Questions for Midterm

After reading most of the questions from the list, I wonder as to how what the possible answer could be to a few. Some seem as though they are opinion questions, leading to no proper answer/ a wrong answer, as long as one can technically show what one’s thinking is. Coming up with original questions at this point seems near impossible, yet there have been additions since Friday night, being at 116 questions. On one hand, it seems incredibly challenging to attempt to study for the midterm because there are an astounding number of questions already, and if only a few are to be chosen for the midterm, then how can a student study effectively? One could attempt to answer all the questions in terms of studying, yet as of right now (Sunday night) there are 155 questions, and to answer all of these would take a decent amount of time. Not to say that one should not attempt to answer these questions; however, due to some being opinion questions, as I had previously stated, there are multiple varying answers to those questions, and they would all be correct.

Link and Qiang Reading Notes

This reading material seemed to make the reader think about how today’s technology has made a huge impact on the world than without the mobility that we have today. Such example would be on page 84, “In any event, when a news item pops up in Chinese society today, it is often reported first on the Internet by eyewitnesses using cell phones or computers. Internet police can try to block such messages, but in many cases, especially if events are large and dramatic, they cannot” (Link and Xiao). One real life example that I can recall, is when there was mass public scrutiny when an ordinary bystander with a camera was waiting for a train on the subway, and saw a man in the tracks, trying to get out from the train’s path. Rather than attempt to help, the bystander took a picture of the man’s final moments before he was struck by the oncoming train. These are such events that go out, and there really seems to be no stopping any reports about it. I remember that the picture was even talked about it on the news the following day, and the news team members were confused as well about why the bystander simply took a picture rather than attempt to help. On page 85, there was another example about how “two high speed trains collided on a bridge”(Link and Xiao) and the way that was initially reported was via twitter. According to Link and Xiao, the Chinese government has an issue with free internet, and have taken steps in order to limit what is seen, and if such posts are deemed unpleasant towards the Chinese ideals, they will block (or at least attempt to do so) Chinese citizens from viewing such material.

Another point to the internet, in China, is that because the Chinese citizens are unable to “hold public assemblies” due to it being deemed illegal they do so through the internet. On the internet, they will “argue over the wording of petitions and manifestos, sign statements, vote in polls, and bring public pressure to bear on specific issues-all while each sits separately in front of his or her computer screen” (100).

 

Work Cited

Link, Perry and Xiao Qiang . “Language and Thought on the Chinese Internet.” From Grass-Mud Equestrians to Rights-Conscious Citizens.   83-105. Print.

Location Project

My project will be about how there are positives and downfalls to the ability that people now have to track others digital locations through wifi and smartphone location services. I have talked to a friend who has an app that allows her parents to track movements through her smartphone. Either by asking her to check in through the app, or that she press the button on her own accord, a ping is sent that gives a notification to her parents about her exact location. There are other features, such as if she were to be kidnapped, all she has to do is press a button, hide her phone from sight for 10 seconds, and a distress signal is sent out. There is another app for smartphones called Rave Guardian, which allows one to set a timer for how long it should take one to get to their destination, and if in that time, the user does not reach the target destination, then the phone sends out a distress signal to select people, which can include, but not limited to 911, friends, and family.

Possible downsides to this is that almost nothing is un-hackable, therefore, making it possible that people get others personal information. Stalking is another thing that is possible.

As of now, I have yet to find any peer-reviewed sources, most likely due to not using the search properly.

