Final Reflection: Freedom and Web 2.0 Technologies

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During the course of this semester, in my Introduction to Writing Arts class, I focused on blogging about freedom and its context in web 2.0 technologies. I read numerous articles both in class and on my own, and used them and the information I got  to create blogs where I composed my own thoughts and ideas into posts. I then presented these findings in a presentation format known as pecha kucha (check it out, seriously) to my class, here’s what I learned from these experiences, hope you grab a little from it too.

 

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During my presentation, on the topic of freedom, slide number two was primarily focused on WordPress and blogging on the internet. When I thought of freedom on the internet, this was the first thing that came to mind, besides the popular social networking sites that most people are already very familiar with.  I really loved blogging this semester, because I got to stream all of my thoughts into one place, and say whatever I wanted, I really felt like an author, and not just like I was doing a writing assignment for class. I had the freedom to choose my own pictures, quotes, and share whatever ideas fit.   I had free reign over my topic, thanks to my professor, and WordPress did not filter what I said either. I went through no process of getting checked, and I posted what I said for the world to see.  I choose for this slide, to add in a quote from Bolter where he explains, that “The open architecture of the World Wide Web allowed individuals to create sites and add them to the Web without the approval of any authority”. I thought it just added to what I already discovered on my own about freedom.  Approval was not needed from anyone to voice an opinion on the internet, we are protected by our constitutional freedoms.   I presented this slide right in the beginning because I think it really introduced it well, especially pointing out a blogging site I wasn’t even aware about until this class. Sometimes, I think people aren’t even aware of all of the freedom they have, because they are limiting themselves to what everyone else is doing.   If everyone knew they could blog about any topic they want, and reach a large number of people, more people might do it. Thinking about it now, I really liked that I included it but I might have done a different screen shot. Maybe showing a blog post, where I posted about a controversial topic, or said something people think is inappropriate, and still posted it, to show that you can indeed use your freedom of speech to say whatever you want.

Learning about freedom in a completely different context then what I am used to was very interesting for me this semester. I have learned, back in elementary school about our constitutional right, freedom of speech. What I learned was that we have the right to “say” what we want as long as it is not harming another person. What I did not learn, was where that freedom begins and ends on the internet. I was not sure if “saying” words, and “typing” them on a computer would have different repercussions. When you say something to someone, it may stay in their memory, but it isn’t documented and most times cannot be brought up and used against you , because it does not have enough credibility. Anything published on the internet is permanent , and on sites for the world to see, and find should they wish to . The web 2.0 readings were very helpful in my understanding of my topic. In Sherry Turkle’s article, “Who Am We”, which happened to be my favorite, she focuses on the idea that, as she says, “We are moving from modernist calculation toward postmodernist simulation, where the self is a multiple, distributed system.” In other words, we have the freedom to be anyone we want on the internet. As she explains, a user can create any name or persona they wish. This really made me look at freedom in an entirely different way, and realize we have more room to do what we want on the internet then I had originally assumed. If I decided today, I wanted to blog under the name John Smith, there would be no authentication checks to make sure I am indeed who I say I am, so I could to it. Our freedom allows us to do so , and “pretending “ to be someone else, does not come with any punishment as it would in everyday life off of the internet. Off of just the internet, and blog posts as well as social networking sites, Charles Duhigg in the article, “ How companies learn your secrets” , examines how big name companies use web technologies to find out information about their consumers. They are free to use our card information to find out about who we are, including even the company we work for and everyday demographics about the buyer as well. All of this, without any permission, because of freedom. These articles, as well as the research I did on my own, really broadened my horizons, and made it clear that as Americans we are given plenty of room on the internet to exercise our rights, and nobody has the right to tell us not to.

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