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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.” Associated Press, 02 Feb. 2006. Web. 01 Sept. 2015.


Hello, my name is Juan Lizarraga. I was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, in December 1995, and after a couple of years, I moved to Front Royal (Fro Ro), Virginia. If you have never heard of this place, there is a very good reason for that; being that there are not many, or for that matter, any attractions near Fro Ro. For those who may not know, Fro Ro is near the intersection of I-66 and I-81. If you have heard of Fro Ro, then you most likely know because you enjoy kayaking/rafting/tubing down the Shenandoah river. For all of my memorable life (ie: past age 5) I have lived in two houses and, temporarily in between the houses, in an apartment in Manassas, VA. I volunteered for a few years prior to coming to the University of Mary Washington (UMW) at Front Royal Fire and Rescue (aka: Warren County Station 1) as an attendant/EMR on the medic units. I am in the process of becoming certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). I received my high school education at Wakefield School, the one in the Plains, VA. (another location in the middle of absolute nowhere, or better known to me, as I-66 exit 31), where the average high school grade size was 30-35 people, and the entire school, pre school to 12, was around 420 students. I one day wish to become involved in the medical field, preferably as an ER doctor.