Twee-q and gender differencials

Twee-q is an interesting data collection site which pulls a user’s re-tweets from the past 100 tweets from one’s Twitter profile. All that is required to search is a person’s twitter handle. This provides the searcher with the statistics of number of re-tweets from a man or woman. In class, we were discussing upon whether this was a way to view as if one were to be gender discriminant, or sexist. It seemed to be that the overall consensus from the class discussion is that this is not necessarily the best example to be able to say whether someone is sexist or not. The main reasons seemed to include, the fact that they only pulled the recent 100 tweets from the user. The fact that the gender of the people they follow may not be 50/50 so there is already a natural skew in the statistics. Then there was the prevalent fact that one re-tweets what they like, and nobody in the class really looked or cared whether the tweet they liked was from a man or a woman. This is similar to a discussion of Wednesday about how video games were sexist. To some degree, they are, mainly due to because back then, as far as 30 years and as soon as 10 years ago, video games were mainly advertised towards males. There recently has been a push towards more female protagonists, which is slowly coming to be. For instance, in a some games such as Fallout (3 and New Vegas), The Elder Scrolls (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim and Online), a gamer can play as either male or female, and that is up to the user. Even MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) have given the choice to users of whether they wish to play as a male or as a female. There are other games where the protagonist is female. Metroid (1986) and Tomb Raider (1996) were presented to the public and since then, there have been several sequels to those games. These games would not have been able to have had sequels had they not sold well. As I see it, we are going towards a gender equal society (specifically in the US), it’s just a matter of time.

Twitter Feeds With Gender Implications

Prior to having watched the Ted talk by  Johanna Blakely, I had not given much thought to how advertisements target certain ranges of people. After watching, I realized that statisticians would sift through data to find what gender and what age range the majority of people on social media are. I was not shocked to have learned that women spend more time on social media than men; rather, I was shocked at how there seemed a prediction that down the line, it is said to be the eventual “death of the chick flick.”  With Twee-Q, a site that shows a specific twitter user’s interaction with others and retweets, I saw that in order to have a “perfect” 10, a user would have to actually try to retweet certain people’s tweets. My personal twitter had a Twee-Q of 6.6 with the statistics of retweeting  60% male and 40% female. Another user, one of my friends, had an 8.4 retweeting 45% male and 55% female. As far as I can tell, almost always do people retweet messages from their gender. With the additional fact that women are social media dominant, there are more female related tweets. However, now thinking over the “death of the chick flick” there is a show on the CW, Supernatural, which is about to start it’s 11th season in October, making it among the longest running shows, such as Smallville and Grey’s Anatomy. Supernatural and Grey’s Anatomy viewership is mostly female (Smallville’s is unknown). These shows portray male leads, which could indicate that as more male leads are shown, more females will watch.

Semester Project

My semester project idea is: How location tags can be used against one.

What I mean by this is that how someone having their location publicized can allow others to track those with publicized locations. Nowadays, the majority of people have smartphones, most have the default setting of allowing “locations services” on. There are several apps that take one’s location and provides the possibility to tag their location, or have a photo filter that shows your current location. Apps which allow this, but not limited to, are Snapchat and Instagram. There are also positives to this ability of being able to track phones; in fact, there are apps which allow parents to track the locations of their children, as long as the location services are on.

In terms of research, I will look deeper into the apps that allow for tracking, and potentially have an interactive project about how one can be tracked digitally.

Race and Identity

Determining someone’s race through their online identity is not as easy as one may believe. At first I had thought that it could not be as hard as Lisa Nakamura stated it to be; however as I began to ponder upon my personal experiences, I realized that she is correct when stating that “Role-playing sites on the Internet offer their participants programming features such as the ability to physically ‘set’ one’s gender, race, and physical appearance,” and provides such an example as Ultima Online. My experience had been playing a game called RuneScape where it was possible that the player could create a character similar to themselves, via skin tone, hair style and color, even down to the clothes that the character would wear as a default. I played this when I was younger, and eventually I stopped playing due to school work, and the fact that the computers I had would not seem to run the game after the company updated their game. Regardless, while playing the game I had never thought about who was behind the screen of other characters. I knew there were other people, but I had no clue of their age, race, gender, or any other kind of physical appearance. On one hand, I did not really think about it because I would be focused on my personal agenda of attempting to level up by fighting monsters, collecting ores, cooking, and cutting down trees; yet through this, one had the potential to make friends via the internet. The game chat would block people from giving names, numbers, and addresses, yet this did not stop those who were creative enough to split up personal information into separate messages so as to not have their message appear in the chat as” *******”. While the player had the ability to chose how their character would look like, I had assumed that people would model their character after themselves; however, due to Nakamura’s paper, I now realize that many people had the freedom to make their character as they wish, and could indeed portray themselves as someone they are physically not in the real world.

