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Final Project

Digital Diversity is everything we have covered in class: the digital divide, technology, how it affects our interactions with one another, activism, stereotypes, video game usage, digital dumping, social media and networking, and more. I believe that Digital Diversity broadens our horizons and opportunities. According to Watkins, President Obama would not have been elected to his presidency without the help of social media efforts. He went on to say on page 196 in The Young and the Digital, “One he realized the looming impact of the young and the digital, Obama did two things. First, he hired some of the top young technology talent to design and execute his new media strategy. Second, he established an active presence in the online world.” This shows that anything can happen with digital media, including presidency. Especially with the internet, email and social networking, new media encourages and fosters communication, networking, and relationships. The United States and other countries around the world take advantage of this form of media for the greater good for all.

Our possiblities are endless. XO laptops are created to provide educational opportunities and computer skills around the world in underdeveloped countries. Technology made this opportunity available for the children and their families. It was shown in the XO class presentation that these laptops were utilized by parents in addition to the students. Digital Media Ethics points out on page 48, “we are always “there”: our “default setting” is to be connected to the communication network- and disconnected usually by choice.” This is what our culture and other cultures want as well. To be connected, in constant relationship and update of others, to explore, listen, create, and thrive in the digital. Digital diversity is everywhere, and if it isn’t already, it is on its way.

Works Cited

Ess, Charles. Digital Media Ethics. Polity, 2009. Print.

Girl Talk, Bounce That. Ilegal Art, 2006. CD.

Girl Talk, Here’s the Thing, Ilegal Art, 2008. CD.

Watkins, S. Craig. The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social-Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future. Beacon. 2009.

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The thesis of my group’s project, “Activism Vs. Slacktivism: Can One Lead to One Another?” easily allowed my group to take our topic of activism and slacktivism into any direction. We met every Sunday to discuss  the project, assign tasks, brainstorm and plan our presentation. My group members were phenomenal. We wanted to do something different, something that would hold everyone’s attention and not bore them. Our presentation style was thought of during this time that we met, and everyone put in an equal amount of effort into it. This time as a group allowed us to really invest in our presentation and make something really cool. We decided to create a late night talk show. To inspire eachother, one group member even sent a Youtube video to get everyone in the mood for script writing. On the group project work days provided in class, my group also used that time to our advantage. We used it to record our animation clip and film our video clip for one of the guests on the show.

I don’t think I would have done anything different now that we have completed our assignment. We made sure that everyone had an equal amount of time speaking and presenting their facts. Strangely, I would have liked to have more time in our presentation so that with my role as talk show host, I could have transitioned or commented more on each guests part with my activism vs slacktivism sources.

As a student, media use is required to further my education. My major is communications- a field that will require knowledge of social media, computer programs, internet usage, and anything that will require me to use media to reach out to the general public or a target audience. My internship significantly takes up a large portion of my pie chart. In the chart, 22 percent is dedicated to using the computer, a total of ten hours a day, 20 minutes total in the week is dedicated to skype usage for instructions, four hours is dedicated to using the internet, and in past weeks that we not recorded for this assignment, more than 4 hours has been dedicated to updating social media and YouTube. My internship depends on media to connect, discover, and send stories. Just like the quote below suggests, the internet has become a necessity in my life and contributes to the amount of experience I will need in my future career.

On page 187, Watkins said, “More than half of those we suveyed, 56 percent, believe the Web is a necessity in life. And it is true. Every facet of their lives- school, work, play, finances, shopping, and communication with their close friends- is managed through the Web.”

My work facet of life is highly dependent on the Web and will continue to grow its usage of it.

My internship also allows me to expand my “human network” because my supervisor is located in Boise, Idaho. With the creation of skype, I am able to talk to her face to face, even though there are about six hours separating us.

My internship experience supports that “the internet has long been promoted as the ultimate “human network”; a communication technology that renders geography insignificant as humans form bonds, connections, and relationships across the globe,” on page 55. This is significant because this would not have been made possible without the Web or internet.

My pie chart represents the amount of computer usage my major and career building activities demand. The majority of the chart is full of internship and school work hours. While I view always on as prepping for a career, others might disagree.

