Tag Archives: Fieldguide

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…

Just A Brief Update….

Hey~

So, suffice to say, this weekend has been a bit overwhelming for me. I’ve spent most of it getting my final touches together for my thesis presentation at Research Days on Tuesday. This weekend was one of the first I’ve had totally off in a while so I got a lot of time to focus on these last-minute-but-very-important things. There’s never enough time for anything, is there?

Anyway, as far as my research for the field guide goes, I’m still reading through my sources and gathering information I can add onto my last post about social curation in online spaces. I think that post went into a lot of detail about my own thoughts surrounding the issue but I do want to incorporate more evidence to support my case. More, I need to look into more ideas about what a “humane” web would look like.

During our discussion in class, we talked about how to encourage personal responsibility as developing that seems to be important to the issue of social curation itself. Right now, there’s no personal accountability and nothing incentivizing us to not just “hit that like button” and move on with our lives without ever thinking more deeply on the content we are choosing to associate ourselves with/throw our “lots” in with. In my last post, I mentioned abolishing evaluative features entirely but that requires an entire paradigm shift, it seems, in interaction with the Internet and, increasingly, with the world. Our “likes” are fast becoming our votes. They don’t just validate someone’s opinion anymore; they affirm behavior and incentivize it to continue. Not to sound sensational, but I wonder when we will be “liking” our next government officials rather than strictly voting for them? We seem well on our way to that…

I’m trying to focus on how I would like to convey my concerns around this issue. I’m concerned about how it affects us culturally and seems to desensitize us but I’m also concerned about how evaluative features affect our sense of self. The experience of self is a social construct now more than ever, it seems, and I wonder about the long-term affects of that. In our discussion, I mentioned having this seemingly “innate” self of me and of my wholeness beyond the web. I think the web offers these amazing opportunities to extend ourselves and reflect upon all the different selves we can be but I also believe strongly that I am whole without the web. I can locate myself without turning on my GPS or checking out the snap map. It seems like people today, especially younger people who don’t remember a time before the web, may be less able to feel whole without that online connection and I wonder how that affects the experience of their lives in the long run.

One way I was thinking of exploring some of these issues is through making a fake social media account like a #finsta. It’s such a titillating concept and I think it gets at the heart of this issue: the you and the not you of it. To me, concerns around social curation in online spaces come down to fears about regulation of emotional experiences as well as fears about AI or computer intelligence not only replacing our presence online but controlling us through that replacement. These fears are about self and humanity disappearing into the digital abyss, swallowed up and spit out. Finstas encapsulate that idea of the hidden self, though, with all those hidden fears and anxieties. It’s kind of a subversion of a system designed to profit heavily off of the exploitation of insecurities. At least, it could be subversive.

Design was a big topic we discussed and, to be honest, I’m not sure I could design a whole system to replace the current one (tl:dr scratch that, I’m hella unsure I can’t). But, I do think I could design an account to be subversive. I would like to borrow some of the ideology from metamodernism probably to conceive of this project. Another name for this movement is post-postmodernism. It’s not really a formal movement yet but you may have heard of it if you’ve ever come across any of Shia LaBeouf’s art projects?

So, my understanding of the movement’s tenets is still a little shaky but the movement is a response to modernism and postmodernism and seems to be about re-injecting value of/belief in faith and sincerity and in all of these intangible virtues that modernism and postmodernism have rejected in favor of cold hard progress. To me, it seems this movement is about returning humanity to the people and, more, returning an appreciation for being human. Cynicism and callousness may be in vogue bit that doesn’t mean they’re the right ways to look at or conceive of the world. More, it seems that perspectives like them have not contributed to making the world or online spaces, for that matter, better.

I think it would be interesting to take metamodern perspective on the issue of social curation because I believe it may provide guidance for humane design. At least, that’s what I’m thinking about right now. It’s not a lot and I still have a lot of reading to do and conversing with my alchemist mentor, I know, I know. But, I can kind of see this project coming together? I definitely see a lot of brown paper bags over my head for the finsta…. 

Anyway, what do you think? Does anything show promise? Where are the gaps for you? Any suggestions?

Let me know!