Works Cited

Lisa Nakamura, “Head Hunting on the Internet: Identity Tourism, Avatars, and Racial Passing in Textual and Graphic Chat Spaces,” in Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Reflections of 2005

Working with Ashlyn, Chris, and Heiu, we came up with a PowerPoint presentation that stated forms of social media that people, specifically teenagers, would be using to communicate with others, and create their form of identity, both in person and digitally. The social media that would have been used up to 2005, were Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, and Youtube. Something new that was up and coming were smartphones. These are better known today as Iphones, Galexys, Edges, etc. These phones allowed people to access the internet with a few presses of their fingers. it also allows people to send texts and call others whose phone number one has. We also have a slide of television shows that teenagers would have watched and shaped their personality and ways of thinking (Boy Meets World, Full House, and Friends). This time period was easy to think about because we had all grown up in the time period. I personally would have been 9 in 2005, and most of what I watched is what is considered the “Original Disney.”

Identity Construction affected by time

When thinking of how older generations of teenagers may have constructed their identity in 1705, 1805, 1905, 2005, the answer varies greatly.

In 1705, the United States was not yet a concept, rather Great Britain (GB), the form of travel would have been via legs, horses, and ships; therefore it is logical to assume that the way one’s identity were to be formed, is by word of mouth, and through fliers made via printing press, seeing as how “in 1454 Gutenberg put his press to commercial use” (“The Gutenberg Press”). Yet with this, communication is still limited, and for the majority, only the famous, kings and queens, are really known, yet, mostly within their own kingdom. Therefore youths mostly likely would not have been known except within their own societies. Letters and carrier pigeons would have been the form of communication among the majority of teenagers.

100 years later, in 1805, the American colonies had been formed, and officially separated from GB. While not much may have changed, more letters are able to have been made, and in the US, the Post Office had been established (“The History of the United States Postal Service”). In the US, with the post office, people would have been able to carry their voice further, as long as one knows where to send the letter. Yet in the case of should a family uproot themselves, a youth would still be able to maintain contact with their old friends.

In 1905, electricity has become a relatively new resource, allowing another form of communication, the telegram. One known instance as to why telegrams were  “Telegrams were used to announce the first flight in 1903 and the start of World War I” (“STOP”). With this tool, people, including teenagers, are able to thus communicate with others on the opposite end of a large country, such as the US, in a fraction of the time as a letter.

Lastly, in 2005, teenagers are able to have the greatest impact when it comes to creating their digital identities. With the new forms of social media that rose with the era of great technological advancement, people would be able to communicate with people from other countries with an immense amount of ease. As Danah Boyd states, SixDegrees was “one of the first social media sites” where people could “create profiles,” and “list their Friends”. SixDegrees was started at 1998, and closed two years later. Another social media was Friendster which, was short lived, started in 2002, which fell due to them deleting certain profiles whether or not they were fake celebrity accounts. Myspace was the next big social media, and very soon after that, a Harvard student made a social media site, that, in 2005, was exclusive to anyone with a school email (ending in .edu), and very recently in 2015, had 1 billion people sign in on a single day, called Facebook.

 

Works Cited

Boyd, Danah M., and Nicole B. Ellison. “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13.1 (2007): 210-30. 17 Dec. 2007. Web. 1 Sept. 2015.

“The Gutenberg Press.” Treasures of the McDonald Collection. Oregon State University Libraries, n.d. Web. 1 Sept. 2015.

“The History of the United States Postal Service.” The History of the United States Postal Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2015.

“STOP — Telegram Era Over, Western Union Says.” Msnbc.com. Associated Press, 02 Feb. 2006. Web. 01 Sept. 2015.