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[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.

“Well, If I Don’t See You…” {Self-Assessment Narrative}

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Reflecting and Observing. So long, for now, Alchemist World! It’s been a pleasure! (Photo: Kandid Shots Productions)

As I look back over the semester, I am proud of myself. Back in January, I walked into a class that I had no knowledge of and frankly, had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was like I listening to another language. In the beginning, I didn’t think I would live up to the expectations I put on myself since I chose an A grade contract. There was a lot at stake. Towards the middle of February, I thought I was going to have to change my grade to a B. There was no way I could keep up with the class. But, I kept pushing through and trying my best. I was worried that my knowledge of online art and life would be lost with the other people in the class who seemed like experts at Digital Alchemy. What I did appreciate is the amount of information I learned from this class. Surveillance, GIFs origins, Meme Art, Digital Art, Algorithms, and much more. Although I did learn a lot, I was looking for more of a balance by looking at “darkness” and “lightness” on the internet. For a long time, we looked at mostly “darkness,” which is educational and something that we all should be aware of. However, it would’ve been great if half of the semester we did “darkness” and the other half, “lightness.” Although those are my opinions, I must admit that my perspective has changed when it comes to life on the internet in 2019. I’m more careful of cookies and what I put out there on the internet. For example, should my nieces and nephews be posted online? Even if I put my safety locks on the posts, is there someone still watching?

Actually, I’ll share what I really took away from this class is how much online life has taken over my real life. Growing up, I didn’t have social media. I grew up having to memorize my friends and cousins’ telephone numbers, no television allowed during the week, and a flip phone that I could call my parents and my cousin. I didn’t have a smartphone until my junior year of high school. I didn’t have any social media until Facebook in my sophomore year of high school. Of course, like the rest of the world, we fell into the life of smartphones and social media without being able to stop. We didn’t know the effects it would have on us in the future. My 14-year-old self was self-conscious as all teenagers are. But I didn’t have social media to add on to it. I talked on the phone more. I was more present mentally with my family. Post-college, I realized that something has changed. I scroll through my phone without an agenda. I pick up my phone and open it even when I don’t receive a notification. My family could be around me, but I’m scrolling on Instagram.

Over the past couple of months, I started to think, “What did I do with my life before social media?” This class made me realize that I read more, listened to music, talked on the phone, I was more creative with my writing and so many other things. I realized that life was escaping me in a way that I didn’t expect. Am I addicted to social media? Yes but we all are. We can’t go long without it. This includes YouTube and Netflix; Not just Facebook and Instagram. At 24 years old, I have decided to delete my personal social media accounts. I am head of social media for other things so I will be keeping those accounts for business use only, but something needs to be done. Little by little I have been deactivating my accounts. Just not deleting the apps. So far, I no longer have my personal Twitter account or my Snapchat. Next will be Instagram and lastly, Facebook. I want to start carrying books with me again instead of scrolling on my phone or maybe some colored pencils and a sketchbook.

Now, this isn’t to guilt trip anyone or to look down upon people who do use social media. I am sharing a personal revelation that social media is kinda sorta, but really literally, consuming my life. Having the pressures of not posting someone on social media for their birthday even though you called them already. Why someone would leave a comment on someone else’s photo and not mine. Working out and eating right but I still don’t look like girl number 3,445 that I saw on my newsfeed instead of being happy with my own results. Seeing something on social media you wish you didn’t see. Finding out information you should’ve found out from that person instead of them posting it for everyone to see. The list goes on. I receive almost 150 notifications a day. I pick up my phone nearly 80 times a day. That time and mental use could be put towards so much other stuff. Like I said, business use, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. But for me, I realized I have a habit that I did not use to have, and I want to change it. I communicate with my family and friends a lot through social media, which is the beautiful part. However, I say all of that to say that this class has opened my eyes to realize that there is more than the online life.

