All posts by twodonutsmakeinfinity

[disconnect from server #netnarr ? Y/N]

Self-assessment:

It’s the end of Network Narratives class. It was possibly one of the most interesting classes that I had a chance to participate in. Originally pitched as a follow-up to Electronic Literature class —which was also quite interesting in its own right, I can safely say that Network Narrative exceeded my expectations. The beginning of the class was focused solely on “the darkness” in social media. Frankly, I had some concerns during the first couple of weeks or so because of that. However, as the class progressed further, most of my worries, if not all, were pretty much diminished. Some particular topics that we examined such as the self-representation online or establishing “digital language” by memes or GIFs were thoroughly fascinating.

In terms of its impact, I believe that my perspective on social media has definitely been shifted. I wouldn’t necessarily claim that it has completely changed but there were some aspects more in the negative side of things for certain. Prior to my participation in Network Narratives, I tried to stay away from social media as much as possible. Even in Electronic Literature class, I only remember using it for once and that was about it. Now, I actually see the potential of social media in many areas such as educational possibilities or its inter-relational features. I’m quite certain that I’ll continue to use my Twitter account for future endeavors.

Looking at the syndicated posts (http://netnarr.arganee.world/author/twodonutsmakeinfinity/), I can see that I managed to keep up with weekly blog assignments. I should probably use the term assignment somewhat loosely here as it felt less like an assignment and more like a personal project of sorts. I genuinely had pleasure in writing blog posts for this class, even more so than the other classes, as they felt completely independent and autonomic. Instead of writing a mere response to something that I had read, I was reflecting on my own thoughts on a specific topic. It was as if I was writing things on my personal blog as a hobby, and it tremendously helped me improve my writing style. I guess freedom is indeed the key.

The highlight of the class in terms of activities was definitely the final project. The idea was implementing pretty much everything that we had learned so far into it and I did my best to accomplish that. Time constraints may have prevented me from utilizing a couple of the ideas that I had but overall I’m happy with how it turned out. Though, I’m probably going to revise some parts of it in the future if it is indeed possible to do so. I had some problems with managing my final project for the Electronic Literature class but I guess it simply served as a practice run because managing the final project here was done more efficiently. Any project that allows me to be creative and experimental is a delight, and the Field Guide project was no exception.

Although I wasn’t as active as I’d like to have been on Twitter, I’m happy to see that I managed to get into the top 10 in “leaders” board (http://daily.arganee.world/leaders/). That’s something. The DDA activities were quite fun and I did enjoy their experimental nature. I had actually submitted a DDA of my own at some point, though I do not believe it got selected. I might have actually found a DDA activity that is too experimental even for Network Narratives class. I believe “it’s the thought that counts” after all; I did submit one even if it didn’t get selected.

The least active aspect of the class for me was the annotations (https://hypothes.is/users/Maltese_Tiger). I tried to annotate whenever I could but it was difficult to comment on most of the articles that I had stumbled upon as they were too short or brief in content, or I was simply lacking anything insightful to add at the time, so I simply moved on. My “alchemist friend”, however, managed to annotate quite a lot for the final project (https://hypothes.is/users/Porter_Phoca). I do not know if it makes up for it or not, but I do believe that annotating for the sake of annotating is not an efficient approach. It’s very similar in how I approach commenting on my colleagues’ blog posts; if I do not have anything insightful or critical (or funny) to add, then I avoid offering comments.

Interestingly, my biggest take-away from this class is witnessing first-hand that it is possible to utilize unconventional pedagogy and achieve a successful outcome. One of the ongoing debates in academia tends to be lack of pedagogical methods, and desire to break away from the traditional ones in order diversify education in general. I believe that this class was a perfect example as to how a modernized method could be utilized and still remain effective. On top of that, the subject matter itself is very important to learn. It might be officially considered an elective class but I would propose making it a requirement at some point. As social media becomes more and more a crucial part of everyday life, awareness of its nature, whether positive or negative, and potentials do need to be instilled in the consciousness of people.

I do hope that the future students of Network Narratives get the same amount of enjoyment that I had. #netnarr lives on.

Wherever the Wind Takes Us

Unfortunately, this is only going to be a tiny sneak peek for the final project. The current plan is exploring the distinction between digital-dualism and augmented reality. As I’ve most likely mentioned before, the concept of augmented reality is introduced as “just a legend” in this is ongoing story that I’m working on for the project. Below is the conversation in which this “legend” is brought up (you can simply follow the replies).