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~Till next time~

If I don’t die during Research Days

To AUC, What Are Your Thoughts on Social Curation In Online Spaces???

Hey~

How’s Cairo? Hot? Mild? Does it ever get sandy in the city? I’ve always wondered….

Anyway, I’m getting off topic. It happens.

I hear you’re working on projects about digital literacy? So have we! …Well, kind of. We’re each researching a problem associated with the Internet and increasing digitization of daily life. The focus of my research is social curation in online spaces. Specifically, I’m looking at how social curation in online spaces affects our emotional engagement IRL.

I wrote a whole post about social curation and my thoughts around it but for those of you who aren’t familiar, social curation is, “an organic activity that continuously aggregates and ranks content deemed most relevant, valued and of the greatest utility (e.g., “just in time” insight) to users. Sources of content can be published media, real-time information exchange (archived), or continuously evolving content (e.g., wiki, Quora). The social dynamic of content curation is individual and collective input, output and evolution of thought” (source). Essentially, social curation refers to how we organize and navigate content in online spaces. It is the way of the Internet currently. More than just organization content, though, social curation refers to how organization practices affect our interactions with content.

Social curation contributes to the development of so-called “echo chambers” as well as to the rise of Influencer culture. It relates to “trending” topics and includes things like evaluative features (“likes” on FB and <3s on Insta) on social media and reaction gifs. Often, these evaluative features make us feel that we are providing thoughtful interaction with content when, in reality, we are merely being provided the illusion of meaningful engagement by these platforms that profit off of our engagement. Our reactions and emotions are being curated/engineered, which could be affecting our emotional range IRL.

Much research has been done on the effects of evaluative features such as “Like” buttons on social media platforms. One study has looked at how social curation occurs on Pinterest, while another study (which won’t let hypothes.is run? I tried to download it as a PDF and tried to adjust my settings but nope so idk?) has looked at the effects of social curation on adolescent neurological and behavioral responses (to which an article has been written in response). Much of this research revolves around understanding user interactions in a socially curated system. What I find most interesting about this kind of research is the effects social curation has on emotional expressions as well as overall self-esteem and self-worth. More, I find that social curation is one of the processes that strongly contributes to this false sense of reality the Internet creates. This process is, in part, responsible for the creation of so-called “echo chambers” as well as for Internet virality in general. Influencers and the like are trying to tap into this “social curation” process and either become the content that is being circulated or become the subject that curated content revolves around.

Though social curation has certainly been around in varying capacities beyond/before the web, its use as an organizing system in online spaces presents some problems. Mainly, what is perhaps most troubling is the false sense of reality it can perpetuate. It seems very easy for someone to fall into a hole, so to speak, and not even notice that the information they are interacting with is being decided not by an objective audience but by a process of social curation conducted by like-minded peers. Often, evaluative features like “Like” buttons and ❤ buttons facilitate social curation On Facebook, there is a variety of react options to choose from which provides this false sense of diversified expression when, in reality, our emotional range is being curated for us by the social media platform. More, we’re being socialized by sites like Instagram (where only ❤ reacts exist) to react positively or not at all to online content. Rather than online spaces being these immersive spaces where discovery and disappointment can occur, they are becoming these heavily curated spaces limiting not only our emotional ranges but also changing how we respond to things in ways that can spill over into “real life”. I think this is problematic.

While it may be fun and more engaging for users in certain spaces to interact with “like-minded content” (like in an affinity space on Tumblr or in a hashtag on Twitter), having an entire Internet that is slowly being curated by social media seems like an over-reach and one that will affect perceptions of self and the world. Distorted images of self and the world are already prevalent in online spaces and have been prevalent in advertising practices since time in memoriam. We have seen the damage done thus far, especially to the youth who are growing up in a digital world where it is so easy to access platforms that may not be promoting the best perceptions. Addressing how social curation affects interactions and the overall environment of online spaces seems like an increasingly vital issue as digitization becomes more ubiquitous.

Alex Saum’s Ashes to Ashes #YOLO (2018) Epoetry piece seems to speak to concerns about the performance of life taking precedence over the experience of life as well. Also, it seems concerned about how Influencer culture curates what we value and how we value it.

At least, this is all what I believe to be the case and this is the focus of my research. What do you think, though?

