Sunday, May 11, 2008
I felt that this class was a great class. There were times I'd get worked up and I think all of us did when it came to some topics. However, I think that it was great that we were able to discuss so freely and pose arguments as a group. Going into the class, I initally did not know what I was getting into. I knew the title of the class was something about smart mobs, but first coming to mind is ooh mobs like Italian mobs (LOL). I feel that I got a lot out of the class. As we learned new things and read many articles, I got a better understanding of our society and culture today. I never knew about 2nd life, virtual communities, or anything like that. I had never seen the Colbert show before this class either, which may sound ridiculous, but now I have seen it and I think it is hilarious! This class actually made me feel sheltered from our culture today, but I have gained a lot from the class. It has allowed me to be more open-minded toward the internet and its positive uses instead of only focusing on the negative uses of the internet. I initially was getting frustrated with the blogging assignments, because I was not doing as well as I'd like. In the end I was getting the hang of the blogging and writing tactics! This class was not only eye-opening, but it was interesting. It was also fun to be able to get on 2nd Life and watch clips, such as The Colbert Show or from youtube! Overall, great class! :)
This blog is basically to rant and rave a bit. When I first signed up for this class I had a completely different perspective about online communities and virtual worlds. However, since taking this class my mind has been opened to a whole new world I didn't even know existed. I'm really excited I decided to take this class because I enjoy learning new things and especially about things I don't fully understand.
However, we have gotten into virtual worlds more in depth than I thought we would and I have discovered that I'm a bit shy about how I feel. I think the fact that we've been learning about the negative side (and obviously the positive side) of virtual worlds, I just can't seem to understand why people are apart of these online communities/worlds. I don't want to offend anyone but it is still hard for me to understand why and how someone would enjoy this. But, after Burcu got back from the convention this weekend, she seemed really happy and content about meeting up with her virtual friends which made me ask myself, "Am I missing out on something I've convinced myself to be so against?" After Burcu made a few comments my opinion kind of shifted once again. Now, I understand a little more why someone creates a friendship with someone online in a virtual world or on LambdaMOO or something and then wants/gets the opportunity to meet them in person. It just made me rethink why I'm so against these virtual worlds and I think I've come to the conclusion that I don't think I'm against them as much anymore. This is really exciting to me but disappointing that I've discovered this so late in the semester.
I know we're going to write a paper about what we liked about the class but I figured I could write about it a bit now. I think that in the future the students who take this class should be assigned to create an avatar on Second Life and instead of writing blogs they can participate in Second Life. This way they will understand what goes on in this world instead of just reading about it. The schedule would probably have to be changed around but I think this would be good for them and they can communicate with one another better (in this case, maybe this could take the place of Twitter). Anyway, I just wanted to rant about SecondLife and how I have changed my perception and am now more open about it. Class discussion will be different now :)
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I enjoyed reading the latest chapter from Postman entitled “Reach Out and Elect Someone.” The chapter discusses how politics is just like show business in that the main part of a candidates job while running for office is to APPEAR as if they are honest, respectable and hard working through various forms of media such as commercials. According to Postman, “we are inclined to vote for those whose personality, family life, and style are the most favorable among the candidates." I agree with his opinion in that politicians spend a lot of their during campaigns trying to APPEAR to the country that they are well rounded, like to have fun, but also know how to get the job done.
I feel that there are many people out there that know squat about politics but choose to vote based on the values of the candidates seen in the media. For example, I remember hearing a few months ago that Hillary Clinton cried in public showing her compassion for the nation. Immediately following this event, there was mass speculation on several news circuits granting Hillary a victory in gaining more voters just because of her response. This is because Hillary showed that she is human, thus improving her image.
Also, in April, Hillary continued to show how "cool" she is by appearing in college towns and taking shots of whiskey and chugging beers. She is doing this to change her image to make her look cool and hip so people will vote for her. This applies to Postman’s idea (mentioned above) because people who witnessed these events are beginning to sense that she is an empathetic, strong woman who cares about the nation. They are also showing that she is human in that she likes to drink and have a good time. Every leader needs to be able to sit back and enjoy life sometimes.
One question that can be derived from her reaction is: does someone who “virtually” harasses someone in an online community deserve to be banned from that online community? In my opinion, free speech online is free speech. If legba was offended by Mr. Bungle, she should block his comments or just log off when he tries to contact her. For example, the website JuicyCampus.com is becoming increasingly popular among college campuses across America. The website is totally anonymous and encourages enormous amounts of bashing and gossiping.
To learn more about the website, check out this CBS News report about JuicyCampus: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/26/scitech/pcanswer/main3968514.shtml
If someone was gossiping or bashing me on that website, I merely would stop reading the comments because what I don’t read will not bother me. This is how legba should react to Mr. Bungle’s virtual remarks. Because there is such a thing as free speech in this country, it is hard to punish the person writing the criticizing statement on the web. Sometimes it just pays to be the better person and walk away from incident with maturity. There are hundreds of derogatory posts on JuicyCampus written about people that are even harsher than what Mr. Bungle expressed in LambdaMOO. I bet if people didn’t make such a federal case about the “raping”, the whole community would have quickly moved on. The problem here was that the “rape” victims were too enveloped in LambdaMOO that their reactions and emotions got the best of them.
Another point to bring up here is that if people just ignore that they are getting "raped" or bashed online, the act still continues, however they are just ignorant of it. Everyone else can still read what people say about you on JuicyCampus and remind you of it later. Therefore, there is only so much ignoring can do. Also, it is important to mention that free speech isn't 100% granted. There are some limits such as libel and slander. You can be sued for making up false claims and accusations. Perhaps, JuicyCampus will create outrage in the future that many petitions will form and get it shut down. There has to be a way to prove that the website is unethical and at some points can cross the line of free speech.
All of these are very good points and are probably true. But on page of 126 of his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, he goes as far as saying that we can like or dislike a TV commercial, but we “cannot refute it.” Well I can’t blame him because he published this book in 1986. Times have significantly changed, however. In the 21st century, the Internet is beginning to dominate, or at least it is closing in on becoming the dominate mass media technology.
The reason I bring all this up is that everything Postman said about television was once right, and some of it probably still is. A few years from now, however, surely the Internet will stand for everything that the television once did. As I write this, the Internet is currently leaving its mark on the 2008 election campaign. In his book, The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House, Garrett Graff does a nice job putting some of this in perspective:
“No longer can they just put a thirty-second ad on television and be assured that everyone watching TV will see it. Instead, they recognize that online, no one has to watch anything, listen to anything, or read anything that doesn’t grab their attention. The campaigns are competing for eyeballs, and that means they have to step up their efforts” (251).
At one time, campaigners could put up an advertisement on television and expect most of the country to see it. That would mean airing an ad on the big three: NBC, ABC, and CBS. Now, however, not only are more and more people choosing the Internet over TV, but those who watch a lot of television are no longer bound to just the network stations. I read somewhere that for his re-election campaign, George W. Bush ran ads on ESPN, the Speed Channel (to reach NASCAR audiences, I guess), and a third cable station which has slipped my mind. He knew that he had to change his approach in reaching the general public.
With the extremely high dollar amounts of 30-second TV ads, many campaigns might find it more beneficial to use the Internet and say everything they feel they need to say, although that doesn’t always work. “…there are no longer the time constraints of television advertising, but instead of buying one’s attention—which is no longer as easy with the expansion to cable and satellite TV—one must earn it online (266).
Bottom line, times have changed and are changing and the television commercial isn’t once what it was. The internet is taking over Mr. Postman.