In an article by David Needle, E-mail Addiction Drives Risky Behavior: Report, reports that 79 percent of people pack work-related devices with them on vacation, which defeats the purpose of a vacation. He also discusses how we are more likely to do risky and innapropriate behavior “such as driving while texting and checking e-mail during important events (20 percent at weddings, 30 percent at graduations and 15 percent at funerals).”

We all have different motivations for being always on, some which may reflect an addiction while others, like myself, are preparing for a career that will demand it.

In response to Smith’s blog regarding “The Social Network” and Generation Facebook, Smith argues, “That a lot of social networking software explicitly encourages people to make weak, superficial connections with each other (as Malcolm Gladwell has recently argued), and that this might not be an entirely positive thing, seem to never have occurred to him.”

Encouraging people to make weak, superficial connections with one another is emphasized by the “connection” that Mark Zuckerberg desires the members of Facebook to partake in. Friending someone on Facebook doesn’t make them your friend in real life, it creates a false connection that relies on “liking” someone’s status or browsing through the photos that so many of us lose time in. This so-called connection allows its members to wind up on a strangers cousins girlfriend’s page and giving us details about this stranger’s life that we have no reason to be reading or interest.

In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Zuckerberg said: “Well, what I think it’s doing is giving everyone a voice, right? So, back, you know, a few generations ago, people didn’t have a way to share information and express their opinions efficiently to a lot of people. But now they do. Right now, with social networks and other tools on the Internet, all of these 500 million people have a way to say what they’re thinking and have their voice be heard.”

But how important are those voices to be heard? Hardly as a Facebook user do I see life changing status updates or opinions stated by the “friends” on my friend lists. Instead, I read pointless chatter and complaints, positive snid bits here and there, but never have I seen these voices dwell into something deep. As a result, these false friendships thrive on this pointless chatter, liking, commenting, etc. These relationships seldom turn into something tangible in real life and only temporarily fill the need for significance in our lives.

In the introduction of The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social-Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future (p. xvi-xvii), 22-year-old Erica describes Facebook:

“It’s a big part of our lives in this day and age,” she said candidly during a conversation outside a small cafe. “And if you’re not a part of that, then you’re missing a huge part of your friend’s lives also.” Erica elaborated. “It’s hard to relate to the people who you are friends with if they have this big force in their lives and you are not a part of it… it’s the impact that it has on real life.”

Erica is focusing on the connection that Zuckerberg is striving for in his online world. However these connections can thus lead to a familiarization with other cultures and people from them.

“A first component of an ethics for cross-cultural communication online is the obligation to become familiar with the cultures of the world, beginning with the cultures of those with whom one frequently communicates,” as described on p. 109 of Digital Media Ethics.

Connection not only means those close to us, but those far from us as well. “The Social Network” does a poor job representing Zukcerberg’s desire for connection when he says and blogs, “Erica Albright’s a bitch. You think that’s because her family changed their name from Albrecht or do you think it’s because all B.U. girls are bitches?”

Being a jerk online is going to limit the connection he craves and throughout the movie feels the consequences of his actions and backfires.

The connections we make online are not as deep or sincere as a personal interaction. Who we are becomes public to everyone’s friends, family and strangers, and we are limited to the level of privacy we want to maintain. If Zuckerberg wants connections, then why can’t we view his pictures, information and friends? After all, he is “trying to make the world a more open place.”

 

 

Slacktivism- defined by dictionary.com as the public proclaiming of one’s political beliefs through activities that require little effort or commitment. This lack of effort is being put to use on social media sites such as twitter, facebook and protest websites. Is this political method effective? How much effort defines little effort or commitment? What are the motives of organizations and businesses that encourage slacktivism?  How does it influence policy makers? We would like to go more into depth with these questions and more. Slacktivism leads to a lower level of participation online- the user simply has to click “like” and instantly feels better about themselves because they support.