That curiosity ignites an interest for this character and he begins to do research on it. Obviously, that would be the annotation aspect (via http://hypothes.is). Simply put, he would be “reading and annotating” certain information from the articles and then send these findings by “letter-in-a-bottle” method to me. They will be presented in “captain’s journal” format (ex. Captain’s Journal, Day 2). I’ll be writing a response to each of these “letters” as a way to show his  mentorship. The following conversation showcases that aspect of the story.

As indicated, this character will also travel to certain locations where he will encounter other marine creatures. These are the metaphorical representations of social media users that I had mentioned in a previous post. He’ll be observing and analyzing their behavior through the lens of digital-dualism. Due the time constraints, I might not be able to use all the creatures/representations that I had listed. I hope to use at least three. So, after exploring three specific locations (islands?) and conducting segmented research (two article at a time), he will have sent me a total of 6 bottles, which I assume would be sufficient to explore the topic at hand within the boundaries of the project (and the time constraint). The ending will reveal whether “the legend” of augmented reality is real or not. Honestly, for the time being, I do not possess an answer. I do, however, believe that as I continue on this project, I’ll discover it  for myself.

So… Is this the final Field Guide post? I’m not quite sure, really. In case that it is, this has been a true journey to the heart, and thank you all. If not, perhaps we will meet again by one of the whirlpools of “the digital sea”. Till then…

A Reflection in “the Eye of the Tiger”

Well, here we are. This is going to be my final main (Weeklies) blog post for the class. I’ll probably be posting one last Field Guide after this, as a wrap up for the final project, but for the time being… would it be appropriate to act (overly) dramatic? I think I’m getting choked up right now. Ok, maybe not —but you can’t see it, so why not pretend for bonus points? I suppose that this particular post would be reserved for one final reflection on the class as a whole but honestly I really do not know what to write about. Not because there isn’t anything worthy to write about but rather there is just so much that I do not know where to even begin. It’s ironic to think that I didn’t get a chance to write a final blog post in our E-Lit class last semester, and that made it feel somewhat incomplete. Yet, here I am, given that chance, and I’m simply stumped.

For the past couple of weeks, I was simply reflecting on my progress on the final project. Although it’s moving a lot slower than I had anticipated, it was still refreshing to see those tiny little steps toward something interesting (fingers crossed). I guess, since the idea here is reflection, writing about the Research Day visit would probably be a good idea. It could also help me collect some of my thoughts “scattered on the floor”. I’m still trying to put the pieces in my head as a way to describe what the presentation was and what I managed to learn from it, but I could say with confidence that it was truly inspiring. Prior to the visit, I was able to look through the website and get some ideas as to what to expect from the presentation a little. Degenerates’ Gallery —a title that I absolutely love— was the final thesis project by our very own Kelli Hayes. Before I go any further, I guess it’d appropriate to congratulate her on getting to “the finish line”. I can’t imagine the hardship and pressure (and perhaps privation?) that this project probably had caused. Well, I sort of can but I don’t believe it’d be accurate at all. I’d felt the weight of many final projects before, but to think of a thesis… Just, wow.

Anyways, getting back to the project itself… Simply put (without doing it justice), it was about the complexities of self-representation in our new “digitized society, one that is always ‘plugged in’ and that is in interminable conversation with itself”. As stated by Kelli that “convergences of socialization, of self, and of technology have led to an emergence of new forms of self-representation as well as of forms of aesthetic presentation”, which is something that can be observed easily online. It was really compelling to see a metal installation at the presentation that truly captured that notion. I knew that there was going to be a metal installation at the presentation —the website kind of spoiled it— but I didn’t expect what kind of installation it’d really be. It was an engaging one, that’s for sure. We were asked to customize a small card, representing our perspective on those newly emerged “digital spaces”, and then attach it on the metal installation that resembled a human head. It was a very clever way to represent the notion of “digital identity” in real life. The transition into the analog reality, if you will. And, it was a lot of fun.

I should probably also mention my little project/contribution to the presentation, which was wearing a tiger mask. Yes, a tiger mask. I confess that I’m really curious about the reaction that ignites without the proper context. You see, the overall theme of the presentation was about self-representation of an individual as indicated above. I figured that I could create and wear a mask of my Twitter account persona, which is a tiger, and pretend to be “it” in real life. It might sound silly —which it was— but I figured that it could capture the theme that Kelli was going for with her thesis. You can see the before-and-after of the mask’s progress below.

