Facebook

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Facebook

 

In the article ‘Why I Left Facebook’: Stubbornly Refusing to Not Exist Even After Opting Out of Mark Zukerberg’s Social Graph, Robert Gehl argues that those whom leave Facebook are making the right choice. Through Facebook quitter’s blogs he describes Facebook’s worst qualities, which give you all more reason to leave Facebook yourself.

 

Gehl first touches on how Facebook has managed to hide the truth about privacy, and sharing so you don’t think about it. Facebook with ease allows users to fill out personal information, upload content, and then it is in the hands of Facebook. I was guilty at a time of uploading party pictures, not thinking where these pictures could end up, or how they could possibly affect future employment. Once learning though of the trouble I could run into with my activity on Facebook I started to monitor my use; as mentioned in the article you must perform for an always-watching audience (p. 229).

 

Secondly he touches on the commodification of the user; the user provides all their content for free, and Facebook rolls in the dough. Yes I agree this highly seems unfair but sometimes this free content is beneficially.   As mentioned in a previous blog I belong to the group Visual Arts at Brock, here I am enlightened with news, events, opportunities, otherwise that I really wouldn’t have heard of if I hadn’t gone hunting for it.

 

The third argument is reduction in true relationships. As mentioned in the article I can agree that a vast amount of my friends on Facebook are just people ‘I’ve met at some point’ (p. 232). My true friends I actually spend time with physically in person. What I find strange is when people I never really talked to (say in elementary school and/or high school) add me, I then accept, and they don’t ever interact with me. These individuals just become another part of my audience.

 

His 4th argument is that despite the noise of Facebook it’s addictive. My Facebook news feed is constantly fill with usually useless information that is in no way beneficial to my life but as stated we continue looking for meaning. I will spend hours on end though despite me well knowing that I could well enough leave the online world, and find true meaning in the outside world.

 

His final argument is that Facebook is uncool. Personally I feel like the big hype over Facebook, or having a Facebook account is gone but until a new social networking site comes along Facebook’s existence does not seem like it will disappear. In a sense it is cool that you can ‘connect’ with others online, but it’s a lot more cool to connect with others in person.

 

After reading this article I feel like should delete my Facebook, but in reality I probably won’t because I myself am an addict.

 

 

Gehl, Robert W. “‘ Why I Left Facebook’: Stubbornly Refusing to Not Exist Even After Opting Out of Mark Zukerberg’s Social Graph .” Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives. Ed. Geert Lovink and Miriam Rasch. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures. 220-238.

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Pinterest

Part 1: Personal Reflection of My Own History of Technological Use/Disuse

On a daily basis I am using several technological devices; I’m either on my iPod Nano, iPhone 5, or MacBook Pro. All of these items I have purchased on my own (minus the MacBook Pro, I needed a little bit of assistance with the hefty price tag attached to it).  I am glad my parents made me pay for these items, as it taught me the value of a dollar.  It also taught me though that when it comes technological devices a dollar does not go very far.  The price tags are high despite the items that have just been purchased are soon to be obsolete (or already are), and/or fail to perform in a short amount of time.

 

 

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Here are the 3 Apple amigos!

 

Now when looking into how often I have replaced such items, I tend to replace some more often than others.  In regards to iPods I am on my 2nd since roughly Grade 9 (I previously owned a SONY mp3 player as well).  As for cellphones I am on my 4th since Grade 9, and as for laptops I am on my 2nd since Grade 12 (to put that into perspective I am now 22 years old).

Sadly with my iPods, and cellphones I have upgraded due to the technology being so-called ‘outdated’, or lacking the ‘coolest’ new features.  I have also replaced my existing cellphones due to the ability to upgrade for free, or at a low cost when my contract had ended.  The devices in which I previously used though were still, and still are today fully functional.  In regards to upgrading my laptops, I had only recently replaced my 1st laptop because it was on its last legs.  The battery would not last without being plugged into an outlet (despite purchasing a new, and larger battery a couple years back to hopefully extend its lifetime).  It would also run into several errors while starting up, or while working on it.  I’m sure there was a way to fix it myself (but unaware of), and because of that it would cost an arm, and a leg to get it fixed by someone else; it was just easier, and cheaper to buy a new laptop.

