In last weeks tutorial we were asked to create and share a survey onto Facebook for our friends to answer. I chose the topic of “Social Media” and how it affects peoples lives. Here are the results taken from 32 people who did the survey.
I found these answers interesting because majority of people would agree that sometimes social media is interfering with their quality of life.
This answer was also interesting because while majority said no a lot of people admitted that yes it does make them feel jealous or insecure about their relationship.
In hindsight I wish I had given the option for 0-2 hours to break up the majority. However, even though majority answered that they spend 0-5 hours per day on social media some said 5-10 hours and one person answered 15-24 hours. I feel like this is in direct correlation with the people who answered that social media is interfering with their quality of life and they feel jealous in their relationships.
This was the question I was most excited for people to answer because social media is such a huge part of our daily lives now. Majority admitted that they could do it or that they would consider doing it.
Survey Monkey 2017, viewed 11 August 2017, <www.surveymonkey.com>
In this weeks lecture we learnt about cyberactivism which is a form of activism online. We watched a BBC documentary on the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. Who is an Australian hacktivist notorious for releasing private documents and data to the public that would otherwise be kept secret by the government.
In the lecture it was explained that a hacker is a person who users a computer to gain unauthorised access to data whilst a hackivist is a person who hacks a computer system to bring attention to a political group or cause.
A group of hackivists could therefore be Anonymous. They famously wear the Guy Faulkes mask that represents freedom and are described as “digital Robin Hoods or CyberTerrorists” by some people.
This has also been described as electronic warfare. After the lecture I began to think about my own experience with cyberactivism and remembered the viral video of Kony 2012.
This video was hugely successful and went viral by itself because of its powerful message, call to action and effective use of primary rhetorical tools pathos, logos and ethos.
However, the campaign was soon questioned as a fake and fraudulent because of the low action taken after it’s initial launch.
It seemed to have failed because people couldn’t witness the result or where their money from donations were going to. Were they going to the children in need or just to the organisation?
While this was a call to arms for action it seemed to have failed when it went viral and people became frustrated as a result.
But many people failed to see that the organisation just wasn’t ready for such traffic. 120 million views in 5 days with a working staff of under ten people. That’s a lot of work and Public Relations to handle.
Many charities and non-for-profit organisations use cyberactivism in this form. PETA and RSPCA fight against animal cruelty and encourage users to hashtag, share and donate when they see a shocking image or something outrageous that is cruel and unfair.
It seems the algorithm now works solely on outrage and plunges deeper and deeper into these shocking images to move something within us to take action and press that share button.
“I share therefore I am.”
However, these people are not hackers or involved in hacktivism.
Hacktivism involves the hacking of computer systems, for a politically or socially motivated purpose (SearchSecurity, 2017).
A hacktivist uses the same tools and techniques that a hacker would use, but they do so in order to bring attention to a greater political or social cause (Denning, 2017).
The main differences between hackers and hacktivists is that hacktivists use illegal and unethical procedures to collect and distribute classified information. Such is the case with Julian Assange.
I have chosen to do a timeline on Microsoft’s Xbox for something different and because I am a lover of video games. I am very excited for the future of gaming and think it has a lot of amazing potential in education and skillsets for the future as well as good ole fashioned entertainment.
As we can see from the picture above social networking falls into the category of Web 2.0. This is because it enabled interactive communication and sharing of messages through various sites with friends and colleagues.
In doing this course it has made me seriously consider my time spent on social networking sites and how I could use that time more wisely in the future. I wonder about the younger generation who has grown up with nothing but technology in their lives and if there are appropriate coping mechanisms in place at schools and at home. At the moment I don’t think anybody knows quite what to do about our time spent online and in the virtual space we sometimes mistake for reality.
William Gibson coined the phrase “consensual Hallucination” in his book Neuromancer and I think it is appropriate to apply to this idealised image that is portrayed online when it comes to people and the lives they lead.
There are people who are making a living out of social networks now, especially sites like YouTube, which allows content creators to share their work and gain a mass following of people from around the world.
I believe we live in a powerful creative world in that sense, but I believe that a lot of our time is spent consuming rather than creating. I believe we would be a lot happier and mentally satisfied if we created rather than consumed all the time.
Increasingly we see businesses consulting clients on how to build a following online and how important it is to have a social media presence to get your work noticed.
Belton (2014) has dedicated an entire book to the importance of social networking and building your contacts in a professional manner. She has an entire chapter dedicated to the importance of hashtags on Twitter to grow your following and get the right attention from the right people and utilises her other chapters to focus on LinkedIn, Facebook and even blogging in a professional business market.
Belton, A., Blaminsky, J. & ebrary, I (2014), Social networking in recruitment: build your social networking expertise to give yourself a cost-effective advantage in the hiring market, Impackt Publishing, Birmingham, England.
This week’s lecture was focused on the evolution of the web and the rise of social networks. We watched an interesting short video about the sending and receiving of data across the web and how the web first began with emails and short soundbites of information and data.
I didn’t know how this data transfer worked so found it interesting to learn about how data is transferred from the internet to my computer and so forth.
