Author Archives: angsuppi

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.

I’ve got a feeling… somebody’s watching me….

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English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you ever wonder how your favorite store just seems to KNOW you? What you like, and what you’re willing to buy? That’s because they do.

C. Dihiig in the article, ” How Companies Learn Your Secrets” ,  explains that companies like Target, are doing what they can to learn about their consumers and cater to their wants and needs.  “For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy.” They then use statisticians to analyze this data, and with other data they collect like your work history, and demographics, are able to send you ads that will interest you and get you to keep coming back in to their business.

The thought to me, at first seemed absolutely bizarre. And almost scary. I didn’t like the idea of strangers knowing personal information about me , and then trying to get me to buy what they think I need. But the more I thought about it, I started to like the idea. These companies are taking their consumers into consideration and doing what they can  to cater to us.  Whether it is to benefit them or not, they are taking the extra measures to make our shopping experiences the best and most fulfilling they can be. I like the idea of getting all of my shopping done in one place, and knowing I can go there and get things I really like.

I post personal information, like where I live, and go to school on social networking sites, so it’s not that different for companies to have it. It doesn’t seem like they are being invasive, they are merely collecting data.

Coolcatteacher: The Ultimate Professional

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Looking over different educator’s twitters, I stumbled upon Vicki Davis, better known as, @coolcatteacher. She seemed approachable, and fun, so I began following her and instantly became engaged.

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Her posts are truly inspirational . Her career is her passion , as it should be. She shares not only how to become a better teacher, but ways to do it, and keeps young educators like myself on our toes about new and emerging technology and curriculums across the nation. I have learned so much in a week of following her, that I just want to keep learning more. There is an entire world of education, I have no idea about. 

Scrolling through the list of who she was following, I was a little stunned. Everyone is an educator. Or involved in education in some way. It really showed to me just how absolutely involved and informed she is about all different types of education, and how helpful this is in the grand scheme of things.  I myself tend to stick to talking to Early Education majors. Its what I specialize in. But she on the other hand, had Early Ed teachers, Linguistics professionals, high school history teachers and even us college students. Her broad range of knowledge is commendable, and such a good example for people like me. She broadened my own horizons, and made me realize that just because I teach a certain age, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t know about what is happening in my school, district, state, and country as a whole. As educators, we should unite through our passion and careers, and work together to keep moving forward. Needless to say, after scrolling through I followed about twenty more people. I’ve read more articles on education in my free time because of coolcatteacher, then I have in my entire life, and I’m pretty excited about it.  #accomplished #futureofeducation

Facebook Feigning.

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No Facebook for a week. Sounded like a fairly simple task.

 

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I could do tons of other things. I could actually do all of my homework in a timely manner, I could read a book, I could make cookies…. or I could give in and go on anyway.

 

 

I really completely surprised myself with this assignment. I truly didn’t realizejust how often I was using Facebook, and how much I had become addicted over the last few years. I lasted the first night. It was fresh on my mind, and I was determined. I watched T.V. instead, and I did bake cookies. Small victories.

And then I woke up the next morning .

I don’t think I even realized that Facebook is apart of my daily routine. I woke up, rolled over, grabbed my phone, and instantly clicked on my Facebook app. Why, you ask?

I DON’T KNOW. It was literally natural for me. It was a daily routine to scroll down my news feed, catch up with the world, and then go back to trying to get myself out of bed. ( Which always takes much longer then needed). It dawned on me after a few minutes , what I had just done. Just one day after the assignment, I lost. I was so reliant on this social networking site, that after less then 24 hours I was back on. The worst part is, I wasn’t even that interested. It’s not that I absolutely HAD to go on and see what was happening, I just did, because it is what I always do .

After that first day, and becoming extremely frustrated with myself, I decided to try again. This time instead, I became hooked on twitter. It’s fast, and informative, and fluid. New tweet’s pop up constantly, and at the time of the Boston Bombings, this was a perfect way to stay up to date. I lasted longer during this stretch. But I still could not stay away from social networking. It is a perfect distraction when I need it.  It’s how I communicate. It’s how I read during the day. It’s what gets me through long and boring classes, its how I express myself.

It’s taken over my life, apparently.

Maybe I should take up painting. This is getting a little ridiculous…

Who are you to tell me what I can do? : Regulation on the Internet

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If I asked you who is in “charge” of the internet and its rules, would you be able to tell me?  In fact, is anyone in charge?

There are a plethora of accepted rules and standards acknowledged and accepted  for internet usage among children, teens, and adults alike, but who is that gets to decide these? And when did our freedom of speech become limited  because of a computer?

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Internet regulation is a growing concern among users and government alike. Yes, as American’s we are protected under freedom of speech, but how much can you say before it is too far and offensive or even putting others in danger? Should anyone be able to tell us it is too far, or too much? Sociable Blog lists ten reasons the government should not have the right to regulate the internet, and after reading them, I really got to thinking, maybe they are right…

Here’s just a few..