Telling my story here for my self-assessment narrative shows that this class can truly teach you and show you things about the 2019 Internet. There is “good” and “bad” on the internet, but if anything, I loved that this class gives the logical and explainable parts to the unknown online life. I have already been sharing with my family the things I’ve learned. Jumping to my Fieldguide topic, I was not expecting this class to allow me to produce something of an article about something that I’m passionate about. I didn’t know that something like Blackfishing would be considered to be part of this course because it wasn’t anything “academic” per se. It was definitely a critical issue. But I didn’t think I was going to have the opportunity to discuss it at such great length and depth. I believe students in the future who take this course will see that they will finally have a place to talk about an essential online issue, about anything, and it’s considered a series part of the online life. I don’t really have to explain, but the Fieldguide project was my favorite part of the class. I produced something beyond what I thought the capacity I thought I could do. Also, I loved being part of an international online space. An example will be connecting with the students from Cario. I wish we were able to have more response and reactions from them but being part of something much greater beyond our class is really special.

For future classes, I would love to see more workshop classes that will help students with their Fieldguide projects. I think by having a more step-by-step process leading up the final project, there will be better productivity from the students who seem to have a difficult time grasping it. It can be overwhelming if you are someone who is not used to using platforms like Twitter. Also, if they are not used to using social media or the computer as a whole, a project as big as the Fieldguide can become a lot. When that happens, I don’t think the students produce their best work.

  • Link to Blog and Syndicated Posts: I think by looking at these two links, I see a theme for sure. I notice that I am interested in what’s beyond the self that is shown online. What’s underneath the Instagram self or the Twitter self? Who are we really without our social media platforms? I think what started that theme up is the Selfie-Unselfie Project that we looked at and became apart of. I wish we actually did more of that because I thought it was so refreshing!
  • Twitter: Being part of the Twitter online world and learning about the “darkness” that’s out there was a rollercoaster ride. (In a good way!). Being able to connect with scholars and my fellow classmates made the class different than other “traditional” classes. Unfortunately, my Twitter visualization does not match the work and effort I put into my Twitter activity throughout the semester. I think by looking at my Twitter gives a good sense of my contributions. Also, the Twitter of my Digital Alchemist plays a significant contribution as well.
  • Hypothes.is: Most of my contributions to Hypothesi.is was because of my Fieldguide project. However, other articles have my voice in it that I have annotated throughout the semester. By looking at this, it really shows the work that I have put into this semester. Adding my blog and Twitter activity into it, an outside person would be able to see a well-rounded (official) alchemist who succeeded this course! (Sidebar: My Digital Alchemist did an excellent job with her annotations in Hypothesi.is!)

All in all, I am so happy with the knowledge I gained from this class and I really believe it’s going to carry with me for years to come! I’m excited to use my new knowledge and connections to dive deeper into Digital Alchemy. With that being said, excluding the “checklist” of my grade contract, I believe I did a job well-done in the course despite my lack of knowledge at the beginning of the semester.

With that being said, see you later Alchemy World. (For now 😉).

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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/

“Work Work Work Work”

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When I look at my work and realize I’m almost done! (Movie Gif from Coming to America)

 

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend. Mine was filled with laughs, fun at church, reflection, and a lot of food! Now that my Easter weekend is officially over, I am ready to get back in the swing of things. So we are in the final stages of the semester, which means it’s crunch time! I am happy to say that I have been writing nonstop over the past week about my topic. What I decided to do is write out all my thoughts, opinions along with the research and notes that I collected from various sources. Now that I have multiple viewpoints and ideas, I am ready to write out the dialogue between myself and Xnirran.

Since my topic is deep and complex, sometimes I found myself drifting off into other subtopics of Blackfishing. For me to stay organized, I put my topic into four categories, that way I can stay on track.

  1. What is Blackfishing? (Minstrel shows, blackface, Halloween controversies turning into online blackface, internet blackfishing, and social media pressures)
  2. What’s the problem? (Two sides of the spectrum: One is for fun. One is wrong)
  3. Culture Appropriation vs. Culture Appreciation
  4. Deception

I’ll wrap up final thoughts and ideas on part five. Also, acknowledgments and other last words. After last week’s meeting, I felt more confident to tackle this issue. I was worried that because this is not only a new issue that is surfacing but it’s something that I really don’t have a solution to it. However, I was given the task to more allow people to become aware of this “phenomenon” instead of trying to find a solution to the problem. I have a lot of great content, ideas, and information that I will use in my presentation. Here is the link to my notes that I made from various articles. Unforantely, my hypothes.is was not working so I was only able to make comments on one or two of them.

In the final stretch! Until 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:

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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/

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).