Comment on Developing Digital Literacy (One Video at a Time)~ by Cog.Dog

Is the money making always pure greed? It seems like it, but how else can the costs be covered needed to produce, share content that the consumers are not paying for? Would the internet be what it is if it was metered?

But absolutely, being informed is needed (thanks for the video, I can use this for another class) how do we get over the barrier of feeling like we, as individuals are powerless? Most think we just have to accept it, shrug, and click to te next web site/post/tweet (and I am guilty as the next).

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Comment on Privacy Is A Privilege? by karelnavyblue

Yes,

I agree with you in that ‘privacy (of personal data, mainly)’ in today’s evolved form of technology (internet access) is not as easy to maintain these days. But what could have been expected otherwise? It’s almost as if we have become vulnerable to the powerful dark side of the internet; especially since we have such great demand and use of it everyday. This is probably one of the main reasons to why it is so hard for there to be a more friendly web towards the user’s privacy. At this point, only time, and some efforts from groups of active individuals (or leaders), can bring some chance to the table. And even so, it would be kinda stretching it a bit. Until then, I have to say is L-O-L.

Nice post here! Thanks for sharing!

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The Best Lure When You’re Hunting for Clicks is…

A bait! (Is this title considered a “clickbait? I wonder…)

In my other blog post, I’ve briefly talked about the concept of clickbait. It’s something of a “hot topic” these days. I figured that maybe I could find something useful to share for our Field Guide. Thus, I decided to do a search on google (talk about enthusiasm). The first source I’ve stumbled upon was this intricate and intelligent (sounding?) PDF file:

https://vaibhav4595.github.io/files/Multimodal_Clickbait.pdf

It was very constructive. It also short-circuited my brain, if I may be honest. I’m not so sure if we need this complex of an approach to identify clickbait titles online.

So, I trudged on. Almost all of the search results consisted of articles that suggested ways to identify and fight clickbait —all except one! I found a blog post that actually defended the concept and use of it. Here’s the link:

https://neilpatel.com/blog/why-clickbait-works/

After reading the post, I got the feeling that there is a bit of a misunderstanding. The author seems to believe that the concept of clickbait is simply an advertisement tactic, and it has an undeserved negative connotation to it. I do not believe that most people are upset with the concept just because it’s a sales tactic of sort being used on them. It’s more complex than that. Clickbait is basically lying to the audience —Ok, apparently it’s not that complex. The underlying issue is not simply drawing the attention of people but rather drawing the attention by a false promise. Especially on video streaming websites; so many videos do not offer what they promise in their titles. Of course, by the time you realize that, it’s too late. The video got viewed and you contributed to the revenue which the video owner is going to get. You’re tricked, and that’s the upsetting part. Imagine buying a ticket to a movie that you think is informative but instead you get an awful rom-com (no offence), and there is a “no refund” policy. I get the feeling that you’d want to have a (very heated) talk with the manager.

All that being said though, I’m glad I found that blog post because I actually had an epiphany afterwards. What if —Now, stay with me here… What if, instead of trying to find some sort of technique or trick to identify clickbait titles, we study how to create them perfectly. Why? Well, someone who is an expert liar would be able to tell if someone is actually lying or not, right? So, perhaps we should revisit some of those “interesting” examples given on that blog post and try to replicate them. Clever, isn’t it? I’m quite certain that I’m not the very first person who came up with this idea, but if I am… I’m definitely getting a patent for it! I’m calling it “Reversing the Impact of Clickbait Known for Relentlessly Offering Legendary Letdown”. Or, R.I.C.K.R.O.L.L. for short —Are we in 2009?

Diving in the Deep End of Digital Alchemy: Studio Visit

“We shape the representation of self, but our behaviors become packaged representations that are for sale tactics.” -Studio Visit 2/12/2019

I am pleased to announce that I had my first Studio Visit last Tuesday! I don’t like being on camera or other people seeing me on camera unless it’s my family and friends. (So this was a huge step for me). The topics of conversation that we had during the Studio Visit was exciting, and I love that every week I can take away bits and pieces of new information and use it for things beyond this class.