However, there is no evidence that online participation replaces off-line activism or reinforces it. The most that slacktivism does is raise awareness about a cause or issue. Unfortunately, slacktivism for breast cancer in last October, engaged females on facebook in a campaign for breast cancer by stating their bra color in 2009 and in 2010 my friends and I received messages that said:

“This year’s game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home; for example “I like it on the couch”, “I like it on the kitchen counter”, “I like it on the dresser”. Well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status (i.e. don’t respond to this message, but put it on your status) – and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let’s get the purse in as well and see how powerful we women really are!!!”

Stating where we place our handbags has nothing to do with breast cancer and did little action about this disease other than taking the focus off breast cancer and its awareness. What is the point of slacktivism other than making yourself feel good about “liking” a cause?

Links:

Facebook ‘Slactivism’ is not enough for Breast Cancer Awareness

Political Activitites on the Internet: Slactivism or Political Participation By Other Means?

Why Iran’s Green Movement Faltered: The Limits of Information Technology in a Rentier State

The Case Against Mass E-mails: Perverse Incentives and Low Quality Public Participation in U.S. Federal Rulemaking

According to dictionary.reference.com, the digital divide is the gap between people who have internet access and those who do not. However, according to Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life,“The digital divide isn’t just about personal computers; it’s about training, access, education, content, telecommunications infrastructure, and more.”

There is more to the digital divide than accessing the world-wide web- there are issues with ethnicity and racial providers, training, relevancy and resources. The definition of the digital divide leaves out the notion of e-waste, the technological waste that technology consumers generate and deposit unknowingly in China, India, Ghana and other poor countries.

As a consumer, it never crossed my mind that our technological advances were leaving behind a trail of environmental and health hazards. In the Frontline special, “Ghana: the Digital Dumping Ground,” boys collected copper and metals left behind to sell. The area they showed in the video used to be pristine wetland that is now converted to a technological wasteland dedicated to burning plastics and used computers. This is detrimental to the environment and the health of the boys, workers and people who live their lives surrounding the digital dumping ground. Exporters sending used electronics to Ghana labeled old computers as donations, which left the receivers to believe the exporters were trying to bridge the gap, which was not the case.

The digital divide fails to incorporate e-waste into its definition. As we bridge the gap of the divide, we will continue to generate more e-waste and environment and health damage that we can manage. This needs to be brought to our attention as we send XO computers to places such as the Kasiisi Primary school in Uganda. Yes, I agree that these children and populations deserve the same technology pleasures that we enjoy, but these laptops will contribute to the digital dumping ground elsewhere. The mission of this organization has the right heart and represents the large steps our world is taking to supply those without technology opportunities they have only dreamed about.

Basel Action Network, is a charitable organization in Seattle that “is the world’s only organization focused on confronting the global environmental injustice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade (toxic wastes, products and technologies) and its devastating impacts.” We need more organizations like this and a desire for awareness of e-waste before we supply ourselves and the rest of the world  more technology.

We must also keep in mind, as stated in Digital Media Ethics, “as especially the Internet and the Web dramatically increase our abilities to communicate across a global range of cultures, they thereby introduce a range of correlative ethical difficulties some of which, as affiliated with cross-cultural encounters, have been with us as long as human beings have lived together in culturally and linguistically distinct groups.”

As we bridge this gap, we must become more culturally aware and sensitive to different groups of people, especially when the richer countries of the world dump their technological waste on poorer ones. We are taking advantage of their willingness to accept our used products with no laws regulating e-waste. The definition of the digital divide needs to expand and take into consideration what its affects are globally. With this change, more awareness of its impacts will encourage recycling of e-waste or develop new organizations and groups to help regulate the disposal of used technologies.

Help prevent e-waste and look into recycling your electronics and sources of technology

Getting Past “Either/Or”

In class, we presented the debate of copyright versus creative freedom in an exclusive model. My group debated that yes, copyright limits creative freedom. In the complete opposite approach, both sides can be both right and or wrong.

Digital Media Ethics says, “This ability to think beyond the choices initially presented to us is not only a mark of critical and independent thinking- one that helps us see the possibilities of more than one claim being true; it may also help us break through what logicians rightly call “false dichotomies.” Such dichotomies are false precisely because they exclude options that should be considered.”

