almightyspin

I am not my beard.

What is Digital Diversity?

Using global telecommunications people can more easily interact with each other across vast distances. As more and more people chose to interact in the online world we as a species grow closer together. This new digital world is a new America. By that I mean it is a world made up of many cultural differences which are valuable and should be preserved. These differences combine to make one nation, a digital nation, with multiple cultural identities, values and practices which are accepted by all.

As the digital divide narrows more and more people will be joining us in the new digital world. This increase in connectivity will broaden all our horizons and expose us to thoughts and ideas we may not come up with on our own. It also creates a need for a set of ethics we all can agree on. In an ever-expanding digital world considerations must be made to include all norms, be they legal or cultural.  Charles Ess put it “Ethical pluralism…conjoins shared ethical norms alongside important…cultural differences”  We have easily become digital but the key to digital diversity is remaining diverse.

Works cited:

Nelson, Alondra, et al. Technicolor Race Technology, and Everyday Life.New York, 2001. Print.

Ess, Charles. Digital Media Ethics. Polity, 2009. Print.

Drucker, Peter Landmarks of Tomorrow. Heinemann, London, 1959. Print.

Kamakawiwo’ole, Israel Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Mountain Apple Company, 2001. CD

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Reflections

I had the pleasure of working with a great team for this project. After our initial assignment of the topic we all agreed individually research to come up with sources for possible sub-topics in Slacktivism. We decided that Sundays were the best time for us to get together. It was at one of these Sunday meetings that we came up with the idea for a talk show to do our presentation. Originally a clip show with multiple movie clips we honed in on  more of a late night feel and diversified into multiple avenues for presentation. The mix of live action and video blended well for a course on digital diversity.

Each member came to the meetings well prepared and ready to knock out the required tasks at hand. It was nice that we could incorporate actual slacktivism in the form of a facebook page and the freerice website. I am grateful my group had experience with video editing. It allowed us to film a small clip as well as dub over a cartoon, lending to the realism of the TV show. I think the book’s dust jacket and the CD case were nice touches as well. I liked the idea that we incorporated so many different forms of presentation (video, music, print, etc.) into our project. I think the class was interested and entertained. I would not change a thing. Our group worked well together and we each did our part.

Connected to All

I discovered that I multitask without realizing I am doing it. As the results of my graph show I spent a lot of my digital time watching T.V. and surfing the internet. The fact is I usually do both at the same time. I like the idea of gathering as much information as possible at once. While some say it is bad to multitask, I find it easier to complete my projects or satiate my curiosity. I often have a question about a show I am watching or the product I see in a commercial and will look it up instantly on the net. This falls in line with What Watkins said : “We have evolved from a culture of instant gratification to one of constant gratification” (p.160). I always want to know about products, actors, movies, anything I see or hear about, that piques my curiosity, I tend to google immediately.

I also tend to text more than I use the phone as intended. In fact the only people I really talk to over the phone are my parents. The only reason I use the phone for them is that they refuse to text. I cannot keep in contact with my friends without facebook and texting. As Watkins said: “… interest is not the technology per se, but rather the people and the relationships the technology provides access to”(P49). I use them as a tool to keep in contact. I get upset when changes are made that I have to re-learn how to effectively use the platform. While I think it’s cool that I can update my status on my phone, I think it is more important that I can contact friends around the globe.

GEN-FB

Facebook is about building any type of connection a person wants. Not just a meaningful long-term type but spur of the moment ‘I need it now’ types as well. As stated in the movie “The Social Network”: ‘Relationship status’. ‘Interested in’. This is what drives life at college. Are you having sex or aren’t you. It’s why people take certain classes and sit where they sit and do what they do, and it’s um…center, you know, that’s what TheFacebook is gonna be about….”  

Offline, connections are much more involved. You cannot simply learn specific details of someone’s life by merely looking at them. A conversation has to be struck up. If you want to know whether a person is single or likes the same things as you, an effort on your part more than a click of the mouse must take place. Facebook allows an instant connection and, in part, broadens the types of relationships made in both the online and offline world. Having many superficial connections in your life can be just as rewarding as having a fewer well-developed ones. Facebook makes it so you don’t have to be in constant contact with people to maintain a seemingly close friendship. You can stay updated on their life through the site and when you need to talk to that person, you can refer to their profile to have a solid idea as to what is happening in their current lives.

It can be reasonably argued that Facebook connections are superficial, but in some ways, offline connections can be just as superficial. Who hasn’t been at a social function and has had to endure endless amounts of small talk with people trying to communicate their life and interests? Many of us pretend to listen and agree with trivialities while patiently waiting to spout small tidbits of ourselves. True, meaningful connections  are based on having a vested interest in the other person and their life. Facebook, currently, cannot create these connections but it does go a long way to help strengthen them.

In the book The Young and the Digital, S. Craig Watkins describes  the appeal of Facebook as: “initial appeal among young people was the fact that even though the vibrant lives they were forming online were so strikingly public, most of their activities, communications, and identities were largely hidden from the adult world”(19). But how hidden are these details? If anyone currently hopes to gain employment in the future a thorough cleaning of their Facebook profile is in order. Many companies look to social networks immediately following a job interview to see if the candidate will truly be a good match for the company. Police departments around the country are, more and more, looking to Facebook to help locate suspects or gather evidence in cases. Yet people still make their lives known to the online world through Facebook.  As Mark Zuckerberg stated: “People are learning how to use the site and what’s OK to share. As time goes on, people will learn what’s appropriate, what’s safe for them — and learn to share accordingly.”