MalteseAtKean

Not too shabby, I hope? It’s funny that seeing someone actually succeed in something truly inspires others to “take up arms” and strive for something. I remember seeing the flyer for Degenerates’ Gallery on the wall, inside Vaughn-Eames Hall, as I was making my way to the class, and stopped for a second to think that… wow, this is special; someone from English and Writing Studies, the program that I’m enrolled in, putting together a gallery for everyone on campus to see. Can we say “yelling from the top of Mount Everest”? It’s really motivational. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll be able to reach that “peak” with the same success when I get to it… Here’s hoping.

Looking back, the entire experience felt like a culmination of everything that we’ve learned in our class of Network Narratives, from the algorithms, online identity, taking selfies, sharing memes, to GIF making. As we engaged with the installation, shared images (including memes and GIFs) on Twitter, and discussed the implications presented by Degenerates’ Gallery among ourselves (the classmates) on Research Day, I feel like we’ve come to solid closure in understanding what the class was all about. Hence, the reason why reflecting on that presentation was the perfect choice for this final blog post. The final objective remaining now is putting all of that knowledge into the Field Guide project as “a nice little bow” to wrap everything up —and we’re almost there.

I’ve had a lot of fun and I really believe that I’ve learned a lot. So overall, I’d dare say that this class… was a roaring success! (The pun is fully intended…) Now, please allow me to place the following reference:

Hayes, K. (2019). Degenerates’ Gallery: Exploring Self-Representation & Aesthetic Presentation in New Digital Media As A Resurgence Of Dada Idealism. Retrieved from https://degeneratesgallery.wordpress.com/

The Friends that We Make on the Way

Is that “a GIF” or “a Meme” in “the digital sea”? Huh… So, it’s not that bad after all.

As I continue to work on my final project, my overall view on certain things begin to shift. If anyone were to go back and simply examine my first four or five blog posts, they could clearly see that I held a negative outlook on the internet as a whole. Is it truly a place where “the darkness” prevails as we’re led to believe? Or, I should probably say as I’ve led myself to believe. The truth is… no, I do not believe the internet is a place of eternal darkness. There might be shades of ugliness, but it wouldn’t be fair to overlook the good things about it. That image up there is meant to show that people can find amusement/contentment even in trivial things such as a funny meme or an awesome looking GIF that they encounter online as they surf through. The analogy of “sea” perfectly fits this notion that despite being dangerous, the vast “sea” is also beautiful.

I guess, I should provide an update on the project as well. I’ve finally began to annotate articles by using my Field Guide character’s new hypothes.is account. In our last class, I’d mentioned that I was beginning to see the merit of criticism against digital-dualism. So, I thought that I would start with Nathan Jurgenson’s article on Cyborgology in which he claims that “digital dualism is a fallacy”. Now, I should make it clear that I do not necessarily have a firm stance on the issue. I merely believe that there are certain cases for both the digital dualism and the augmented reality that could be considered intriguing.

Jurgenson’s article, Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality, starts with his claim that digital dualism is an “outdated perspective”. That made me think of the in-class conversation I had about alternative perspectives on the “issue” that included one perspective that supported digital dualism, another perspective that claimed there was no such thing (possible Jurgenson’s intended stance), and lastly the perspective that advocates digital dualism is a concept that once existed but no longer relevant as the two realities are becoming one. So, by saying “outdated perspective”, Jugenson might’ve revealed here that he used to be “a believer” but that is no longer the case. Regardless, he asserts (and strongly) criticizes the notion of “first self” in real world and “second self” in digital reality. According to him, what people (media users) do offline is simply influenced by their online activities. Moreover, their online activities tend to reflect their offline identities. Hence, the augmented reality is the one reality where the focus should be at. Do I agree with what Jurgenson is claiming here? I’d probably say: “Yes and no.”

I still see the concept (?) of augmented reality as a limited way of looking at things. The underlining assumption is that people tend to behave the same regardless they’re interacting online or in the real world. Jugenson makes the case by giving Facebook as an example, but what about the other social media platforms that allow, and perhaps even (unintentionally?) encourage, their users to remain anonymous, such as Twitter, YouTube, or Reddit? I do not believe that it’s reasonable to make the same generalization when this particular factor is at play here. Perhaps I should reverse each position before asking the same question. If anonymity was a possibility in real world, would people behave the same? Would they follow the rules and the etiquette of society in the same manner? Maybe, or maybe not. It is important to note, however, that conditions aren’t necessarily the same; different “settings”, different conditions, and thus different expectations of behavior.

