became so popular within the last decade.  Why would you listen to one song when can get pieces of a few of your favorites within only 2 and a half minutes?  Digital technology is responsible for this ongoing change among individuals attention span and ability to be present in a moment.  In our generation, there is a sort of tangible anxiety and impatience among us that is only perpetuated by digital technology.  Think about how many people you see daily, scrolling through their Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter every few minutes waiting, almost yearning for something to grab their attention or excite them. This never-ending digital feed has caused a lack of appreciation for quality over quantity.  In turn, it depreciates our ability to focus and separate our real lives from our digital ones.

With the creation of the Internet, it was largely assumed that individuals would have more time to themselves, not less.  People might be able to work from home, from their bed even, and complete tasks that they would normally have to go into work to take care of.  This assumption, however, was based on the idea that technology would conform to our lives when, in actuality, the exact opposite happened.  As Rushkoff suggests, human time has become the new modern commodity.  People can no longer extract themselves from our overpowering digital world—they are always at its beck and call.  Whether it is a buzz from a tweet, call, or text, the interruption of technology is a common and constant one.  In turn, face-to-face conversations and meaningful opportunities are diminishing.  These shared experiences are being replaced with the “shared” experience of being distracted by technology and our devotion to it.  This relates to Rushkoff’s coined term “Digiphrenia”: this idea that because technology allows us to be in more than one place, individuals are overwhelmed until they learn how to distinguish the difference between signal and noise information.  Again going back to this idea of quality vs. quantity, it seems as though we are starting to value quantity at an ever-increasing rate.   I found this idea of being able to live in two different worlds to be particularly interesting— not only are we able to dip into different worlds at any given time, but we are able to project a different “self” as well.  As we have previously discussed, individuals can create and advertise any sort of identity they choose to and shift worlds at any point in time.

In my opinion, technology has caused us to be increasingly absent from the real “now” in order to be present in the digital ever-exisiting one.  We are collectively sharing a moment of “not sharing” that is deemed acceptable under the guise of  technology.   In turn, individuals’ ability to be completely present, mentally and physically, in any environment or situation is becoming increasingly rare.  Rather than experiencing what is happening in the moment, we find ourselves wondering what is going on in another moments, moments somewhere else with different people.  This “present sock” syndrome is only propelling feelings of constant anxiety, impatience, and seemingly unattainable satisfaction in our world, especially among my generation.  We are letting technology dictate our lives and consume our real and valuable time in exchange for mere seconds of shallow excitement, gossip, or news.

 


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Jaron Lanier and The Disappearance of the Middle Class

// Posted by on 03/23/2014 (11:56 PM)

Timberg’s article “Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class,” includes a very interesting interview between Timberg and Lanier about his book, “Who Owns the Future?”, and the… Read more

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Timberg’s article “Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class,” includes a very interesting interview between Timberg and Lanier about his book, “Who Owns the Future?”, and the problems that arise when the concentration of wealth and power is in the hands of very few people.

One of Web 2.0 intellectual Jaron Lanier’s main arguments in his book, “Who Owns the Future?”, is that “free” information on the Internet is leading to the disappearance of the middle class. Lanier criticizes big Web entities, such as Facebook and Google, and their business model. One of the examples he gives in the interview is that Kodak (now bankrupt) employed more than 140,000 people, while Instagram employs 13. Where did all those jobs disappear? This concentration of wealth leads to an intense concentration of formal benefits.

Many of his arguments are also highlighted on The Colbert Report, where Lanier suggested the concentration of wealth is “unhealthy,” because “real wealth” is dependent on everyone else’s wealth– a community of wealth. If there is a concentration of wealth, then that is not real wealth, it is “fake, brittle, phony, it falls apart.” Open economy is a new development, and it is not sustainable.

Lanier argues that we have talked ourselves into a weird double-economy—if material things are what’s being distributed, then we believe in material markets, but if it is information, creativity, the work of comedians and journalists etc., we think it should be shared and open. But, there is danger in that, as this shift from a formal economy to an informal economy puts all the information and workers into one area, so regular people are not getting credited for their information and value their work provides. In the formal economy, people who make contributions to the system receive formal benefits such as salary and pensions. Therefore, Lanier’s proposed solution is that those people involved in the informal economy facilitated by the Internet be “rewarded in micropayments when their data enriches a digital network.” An example Lanier continues to highlight is the issue of online translators. The algorithms that make up the online translators take away people’s jobs, as these corporations “mine” peoples’ skills without crediting them.

Lanier does not completely discredit the development of the informal economy. He believes that there is beauty in the trust that these systems work on, but in a world that is still in most ways a formal economy, one cannot rely on informal benefits, such as cultural capital, to pay for rent or raise kids, etc., “it is not biologically real.”

In Lanier’s view, the benefits of reinstating the middle class distribution of wealth and power are huge—“democracy is destabilized if there isn’t a broad distribution of wealth.” This idea of democracy and the Internet is one we have been grappling with throughout the whole course, and is one that continues to be questioned as we explore further.