 

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Another feature I just needed to have with an upgraded phone…as a result being unproductive due CBC’s Fifa World Cup app which provides free coverage!

As for disposing of my old technological devices, I still have both of my iPods (and MP3 player), 2 of my 3 cellphones, and my old laptop.  My first cellphone though was brought to my provider Telus where they apparently recycled it when I purchased a new one.  Although they said they recycled it, I have no idea the actual journey it took after I handed over the desk.

In regards to disposing of my own e-waste I have never actually just thrown my technological devices into the garbage.  Back when I was younger, and into video games for a short period of time (owning SEGA, PlayStation 1, and Gameboy Colour) these items were disposed of properly.   They were either brought back to stores that would give you money for your used items, and/or sold at garage sales.

As bad as it sounds I personally do not consider the social, and environmental impacts of my technological devices.  If I did I would not own an abundant amount of technological devices, nor would I be updating them as often as I do.  It’s actually disgusting considering the amount of electronics that I can recall being in, and/or once existing in my home.  Each cellphone, iPod, computer/laptop, printer, TV, DVD player, etc. have all been replaced at least once, or twice, if not more.

Through this personal reflection on my own history of technological use and disuse I really come to conclusion that I am an abuser. Putting this all down on to ‘paper’ is a real shocker, I am only 22 years old and myself have already gone through that many devices at the rate I’m going how many more will I go through in my life time.  Through course readings, and other materials this week it made me think a lot about my own use, and how I need to reflect, and change my use.

 

Part 2: Pinterest Board

http://www.pinterest.com/brittanythomasc/what-to-do-with-my-e-waste/

As I still own most of my technological devices I no longer use, I decided to look up what I could do with my e-waste…

1. Heroes for Children: Laptops for Love

Heroes for Children is an organization based out of the Unites States that provides assistance to families whom children are diagnosed with some form of cancer. Through their program Laptops for Love people are able to donate new, and/or lightly used laptops to teens that have cancer. Teens who receive a laptop are then able to keep relationships with friends, and family healthy, and flourishing while their time is spent in hospitals. It also allows them to keep up with their education, and not fall behind.

2. Globetops

Globetrops is a donation-based charity that allows people with once again new, and/or lightly used laptops to donate them to those in poor societies, and to those whom may have never had one. Once the laptop is donated, it is sent to Globetops command centre where all laptops are collected, erased of all memory, refurbished, and then finally sent to its new rightful owner. Both the giver, and receiver are then given the opportunity to communicate, and become friends with each other.

3. ecoATM

ecoATM is a self-serve kiosk that pays cash for old, and used technological devices. Currently they accept items including cellphones, MP3 players and tablets. Accessories such as chargers, and cases are also accepted but only for recycling not for pay. Items that are then received if still functioning are reused, while others that do not are recycled for their materials. Along with offering pay, the ecoATM gives you an opportunity rather than taking the cash to donate it to one of their charities (even if it is only just a proportion).

4. Game Changer Charity

GameChanger Charity is also another organization that collects old, and/or lightly used electronics to provide financial assistance to families whom have children that are suffering with some form of life threatening illness (these illnesses are ones that are often neglected, and rare). This charity also collects video games (it’s original mission), which are given out to those children as a source of entertainment while in hospitals. Money donations are also collected in order to fundraise for cures of theses diseases.

5. Isidore Electronics Recycling

Isidore Electronics Recycling is a service based in Los Angeles, which recycles e-waste. As mentioned in their video e-waste is an issue, and so is criminal activity so they provide on-the-job training, and an employment program for previously incarcerated residents. With every 50,000lbs collected, the service can then hire a new worker to keep off the streets. Through this company they lessen the consequences of improperly disposed of e-waste, provide green jobs, and offer jobs to those who may have difficultly obtaining, and keeping jobs due to their history.