As a follow-up, I decided to go over and annotate the article, How To Kill Digital Dualism Without Erasing Differences, by Giorgio Fontana who attempts to refute (to a degree) what Jurgenson claims in his article. Fontana starts his response by asking the point of view which Jurgenson had based his on, whether it‘s “an ontological point of view or a sociological one”. He places his emphasis on clear definitions of the terms used in the argument to avoid any sort of confusion, which is a great approach. He talks about digital/analog dichotomy and states that the real world and the digital reality do not necessarily fall into opposing positions. This misplaced juxtaposition could be one of the key reasons why the ongoing argument isn’t nearing a unanimous end. It is also quite difficult to define reality itself as everyone tends to perceive it in a different way. Fontana also states that although “in the future it will harder to distinguish analog origin from digital augmentation”, it “is not a good reason to think that all things are already digital”.

So… yes. There are so many interesting things to extract from these two articles for the Field Guide project and analyze them. I’ll be using this notion and argument of augmented reality as a driving force in “the story” that I’m conducting. The line at which “the digital sea” and “the land” meets, my character called it on Twitter during our “conversation”. The things are becoming more clear as I find time to work on it. We shall see how the rest of it goes.

 

References:

Jurgenson, N. (2011). Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality. Cyborgology. Retrieved from https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/02/24/digital-dualism-versus-augmented-reality/

Fontana, G. (2012). How To Kill Digital Dualism Without Erasing Differences. Cyborgology. Retrieved from https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2012/09/16/how-to-kill-digital-dualism-without-erasing-differences/

Socrates’ YouTube Channel Has Hit 1000 Subscribers!

I think the title of the post revealed which article that I’ve chosen to examine. I mean, come on… the title of Sacasas’ article is simply amazing and really hard to ignore. I hope that I managed to do some service with mine.

Although I had opened up an account for my Alchemist character on Hypothesis.is, I was reluctant to annotate anything because there were no other annotations available. I’m thinking that maybe we should start a private group for these intended annotations. I’m not so sure if public option is the best one. Anyways, onto the article itself.

Sacasas mainly focuses on the discourse online. It starts with a great analogy: “‘Don’t read the comments’ is about as routine a piece of advice as ‘look both ways before crossing the street’”, which perfectly captures the ignorance of people in general. Most people tend to prefer dismissing an issue rather than actually dealing with it. What else is new, right? The problem is that the online discourse is not something that could correct itself on its own, naturally. People, especially social media users, need to be conscious of what direction that “unlawful” discourse is heading. So, they can at least contribute to its expected course-correction instead of allowing the platform runners to enforce rules or conditions to automatically fulfill that role, and potentially cause a damage to its free nature. Then again, isn’t the free nature of the internet that allows it “to encourage rancor, incivility, misunderstanding, and worse” as Sacases puts it? He inserts that “anonymity has something to do with [it], and so does the abstraction of the body from the context of communication”, which I agree.

Sacases also claims that both the traditional discourse and the literacy aspect of writing on digital medium get unintentionally lost. The reasoning behind that claim is the public interaction among people that occur online by writing instead of speaking. Moreover, “expectations of immediacy in digital contexts collapse” the space in which the writing skill can flourish. Thus, “we lose the strengths of each medium: we get none of the meaning-making cues of face-to-face communication nor any of the time for reflection that written communication ordinarily grants”. Not to mention the “time limitations” set by the users themselves within that environment. The end product, therefore, is a communicative space “being rife with misunderstanding and agonistic” and “it encourages performative pugilism”. Fun times, indeed.

One last thing that I’ll mention about the article before wrapping up —I prefer the Field Guide posts to be short— that needs to be highlighted is the notion of identity clash. What I mean by that is social media users are unable to draw a line between a subjective opinion and “an attack on their views and ideals”, which forms their “internet identity”. So, basically, there is not room for a civil discussions but rather “my way or the highway” in a nutshell; unwillingness to be open to other perspectives, or at least find a common ground. Sacases notes that “we’ve conflated truth and identity in such a way that we cannot conceive of a challenge to our views as anything other than a challenge to our humanity”, which is pretty powerful.

As you can see, there are a lot of great stuff in the article that needs extracting and examining for the final project. I’m glad to have found it… at random, on Google search. Go figure. I’ll be adding the annotations as soon as I figure out the options.