Do you think that social curation in online spaces is affecting our own perceptions and emotions IRL? Can social media sites like Insta and FB be redesigned to not include evaluative features and still be functional? How could sites be designed to garner different interactions? To encourage less passive, shallow engagement and more active dialogue and discussion?

Let me know~

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~Till next time~

‘Blackfishing’: To the AUC Students

For my final project, I will be discussing and “investigating” the new phenomenon of ‘Blackfishing’. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, ‘Blackfishing’ is when a person on Instagram or Twitter (specifically a woman) who is not of color, changes her physical appearance (e.g. hair, skin color, etc.), in order to be perceived as a specific person of color (e.g. African-American, Mixed, Afro-Latina, etc.) Example images:

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 8.24.15 AMScreen Shot 2019-04-03 at 8.24.06 AMScreen Shot 2019-04-03 at 8.23.18 AM

This seems to be a branch of the ‘Catfishing’ tree. (Catfishing is when someone poses as someone else online by faking their name, appearance, online identity, and so on).

Speaking about the importance of identity and self on the Internet of 2019, I have a couple of questions for you when it comes to this topic.

  1. There are two sides to ‘Blackfishing’. One is that some people don’t see the big deal. It is merely just someone appreciating the culture. On the other end spectrum, people are uncomfortable with this because of its almost identical connection to the history of ‘Blackface”, which is when someone who is not African-American, applies very dark/brown makeup and performs racial stereotypes of slaves. This would happen in the 1900s. My question is, Is there a difference between appreciation and appropriation when it comes to another person’s culture? 
  2. My second question is, online identity has become almost, if not for sure, as important to us as our real identity. When someone fakes who they are and deceives other people, how does that affect online identity?
  3. Does online identity affect how people see those online personas in real life?
  4. Who is harmed during this? (And by “this” I mean ‘Blackfishing’) or is this just makeup and fun, just like people believed ‘Blackface’ performances and caricatures were?

I can’t wait to hear your responses! Any other questions or ideas that come to mind to help me dive deeper into my project, please let me know! Here is my Twitter: @ColorfulWriter02

Thank you!

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/

Exploring Issues of Social Curation in Online Spaces…

So, upfront, this is my blog. If you’re looking for commentary or “dialogue” about the content on my blog, I’d peruse the margins…

Discussion

Hello~

Hope everyone had a nice and healthy week. I’m back up and kicking. This week, I got the chance to catch up on a lot of work. One of the things I needed to work on apparently was refining my idea for the field guide (aka my research project(?)). After discussing my thoughts with Dr. Zamora and my concerns about this whole “finding a solution” thing a concept that I fundamentally disagree with, I believe I narrowed down my focus. I still want to investigate the performing vs. living issue but through the lens of social curation.

So, social curation, according to a comment left on a Quora query about it, “is an organic activity that continuously aggregates and ranks content deemed most relevant, valued and of the greatest utility (e.g., “just in time” insight) to users. Sources of content can be published media, real-time information exchange (archived), or continuously evolving content (e.g., wiki, Quora). The social dynamic of content curation is individual and collective input, output and evolution of thought.” Essentially, social curation refers to how we organize and navigate content in online spaces. It is the way of the Internet currently. More than just organization content, though, social curation refers to how organization practices affect our interactions with content.

Much research has been done on the effects of evaluative features such as “Like” buttons on social media platforms. One study has looked at how social curation occurs on Pinterest, while another study (which won’t let hypothes.is run? I tried to download it as a PDF and tried to adjust my settings but nope so idk?) has looked at the effects of social curation on adolescent neurological and behavioral responses (to which an article has been written in response). Much of this research revolves around understanding user interactions in a socially curated system. What I find most interesting about this kind of research is the effects social curation has on emotional expressions as well as overall self-esteem and self-worth. More, I find that social curation is one of the processes that strongly contributes to this false sense of reality the Internet creates. This process is, in part, responsible for the creation of so-called “echo chambers” as well as for Internet virality in general. Influencers and the like are trying to tap into this “social curation” process and either become the content that is being circulated or become the subject that curated content revolves around.