6. Cellphone for Soldiers

Cellphones for Soldiers is a non-for-profit organization, which provides free communication services to active members in the military, and as well veterans. What I found surprising was that the founders of this organization were on 12, and 13 when they came up with the idea! Along with collecting cellphones to give away, they also collect money donations to provide free talk time, and calling cards. Through this organizations initiatives they were able to prevent 11 million cellphones from being true waste.

7. Electronic Waste Disposal: Goodwill of Orange County

Goodwill of Orange County runs a program called E-Waste Solution in which collects e-waste (functional or not) free of charge. They will also even pick up the items for free. Now, through recycling the e-waste they are able to re-sell the items to families in the community who can’t necessarily afford the latest trends in technology. If items cannot be repaired they are then taken apart, and the metals are sold to state recyclers. Lastly, the program provides job training and jobs to those with disabilities, and other barriers that make job opportunities difficult.

8. Reboot Charity

Reboot Charity is an organization based out of the United States, that believes one-on-one education is essential to making change in communities. To make this a reality they collect donations of e-waste to recycle, and/or redistribute. Proceeds, and redistributed items are then given to the volunteers to help provide one-on-one education to the public, and those with disabilities. This type of education includes: “successful family life, dangers of drug abuse, dangers of alcohol abuse, music education, reading education, finding employment, and personal improvement.” (http://www.rebootcharity.org/about-us/). Also, those whom are volunteering are helped with finding employment, as most happen to be financially suffering due to job loss.

 

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Twitter

Before this week’s topic, and course readings, I had never even heard of a Twitter bot. After doing my research though, I would consider Twitter bots modes of participation to be troublesome. As defined in the article Rise of the Twitter Bots, Twitter bots are fake Twitter accounts run by computer programs (Dubbin, 2013). Besides producing automated tweets, following others accounts, and doing other innocent actions via Twitter, these fake accounts, or Twitter bots are misleading to other real accounts; they essentially serve to alter what is seen as important on the Internet and so-called legitimate. Multitudes of Twitter bots will follow an account, favorite/re-tweet/reply to the same account, and as a result increase numbers in turn increasing its so-called legitimacy.

 

These bots also often have the ability to steal user’s information, and then also use these accounts to send out more spam to hijack others (Bot or Not, 2011). In the article Who’s That Woman in the Twitter Bot Profile? the senior editor at Fast Company decided to find out whom the real person was behind the profile picture of a Twitter bot that was following him (Feifer, 2012).  When tracking down the real person, she had no idea that her photo from her 2009 SUNshine Girls calendar feature was being used without her permission for a Twitter bot account; once photos, and other information are posted online it can be so easily circulated, and misrepresented without consent (Feifer, 2012).

 

Interestingly enough though, people are willing to buy these bots; companies sell them to clients whom are interested in increasing their numbers (Bot or Not, 2011). Despite these bots not being real people, the more followers (whether fake or not) an account has increases their popularity, and the likelihood of their posts being seen by real people. Sadly, these Twitter bots could be purchased for legitimate causes, or businesses/artists/etc. trying to get a big break, or they could also be used to for hashtag activism which I will explain later on.

 

Hashtag activism is the use of hashtags over social networking websites and/or applications to bring about change (Dewey, 2014). The more a hashtag is used in postings, the more likely hierarchies (the government) are to notice their abundant use, and make real change through their power. From reading the article #Bringbackourgirls, #Kony2012, and the complete, divisive history of ‘hashtag activism’ it can be seen how hashtag activism has real world consequences (Dewey, 2014). As many people are using social networking websites and/or applications it only makes sense to use these as platforms for activism, giving even ordinary people a voice that they don’t usually have, and making those in power aware that society is informed of real world issues.