Reference (I actually quoted stuff this time around):

Sacasas, L. M. (2014). Waiting for Socrates… So We Can Kill Him Again and Post the Video on Youtube. Technology, Culture, and Ethics. Retrieved from https://thefrailestthing.com/tag/digital-dualism/

The Train Has Left the Station… It’s on the Way, Just Wait

Chugging right along! What?

Well, sometimes life gets busy and you find yourself unable to spend as much time as you’d like on a specific project. Has that ever happened to you? Taking on four graduate courses all at the same time is proving difficult… at least time-wise. I like a good challenge, but I’ve never been good at time management. I’m just not a punctual person. Still, I’m confident that I’ll be successfully able to complete this project and (fingers crossed) on time.

Just to recap what I’ve done in our last class, I was able to come up with the six “distinct” themes below for the final project as I searched for references. I say distinct but in actuality they all overlap with each other. We’ve gone over them in class with Dr. Zamora. So, they’re “full-proof”.

* “Relationship between identity and truth” – This is probably the biggest theme of the whole project. The good thing is that I’ve already explored the concept of truth previously. I’ve also talked about identity online in couple of my blog posts, so I already have a head start. All I need now is finding the bridge between the two concepts and explore how that bridge is actually constructed.

* “The digital/analog dichotomy” – One of the first concepts that I extracted from my resources. This distinction is pretty important in establishing the idea of digital-dualism. The important thing to pay attention here is defining each term clearly before analyzing the contrast. Come to think of it, this might actually be a bigger theme than the one above? Well, maybe the potential longest, I’d assume.

* “Online/offline distinction – which one is ‘the dreamworld’?” – We can simply look at this as the combination of the previous two themes. The concept that needs to be emphasized here is “what is real?” and how it is defined in subjective matter by the individual, rather than the general/scientific definition. The individual perspective is the key.

* “Augmented reality” – This one is more of a refuting point. A couple of the articles that I’ve found mention this particular notion that the two realities (digital and analog) become one and create augmented reality; a place of existence, if you will, where the digital-self of a person lives on. This concept is often introduced by those who support anti-dualism. So, I’ll probably be going over it in order to oppose the idea —and I’m not the only one who does (check references).

* “Hyper-connection – distraction from reality” – Something that was mentioned in one of the articles. It was somewhat brief, which means I need to do more research on it. One or two of the new resources that I’ll be searching for, later on, could end up being focused on that very concept. You never know.

* “Materiality of thoughts” – This one was a bit confusing to elaborate. It made total sense to me while I was reading the article but then I wasn’t able to describe it to Dr. Zamora when asked. I guess, I’m missing some details in there, somewhere. So, it’s another theme that needs further researching before finalization.

I happened to find three solid resources for the project so far —one was already given…but still. I usually prefer to discover these resources as I write the paper, but this time around I figured that laying down some sort of foundation was the right approach. I’ll be going more in-depth with one of those articles on my following blog post for the Field Guide. Based on the analysis, I’ll be writing a dialogue for me and the Alchemist character on Twitter.

Just to include a drawing, and show there is a least some sort of progress, here’s some doodling that I did on my notebook.

20190415_214017

Besides the negative sea creature metaphors that I mentioned in my previous posts, I thought that I could also include some positive ones (the bottom three). The internet is not full of just bad people, after all. We have to keep that “lightness” going.

As of writing this post, I have not yet annotated any of the references… but I will, as soon as I can. It still feels odd to be interacting with… well, myself. I recall my mother telling me to stop talking with my imaginary friend when I was a little kid. Yet, here I am, in a graduate class, in which I’m assigned to talk with my imaginary friend. I mean, what do parents know, am I right? (Please don’t lower my grade!)

References (even though I didn’t quote anything from them yet):

[1] Fontana, G. (2012). How To Kill Digital Dualism Without Erasing Differences. Cyborgology. Retrieved from https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2012/09/16/how-to-kill-digital-dualism-without-erasing-differences/
[2] Sacasas, L. M. (2014). Waiting for Socrates… So We Can Kill Him Again and Post the Video on Youtube. Technology, Culture, and Ethics. Retrieved from https://thefrailestthing.com/tag/digital-dualism/
[3] Suler, C. (2016). The Straw Man of Digital Dualism. Fifteeneightyfour. Retrieved from http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2016/01/the-straw-man-of-digital-dualism/

Getting Closer to the Finale

Right off the bat, let me start by offering the link to the article because I’m sure that I’ll forget to do so before I publish this post (I often do). Here it is: http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2016/01/the-straw-man-of-digital-dualism/

It’s the link to the article that I mentioned in my previous blog post, which is titled The Straw Man of Digital Dualism and written by John Suler. I’m personally bringing it up because digital dualism is my chosen theme for our final project but I’d strongly suggest everyone to give it a read. It’s quite interesting.