1. To protect the first amendment

2. Encouraging entrepreneurial activity

3. Facilitating Innovation

4. Complications of Regulating Legitimate Sites Under Sweeping Legislation

5. “Offensive” is arbitrary

The internet is used for more things then just communication. It is a livelihood for some, a means of researching for others. Why should someone have the right to censor or take away information just because they think it is wrong? What if what you were taught is wrong is different from the next person, and the next. Based on different beliefs, the internet could be shut down completely if we were going off of what ” offends people”. Freedom is freedom. No one should be able to take that from us.

My name is Jack. But only on Facebook : Identity on the Internet

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If I told you today, my name is Jack and I am a 35 year old man from Jacksonville, North Carolina, would you believe me?  stranger

Well , in fact, my name is not Jack, I am not  a man, I am not from North Carolina, and I am a college junior. Scary isn’t it? That I can tell you I am anyone I want, from anywhere in the world I want, and you just have to take my word for it. The internet is free and so is this country. Who has the right to tell me I can’t lie?

Sherry Turkle explores this phenomenon in her article, ” Who Am We” (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.01/turkle.html) . As she describes it, “life on the screen permits us to “project ourselves into our own dramas, dramas in which we are producer, director, and star…. Computer screens are the new location for our fantasies, both erotic and intellectual. We are using life on computer screens to become comfortable with new ways of thinking about evolution, relationships, sexuality, politics, and identity.”

In other words, the internet is not real life . Maybe for some of us it is. Maybe you go on Facebook and Twitter simply to share thoughts about your  daily life, thoughts and ideas. But what if your life is too boring? What if you have tons of ideas bottled in your head that are far too inappropriate for your grandmother to see on your profile? The internet, and freedom, tells us it is OK to make something, or someone else up instead. If you don’t feel like being you today, and your boss made you really mad, you can sign up on twitter and make an anonymous account bashing your job.  No one is going to do an identity check when you sign up on social networking sites, so why not?

 Turkle adds, “That the Internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities. That we are moving from “a modernist culture of calculation ” . We used to form our communities based on people around us, that had similar interests and desires. Doing that on the internet, could lead you to an entirely different community, with people lying about what they do, and who they are.

People lying about their identity has become an overwhelmingly popular thing to do. It used to be believed that predators would be the only ones doing it, because it was wrong. Now teenagers do it to get dates.

Freedom allows us to be whoever we want to be. Home, in school, or online. But is it OK to be three different people? In case you still don’t believe this happens, check out that trailer for  MTV’s reality show Catfish.

This is real life.

 

When Writing Won’t Mean Using Pencils : The Dispense of Printed Words

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Bolter’s ideas of writing are clearly modern and moving towards the future in Introduction: Writing in the late age of printWriting space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print. I must say, for myself as a writer, I had a hard time connecting with him and the thoughts, as well as facts he was presenting.  Perhaps it is that I am just being too stubborn, but I think it might be a little too far fetched for me.

Bolter says. “although print remains indispensable, it no longer seems indispensable.” (page 2) He is making the point that with all of the technology we have at our fingertips, and things such as the world wide web and graphic technology, we will someday be able to stop printing all together.  The point is we will be able to, but will we?

As a writer, I believe it is my job to do just that, write. He makes a good point by adding, “ Electronic technology provides a range of new possibilities, whereas the possibilities of print seemed to have been played out.” (page 2) Yes, I do agree that we have hit the brick wall with print. There is nothing more we can do. We have explored all options, including using scribes, writing on different types of material , and teaching cursive. We have matured completely in print, but I do not think that is any reason to abandon it. Rather, digital print and technology should just be helful additions to what we have already learned to do with our own two hands.  Technology should not make us forget our past.

By far the most frightening idea to me, that Bolter shares, is that people will no longer want, or need books.  As of now, he says, “ few authors today aspire to publish a first novel on the internet ( it is too easy) .” ( page 3). It gives me hope, but then I remember those authors are of an older generation that grew up on print, not technology like the next few generations.   The future seems to be shifting in another direction. Using authors  again, as an example,  he also says, that “they think of the computer as  their primary medium,  print as a secondary, or specialized one .” ( page 3)

The problem is, just as he says, it is too easy. I learned to write in stages, using different thought processes, and taking my time to create a finished product. Print meant using books for research, writing down and rewriting , taking your time.  The internet and typing on Word cuts all of that time, and  also decreases the amount of thinking by at least half.  Bolter praises writing using technology by pointing out its advances and discrediting the common claims that using a computer is not comfortable for a writer, it is expensive and it is not portable enough .  It may be evolving, and it may even be a growing part of our culture, but I still, as a writer do not feel comfortable abandoning my book, pen and paper for a keyboard and Google.