We had the pleasure to have a Studio Visit with Anne-Marie Scott from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. (Which is a great place to visit by the way.) She was able to shine a light on this rather dark platform that social media tends to be on. The question, “How do you see the internet right now?” was asked for her to answer. I was curious to know her answer since everyone can have such broad answers to a question like this. She pointed out that, “there are relatively positive social media and there are good examples online as well.” (Scott). She even stated there is a positive side to Wikipedia! Throughout my life in school, I was always told how “bad” Wikipedia was and how unreliable it was. Even though Wikipedia may not be seen as a credible source, it’s not all terrible. So then, where does public access fit? If you don’t already know by now, Wikipedia is an information site that the public can add, take away, or change the content displayed on the page. Wikipedia is not just black and white, as Scott realized. The public awareness is what makes something like Wikipedia on both ends of the light and dark spectrum.

We moved on to the topic of the representation of our online selves. My classmate was able to chime in since this is what her thesis surrounds. We began this conversation of talking about the images of different social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and even Blogging. Which one is the “real you”? My classmate was able to articulate why having multiple “identities” or different representations on social media is a good thing. “Representation on social media allows people to express how they’re feeling and that’s the space for it. It’s becoming a space to be who you are” (Kelli H.) However, does having these multiple identities lead to trouble? Well, as well talked about the difference between formal identity and these platform identities, many opportunities could open up because of this. Even being anonymous on the internet has its perks.

What I found fascinating about one of the parts of the conversation was the idea of being part of a crowd online compared to standing out online. There are even positive and negative aspects to this as well. An example would be changing the name of your phone’s hotspot to something different. You become part of that great anonymous world, but at the same time, you stand out from the other phones on the cloud. There are specific data protection differences fro America and Europe. “Data privacy impact assessment” is something that the United States does not have. There’s work that still needs to be done in the U.S. when it comes to awareness. Inserting my own opinion with this, I agree with that idea that the U.S. needs to do a better job when it comes to data privacy and internet awareness. I believe we are too connected. (But is it like that everywhere?)

My last point will circle back around to the beginning of the Studio Visit where Dr. Zamora brought up the point of “overload.” There was a time where the internet and social media didn’t bombard our iPhones and Androids with notifications. It seems as if this overload throws everything at us at once. The key to controlling this is having a balance.

Along with the other awesome discussion points mentioned above, what I took away from this Studio Visit is having a balance when it comes to social awareness, public internet access, and social media identity. Maybe turning off the notifications to my social media apps will help balance out what is coming at me. Putting my Do Not Disturb setting on at night is not enough. Yes, there are still positive lights on the internet, but it’s just not allowing the dark side to overcome the light. (But is there a way to stop the dark side?)

DDAs

*Disclaimer: I have tried a million ways to paste my Twitter DDAs the way I was recommended to my one of my professors. For some reason, it will not work, and I have no idea why! It worked on my first blog post, but I have been having some technical difficulties with my blogs. So, I will continue to simply paste them with a link of each one. (Sorry y’all!)

DDA263

 

DDA264

DDA260

Funny Meme! 

Screen Shot 2019-02-17 at 9.46.10 PM

See you all next week! (Hopefully no more snow.)

What Color Duct Tape Should Go On My Webcam? 🤔

I Actually Really Do Feel like Someone is Always Watching Me…👀

Privacy Is A Privilege?

“We are paying for everything right now. The currency we’re trading is data.” ~ Anne-Marie Scott

So, this week the polar vortex finally descended upon us and swallowed us whole in a show of might that only emphasized how insignificant we are–

Actually, class just got snowed out cause global warming is a thing and it’s screwing with the weather. What are you gonna do??? Pass Ocasi0-Cortez’s Green Deal???

Anyway, despite this week’s unfortunate weather, some of us were still able to meet online and continue shedding some light on the dark practices and conjurings happening just below the web’s  seemingly glossy surface. To help guide our discussion on the increasingly complex issues of privacy online, data tracking, real vs. fake, etc., we had Anne-Marie Scott (@ammienoot) and her insight and expertise.