The article starts by defining digital dualism as “the belief that online and offline are separate and distinct realms” and that people tend to have dual personalities as a result. In other words, the online personalities of people are considered quite different from the real ones. There is certainly some truth to it. The author mentions some other researchers who oppose that notion (apparently called anti-digital-dualists) and attempts to refute their position by asserting their ignorance of how virtual reality differs from our own reality. The analogy that follows, which is “difference between our minds when awake and when immersed in fantasy or dreams”, captures the viewpoint of the claim that people consciously (or unconsciously) create alternative personalities of themselves online; an idolized reflection that lives in ether. It could be either for escape or mere curiosity of the possibility. As the author suggests that the online world “allows people to express hidden and often unconscious aspects of identity in ways not easily afforded in the face-to-face world”.

There are so many questions that relates to this particular topic, such as “Who dictates the idolized form of a person?” or “Does the mob mentality play any role in shaping someone’s online personality?”, that I find intriguing. There is so much stuff to examine, but that’s my short analysis for the time being; it’s just a first step after all. I had not selected my particular theme before creating the fictional character or coming up with a story for the Field Guide project. However, when this concept of digital dualism was introduced during our last class, I knew that I had found the perfect theme for the project. I’ll definitely need to find a few more resources in upcoming weeks, but this given article was a great start to delve into it. I’d definitely give it a 9.5/10 usefulness score (if we’re still doing that).

The Alchemist and the Ones Submerged

Yes! We’ve finally gotten to the good stuff. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing analysis-type pieces for the blog, I was yearning for a more creative/experimental type of activity in the class. That was one of the promises that I was missing since the class was originally pitched as a follow-up (of sorts) to the Electronic Literature. If I had known that the Field Guide project was going to fall right into that experimental type of activity, I would’ve shown a lot more enthusiasm whenever I mentioned it in my previous blog posts; there is the “I’m looking forward to it…”, and then there is the “I cannot wait for it!”.

The Field Guide project apparently consists of creating a fictional character with a Twitter account that helps me solve/analyze a specific topic related to the social media —a (pretend) mentor, if you will. The part that got me excited the most is obviously the character creation. Last week, when everyone else was working on the GIF activity in the class, I was fortunate enough to work on that character creation thing instead… because my computer had died —basically ran out of battery because of the streaming. You can see some sketches that I did on my notebook below.

20190405_015349

The idea of using a seal as the character came from one of my earlier blog posts in which I used the figurative way of describing the internet as a “digital sea”. I figured that I could take that metaphorical approach a step further and possibly use various sea-creatures as representation of certain personalities on the internet, particularly the type of social media users (e.g., the trolls in comment sections as piranhas in “digital sea”). Below is the final form of the main character.

FGCharSeal

So, the story that I’m planning on is about that character, currently named Porter Phoca, closing up his Alchemist Laboratory in order to go on a journey to examine those sea-creatures I’ve mentioned above. He’ll keep in touch with me, as an ongoing story of sorts, and attempt to analyze their “behaviors”. The theme of the story is digital dualism, which is described as “the belief that online and offline are separate and distinct realms” in the article titled The Straw Man of Digital Dualism by John Suler. I’ll probably go more in-depth in my upcoming Field Guide post about that theme but you can probably imagine where I’m actually going with this; people becoming “sea-creatures” inside that “digital sea”. Are they the alternative personalities, or merely the same ones that believe otherwise? It’ll be interesting to study/play with potential answers —I personally do not have one as of now. I have to say that I’m really excited to be working on this project. I even have an interesting sort of ending in mind for this WIP “story”. Though, I prefer not to spoil it for the time being. Hopefully, the result will end up as interesting as it sounds… or looks in my head, I guess.

It’s time to go on a journey!

FGCharSeal2

Making that “Paper” by GIF Commercials

Since I had a long Field Guide post last week, I’d expect this one to be a lot shorter… for a good balance. In fact, why don’t I just wrap it up right here? Thank you everybody for reading, and have a good one!

Just kidding.