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Dating in the Digital World

// Posted by on 03/02/2014 (11:45 PM)

By: Caroline Andryc, Eliza Breed, Piper Brighton, Allie Deering and Mia Webber

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9zNvamo5z4

http://youtu.be/Y9zNvamo5z4

For our group project, we decided to focus on the impact of digital culture on romantic relationships.  As seen in the video, social media… Read more

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By: Caroline Andryc, Eliza Breed, Piper Brighton, Allie Deering and Mia Webber

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9zNvamo5z4

http://youtu.be/Y9zNvamo5z4

For our group project, we decided to focus on the impact of digital culture on romantic relationships.  As seen in the video, social media and technology are very present forces in our society and seemingly necessary for a relationship to function.  In order to explore this complex topic, we looked into the ways in which social media and technology both negatively and positively affect relationships. Advances in technology have allowed people to connect and communicate in new and incredible ways.  Applications such as Facetime, Skype, Twitter, and Instagram provide people with the opportunity to communicate 24/7,  regardless each individual’s environment.  According to Pew Research Center’s article  Couples, the Internet, and Social Media, young adults are more likely to report feeling closer to their spouse or partner thanks to technology.  According to their survey, 41% of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships have felt closer to their partner due to online or text message conversations and 23% of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships report resolving an argument using technology that they were having trouble resolving in person.  At the same time, young adults are more likely to report tension in their relationships over technology use, as 42% of cell phone-owning 18-29 year olds in serious relationships say their partner has been distracted by their mobile phone while they were together.  It is evident that digital culture can affect romantic relationships in multiple ways.  The aim of our project is to investigate its various influences while taking into account the recent Pew survey on how American couples use digital technology to manage life, logistics, and emotional intimacy within their relationships (Pew).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnuwjeTSksw

The following skit illustrates the positive impact of technology on relationships. The beneficial effects of digital communication are particularly apparent in long-distance relationships, as it allows the couple to connect regardless of their individual environment.  Through the mainstream digital networks such as: Facetime, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, couples are able to maintain a constant connection. These technologies have allowed couples to breakaway from the impersonal and monotonous phone calls to the face-to-face emotional video conferencing calls. Especially present in long-distance relationships, couples now have the ability to electronically see each other everyday, which can contribute to a stronger relationship. Technology only continues to grow exponentially, as subscribers to the new iPhone 5 have witnessed, people can now use Facetime without WiFi, a feature that was only recently released. This has allowed couples to communicate via video conferencing even more and be a part of each others lives no matter where they may be. Current technology helps with the logistics and communication of a relationship, making it easier to strengthen the bond between two people.

As the Huffington Post declared in the article, “Long Distance Relationships May Benefit From ‘Hug Shirts,’ Other Technologies,” romantic relationships are now not as challenging as they used to be due to the abilities of mainstream social media: “As communication technology has improved over time, it’s helped long-distance couples stay in real-time contact and enjoy conversations almost as if they were sitting face to face.” With applications like, FaceTime and Skype which now have the capacity to work wherever the individual may be, relationships no matter the distance have the opportunity to evolve and become even more closely-knit. Without the assistance of video technology, couples would not be as eager and enthusiastic about long-distance relationships. USA Today’s article “More young couples try long-distance relationships,” supports this statement, as Sharon Jayson discusses how common and popular long-distance relationships are becoming. She interviews a couple, Rachel Goldstein and Ben Kuryk who met in college and have now decided to continue their relationship no matter the distance between their new post-graduate jobs. The 1,055 miles between Goldstein and Kuryk does not seem so far while they’re communicating via FaceTime and Skype three to four times a day. As Goldstein declares, “”We’re professionals at this.”” A recent study in the journal Communication Research discovered that “as many as half of college students are in long-distance relationships, and up to 75% will be at some point.” Due to the vast capabilities of technology, couples no longer have to put their relationships on pause. Goldstein and Kuryk have been together for six and half years and in more than four different cities. Their relationship has lasted and ceased to perish solely because of the innovation of technology and the vast opportunities presented within social media. As seen in the USA Today article, it has proven that couples can withhold the long and grueling weeks and months of being apart, because of technology. Without the remarkable aptitude of technology, couples like Goldstein and Kuryk would not have the ability to maintain their relationship and ultimately see what direction it takes in the future.