Thought social curation has certainly been around in varying capacities beyond/before the web, its use as an organizing system in online spaces presents some problems. Mainly, what is perhaps most troubling is the false sense of reality it can perpetuate. It seems very easy for someone to fall into a hole, so to speak, and not even notice that the information they are interacting with is being decided not by an objective audience but by a process of social curation conducted by like-minded peers. Often, evaluative features like “Like” buttons and ❤ buttons facilitate social curation On Facebook, there is a variety of react options to choose from which provides this false sense of diversified expression when, in reality, our emotional range is being curated for us by the social media platform. More, we’re being socialized by sites like Instagram (where only ❤ reacts exist) to react positively or not at all to online content. Rather than online spaces being these immersive spaces where discovery and disappointment can occur, they are becoming these heavily curated spaces limiting not only our emotional ranges but also changing how we respond to things in ways that can spill over into “real life”. I think this is problematic.

While it may be fun and more engaging for users in certain spaces to interact with “like-minded content” (like in an affinity space on Tumblr or in a hashtag on Twitter), having an entire Internet that is slowly being curated by social media seems like an over-reach and one that will affect perceptions of self and the world. Distorted images of self and the world are already prevalent in online spaces and have been prevalent in advertising practices since time in memoriam. We have seen the damage done thus far, especially to the youth who are growing up in a digital world where it is so easy to access platforms that may not be promoting the best perceptions. Addressing how social curation affects interactions and the overall environment of online spaces seems like an increasingly vital issue as digitization becomes more ubiquitous.

All this said, I do not know if there are exact steps that can be taken to fix this problem. More, I don’t feel comfortable providing one “quick fix”. If our discussions on issues of online spaces have revealed anything at all, it is that issues that concern the governing of practices and processes in online spaces are complex and not simply fixed. Because of those findings, I feel more comfortable suggesting steps that may help in alleviating the problems associated with social curation.

First, I think the models girding social media need to be changed to not rely upon evaluative interactions. Basically, ditch the “like” and ❤ buttons. Ditch all of those evaluative features. They are limiting interactions rather than expanding them. If interaction is the goal, comment features should be what is emphasized. Things that encourage and engage in discussion should be the focus. If Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are supposed to be public forums, then discussion in dialogue should always be the focus. Evaluative react buttons do not encourage discussion. They don’t expand or extend the conversation. I feel like a switch like this may instill feelings of anxiety similar to those around the whole texting vs. calling anxiety. Rather than comment or offer a “real” opinion or perspective, most people are probably more comfortable hitting a like button. In order for more measurably meaningful discourse to occur, though, I think evaluative features need to be removed from social media sites.

The “secondly” through the rest of my suggestions all revolve around shifting the profit model behind Internet sites like social media platforms and the mindset that has propelled it. All of these sites rely far too much upon user interaction in order to make a profit. To this end, ethics and conscientious design have gone out the window. Whatever gets more eyes on the screen is what goes. That needs to change. It’s allowing for the formation of echo chambers that stunt/stifle development of self and perspective of the world. There needs to be more of an incentive for creators and platforms to provide diversified content. More, the algorithms need to be recoded to provide diverse content rather than similar content. That needs to be incentivized. The US government should consider following Europe in imposing stricter regulations on how online platforms can collect and store data in order to create user profiles and so curate content for them. Notices that clearly state that content may not be objectively organized should be placed on certain sites. (I don’t mean some wimpy “the opinions and feelings expressed on this site do not reflect the values of the yada yada yada…” That’s weak.) Sites that don not have clear warnings or do not abide by imposed regulation should be taken down. That’s not “stifling free speech” or “open discussion”. Even if it was, the 1st amendment is not an excuse to be an assh*ole anyway. Regulations on content and “breaking up” social curation processes are meant to create spaces where free speech and the free flow of ideas can actually occur. And it’s wholly necessary ’cause little meaningful discourse is happening right now.

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Media

This seems like an interesting video on the topic as well (though I can’t find a video of it in full on Youtube? Idk if you can only view it at a screening?)

For an artistic example, I’d also like to include Alex Saum’s Ashes to Ashes #YOLO (2018) Epoetry piece as I feel lit speaks to concerns about the performance of life taking precedence over the experience of life. Also, it seems concerned about how Influencer culture curates what we value and how we value it.