 

What I find frustrating though is how quickly hashtags used in hashtag activism come, and go; one hashtag is easily replaced as another issue of the world arises. I personally have not seen the hashtag #bringbackourgirls as popular as it was once was, and once looking into the status of the missing school girls I found out that the majority are still yet to be found (Cuddihy, 2014). This is a problem I believe exists with hashtag activism; it makes us care for merely a moment about an issue, and then we go about our everyday lives forgetting about it because a hashtag fades. On a side note, Twitter bots could make these hashtags continue to be as popular until the issue is solved, and/or to be a constant reminder to us that the issue still exists. It should not be the responsibility of a Twitter bot to keep us aware though, those who participate in hashtag activism need to simply not forget, and should continue to be active in their efforts if they truly want to make change.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/11/the-rise-of-twitter-bots.html

http://botornot.net/project

http://www.fastcompany.com/3000064/whos-woman-twitter-bot-profile

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-21/nigeria-wraps-up-kidnap-investigation-with-200-girls-still-miss/5540586

 

 

 

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Meme: Deconstruction and Reconstruction

Deconstruction: Art Student Owl

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The meme I chose is Art Student Owl.  This meme features a photo of an owl’s face, with a cigarette hanging from it’s beak, and text above, and below it; the text comments on experiences that students will, do, and have run into during their time in post-secondary visual arts programs.  This meme can be found on the Tumblr page Fuck Yeah Art Student Owl (http://fyeahartstudentowl.tumblr.com) in which is thought to be the origin of the meme.  The author of the page, Kendra, herself, is a student at the School Of Visual Arts in Manhattan.   On the Fuck Yeah Art Student Owl Tumblr page, Kendra also outlines the guidelines for making an Art Student Owl meme.  Firstly she states the meme must be visual arts school and/or visual arts student related.  Secondly, it must not belittle a certain artist, or subculture of art.  Lastly, it must not be similar to already posted memes of Art Student Owl.

I chose this meme because although I am enrolled in concurrent education, my major happens to be visual arts.  These memes are relatable to my experiences in the Visual Arts program at Brock University, and provide comical relief.  I often find myself sharing these memes with friends in the program, and/or on Facebook groups that I belong to that relate to art; as a community we can all relate to the situations presented within these memes.

The community in which the meme targets is centrally post-secondary visual arts students, and myself am one.  This meme can also be relatable to artists, art teachers/professors, other art professionals, and friends,and family of these individuals.

The meme serves as a cultural artifact of visual art students (past, present, & future).  Those whom remix these memes must have knowledge of what occurs in visual arts programs, and must follow the set out rules (as mentioned earlier); as result those whom remix these memes often are visual art related individuals.

References:

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/art-student-owl

Reconstruction: Tim Hudak

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Although this meme may be a little late (as the Ontario provincial election ended June 12th, 2014) I believe it is important topic to touch on; my meme directly comments on (now former) Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak (whom was running for Premier of Ontario), and his education platform.  Hudak made it aware that student loans, OSAP, would be hard to obtain, and should be tied to grades as they too often reward those with mediocre grades.  As a post-secondary student, and a student whom receives OSAP I find this particularly alarming; I already do not receive enough money from OSAP to even cover my tuition, and/or books.  When reading further into his platform, even grades of B (70-79%, at least at Brock University) would also be considered just mediocre; as a result I would probably be receiving less funding, or none at all.  I find it particularly funny, because most of the money given to students has to be paid back anyways.  So why limit the students who receive funding.

My target audience for this meme is post-secondary education students; I myself was the only one of my friends whom voted during this election, and it makes me very concerned that many are not informed on things that effect them.  The voting percentage of young adults is low, but with memes being popular with younger generations this could possibly intrigue their interest in learning more about the political party leaders intentions (that could as a result effect them greatly if certain leaders are to gain power).  My meme does require some prior knowledge, but very minimal; one must only know who the political party leaders are.

Now, a Tim Hudak meme already exists but does not comment on his education platform (http://weknowmemes.com/generator/meme/Tim-Hudak/440822/).  I used a similar template to the Tim Hudak meme; it uses an image of Hudak, and as well uses negative commentary about his intentions.  My meme also uses the No Soup for You meme (http://memegenerator.net/No-Soup-For-You), by instead of saying “No Soup for You” says “No OSAP for You”.