It is obvious that without technology many relationships, long distance or not, would not last as long as they do today.  Social media and technology places that connection with one’s significant other in the palm of their hand, literally.  In our current society, it is beyond just phone calls.  The visual elements that modern technology incorporates, such as facetime and skype, allow couples to communicate face-to-face, which arguably fosters a deeper connection.  Conceivably, one could be in a long-distance relationship in which they are always “with” their partner.  I say “with” in quotations because although facetime offers far more connectivity than a mere phone call, the relationship without physical contact is limited.  Still, with apps like Facetime you could technically sleep, eat, dance, watch tv, and engage in sexual foreplay.  This type of relationship is not for everyone, but for those that adhere to the cultural norms of the use of technology in relationships, a long-distance relationship would be much easier to maintain.  It is not surprising that long distance relationships are on the rise, our generation is accustomed to being able to communicate with their significant other whenever, wherever.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP56OBQ6yiA

http://youtu.be/VP56OBQ6yiA

In this scenario, the two girls are demonstrating the anxiety that technology can create in a relationship. Texting enables fast and instant connections between people, therefore, we expect quick responses: “As we ramp up the volume and velocity of online connections, we start to expect faster answers” (Turkle, Flight From Conversation). Our lack of patience in this matter can cause issues, as anxieties can amount if one sees that the message has been read, but a response has not followed fast enough. Additionally, texting allows us to “edit” what we want to say and consequently hide our feelings and true expressions to “present the self we want to be.” (Turkle). Social Media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have enabled people to “connect” with others indirectly; to gather “sips” of information about others that might not tell the whole story.

Zuckerberg claims Facebook was built to “accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected,” however, “connection” should not replace conversation (Techcrunch; Turkle). With Facebook’s mission in mind, we take what we see on social media to be the true representation of peoples’ lives. In this scenario, access to Peter’s Facebook allowed the girls to make judgements and perceptions about his life and relationships, that might or might not have been accurate, which can lead to unnecessary anxieties as trust can become questioned.

Trusting social media as the primary source of information can become dangerous, as catfishing has become more prevalent. A catfish is someone who creates a false online identity, usually with the intention of getting someone to fall in love with you or to scam people into giving you money, credit, or other gains. Just recently, Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o claims he was a victim of a catfishing scam. Even more terrifying is the idea that catfishing is not exactly against the law. While some states can criminalize those that impersonate an actual person, there are currently no laws that punish those that create a fictitious person (Merritt Web). The ability of social media to enhance relationships is evident, as we discussed earlier, which makes it much more emotionally difficult for one to realize that they’ve been duped by a catfish considering the amount of time and effort that was probably invested into the online relationship.

The videos that we created showed people using social media to connect with others, either to enhance a long-distance relationship or to decode someone’s actions. But, because we rely on social media to connect with others, we can choose who we connect with. For example, if a relationship ends between two people, one can “digitally delete” that other person from their lives by de-friending them on Facebook, unfollowing them on Twitter and Instagram, and deleting them off your Snapchat friend list. Additionally, the act of breaking up with someone or ending a friendship can be made easier by texting and messaging that person instead of dealing with messy, emotional, face-to-face conversations; Turkle argues this point as well: “Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology.”

It is virtually impossible in this day and age to find an example of a relationship exempt from the influence of digital culture. Because it has become such a widespread and mainstream mode of communication, it can be implied that the use of technology is inherently good, otherwise it would not be in constant use. Couples can use technology to keep in contact on a fast and consistent basis, which can lead to a deeper emotional connection. Technology gives couples in long distance relationships the opportunity and the choice to maintain the relationship they are in, and continue to see how it goes in the future. Yet the huge influence of digital culture on romantic relationships does not come without its downfalls. While technology can be a huge help in the search for a relationship and the maintenance of a relationship, it is not the sole factor that makes a relationship work. Websites such as Match.com and OKcupid may facilitate the search, but it still takes human initiative and eventual personal contact for a relationship to develop. And while constant communication may aid in maintaining a relationship, it can also set individuals up for unrealistic expectations on response times or the openness of their partner. Social media adds another layer of sharing to a relationship that can either facilitate the relationship or cause anxiety or a feeling of exclusion for one’s significant other based on what one shares with one’s friends on social media. While technology is a huge factor in modern relationships, its use and outcome is still greatly rooted in how an individual uses it. Technology may help with the nuts and bolts of a relationship, but it cannot create in-person chemistry and it cannot act as a substitute for emotional love.

Works Cited:

1. Dodson, Lauren, “Catfish and the Law.”

http://www.merrittwebb.com/b2-catfish-and-the-law/

2. Turkle, Sherry, “Flight from Conversation.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/the-flight-from-conversation.html?pagewanted=all

3. Shaw, Lisa. “What is Catfishing and Why You Should Care.”

http://parentingtodayskids.com/article/what-is-catfishing-and-why-should-you-care/

4. Constine, Josh, “Facebook’s S-1 Letter From Zuckerberg Urges Understanding Before Investment.”

http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/01/facebook-ipo-letter/

5. Couples, the Internet, and Social Media

http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/02/11/couples-the-internet-and-social-media/

6. Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/12/long-distance-relationshi_n_1271210.html

7. USA Today:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/mentalhealth/2010-09-09-longdistance09_ST_N.htm


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This is What Democracy Looks Like

// Posted by on 02/23/2014 (8:03 PM)

After reading Jeff Sharlet’s article, Inside Occupy Wall Street, it is obvious how much power and influence technology has in our society.  The product of a simple yet powerful tweet, the Occupy Wall Street demonstration proved itself to be… Read more

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After reading Jeff Sharlet’s article, Inside Occupy Wall Street, it is obvious how much power and influence technology has in our society.  The product of a simple yet powerful tweet, the Occupy Wall Street demonstration proved itself to be much more than a mere protest as it inspired a media awareness that lead to Occupy movements worldwide.  After observing the movements growth over the period of a few months, Sharlet, someone whose spent years immersed in the right wing, refers to the OWS movement as “an incredible display of political imagination”.  Indeed, the movement was one-of-a-kind as it united diverse groups of people through technology, promoting a kind of shared voice while simultaneously creating a community that was truly unique.