Don’t You Forget About Me The Light

In this week’s Studio Visit with Anne-Marie, a lot of discussion revolved around data protection and privacy in online spaces. In the European Union, where Anne-Marie is located, there are specific regulations put in place that decide what information about you can be collected or used by entities that wish to use the Internet as a platform for their content. These regulations are known as the GDPR (Global Data Protection Regulation) and control the flow and collection of data in the EU. There must be transparency if an entity is tracking your data for any reason and entities are not allowed to target specific persons with the data collected or else there could be severe penalties. Essentially, privacy online in the EU is being valued as a right rather than this private information being valued for financial gain. It’s an entirely different ideology than the one in America, where regulations are often viewed as hindrances to innovation and capital.

This contrast of belief is a highly contentious subject (as are most subjects where $$$ is involved). To be honest, I can understand both sides of the issue. Like, I get that it is through a lot of this data tracking and targeted advertising that many platforms we consider “free” make the revenue necessary to keep the sites accessible. If that revenue were to disappear or be severely cut, these site could no longer operate as virtually free entities. To a degree, I’m sympathetic. When my data is not being used for inherently questionable purposes, I admittedly don’t have a problem with its collection. Especially if it is providing the funding necessary to keep news organizations in circulation or to help creators online make the profit they need to continue making cool things. But, unfortunately, this kind of control over my data is not guaranteed in the current system in the US. Right now, it’s the “wild west” out here. A consumer free-for-all. A Capitalist wet-dream.

Apart from a complete and utter paradigm shift, I’m not sure what actions could be taken to change this system in the US. Especially under the current administration (that killed net neutrality ’cause this whole “everyone has equal and equitable access to the Internet” sounds a lot like Communism >.>). Something suggested was paying extra for additional security that could ensure privacy; this is something many users seem willing to do, especially as they learn more about just how much of their data is being collected and used for less-than-what-should-be-legal purposes. That said, this brings into questions difficult issues such as privilege and access. As Anne-Marie so eloquently put it, “Privacy is a privilege.” I think it’s hard for many people, myself included, to understand what a privilege it is just to be able to discuss a subject like privacy. As we learned in our last Studio Visit with Chris Gilliard (@hypervisible), surveillance is nothing new to so many persons from marginalized or vulnerable groups of the population. And, I wonder if it would still be a big deal in big tech organizations if it were only affecting certain consumers. Also, as Anne-Marie noted, making privacy a privilege one has to pay for may only further segment the population, not only along social lines but also along class lines. Again, the most vulnerable would be the victims.

If anything, this discussion highlighted how privacy and online data tracking are not issues exclusive to themselves; instead there is much intersection. Many complex issues such as class, access, race, etc. intersect with privacy and data tracking. There is no simple solution for the problem–because there is not only one problem. There are many.

That said, Anne-Marie did suggest the GDPR could bode well for the future of many online services. Since these different services already have to alter their operations for implementation in the EU, why not implement these altered operations worldwide? They’re already going through all the effort, right? I’m a bit pessimistic about this suggestion, tbh. But, I’m willing to be pleasantly surprised. Also, Anne-Marie mentioned that some of these data collecting practices can be used for the creation of very helpful platforms–such as Wikipedia. An open-source platform like Wikipedia allows for conversation and community to develop around information which can allow for better information in the end. As many of us stated this week, it is the sense of community online spaces allow to develop that really redeems the Internet and makes endeavors to better and more fairly facilitate community and collaboration online worthwhile.