In 1989 an English scientist named Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. He was employed by tech company CERN when he wrote the first web program in 1990 (Lumsden, 2017).
Mosaic browser transformed the Internet from an academic tool into a telecommunications revolution in 1993 (Gillies, 2000).
Now in 2017 the World Wide Web is the mother of modern communications, providing information for millions of users and tens of thousands of servers (Gillies, 2000).
From the previous semester in a journalism class I learnt about Web 1.0 Web 2.0 and now Web 3.0 which is the new era of “the intelligent web.”
In this new era it is social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter that are the most popular among users.
The term cybernetics derived from the Greek word kybernates, meaning “steerman.” It was first introduced by Norbert Wiener, in 1948. He used it to describe a new science which combined the theories of communications and control.
Wiener believed that cybernetics has the capacity to encompass the human mind, body and the world of technology. By combining all three simultaneously we would have control and communication (Featherstone and Burrows, 2000).
Cybernetics is the science of control and communication in the animal and the machine (Hook, 2004). Cybernetics is focusing on not what the machine is, but what the machine does. It has been recognised that there are similarities in biological and mechanical systems so researchers have pursued the idea of merging biological and mechanical systems together. Thus, cybernetics have taken on the meaning of adding prostheses to human or animal body to either replace lost function or augment biological activity (Hook, 2004).
Featherstone, Mike and Burrows, Roger (2000), Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment, SAGE Publications, London.
Cyberpunk is a genre of sci-fi which focuses on a society dominated by technology. Humans are usually oppressed by a hierarchy and rise up against the new world order. Over the years there have been many creative works released in this sci-fi genre including those previously stated of Neuromancer and Ready Player One.
In the lecture this week we watched shorts from The Matrix and Bladerunner to better understand the cyberpunk world and how they consist of the same principles as each other.
According to Mike Featherstone (2000, p.2) cyberpunk refers to the body of fiction built around the work of William Gibson’s Neuromancer novel. Cyberpunk sketches out the dark side of the technological future developments and power struggles between man and machine.
The terms cyberspace, cyborg and cyberpunk are key words drawn from the term cybernetics which will be discussed in the next post.
Featherstone, Mike, Burrows, Roger (2000), Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment, SAGE Publications, London.
Lister, Martin et al (2009) New Media: a critical introduction, London: Routledge, 237-42, 281-3.
The term cyberspace first came to life in the novel by William Gibson called Neuromancer. In this world, the main protagonist, Cas, would visit this world and refer to it as a place, that place being cyberspace.
In another fictional novel Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, his characters face the same world. In this dystopian cyberpunk world the characters enter a Virtual Reality cyberspace called the OASIS, which is virtually like the Matrix.
While they don’t physically go there they enter th e space through the machine and become an extension of themselves (but better because of advanced technology). These technologies are socially shaped but that society is not technologically shaped.
Michael Heim (2011, p.240) explains cyberspace through the user which he describes as a cybernaut. He states that, “the cybernaut seated before us, strapped in sensory input devices, appears to be, and is indeed, lost to this world. Suspended in computer space, the cybernaut leaves the body and emerges in a world of digital sensation.”
While cyberspace isn’t a place that one can physically go to and visit it seems that it is a place of escapism of the mind and mentally people do travel there and stay for a short time.
Gibson, William (1984) Neuromancer, New York City, Ace.
Cline, Ernest (2010) Ready Player One, New York City, Random House.
Lister, Martin et al (2009) New Media: a critical introduction, London: Routledge, 237-42, 281-3.
Do we control technology or does technology control us?
In the modern world we are surrounded by smart phones, computers, televisions in multiple rooms and tablets in our beds.
We seem to be constantly attached and deny addiction to these devices. There is a theory called the Proteus theory that states our addiction to technology is influencing our psychology and as a result our decisions.
It is a phenomenon in which the behaviour of an individual, within online worlds, is changed by the characteristics of their avatar.
This change is due to the individual’s knowledge of other users who are part of the virtual world associating with those characteristics positively.
The Proteus effect was first introduced by researchers Nick Yee and Jeremy Bailenson at Stanford University in June 2007. The name of the concept comes from the Greed god Proteus, who had shape changing abilities.
My personal experience with technology has been similar to everyone else’s in the fact that I grew up with the introduction of the internet and the explosion of communication technology and social media.
But the question is can we live without it?
Well, probably not.
Technology seems to be so entrenched in what we do on a daily basis that it is almost impossible to separate ourselves from it.
I recently manually turned off all my notifications for social media on my phone (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat).
The only app I left on was email as it is a professional platform I need to keep in contact for job opportunities and university studies.
It has been an empowering habit to break because now I am finding I am becoming a proactive person rather than a reactive person.
It’s forces me to break habits, such as getting out my phone when I’m bored, feel uncomfortable or waiting for time to pass.
It allows me time to take notes instead, achieve my readings for university and work on my professional development.
I think inherently we are curious and social creatures and that means we always want to feel connected and social within our community, even if that community is online in “cyberspace.”
Technology can be a wonderful tool but I think it’s important to remember that it is just a tool and the tool should never distract you from the task.
Mark Weiser stated that we should, ‘focus on the task, not the tool.’