It is not uncommon for one to as what was that something protesters were fighting for?  As Sharlet mentions, Adbusters had proposed a “‘worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics,’ but their big ideas went no further than pressuring Obama to appoint a presidential commission on the role of money in politics”.  Although they had initiated the beginnings of the protest, they were unaware that they had begun a movement that reached unimaginable heights.  What amazed me was the progression in size of the movement and protesters that loyally followed.  It had begun with around 2,000 individuals but quickly grew, attracting people from all over.  With the creation of a public clinic, library, and kitchen, the Occupy Wall Street movement had created a new whole.  It is almost as if they created a world within a world.  People committed to the cause considered this home and seemed to have this sense of shared generosity and spirit.  People were, undoubtedly, attracted to OWS for different reasons.  As protester Jesse Legraca admitted, he was first drawn to the park after seeing a topless girl.  And the addition of free food did not hurt either.  Fellow protester David Graeber, in contrast, was a radical anthropologist and anarchist who was committed to the cause and even created the theme to the overall movement.

This idea of unification is what drove Occupy Wall Street and allowed it to function for as long as it did.  As previously mentioned, Graeber created a theme for the movement, “we are the 99%”.  This movement was particularly different than past ones as there were no designated leaders or speakers.  People, rather, functioned as a large group and were excited by the idea that they were taking true advantage of democracy.  Thus, this feeling of genuine democracy is a significant aspect of the OWS movement.  As Shalret states, many Americans view “democracy as little more than an unhappy choice between two sides of the same corporate coin”.  With minimal agency, the chance to be part of a real decision—to make a change—is an exciting prospect. With no defined reasons or statements telling people why they needed to come to the OWS demonstration, it created this sense of liberation and open communication.  People came to the cause to decide as a whole what their aim was and what decisions to were to be made.  OWS protesters had one voice, literally, as they adopted a new form of amplification—the human microphone.  This only emphasized the idea that every individual could be heard and served only to further unify the community.

For a leaderless movement, Occupy Wall Street was an extremely unique demonstration of the power of technology in our society.  The movement in itself was created and further perpetuated through technology and media.  It is obvious that a movement like this could not have existed even twenty years ago and just highlights how quickly technology has progressed throughout the past decade.  The question is, what will come next?  How will protests or social/political movements function in a decade? How will technology continue to shape our world and will it be for the better?


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The Beginning of The End

// Posted by on 01/17/2014 (5:23 PM)

The opening chapters of Fred Turner’s, From Counterculture to Cyberculture, explore the historical context of  the utopian vision of computing technology as well as the metaphors, language, ideas, and movements that are linked to it.  He largely focuses on… Read more

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The opening chapters of Fred Turner’s, From Counterculture to Cyberculture, explore the historical context of  the utopian vision of computing technology as well as the metaphors, language, ideas, and movements that are linked to it.  He largely focuses on Stewart Brand, a networker who founded the Whole Earth Catalog and WELL (Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link) which were both focused on creating an openminded and flexible kind of culture.  Brand was an important figure in the idea of the Merry Pranksters as well as in the MIT media Lab.  From the 1960′s through the 1980′s, he experienced diverse environments and sought to link projects and people and promote new ways of thinking.  Brand’s enterprises over those two decades of “shifting politics”, Turner suggests, appear as precursors to the World Wide Web.

Turner also discusses the public perspective in 1967 and the fear and unrest that arose as computers were viewed as technologies of dehumanization, centralized bureaucracy, and the rationalization of human life.  Computers were an overt symbol of the military and the centralization of power.  People feared the creation of an automated society that was a potential threat to their freedom.  In the 1990′s, however, computers had served as the defining devices of cold war technocracy and emerged as the symbols of its transformation. Two decades after the end of the Vietnam War and the fading of the American counter culture, computers somehow seemed poised to bring to life the countercultural dream of empowered individualism, collaborative community, and spiritual communion (2).  It is interesting how in just thirty years, the cultural meaning of information technology shifted so drastically.  The power of computing, once seen a threat to freedom and a individuality, was soon perceived as encouraging to personal freedom, collaboration, dispersed authority, and knowledge.