Ultimately, I believe the Internet is a clusterf*ck of #problematic issues to say the least but I also want to believe cue the X-Files theme that it can be this place for free and creative enterprise and interchange to occur. There is so much potential for such a space to exist if we are able to elect people into positions of power and influence who believe the Internet’s best qualities are community, collaboration, and creative enterprise. In America, at least, action like this needs to be taken or else change will not occur. I firmly believe that. It’s going to take an invigorated and self-actualized public to have meaningful impact on these issues. I think that privacy and data tracking are, of course, issues of personal responsibility as well. But, also, I don’t think it’s right that the burden to protect data and privacy should fall fully on individuals. The truth of the matter is that the general person is not informed of nor educated about these issues–which is another aspect of this that is important: education. In fact, it may be the first step that needs to be taken before others actions can be carried out. In this digital age, digital literacy should be as important as any other subject in school. When not “up-to-par”, this lack of education has a real-world, measurable impact on individuals. As I’ve stated before, I truly believe that education is what will always light the way. If anything, our efforts should be focused on how we can provide everyone with both access to such essential information and thorough explanation of that information so that informed decisions can be made.

I think classes like ours are igniting the spark.

match

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Bonus Post

This week, in an extra post, I shared a resource I think could be helpful in developing digital literacy skills. The resource is a series on Youtube made by Crash Course. The series explores Media Literacy which intersects with many of the issues we explore in our own course. How to navigate a post-truth world is a focus of the series as well as how to become more informed about these unseen practices going on behind our screens. I think it’s a great tool to have in our library.

Daily Digital Alchemies

(So, full disclosure, these were kind of done between posting weeks but I’m putting them towards this post because I’m having a busy life this week and I need to do this >.< I’ll work on managing this!)

In my first DDA, I posted a screenshot of my screen use which my phone has been tracking since an update or two ago???. I’m a little horrified at myself but I also think it could be worse–and has been. I’m either getting better at managing my screen time or I’m too busy to even look at my phone these :)))))) #gradlife #illcompletethisthesisordietrying

For my second DDA, I put my good ol’ giphy skills to use and giffed the first few sentences of my thesis. One copy is “disemvoweled”. I used a different site than the one suggested on the DDA though because I couldn’t access that site due to Adblocker??? Anyway, I hope you enjoy my avant-garbage~ There will be more to come.

~Till Next Time~

Your Fave Pyro

Developing Digital Literacy (One Video at a Time)~

Hey~

Welcome to this week’s bonus post ^.^ I’m going to try to keep it short & sweet!

A big topic in class related to privacy, data tracking, and navigating online spaces as a whole is that of digital literacy. Data tracking, learning algorithms, and surveillance capitalism have largely been allowed to propagate and perpetuate and make a butt-ton of money off of all of us due in large part to a lack of regulation. Unfortunately, much of this has gone unregulated not because people do not care but because they do not know they need to care in the first place. A vast majority of the population, especially in the US, is simply unaware of the dangers online spaces pose to their privacy and other personal information. Most people don’t know that when a website is free, that means they are the product.

In order to enact meaningful change in regards to imposing regulations on the conduct of these digital entities, the public needs to speak up and elect officials who can make changes. But, in order for the public to speak up on these issues, they need to be informed and they need to know why it matters. To help better inform people at all levels on the issues affecting their relationship to the Internet and the Internet’s relationship to user information, I highly recommend Crash Course on Youtube’s Media Literacy series.

The series covers not only many of the topics we’ve already discussed so far in class but also discusses the intersection some of these concerns have with others. I think this series provides users with a good foundation from which to further develop their own stance on the issue. This source, too, I believe can be helpful for educating even younger users on the many issues affecting our interactions with the Internet.

I would give this resource a solid 9/10? There’s always room for improvement and I’m sure people have their own opinions on “educational Youtube”. Overall, at least, I think this is a useful tool to keep in our library.

More, I firmly believe that education is the spark that will light up the darkness of the web like a clear night sky.

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~Till Next Time~

Which One of These People Twisted the “Truth”?

I’d say… definitely number 6!

Man, what a week. That was possibly the best class we’ve had so far; the extensive lecture and the in-depth discussion that followed. Wait… we did not have a class this week. Oh, that’s right. The class was canceled due to extreme weather. I’m 100% certain that I’m the only one who has ever made this “original” joke. That’s the “truth”.