With 500 million people on Facebook,  the social impact of  it and other social networking sites is heavy. As stated in The Young and the Digital: “Society as a whole is beginning to reckon with the social consequences of young people’s persistent engagement with digital technology…”(41)  As Smith mentioned in her argument, the impacts of this form of connecting and communicating may not necessarily be a positive thing.  The superficial connections that dominate sites like Facebook are not really benefiting anyone.  It will take time to discover the true lasting effects of  social networking sites in our society.

Waste Not Want Not

What is the digital divide? Technicolor defines it as, “…popular shorthand for the myriad social and cultural factors that shape access to technological resources.”(1) So, essentially, the digital divide relates to access to the technologies and the inequalities inherent within. Even though this is partly true the digital divide continues to widen, while the prices of different technologies fall. Thus, there is more to the definition of digital divide than simply access to the technology. People do not seem to think of how e-waste is an important part of the digital divide, and how it is a growing problem.

E-waste, in this context, is all the obsolete or unwanted computers and electronic devices  piling up in various countries. One of the main problems of this waste is the way it is being processed. As we saw in “Ghana: the Digital Dumping Ground” one way the waste is being processed is through open-air burning. This is leading to medical concerns for children who burn the waste for the metals and play in the nearby area.

It is also a boon for companies that are responsible for disposing the waste. The film eluded to companies in America, who assured the documenters that the waste would be taken care of locally, sending e-waste to other countries such as India and China. There the waste is melted down for the precious metals by women, some of whom are pregnant.

As stated in Digital Media Ethics “…do digital media present us with radically new kinds of ethical problems that thereby require absolutely new ethical approaches?”(8) We, as a society, need to address the ethical concerns of dumping our e-waste off to these third world countries.

Getting Along With Porn

With increased access to the internet,should the government impose harsher regulation on pornography? If you think yes then you are spitting on the idea of freedom of speech. If you say no then you are leading this country down a morally depraved road. However Charles Ess states in Digital Media Ethics “Before accepting/assuming that the only ethical choices before us are indeed those of an exclusive either/or… we should make every effort to see if both possibilities may be true” (140).

The debate of whether or not the government should impose harsher regulations can be looked at in a more inclusive tone by changing the basic idea of what is being debated. No one is suggesting to limit or stop the freedom of speech or expression.  The hope is that regulation will ensure the age of the performers is that of the age of consent, the performers are not under duress, they are being compensated for their work, etc.  Free speech has it’s limitations and this should include what is transmited over the internet.

Some may see this as further censoring of the expression of the performers. I see it as another safeguard for performers and a quality control for vewing audience.  The average person with a web-cam and internet access can upload a video the content of which cannot currently be regulated to ensure it is legal in the area being viewed. It is then that caveat emptor takes over. The buyer,or in this case vewier, must be responsible for what they are getting involved with.

The producers and performers also have a responsibility to self regulate the content of what they provide. They need to make clear what they are providing. It is a handshake between makers and users that must be followed to allow for freedom of speech and expression and also allow for legal concerns to be met.

The Facebook Flat

In the video “Cairo’s Facebook Flat” We are privy to a small flat near Tahrir Square in Egypt occupied by young revolutionaries. We get an inside look at how Facebook is helping with spreading the word and exposing the current government for the crimes that have been committed. Yusuf Bagato goes as far as stating that Facebook and Twitter are what started the revolution.

The revolutionaries believe that Egyptian TV is brainwashing the Egyptian public into thinking the revolutionaries are wrong but Facebook and Twitter are helping to spread the truth. Due to most the youth in Egypt having a Facebook account the word is able to spread faster than every before. The public is able to form thair own opinion using multiple sources not just state run agencies. So long as the people have access to the internet the stories from the front will continue to be told.

Express Yourself!

The films we watched in class have changed my thoughts on digital media rights. I believed a mash-up or song downloaded was an act of theft. No one has the right to take a work of art and change small portions then claim it as their own. I equated this to taking The Scream and cutting it up literaly and pasting the figure into another work of art. Then taking credit.

 

 

 

 

But only after watching the documentary did I realize my thinking was off. We are in a digital realm and I was thinking analog. No one would claim I am plagerizing an author if I were to use a quote and cite my resource. The book even mentions the mentality on the Copyleft/FLOSS “…You are free to share…remix…under the conditions of:attribution…” (77). This is revolutionary thinking in that it allows for artists to express themselves even thought they are using someone elses work as a tool as long as everyone knows who the original work belongs to.

The film RIP: A Remix Manifesto shows the art of DJ Girl Talk. Through his unique expression those in attendance of his shows are treated to a new way of enjoying the music they already know. Esentionally Girl Talk is an artist. He uses sampled music as his paint and our ears as his canvas. If nothing else the newly createdexpression evokes an emotional response in all of us. This is the very definition of art. We must allow the artist the ability to create new works of art in order to progress into the future. I believe the ethically and morally right thing to do is to allow the form of expression to continue.

Can we trust WikiLeaks?

Can we trust WikiLeaks? Should we? Wikileaks is a site that “leaks” reports about classified events, there is very little we can do to verify the leaks against colabirative information.  I will admit, some of the information is damning. But alot is unverifyable. It becomes a matter of what the reader thinks is true,  so, as long as the “leaks” seem plausible, they will gain credence.

WikiLeaks has earned credibility for its Afghan War Log by having traditional news powerhouses like: The New York Times, Britain’s The Guardian and Germany’s Der Spiegel examine more than 90,000 documents before posting any of them, and by holding back several thousand with the potential to imperil coalition troops and their supporters. Still, some in the know doubt the creditability.
 
I believe we should use WikiLeaks the same way we should use Wikipedia; a starting point, not the end all be all. In time WikiLeaks might gain more acceptance. As for now, we should remain alert.