After learning about the shift in perspective of technology from the 1960′s to the 1990′s, it is interesting to consider the view of the subject in my generation.  It is overly evident how ingrained technology is in our society today, particularly among the youth.  Walking around campus, it is almost rare to see a student hands-free, head up, taking in their immediate environment and the individuals who occupy it.  It is not hard to understand technologies’ massive role in influencing the world around us.  iPhones have replaced the need for face-to-face conversations and computers are now the popular substitute for books, newspapers, and magazines.  Seven-year-olds are asking for cellphones and computers as birthday gifts instead of bicycles or games.  Dinner conversations have taken a backseat to technological entertainment and car rides are often silent as everyone is “plugged-in”.  It is undeniable; we live in the digital age.

I often find these observations to be depressing, only reminders of how genuine social interactions have seemingly diminished into thin air.  It is almost as if someone’s texting or Facebook/Twitter/Instgram page is more of a representation of who they are than the individual him/herself.  For the majority of young people, technology is their primary device for communication and expression.  In my opinion, this only hinders their personable development as they spend increasing amounts of time focused on their digital appearence as well as the personalities portrayed by others.  Technology can often limit the imagination and creativity of young minds as they are bombarded with distractions on the web that are more often than not- well, garbage.   Some might argue that I have a biased view on how our generations technological networks have influenced our social interactions and that is probably accurate.  My opinion is formed by personal experience, however, and I tend to see technology today as a tool for a shallow interconnectedness that, ultimately, isolates us from one another. To me, this is where the irony lies.  A device created to connect humanity on a broad scale has the effect of distancing us when we are, physically, the closest.

 


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My Generation

// Posted by on 04/25/2013 (2:57 PM)

Being born in 1993 I am now 19 and have never known life without technology. As a student I use it daily in forms such as online textbooks, social media, music, group projects, a social tool, and even a… Read more

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Being born in 1993 I am now 19 and have never known life without technology. As a student I use it daily in forms such as online textbooks, social media, music, group projects, a social tool, and even a tutor, to name a few. This generation is one that will change the world. As technology advances it seems that I, along with my peers, advance alongside. My parents however are stuck in the past, asking me to do simple things such as record a video, download an app, or god forbid send a text. What does this widening gap mean for the future of my generation, for my future?

It is interesting to think of my parents as less capable than me in any instance of my life, seeing as they have had 40 more years than I have had to master life skills. However it is becoming more clear to me as new advances in technology occur that my generation, the digital generation, is willing and more than able to take charge of the world and push it in a direction that my parents generation couldn’t fathom at our age, one that they didn’t even know possible.

My generation, like every generation before is rebellious towards, and misunderstood by our elders. The fact that my parents used to scold me for having my phone out during dinner, or playing music to loud is now comical to the extent that everyone I know is face down in their respective Iphone, Ipad, or laptop. While my father had to go to his library and look for a book for information, advances in technology have made learning and obtaining information as simple as a Google search. While I go to school and take four classes a semester with my classmates, I am constantly learning about the world and various other subjects by myself, on my own schedule, and to my own fancy. This is the most exciting feature of my generation, the inability to feel accomplished. With unlimited resources at my fingertips, available to me in a fraction of a second, I never feel like I have truly learned all there is to learn, or uncovered all aspects of a topic. This longing I feel for more information at all times is felt by all in my generation.

Jerry Adler wrote an article for WIRED entitled 1993, Meet the First Digital Generation. Now Get Ready to Play by Their Rules.In it he addresses an interesting point about social networks and the risky business that my generation undertakes using social networking sites to make our social lives completely transparent over the Internet. In it he interviews a girl in her 20s about her Facebook life. “She is casual about what some might consider the risks of oversharing.” He writes, “In the future, she says, it won’t matter if you did post a picture of yourself covered in chocolate, because ‘the people who care will all retire and the world will be run by my generation, which doesn’t give a shit.’” This is a testament to the attitude of my generation. What my parents find totally unacceptable, I find normal.

What does all this talk of a digital generation really mean? To me it signifies a defining moment in time, a point of no return. Whether older generations agree with it or not, technology has taken over and is here to stay. My generation is the first to have advanced technology throughout our whole lives, leaving a bigger gap than ever before between us and our parents.

My generation will be the ones to take the world into the digital revolution and the next chapter of time. We are at the frontier of the exploration and expansion of the digital space, the fore fathers of a changing world.  Whatever happens next is up to us, we have the power. The only question left is what will we do with this power? To that question I have a simple answer, whatever we want.


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Your Anon News

// Posted by on 04/22/2013 (2:08 PM)

The famous hacker/activist group Anonymous has just raised enough money to start their own news website, to be entitled Your Anon News (YAN) reports the website ARS Technica. The fundraiser was set up through the website Indiegogo, and raised close… Read more

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The famous hacker/activist group Anonymous has just raised enough money to start their own news website, to be entitled Your Anon News (YAN) reports the website ARS Technica. The fundraiser was set up through the website Indiegogo, and raised close to  55,000 dollars. The article states that Anonymous only set out to collect 2,00o dollars initially.