In the argument of copyrighting limits creative freedom, both sides are both right and or wrong. To begin, different countries hold different views of ethics. What may be right and accepted in the United States, could be totally opposite in China or elsewhere. Who is to say that we are right and they are wrong? For example (given in DME), in Thailand a gift of a nicely photocopied version of an important book in philosophy of technology breaks copyright laws in the United States. However, in Thailand the gift is a way of expressing the highest respect for the work of the author. The United States holds a different view that the work was stolen and must not be produced as such. Neither Thailand nor the United States are wrong. Both are right because they represent two different cultures that are allowed to live by their own set of rules and ethics.

Another side to the issue, copyrighting encourages and discourages remixing. Both encouraging and discouraging remixing can both, once again, be right on both sides. Discouraging remixing allows for new creative freedom that is not dependent on what is already creative. It promotes originality and changes the artist to create something fresh, new, different and out of the ordinary. How can this motivation be wrong? On the other hand, encouraging remixing gives the artist an unlimited source of media and material to create something new, but in a different newness. The artist takes something that is already created to modify and perfect it or create a new media with the old to enhance a new art form and expression.

If we focus on the right or wrong exclusively, we miss the point that two things can be right or wrong at the same time. With an inclusive view, we are able to understand more options and listen to the other side of the argument more openly. It challenges our thinking that we have to be “right” and the other is “wrong.” Submitting to both sides allows us to respect other cultures, norms and ethics freely with the mindset that we could be wrong, too. We won’t ever reach a middle ground or compromise without respect and understanding of the other side.

For more information about the current United States copyright laws, check out New Media Rights.

Issues on remixing can be both right and wrong. Here Girltalk uses remixing to express his own creativity, while in the image below, creative expression is utilized with no other forms of media.

Neither way of creating music is wrong; the main point is expression.

Cairo’s Facebook Flat showed use of new technology and social media in a new light- A way of moving towards a revolution and expressing political unrest.

The protesters are framed as media citizens and technologically savvy. Risking their lives to post protester testimonies and even protesting against their family’s wishes, technology encourages them to push the envelope in a result of their president resigning on Friday.The protesters in Egypt are cosmopolitians, citizens of the world. They are indulging in new technologies and using them to their advantage. In this case, Egyptians are using technology as a tool to become involved with government and political issues. As cosmopolitians, Egyptians are more familiar with our technology and utilize it, finding the courage to demand what they want for their countries sake. One must remember that technology of online communication embeds and fosters the specific cultural values and communicative preferences of their designers.

Twitter and Facebook were designed by Americans who reflect Western values, norms and beliefs. This is turn runs the risk of cultural imperialism, but for the Egyptians, new technologies are cultural hybridization. We aren’t pushing our culture on them because they are wanting it and using it. The protesters interviewed are young. High school to college aged. Young people anywhere in the world are influenced by new technologies the most because they adapt the easily to them and learn how to use them quicker.

New technologies broaden the perspectives of many. Our culture’s freedom of speech is somewhat an influence on theirs. Posting videos and opinions on social media confirms to others that they are not alone in feelings of political unrest. New technologies change how we think because of an universal influence. Besides social networking, satellites also show the power of acting on the desire of change. Witnessing the results of protests and unrest plants the seed in viewers that if change can happen there, it can happen here.

Dean Lawrence Pintak of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication discusses the influences of satellite television in Egypt and the Middle East here Satellite TV Most Responsible for Middle East Upheaval — Not Social Media.

Egyptian Protesters Celebrate the Resigning of their President

Assignment 4: Movie Post

In “Guarding the Family Silver” and “RiP! A Remix Manifesto,” both films discuss copyrighting and the issues associated with it. You can’t watch either of these videos without discussing ethics. Copyright is an issue that we are all familiar with because of how common it is to break copyright laws.

Mona, a popular New Zealand singer, was unable to use her name while touring in Germany. Her own name was already copyrighted and she apparently was using it without permission. The Maori culture in New Zealand, contributes to new designs and marketing in other countries. In the United States, Legos used Maori words in Bionicle; Play Station used Maori in new games with misrepresentation, such as placing a Maori’s woman tattoo on the main character chins, who is a man. Even Ford Motors, incorporated Maori designs into an F-150 truck, relating the truck to being fierce in battle to a Maori warrior (Serious Wheels).