It seems like we have actually missed out on an interesting topic, which was apparently distinguishing the truth from false information (or fake news, in short) on the internet. That was my choice of topic for our final project in Writing Theory class (I might’ve mentioned this in another post before). I find it funny that all the topics we’ve examined in the class so far have all been previously touched upon in Writing Theory. In my first blog, I’ve mentioned that this class, Network Narratives, was somewhat of a follow-up to Electronic Literature class, but I get the feeling it’s actually a follow-up to the former; I do not believe the clash of topics is coincidental.

In that project, I talked about how people “are drawn toward aspects and notions that are in common with [their] own personal interests”, or beliefs. We are all guilty of it. It is hard to define what truth is because if we simply go with its dictionary definition, which is “a fact or belief that is accepted as true”, then we have to figure out who decides these “facts” or “beliefs”. The obvious answer usually tends to be me. We are only influenced by those around us. At least, that’s how it used to be. Nowadays, the person simply has to post a comment or tweet online and others with the same perspective will eventually find it. I won’t go into details here as it’d be me repeating myself (copying and pasting stuff from that final project), so I’ll just provide a link to it instead: “https://dceus4.wixsite.com/writingtheory/blog&#8221;, it’s the main article under “Fake News” tab. The important thing that needs to be mentioned is the attention to the evidence of “truth”, and the source of that evidence, needs to be realized.

I believe, it’s possible to draw a parallel between the internet and television in terms of how people perceive the news. If something is said on national television, of course that is the truth. Why would the media lie? We can observe the similar mentality with the internet; if something is said online, of course it’s the truth… right? Unfortunately, the pick-and-choose nature of the news tend to complicate things more than necessary. One particular distinction between the two medium(?) is access. The television tends to be one-sided (unless they do a call-in); you watch and take in everything being said without a chance to respond to any of it. In comparison, the online world has the potential to be two-sided, as in you can respond, criticize, question, or even conduct a further research on the topic. This distinction sounds very positive on the surface, but it also has its negative aspects. These individual responses are used as “evidence” by people to justify their biased opinions, at times even out of context. I’m not so certain a clear solution for that exists. The only thing that I can say is that people need to be careful when they engage in conversations online, especially about sensitive topics. Instead of jumping into the trend with no precautions, and a dismissive attitude, perhaps it’s better to do a little preparation (thorough research on the topic) beforehand.

Speaking of stuff being said online, I have a feeling that not everyone who spreads false information or unsupported claims actually believes in them. It seems like (in my humble opinion) certain content creators simply fuel the fire in order to get revenue. They know that there is a passionate group of people who just wants to hear their own opinions justified. By writing an article or posting a video that specifically cater to those people, or even intentionally attempting to trigger others with opposing viewpoints, they manage to garner an audience and get “them clicks!”. In return, they generate ad revenue. It’s a short term solution to earn money, or become “somebody” on the internet to feed their ego. The long-lasting effects, or the consequences of their actions, become irrelevant since there is no profit in it. Of course, this is just a claim based on personal observation and gut feeling. I do not have a solid proof to back it up, nor do I think it’s possible to get one. I’m sure if you were in on it just for the benefit, you obviously would not leave a door open to expose your intent and lose your meal ticket.

There were also some questions on the course website related to topic of truth online. My favorite question is the last one on the list: “When you were a younger student, how did they teach you to evaluate your sources on the internet?” The internet was a new thing when I was a younger student (MySpace did not even exist then) and people did not really know how to evaluate stuff properly just yet. You’d simply check the bio/credits or Terms of Use at the bottom of the page for authenticity. I do not believe the people had the foresight to see or imagine what the internet, and social media along with it, could eventually become. There was no cause for concern about how media or information traveled. I do wonder though, if they had the foresight, what sort of rules and regulations would they attempt to implement back then? Although it’s not necessarily the restrictions that we require in order to improve ourselves, I happen to lose faith in people who posses complete freedom as the time goes on. Perhaps, in an alternative timeline, humanity does have access to a super-safe and super-friendly internet. Too bad, it doesn’t happen to be this one we live in.

 

EDIT: Apparently, we’ll be revisiting this topic in our next class, which is great. I’m looking forward to the in-class discussion.