Although this election ended last week, and Tim Hudak resigned as Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Leader, memes of these sorts could be used during campaigns to inform young adults.  Memes make short, concise, and make bold statements; they are quick to read, and catch the eye easily, and can intrigue interest/concern about politics.

References:

http://www.uwimprint.ca/article/4282-where-do-tim-hudaks-pcs-really

http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/opposition-leader-would-manipulate-students-through-loans/

 

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Techno Trash

In regards to technology, the choices we make have a much larger repercussion beyond our personal use. For example, when ridding of my own technological devices, I try to bring them to collection centers that claim recycle them. I personally feel I am doing the right thing by doing so, but do I do my research, and find out what really happens though? No. After watching The Lightbulb Conspiracy Theory documentary, I learned that our e-waste is being dumped in other parts of the world, particularly third-world countries; we are ruining their environments with our e-waste, or what I see as dumping our problems onto innocent others.

If e-waste is not visible we do not think about it, nor do we worry about it, and this is a problem.  For example when reading the article Excavating the Video-Game Industry’s Past, I learned about video games being dumped in a New Mexico landfill because of overproduction. Would I have of heard about this if it was not a required reading for this course? Probably not, nor would I question to myself as to why a company, or other companies would produce so many products knowing that there will be overproduction, resulting in waste; waste that cannot be ridded of in an environmentally friendly way. Or another example from the article Power, Pollution and the Internet article where I learned that databases only use 6 to 12 percent of the electricity while the rest of the energy is used for idling.  Does this make any sense? No, but is this information pushed out there by mass media for society to ingest? No. When it comes to economic growth, it is not to be discussed; the environment does not matter.

Through the documentary The Lightbulb Conspiracy Theory it is learned that the lightbulb conspiracy is a company’s goal to design products that have a limited time of usability; this can also be called planned obsolescence. Despite the technologies available to make the best, and the longest lasting products, companies take an alternative route because products that do not last stimulate demand by consumers, increasing economic growth.

What surprised me the most is that planned obsolescence was happening in the early 1900s with the production of the light bulb (note the name of the theory). Light bulbs that could last for 2500 hours were being reduced to only lasting for 1000 hours; the less hours the light bulb could run, the higher the demand. It was noted in the film though that a light bulb was created that could last 100,000 hours! Sadly though this light bulb along with others (that had long lifespans), never reached the general market. Contemporary digital culture is very much the same; the product you bought won’t last long, and as soon as you buy a new product, there is something already out there, or being produced that is so called better, repeating the cycle.

This cycle results in silent destruction of our environment.  As stated in the documentary though, the environment runs in a sustainable cycle, and if industry could do the same, society could greatly reduce it’s ecological footprint. With the continued greed though, I don’t see a bright future for the environment.

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History of My Online Communication

Before the Internet came along communicating was rather simple.  I, myself would either just show up to a friend’s house uninvitingly (or vice versa), or I would call my friends via house phone; you’d have to state who was calling, and ask either your friend’s mom, or dad if your friend was available to talk.

With the rise of the internet though, these activities dwindled away.  I, along with friends were able to chat through text, or webcam, via Hotmail, and MSN Messenger.  Then came along a social networking site called Myspace; I shared a personal profile (with pictures, and text) with friends, and family that could later comment, and personal message on.

Looking back at these forms of communication though, there were a lot of restrictions, and privacy placed on them by my parents with concerns of safety, and whom I was conversing with.  As I got older though, and as technology advanced,  the restrictions, and privacy lessened; as Myspace faded with the rise of Facebook, I found I was making more of my own decisions in what I shared, and whom with.  With the creation of a Facebook profile my ‘friends and family’ base grew beyond what it normal was; I was now adding school peers, co-workers, acquaintances, etc.

To my surprise, my sharing base grew even further with the use of Twitter, and Instagram; these applications allow anyone using them to view my posts.  Although, my personal privacy has disappeared through the use of online communicating I still make it a rule of mine to only post, or say things, that I would in person.  Once you’ve posted, or said something over the Internet it is out there, and easily transferable.

Here is a link to my “History of My Online Communication” Storify…

https://storify.com/bt10zd/history-of-my-online-communication

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