It is interesting that the group only set out to raise 2,000 dollars but in reality ended up raising a small fortune. To me this shows the support of the people for more influence by Anonymous in their lives. The group is criticized by many for their attacks on certain companies and websites. However for every person who views Anonymous as a terrorist group, there are two people who idolize the group. In recent years the group has made some waves with its hacks and ability to appeal to a good portion of the population.

By creating this news website I believe that Anonymous is looking to create a more dedicated group of followers and loyalists who look up to the group for inspiration. The article states that ”YAN’s mission is also to become more integrated with the news cycle: ‘to report, not just aggregate the news,’” and a video posted by Anonymous stated that “Our goal was to disseminate information we viewed as vital separating it from the political and celebrity gossip that inundates the mainstream.”

Although I do not necessarily agree with some of the groups actions, I am interested to see how they use this news website to convey information that they think is relevant and important. I actually have faith in this new website, I support their point that news nowadays is to mainstream and gossipy. I will be sure to check out the website when it is up and if nothing else at least it will provide me the opportunity to escape from mainstream culture and media for a few minutes.

Check out the video here.


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Internet to Take Over the World?

// Posted by on 04/18/2013 (4:50 AM)

Is it possible that the Internet could grow so large that every living human being, all 7 billion of us, would be online? In a recent article the possibility is introduced by  Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google.… Read more

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Is it possible that the Internet could grow so large that every living human being, all 7 billion of us, would be online? In a recent article the possibility is introduced by  Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google. Mr. Schmidt states that approximately 2 billion people in the world use the Internet today, he then goes on to hypotheses that all 7 billion people will be on the Internet as early as 2020.

This idea seems almost absurd to me. Is it really possible that the entire world, quite literally, will be able to connect to each other truly creating one globalized earth? Although there is no definite answer just yet I find it interesting to imagine what life would be like. The Internet is already a driving factor in the way I live my life, I am constantly using it to find information and communicate with others. The Internet is an amazing 3rd space that is already capable of producing amazing ideas and advances in the world today. I can only image what we will be capable of if the Internet reaches every person possible.

Of course with any radical idea there will be obstacles and set backs. The article seems to bring Schmidts dream to a screeching halt when it asks “With poor and developing nations around the world isolated by crumbling or nonexistent Web infrastructures, and others hindered by factors ranging from remote geography to government censorship, is Schmidt’s vision overly optimistic?”

At first I had no answer to this question but then I began to believe once again in the power of the Internet. As the Internet expands new capabilities arise that used to be non existent. I believe that the solution to this problem of limited Internet access will be answered by the Internet itself as it continues to grow and create new networks and advances in technology. And already we are starting to see possible solutions to this problem. Geeks Without Frontiers  is an organization that donates computers and “related technology” to 3rd world countries. In addition the article introduces another very interesting project backed by Samsung. This project is working to open solar powered schools in Africa.

I am very interested to see if Mr. Schmidts claim that 7 billion people will be connected to the internet by 2020 comes true. I am even more interested to see what happens after that, what great advances occur and how life will change when the whole world is available to you from your lap.


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Social networks and Internet: Shaping new ways of cultural influence

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (2:06 AM)

 

It has been said that perspective has a direct influence in the interpretation of the social processes, but within globalization and the new ways to communicate between actors it has been possible to form a complete panorama before analyzing… Read more

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It has been said that perspective has a direct influence in the interpretation of the social processes, but within globalization and the new ways to communicate between actors it has been possible to form a complete panorama before analyzing a certain event, sharing information and contrasting viewpoints, the citizenship empowers in order to break any existing barrier and even creating new ways to keep the world moving. In this post, one of the most relevant topics will be discussed, the influence of the internet and non controlled communication media in the power relation between government and population and also the cultural diffusion between nations, where geopolitical divisions are no longer a limitation and oceans don’t seem to stop the flow of information between countries. After reading about the Occupy Wall street movement and the chain reaction it began by including every American suffering the substitution of democratic principles by corporatism I couldn’t avoid relating it with the “Arab spring” we lived back in the presidential campaign months, which has been discussed by other classmates and basically meant the awakening of social actors who never had the chance to express their opinions and that, motivated by the possibility of living in a country where the information could be accessed and criticized, took the streets changing the political game mainly dominated by only one party. I will not insist on explaining the “Yosoy132″ movement, but its effects, which include the new ways of organization and communication that represent a barrier against the power abuses and the change of governance relation, no longer on a vertical hierarchy but on an horizontal cooperation. The open spaces that have surged after everyone noticed there was a need of change, include political debates in social networks, groups of NGO’s analyzing every aspect of a certain public administrator (I participate in one of them), and also a more liberal education with the inclusion of left wing ideology courses and the acknowledgement of the civil rights we possess and the obligations we must accept. The challenge we have been experiencing lately in México is that, no matter how hard society tries to create communication channels with the government, if they don’t accept to share the information about their actions it will be almost impossible to have a prosper political culture. I approach the cultural exchange between México and US as a person who has lived more than 13 years in a border city, where an international bridge separates prosperity from danger, fancy malls and huge convenience stores from drug traffickers and low scholar levels. I have seen the two sides of a coin, where some Mexicans try to emulate the American practices and sincerely admire the social stability and respect for values, listen to your music, sometimes without even understanding their lyrics, and will also be proud to have something bought in the US; I have also heard the other version, the one that refuses to accept that within globalization there will be a tendency to follow the working economy models and by saying that, they accuse the American capitalism for generating an income gap which now exists in our country and will eventually blame the ones in the bottom for feeding the crime machinery and slowing down the progress of the country. It’s all about where we stand, from which perspective you analyze the friendly neighbor, what will make you form an opinion and shape your citizen behavior.