Our main topic of the week was GIFs. I was actually looking through Reddit (of all places on the internet) to find something related, and long behold… I managed to find a linked article titled “TV Is Finally Starting to Understand the Power of GIFs—For Better and Worse”.

Simply put, the VanityFair article, written by Whitney Friedlander, delves into the commercial potential of GIFs on social media. If something is popular on the internet, you can bet your… Eeyore plush… that somebody is going to turn it into profit. Why not? Who doesn’t like (more) money? So, the idea is that making GIFs out of the best moments in a TV show or any other commercial programming and sending them out to journalists, analyzers, or just the fans on social media is not only efficient but also cost-friendly —as in, it costs nothing; free commercial that takes a few minutes (at best) to put together. Can you hear that “cha ching” sound? I’m sure somebody does… Good for them! I must admit that it’s actually a genius move to spread “info” about your product and get attention. I wonder, though, can this approach be applicable to other products beside TV stuff? Say… a GIF of the General that attempts to sell insurance —is this already a thing that I don’t know about? I don’t tend to spend time on social media, so I wouldn’t really know. Even if it isn’t a thing just yet, you can expect the social media platforms to be filled with these GIF commercials pretty soon. Then again, EU just approved that Article 13 thing which is expected to go into implementation in 2021. How long before it spreads around the world and prevents this problem? Fighting evil with another evil… Yea, take that!

Anyways, I promised (myself) that I’d keep this post short, so… Good night, everybody! Don’t let any GIF to bite your plush. Oh, before I forget… The usefulness score for that article above would be 8/10, imho. I’m actually looking forward to that Field Guide project. Until next time!

Your Fortune Reads: Don’t Touch Other People’s Stuff!

“Hello, can you hear me?”

That was an “interesting” class we’ve had this week; from the topic to its execution. Unfortunately, our professor, Dr. Zamora, was absent (speed recovery!). Therefore, we’ve had an online-based sort of… lesson? Presentation? I don’t really know what to call it. It felt like an online-class that was conducted in an actual class; the best of both worlds, I guess. Our class consultant, and second-in-command instructor, Mr. Levine (too formal?), carried out the entire lesson for us.

The topic of the lesson was… GIFs! A great follow-up to Memes, if I must say. It’s actually surprising to observe the possibility of conducting an entire lesson based on these stuff. I guess, when you examine the hidden meaning behind creating a GIF, it’s possible to discover some subtle complexities that could fill up a whole lesson. Our studio visitor for the week, Brian Lamb, briefly talked about what GIFs represented online; a culmination of feelings/expressions conveyed through an (often humorous) animation. In other words, they contain certain messages underneath their visual appeal that could prove difficult to transfer otherwise. Also, they’re very small in terms of file size and easier to share with other users in comparison to videos.

I was originally planing on talking about the recent developments that occurred in relation to sharing materials, specifically visual ones such as GIFs or Memes. However, I did not wish to write another “dark” blog post, especially now that we attempt to move into a much lighter aspect of the NetNarr course. So, I figured that it might be interesting to go a little experimental with this one. The expectation is probably for me to fill it up with GIFs but I prefer to be little different. Thus, I’ll be presenting a dialogue-based (short?) story instead, that hopefully captures my thoughts on the issue at hand. What issue? I’m sure that you’ll find out once you read it. Each segment contains different set of anonymous characters, save for the first and the last one. If you were wondering about that picture of fortune cookies, well, it’s related to the story below. It’s a subtle story… but hopefully not too subtle. Enjoy!

***

[T minus 734 days]

“So… Have you made your decision, yet?”

“Not really. I’m still playing around with some ideas.”

“Have you ever heard of ‘time is of the essence’? You are not alone in this world… Others might come up with the same ideas as you do if you wait too long.”

“Perhaps… I have confidence in my fortune though.”

“Speaking of… Why don’t you check to see what is in your fortune cookie?”

“It’s probably some ‘lucky’ number for the lottery.”

“You never know…”

“All right, let me see… It’s…”

“What is it?”

“A date, I think…”

“A date?”

“It just says 2031.”

“Hey, maybe that’s the year that you finally get to publish your book.”

“Very funny. Anyways… I need to take off.”

“Got tired of me already?”

“I need to get something for my father’s birthday. It’s tomorrow.”

“Tell him happy birthday for me.”

“Sure thing.”

“What have you got in mind for the gift?”

“I don’t know… I’ll probably get him a Johnny Cash CD. He loves his music.”

“CD? Are they still making those?”