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Concerns

In addition to the sources mentioned in this post, I’d like to include the article I annotated last week about implementing more humane design in Internet places, social media platforms especially. I think it provides necessary background information on how the Internet became the burning garbage fire it is today. Also, it explains what humane design is concerned with addressing as it relates to online spaces.

I owe you two more sources (which I can hopefully get through by Tuesday). Scouring the web for six relevant sources that meet the proposed criteria for this assignment is not easy, especially when those sources must then be annotated. I will find the sources I need to complete this project but, if you’ll excuse my honesty, I wish the research component of this project were more spaced out over the semester. It feels rushed right now and I feel stressed because all of these expectations for a full-blown research assignment have been stacked up at the end of the semester when final projects for other classes are due and, for those working on thesis projects, thesis work must be completed. I would’ve appreciated spreading out finding and annotating sources during the semester. The field guide wasn’t fleshed out until later on so I wasn’t specifically looking for sources that would’ve helped me now. The shape of the final project was vague for most of the semester which gave us room to free-associate and imagine but not so much to strategize. For people who are picking topics like privacy or surveillance, they’ll probably have a lot more use of the field guide sources collected since that was an overt focus of most of the class. But, for those of us following our own research interests, we have to basically find all of these sources from scratch.

Anyway, just stating my opinion for the record. I’ll get as much work done as I can for class on Tuesday. I’m wrapping on my thesis project, though. That is my main priority and I’m not going to apologize for that. I’ve been working very hard on it and I want to have a bomb presentation. It’s where my passion lies and that’s my future.

So, heads up, this week may not see everything requested fully completed. Not cause I don’t want to but I have no idea where I’m going to find the time to do it.

Update/To annotate:

This article

This one too?

~Till next time~

The Burning Question? {Fieldguide}

Image result for hello gif

Hey everyone! So, last week I had the idea of Catfishing, which is using photographs to form a fake identity (persona) for their personal gain, fame, money, identity theft, etc. I wanted to be more specific on a type of Catfishing, which is Blackfishing. Recently, women on who are not of color are posing as women of color on Instagram. Example: Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 8.23.18 AM

In my last post, I called it “Catfishin with race.” There are a few concerns that come to mind such as the general cultural appropriation, inappropriate, and extremely offensive. After having my one on one meeting about how to be more specific about this topic, I have to get past the shock factor when looking at these images and getting down to the “why” and “purpose” behind Blackfishing. The thoughts I have about identity online in 2019 comes down to how looking at images can cause various forms of identity concerns, misconceptions, and misguidedness. In my last post, I also talked about how you can’t switch off and on your skin color or facial features. Being born black is something deeper than skin color and big hips. Another concern I had about Blackfishing is when a young girl of color scrolls through their Instagram feed, what would they think or how would they feel when they discover that who they saw on Instagram is fake.

There is still a lot I have to think about for next week and to narrow down exactly what I want to say. (The internet in 2019, truth versus fake, identity and online, specific argumentation, problem and solution, the modern “Blackface” and how does that play a part, consequences of Blackfishing, racist myths, technology, come up with a specific question and concern, risks, what’s the endgame?, mainstreaming racist culture, etc.) So as you can see, I dipped into a deep pool with this topic, and I am hoping I did not get too ahead of myself.

I think what I need to do to find what my question, concern, and solution will be; I have to do my homework. By researching this topic and finding out more about what others have to say about it, then I’ll be able to focus on a more specific concern. I have a lot of articles to grab research from, and I’m hoping to find more on this topic. That is where I am going to start my research. As far as how I’m going to represent it as a conversation between my alchemist mentor and me but I will figure out that part too!

Previous Blog:

It’s Crunch Time! {Fieldguide}

 

The Usual Suspects…

Hey~

Sorry I couldn’t join everyone in class this week. Unfortunately, I’ve been very sick lately and apparently it’s getting worse before it gets better. I would not have been my usual pleasant presence had I been in class in-person this week.