My name is Iván A. Torres (A00515895) and I am so glad of being involved in this activity. I am looking forward for reading your posts and also providing you feedback from my viewpoint. 

 

 


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Movimientos Sociales

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (2:05 AM)

Deyanira Garcia A00808135

 

The Occupy Wall Street was a great social movement. People have to change interest in political and economic aspects in their country.

The Occupy Wall Street was a demonstration that succeeded in uniting million Americans and… Read more

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Deyanira Garcia A00808135

 

The Occupy Wall Street was a great social movement. People have to change interest in political and economic aspects in their country.

The Occupy Wall Street was a demonstration that succeeded in uniting million Americans and other groups from different countries.

I think that social movements in recent years have gained power, because people have lost their fear to express what he really feels.

People have shown interest in political and economic issues of the country in order to help improve aspects that political leaders are driving the wrong way is often by corruption. The media and social networks are part of social movements.

Today social networks are the most used by people, providing people with information about what is happening in the world. It’s unfortunate that most of the occasions the media only show people little information.

Some political leaders and empersas people simply because important information is information that could cause problems.

I think USA does influence decisions to Mexico primarily by history between the two countries.

USA manages to influence political, economic security and migration.

United States of America has many people of Mexico, this country can promote the rights of these people.

Mexico U.S. influence in the economy by the dependence of the Mexican government to the United States.

And the issue of security is important, the serious crisis of violence that exists in Mexico.

The Obama administration has proposed, for example is the operation Fast and Furious.

I think it’s important for people to become involved in political and social issues in his country. It is important that people stay informed in order to obtain better results in their country.

 


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Americanization in Northern Mexico

// Posted by on 04/05/2013 (12:12 AM)

Javier Carrera

A01136999

Americanization in  Northern Mexico

We eat, breath, speak, see, hear and live the American culture, in Mexican soil. Monterrey, just a couple of miles south of Texas, is the epicenter of Americanization in Mexico, we not only… Read more

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Javier Carrera

A01136999

Americanization in  Northern Mexico

We eat, breath, speak, see, hear and live the American culture, in Mexican soil. Monterrey, just a couple of miles south of Texas, is the epicenter of Americanization in Mexico, we not only believe we are more “civilized” and the rest of Mexico, we are educated to believe so.

When my Americans friends come to visit me from West Virginia, they couldn’t believe their eyes, how American the city was: skyscrapers, cars (of course) and we have fridge and electric power (I am not lying), and Starbucks and McDonald’s, in everyone corner, they were somewhat disappointed they weren’t living the true Mexico.

In the northern Mexican society, America is a place to look upon to, we are so influence to by whatever the US says or does, and their way of live. For example, take Monterrey Tech, founded by Eugenio Garza Sada, a prominent Mexican business entrepreneur, after the American college system, and the campus itself resembles so much the MIT, the Alma Matter of Garza Sada. We need to know English to get our degree, even if the language is of no use in the field, the school promotes far more the football team than the soccer team, we are encourage to go abroad, to embrace business, English propaganda from the school is everywhere and the image is too, and not to say they are shifting from Spanish courses, to an all-English major by 2015 or so. And this is only in the school, the leader of the college-system in Mexico, and whatever it does, is quickly follow by the other.

Back in my house, the American culture is everywhere to be seen, both my parents are US educated, and they educated my siblings and me with a curious mix of Americanism and Mexican values. My mom is what can we said is a “soccer mom”, an ultra-modern independent woman with not much time for anything, she watches American TV show hits like Drop Dead Diva, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives and The Law and Order, and listens to American 70’s hits music. She runs her own business (a small child daycare), and spends her nights with her friends, and don’t get me started on Facebook. My dad is more “intellectual” but on the American scope also, he reads a lot of American authors, watches History Channel, Discovery and NatGeo, he throws some slangs from time to time, and uses American history, examples and American law, when he tries to teach us something, and always, always compares the Mexican political system with the American one, but being the grandson of a revolutionary hero, he also tends to be ultranationalist Mexican, he of course gets angry when the US denies their responsibility in the War Against Drugs, he doesn’t like that much the American unilaterism and also the monopolistic abusive practices from US corporations and the Us government subsidies to crops and agriculture (my dad is a cattle rancher).