“It’s the closest thing that my dad would know how to operate.”

“You might be underestimating him…”

“Maybe… Anyways, I’m off.”

“Take good care!”

[T minus 22995 days]

“Honey…”

“Yes, dear?”

“Have you seen this?…”

“What is it?”

“On the newspaper… It claims that Cash might’ve copied his song from Jenkins.”

“What? Which song?”

“Apparently, Folsom Prison Blues…”

“Isn’t that your new favorite one?”

“Yea…”

“I’m certain it’s only a misunderstanding, dear.”

“I sure hope so…”

[T minus 20075 days]

“… the Congress has approved the new Copyright Act, which is expected to become effective as of January 1st, 1978. The new Act is claimed to be a substantial improvement over 1909…”

“Can you please shut that off? I’m getting a headache just by listening to it.”

“Fine…”

[T minus 7300 days]

“Man, these Hope poster clones are everywhere. Check this one out…”

“What is… Oh, it’s the Mona Lisa. Very funny.”

“Maybe I should create one of my own… How about Alf?”

“No, thank you grandpa.”

“What? I’m sure people would recognize him.”

“Very doubtful… By the way, have you heard about the lawsuit?”

“What lawsuit?”

“Well, it turns out the template for that Hope poster is plagiarized.”

“Seriously?”

“Yep. Some guy named Mannie Garcia was apparently the one who created it first. Then, Fairey stole it. He claims it’s fair use…”

“Wait, didn’t he make money out of it?”

“Oh, yea…”

“Wow.”

“I’m curious to see how everything turns out.”

[T minus 4745 days]

“What are you watching?”

“What do you think? My favorite YouTuber, of course…”

“You know, you spend way too much time on that website.”

“It’s called YouTube.”

“What?”

“Never mind… She says that she’s got another strike.”

“Strike?”

“It’s a copyright claim… It’s been a big problem on the website for a while.”

“I thought it was called YouTube…”

“…”

“I’m just messing around… So, what happens when you get a strike?”

“I think you lose ad revenue. And, if you get three strikes, your channel shuts down… I don’t want her channel to shut down!”

“Wow. They’re really upping the restriction-game, aren’t they?”

“It’s too much! What happened to the fair-use?”

“Fair-use of what? The content?”

“Yea…”

“The big cooperations obviously do not wish to pass up on potential profit.”

“There is even an attempt to kill the net neutrality now, which she was talking about in her previous video…”

“What is that?”

“You’ve never heard of it?”

“Nope.”

“Well, I could explain it but… Oh, s**t!”

“What happened?”

“Restoring Internet Freedom bill…”

“Huh?”

“It’s passed…”

“So… what is that mean exactly?”

“…”

[T minus 4380 days]

“Memes and GIFs are copyrighted in EU now? What is this world coming to?”

“Tell me about it…”

“Article 13? What a name. Good thing we’re safe over here.”

“At least for now. I’m quite certain that it’ll have a ripple effect around the world… It’s only a matter of time.”

“Whatever. Do you know when is it actually going to be implemented?”

“Last I heard, it was 2021. The funny thing is… Some meme-based subreddits already started to ban people from Europe.”

“It sucks to be them, I guess.”

[T minus Zero]

“…and so, your book, which is titled ‘An Essay of Animated Emotions Online’, exhibits images of copyrighted materials. As you have failed to prove official permits for these specific images, you are indebted to minimum $500,000 in ‘damages’, and further production of the book is going to be delayed indefinitely. Do you have any questions at this time?”

“Yea… Uhh… Do you know if there is a good noodle shop around here?”

“…”

“I might as well spend my last buck on some good food… that I can afford.”

[The End]

***

Well? Although I am tempted to explain every single thing in it, I’d like to leave “the meaning” of the story to the reader. Some might think that it’s a bit pretentious but… a little subtlety goes a long way. Before I end this post, I wish to bring up the “say cheese” prediction that I had previously. It turns out, not a single person has used that phrase in their blog posts from last week—come on people, be more s̶i̶l̶l̶y̶ creative! I suppose that it’s a good thing I didn’t choose to become an oracle, or a predictor of some sort professionally. It reminded me though… Are we ever going to examine online challenges in this class? That famous, and very “sophisticated”, cheese challenge really took off… for some reason. Worth a look?

Also, I have to post at least one GIF, so…

5cfff3935dde280fa72a01a1e47af4bd

(Something that I found on Pinterest… Don’t sue me!)