Anyway, I am sorry I missed getting to discuss different ideas for the field guide with everyone. I’m sure that would’ve been fun and constructive ^.^

As far as that subject goes, btw, I am thinking of focusing on digital identity (duh). Specifically, I want to look into how social media platforms may be encouraging us to perform our lives rather than live them. It’s kind of a fringe topic to what I’ve been researching for my thesis and I think it’s something interesting to consider. The topic is also something Alex Saum has been exploring in her E-poetry projects. I think there are plenty of ways in which new digital platforms encourage us to be more authentic, rather than less. But, I also know that there are a lot of people who rely on social media to create a life and personality for them which I don’t believe is healthy. This section of the field guide, then, would cover the issue of living one’s life vs. performing it as well as, perhaps, exercising moderation in using social media platforms. Again, while I definitely believe in the abilities of digital interfaces to extend who we are, I also understand that these sites can be addictive and overwhelming. It is important to remember that you are still you after the screen goes dark.

Another topic I’m interested in is also related to my thesis and may veer too far off from what the field guide’s intention is. In the course of doing research for my thesis, I learned more about shitposting and meme culture and I just don’t think the current definition of it in Know Your Meme is accurate. At least, I think it’s outdated and should be updated to include more of the actual purview of shitposting and memes. The current basically identifies both mediums as a kind of interruption to otherwise sensical discourse. In this way, it sort of brushes these very prevalent online mediums off to the side. I think it would be interesting to come up with an updated definition of shitposting and provide sources that support this updated definition and explore new forms of digital content as part of meaningful online discussions. More, I think it’s important to define and validate these new forms of communication as they are becoming a part of our mainstream discourse. It’s all part of the cultural milieu.

So, anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about. I hope one of these ideas is viable. If not, I guess I’m open to suggestions. I wanted to pick a topic I am personally invested in and that concerns me. While these topics may not be the most flashy or be the most “pressing”, I do think they have their own merit and speak to the culture around new media and its usage. It’s important to open dialogue on these subjects, at the very least.

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~Till next time~

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).

It’s Crunch Time! {Fieldguide}

Warning: You will see nothing but 80s and 90s Sitcom GIFS on my blogs for the rest of the semester, and I am not sorry.😊  Let’s get started!

I officially have a topic!

Image result for living single gif

During our last week’s brainstorming class, I was trying to figure out something that I wanted to look more into that applies to the Field Guide parameters, educational, and something that genuinely concerns me. At first, I started thinking about GIFS. The way GIFS are embedded in our culture and taking the internet by storm I think is innovative and creative. The main question I had was:

  1. Eventually, are GIFS going to dehumanize our senses and emotional reactions in the real world? (Laughing, crying, being happy or sad, etc.) or is it simple fun across the internet and among friends and people will know what fake and real reactions are?

Then I started to think about Catfishing, which is using photographs to form a fake identity (persona) for their own gain, fame, money, identity theft, etc. We had a Studio Visit with Alec Couros about the dangers of Catfishing in today’s society. Anyone can take a photo of you from Facebook and can create a fake identity. It’s the new wave of stealing credit cards. (Which still happens). But for the new generations and the current generation of using social media, they would rather steal identity for more followers on Instagram. So then I thought of this question:

2. I wonder how many people know about what’s happening on Instagram where women who are not of color are posing as women of color? For those who may not have heard because it’s been swept under the rug or you’re not familiar with Instagram, this is actually happening. If you’re not sure what I mean, here are a few examples:

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 8.23.18 AMScreen Shot 2019-04-03 at 8.24.06 AMScreen Shot 2019-04-03 at 8.24.15 AM

This is Catfishing with race, and it needs to be discussed. This cultural appropriation and extremely offensive. As a woman of color when I see these images, I am disturbed, but I also feel bad (a little) for them because these girls don’t understand that being a person of color goes beyond changing your looks. It’s something deeper and something you are born with that you can’t switch off and on whenever you want. Furthermore, when a young girl of color who scrolls through their Instagram feed, what would they think or how would they feel when they discover that who they saw on Instagram is fake. As far as my Digital Alchemist goes, she feels the same way. That’s why she decided to create a Twitter account to discuss important issues such as these.

I could go in-depth more on this blog post about this topic, but I will save it for next week!

See ya later!

Check out my previous post!

Going In Full Speed (GIFS) {Fieldguide}