Week 4: Social Networking

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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.

References:

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.

Week 4: Evolution of the web

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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.

 

References:

Lumsden, A. (2017), A Brief History of the World Wide Web. [online] Web Design Envato Tuts+. Available at: https://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/a-brief-history-of-the-world-wide-web–webdesign-8710 [Accessed 2 Aug. 2017].

Gillies, J. & Cailliau, R. (2000), How the Web was born: the story of the World Wide Web, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Week 3: Cybernetics

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Academic College Projects: Cybernetics

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).

References:
Featherstone, Mike and Burrows, Roger (2000), Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment, SAGE Publications, London.

Hook, Christopher (2004). Cybernetics. In S. G. Post (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Bioethics (3rd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 533-537). New York: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=griffith&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3402500123&sid=summon&asid=d7c21cabe4c4ffe236451e37df5af43f

Week 3: Cyberpunk

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Artwork by Devian Tart neuromancer__brazilian_edition_cover__by_f1x_2-daf7qtk.jpg

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.

References:

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.

Week 3: Cyberspace

 

Is cyberspace a place you can physically visit?

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.

 

References:

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.

 

Week 3: Man vs Machine

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.’

Week 2: the privacy debate

I remember last year when we had the Australian Census and each citizen was required to give personal information over online; such as their name and where they resided for the first time ever.
This proved to be a disaster with the site crashing from so much traffic (millions of Australians logging onto the site at once) but also because a lot of people felt like their privacy was being breeched by the Government.
However, on the other hand people seem more than willing to share their personal lives on Facebook and other social media sites.

I’m around the age of people getting married and having children, which they immediately post on Facebook.
New babies and newly wedded couples spewing their personal photos all over the internet for their online friends to see and respond too.
For example, my friends posted a photograph of their wedding on Facebook where a car was doing a burnout in the background, this photo was discovered by the local police who are now investigating them regarding the photograph because they have been captured participating in an illegal activity and sharing it on Facebook for all to see.

It was mentioned in Week One’s lecture that the public were afraid when the new camera phones came out because it was ‘the end of privacy.’
But now that fear seems completely ridiculous because everybody has a phone with a camera and it is considered normal to have this added feature.

As the technological communications world advances we can see more and more that people (particularly the youth) are sharing personal details online. That is why there is a lot of threat around internet safety regarding young children and teenagers sharing/accessing  information online because on the internet people can disguise themselves as anybody.

 

Week 2: Encyrption online.

Encryption online is important to some people because the data is secure between the sender and receiver.
WhatsApp is popular because it is an encrypted service of messages between two parties. BlackBerry used the same method with a private email service on their devices, which could be why it is a popular device for governments.
The most popular encryption that comes to mind is the Enigma Machine used by Nazi Germany to send encrypted code to each other. It was broken by the British using the Bletchley Park Bombe to decode the messages by the German’s.
Alan Turing was one of the people who worked on the Bombe project and eventually cracked the encrypted code with the invented machine.
However, I assume that like most people I don’t really understand how encryption works exactly, we just know that it does work.
For some people having encrypted data online could be beneficial when it comes to privacy matters because it protects them online.

 

 

Week One: Reflective Post

Today we were introduced to new communication technology concepts. In the lecture we watched a speech by Amber Case about “Calm Technology” and how it can be used to take back control of technology rather than technology controlling us.
She spoke about ‘relying on external brains to communicate’ in the coming age of new technology.
Mark Weiser discussed the idea that the world is not a desktop and that we should be focusing on the task not the tool.
In class we were asked to create a blog using one of the many different websites available to us. I am using WordPress because I am already familiar with the sites tools and enjoy the simplicity of the site.
I am excited to learn more about communication technologies in the coming weeks this semester and create some content.