In RiP! A Remix Manifesto, discusses the music and video industry and copyright issues involved. Girl Talk, a mashup of songs, would have to pay over $4 million to simply pay for permission basically to use other artists and recording label songs.

The ethics involved in Mona’s case deal with intellectual property laws, not just in her country, but around the world. How can someone own her name and prevent the use of her to use it?

As Burke puts it Digital Media Ethics, “…copyright is justified as an intrinsic right of the author, a necessary recognition of the author’s identity or personhood… the general rationale for copyright in this tradition regards creative work as an artifact that has been invested with some measure of the author’s personality or that reflects the author’s individuality. Out of respect for the autonomy and humanity of the author, that artifact deserves legal recognition.” ‘

I believe that despite the intellectual property rights of Mona’s name, Mona has every right to use it and publish it on a CD album. Her birth certificate already is the paperwork for her intellectual property rights to own it. Shouldn’t that be enough legal recognition? No corporation should have the right to sue her for using what is a part of her and taking away something that is not tangible.

Girl Talk, an illegal musician of mash-up music, combining as much music into one song as the musician can. This however, is illegal. Girl Talk mashes different genres and artists into one, such as in the song “Play Your Part (Part 1)”. This is ingenious, taking what has already been creating and reusing to create something fresh. Why can’t record labels feed into this niche market, something I’m sure that a surprisingly large amount of people would be interested in, I for sure would be.

Plagiarizing in essays and papers is easily avoided with citation, why can’t the record industry develop a system similar to this; the artist, record label, and anyone else involved with legal issues, would have credit and recognition for the work that was involved in the original creation. Attribution in my opinion is a solution. It’s not wrong if it’s attributed.

Legality in both videos, would decrease the issue. But I’m referring to changing the legality. Changing it to make the consumer happy instead of manipulating them.

 Give the Maori credit to using their designs and cultural references. Give Mona the right to use her name. Give the music and video consumers the right to mash-up and create something new.

Foursquare Terms of Use

Registered as a user of Foursquare, a person agrees to all of the sites terms and conditions, “Terms of Use.” The user is also agreeing to Four Square’s Privacy Policy, Intellectual Property Policy and “all other operating rules, policies and procedures that may be published from time to time on the Site.” Foursquare has the right to update any of these rules, terms and conditions without notification to the user.

Access to Foursquare Services is intended for the registered user and is not to benefit or be used by a third party. Anyone is welcome to browse the website and view it’s content without registering, but it is required to register to use other services provided. Registration demands for truthful information and asks its users to keep their account information up-to-date. A Foursquare account can be terminated if the account information is false, the user is impersonating another person, the user creates an account for another without permission, a User Name that is subject to any rights of a person who is not the user and an offensive, vulgar or obscene User Name.

In its Term of Use policy, Foursquare states that is has the right “to refuse registration of, or cancel a User Name in its sole discretion.” The user is then responsible for all activity through this application. Foursquare allows anyone to register who is 13 years old or older; a little young for someone stating their location.

Foursquare holds the user responsible for all content transmitted, whethere publicly or privately. It is at the risk of the user. If a user decides to terminate their “User Submissions,” they are then removed from the service of Foursquare; however, foursquare may hold the “User Submissions” for a “reasonable period of time” and will not be shared with others afterward.

In addition to the Terms of Use, Foursquare has additional Photo Guidelines as well. “A Foursquare Photographer” uploads pictures via “User Submission.” User’s are also allowed to have a “Page” on the webstite as well. These pages are “special profiles that may only be used to promote a business or other commercial, political, or charitable organization or endeavor (including non-profit organizations, political campaigns, bands, and celebrities).”

Foursquare reserves the right to terminate the users access to the application “at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice.” This termination will be effective immediatly and may result in a forfeit and destruction of the users information relations to membership.

Next: Foursquare and Privacy: What is Privacy?