Tag Archives: Technology

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.

Who Do You Want To Be?: The Masks Behind Technology.

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Who do you want to be? It doesn’t matter who you are right now, what you look like, where you live, age, interests, talents, likes, dislikes. All of the things that right now define who you are can be wiped clean with the click of just a button. Did you ever think this would be possible? To completely re-create who we are to people and instantly become who we want to be? The internet has made this option so easily available for us today and the truth is that even though you may want to believe that most people are being truthful, some of them are not.

In her article “Who Am We”, Sherry Turkle talks about how the computer has went from being introduced to a college classroom as a “giant calculator” to altering our minds, ideas, and even who we are into something different. When it was first developed the computer was strictly technical and known for calculating purposes only. But, today the computer and the internet have greatly evolved to allow us to branch out to people with so many different forms of communication that it could make your head spin. Between Twitter, Facebook, Blogging sites, and much more, we have so many options to choose from. It is crazy to think that when you enter a social media site such as these that we do not have to be who we are. We can enter a totally different image of ourselves, a different personality, a different persona and fool people into thinking that we are someone that we are not. It is like we are creating our own character that we just dreamed up.

Yes, in a way this can be a great thing, we can be who we always wanted. And in some cases this can be innocent. Pretending that you played a certain sport or liked a certain band that would give you a different image or dynamic, fine. But in other cases, these lies are not quite as innocent. Due to these masked identities that we create, the world of the internet can be a scary and unexpected place. You never know if you are really talking to a boy your age that goes to Temple University or if you are actually communicating with a 40 year old man that gets a kick out of talking to young girls. Being able to create these different sides of ourselves can at times be harmless, but you still have to be cautious for the times that they are not. Next time you are talking to someone on the internet be sure you know who they really are, not someone you think they might be.

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From Papyrus to iPads

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We would not be where we are today, in the current technology we use, if we had not gone through all of the previous technologies before. It was crucial to the development of writing tools to use papyrus and reeds to transcribe writings and pictures as well as animal hides, rocks and cave walls. It amazes me that humans came all of this way using preindustrial tools to the technology we have now. We started out writing marks in the dirt and on rocks to having printed texts in books. Better yet, we have now started reading on iPads, Nooks, Kindles and other E-Readers.

In Writing As Technology, Bolter says “In fact, it is hard to think of a marginal technology in the history of writing that the computer cannot imitate, just as it is hard to think of a dominant technology whose elements the computer does not borrow and reinterpret” (Bolter 23). I could not agree more with Bolter’s statement about the computer and its’ amazing technology it offers. All of the technology we use today is based off of the computer. With all of this technology being extremely accessible, it means anyone can make a website, blog, viral video or social media page.

With all of this technology being at our fingertips, it means anyone can say whatever they want on any website while staying anonymous. They can post their opinions on any topic and have the freedom of speech to back it up. In Writing As Technology, Bolter says “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” (Bolter 20).  This aspect of the internet is what our country was founded on. To be able to have the right to express opinions that may differ from the people around you. We can have our own religious and political beliefs and write about them on the internet until we are blue in the face. Some people get carried away with internet use and they use it for bad reasons like making adult websites and videos and posting them for little kids to see.  Morality and censorship go right out of the window with these graphic web pages. Thank god for parental controls and pop-up blockers!

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Digital Text Vs. Printed Text: Will Print Become Extinct?

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      In his first reading “Introduction: Writing in the late age of print“, Bolter mentions that texts and books were being published via the printing press as lasting texts, but today that is changing. Now publishing companies are digitally releasing their books electronically and soon books may be available only in that form. A couple of weeks ago we actually discussed this very topic in my teaching literature course. My professor informed us that one particular publishing company, and a big one at that, is actually going to produce only digital copies within the next few years. Every text published by them will be available on the computer but will no longer be produced as a lasting text. It is crazy to think that soon enough words will not exist on paper anymore but merely just on a digitally composed screen. As Bolter reminds us, there are so many different forms and types of writing available for us to read at a moment’s notice on a computer screen. Things such as journals, news paper articles, magazine articles, and even business information, along with text written in different languages can be accessed by the click of a button. That’s it, accessing digital text is just that easy, as opposed to print. Going to the library, looking up numbers and genre sections just to find one book is something that no one with the simplicity of typing a few buttons on the computer would want to go back to. It is true that “electronic technology provides a range of new possibilities, where as the possibilities of print seem to have been played out” (Bolter).

      However, I also agree with Bolter when he says that we as authors and or readers still look to printed text, in a way favoring it. In my case, this is true. Yes, being able to access articles and text on the computer is a great thing, don’t get me wrong. The accessibility is great and you can get a hold of many more materials than if you were to search for the print copies, but there is just something about reading a text in book form or magazine form that just doesn’t compare to reading digital text. I feel as though both digital text and printed text both serve different purpose and do so very well. For example, if I am researching information for a project in school I would probably rely on digital text and the scholarly articles that programs like JSTOR pull from printed journals. I would choose digital text because it is easily more accessible and would allow me more time to work on my project rather than spend most of my time just trying to find a printed version of the text. However, if I was reading a story or a novel, I would need printed text. There is just something about holding a book in your hand and flipping through the pages when reading a story that really helps you get a feel for the writing and lets the author immerse you, digital text just does not have that same affect on its reader.

All in all, both types of text have their own advantages and disadvantages. They each serve a different purpose and do such very well. Although it may seems as though digital text with its new efficiency is going to be fully taking over text producing soon, I don’t think print text will ever become irrelevant.

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How is Writing Technology Affecting Us?

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After reading both of the articles by Bolton, “Introduction: Writing in the late age of print” and “Writing as Technology” I found myself finding many comparisons between these articles and other articles that relate to this topic. I believe that writing in itself is a technology and just as every form of technology does, it evolves over the years.  I see this affecting my own writing strategies and my future career.

Unknown-1When I was going through grade school there were limited amounts of computers and just as Bolton discusses in the second article, “it was not apparent to most readers and writers that the computer was a writing technology at all” (pg 24). The computers in my elementary school were strictly used for practicing math and learning how to type. As a future teacher I am now noticing that elementary aged kids are relying on technology for more than just practicing math skills, as a matter of fact they are probably able to type better than me before they even begin first grade. Using the computer for them is just as assessable and easy as using a pencil and paper was for my generation.

Regardless of how the evolution of writing technologies will affect my future career I also have my own personal opinions on the matter.  Before investigating this topic further I thought my beliefs were concrete. I felt that computers, nooks, ipads, and kindles, were taking away from the magic of writing and reading. It wasn’t until recently that I began to feel different. I realized this when I was assigned a paper in class when the professor made us hand write an assignment. My thoughts weren’t coming out as clear and my hand writing was getting progressively worse as the paper went on.  I feel that tools such as laptops, desktop computers, and even the internet are some of the most helpful tools for a writer. It makes outside information more easy to obtain and our own thoughts more clear and easy to understand for others and for ourselves.

nook-ebooks-ereader-imageHowever; I still feel uneasy about the slow demise of handheld paper books. Bolton discusses this in his first article. “Because of the tension between print and digital forms, the idea of the book is changing. For most of us today, the printed book remains the embodiment of text” (pg 3). Call me old fashioned but I would way rather pick up a book at a bookstore or a library then download it onto a digital device. Bolton goes on to discuss that many future writers feel this way because it is easy to have things published online but to have a hard copy of your text published in a book form is completely different (pg 3-4). As an aspiring writer I couldn’t agree with this more. I live for the day I will hold a copy of my own book, published and finished, in my hands.

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.