And my friends, they are the living image of Cindy la Regia (a fictional character mocking the Monterrey way of life), they are of course American educated (they attended the American School Foundation Monterrey), they dressed like an American, the love gossip girl, ¾ of the words they speak is in English, they can easily be confused by an American girl when in the US, and my male friends they don’t lag behind, they (we) all speak English, and we watch American shows, the root for out favorite NFL teams, we paly beer pong, we listen to American Hits, and we can wait to vacation in the US.

The way the American culture has penetrated the Mexican and my life got a push from the internet, back in the day, I watched the American shows translated (poorly) by the local TV, the movies, we only watched the ones approved by the government, and I had little contact with people from foreign lands. Now that I own and iPhone and have all-time Internet anywhere, everything I want to know is just one click away. I don’t care if the government bans a movie for “attempting” to religion or anything, I just get online and there is. The news and situations that are happening, I just get on twitter and that’s it, all the info I need, when I needed it is right there, even when I studied abroad, I still felt a home, Skype call to my friends, read the local newspaper online, follow my friends lives by Facebook, is like I even was there! No more hard time as my parents use to write letter an took them months to get a response, I just get on Whatsapp and text my friends in the Netherlands, that easy. The government has so little tools to follow all the online users and track the things we are doing, and the way the jurisdictions of the law in the cyberspace are  much more easy to evade.

The traditional media and the old-ways for the government to control the people are gone, the internet is so intricate in our lives that we think we are entitled to it, and we are far more aware of our rights than the people of the South, you see, Mexico can be said is two countries in one, the industrialized north and the rural south, which one you think is more Americanized? You guessed right, the North, not only by our closeness to the US, but we have grown with some of the hardships the Americans have grown with, the North was populated by outcasts back in the colonial era, in early-Mexico, the north was ignored by the central government for our lack of resources and military place, so we have to stand by our own, the Southerner people are more used to have a paternalist government, as we can see the socialist-style governments that rule the south, than the north, which we are more “Americans” in the sense that we know everything we need to succeed is in us, and we don’t expect the government to be there for us all the time.  Even the Mexican constitution is a weird mix of socialist ideals (every Mexican is entitle to a house, healthcare, education and work, consecrated in 1917), and some really capitalist fundamentals (anti-trust laws, freedom of speech), they all get combined to create this complex scenario.

The American culture is present in every moment in my life, when I talk to my friends we throw American jokes and stuff like that, I even have an American boyfriend. Never before I realized how Americanized my life is, even the laptop I am writing is an Apple, but the fact that my parents and more my dad never forgets is culture, it makes me something sort of a Mexican with American Values, I cherish the values the Americans cherish, freedom of speech, free trade, but I try to put them in the Mexican context, I think we are in the political time the US was back in the late 1800’s, but the internet and our connections to America (like this) and to the worlds is making this change and Americanization for better of worse far more faster that we ever expected.


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Reinventing Your Memory

// Posted by on 01/24/2013 (11:50 AM)

Looking at digital media and social networking today, it seems like human memory is almost unnecessary at times. Facebook remembers what day and year every photo was taken, and can usually even tell you where you were at the time.… Read more

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Looking at digital media and social networking today, it seems like human memory is almost unnecessary at times. Facebook remembers what day and year every photo was taken, and can usually even tell you where you were at the time. iPhones and other camera-phones have replaced (in many cases) the conventional disposable or digital camera, making it easier to document every moment. The need for post-its feels like its even decreasing, since now you can just take a picture to remember. With the technological advances, many human memories are accompanied by a picture, video, text message, or email to ensure you do not forget them. Forget what time you have a meeting next week? Not to worry, your phone will probably send you a reminder to make sure you don’t have to do any remembering (assuming you utilize your calendar function). “A Sense of Place,” an article in the February issue of Wired magazine, outlines the differences between retrospective and prospective memory. Retrospective memory deals more with the memorization of facts from the past, such as a peers names or hometowns. Prospective memory is trickier because it represents tasks, as exemplified by the calendar reminders that are necessary for some people to avoid slip-ups. Google is now searching for a way to further aid people in remembering the tasks that always seem to slip away until its too late. The tools that exist now are hardly perfect, based on GPS data that is not always accurate enough. The article “A Sense of Place” mentions that there is hope for a system that can remind you to remember your keys or have a “floating message” waiting outside the office telling you to go to the supermarket.

The idea of this seems somewhat surreal; in the way that conventional responsibility would be altered. If you forgot a meeting because there was no reminder, would it be your fault or the program’s fault? I would go as far as to say it almost adds another level of accountability whereby you have to ensure the system is running at 100% all the time. Unless someone reveals that the human memory is physically overextended, impairing ones ability to remember more, I think conventional memory and sticky notes is still the best method for making it anywhere.


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