Archive for April, 2011

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.”