#COMM2F00 Experience

Overall this course has been very eye opening and has had me look into topics that I wouldn’t normally be interested in. One of the biggest lessons this course has taught me is that the Internet isn’t really free. While we may not pay in dollars and cents to use many of the services the Internet offers, it is far from free. We are offering up our information and data for large companies to use. Now that Communication 2F00 has brought this to my attention I notice these things more. I was looking for a new pair of shoes the other day online and every day since all of the advertisements on Facebook and other websites are for shoes. Most of the time for the exact brand I was looking up! Since I finished high school I have watched a lot closer the things I post online. Now because of this course I realize that as I continue to use the Internet it is important to also watch what it is I am doing online because websites are tracking my every move.

We also looked at many different websites in this course, most of which I was familiar with. But there were also some I had no experience with at all. The site that I think I learned the most about was Wikipedia. I already knew what the website was because it often answers my “Google it” questions. However, when it came to researching for school assignments I avoided Wikipedia all together. This course has had me look into the ins and outs of Wikipeida and I realized that depending on what you are searching for, Wikipeida could be a great resource to find references. If Wikipeida has an answer and there is a notable reference linked to the information I can use that article or website for my research. This I hope will be very helpful when researching for my Humanities class that I am taking this fall.

Communication 2F00 also opened my eyes to world issues when it comes to technology and how far and fast it is advancing. Most importantly the waste that we are creating and how oblivious most of our 1st world society is to the impact. Of course I was aware and concerned about global warming, however I did not stop to think about how our obsession with new technology is affecting this. The Techno-trash week opened my eyes to the reality of what happens with all of our “old” technology. It has caused me to think twice about how often I really need to update my phone or iPod. Moving forward I am going to consider these facts before I continue to constantly update my electronics.

This course has been interesting, informative, and interactive. I really enjoyed the topics we discussed as well as the structure of the course. I will strongly consider taking another online course in the future.

Internet Inequalities #COMM2F00

The idea that the Internet creates equality and offers everyone regardless of his or her race, class, or gender the same information was more prominent in the early age of the Internet. Boyd notes a cartoon about a big dog talking to a small dog saying, “ On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog.” I can understand why in the early days of the Internet this seemed like a reasonable observation. Before the social media eruption when using an Internet chat room you had the option to be completely anonymous. Everyone used a nickname such as 007agent and you did not have to release information about your gender, race, etc. However because of the evolution of social media this is no longer the case.

Now we all have multiple accounts that make our information accessible to other Internet users at anytime. For example Facebook we disclose our gender, age, career, etc. and this information is always available on our profile, depending on our security settings. The majority of us also post pictures, which eliminates any privacy of our physical appearances (such as race). This has dissolved the foundation that the Internet has created equality because we disclose our personal information online it enforces the inequalities we face in the real world.

Before this week I had not considered this fact, but after this weeks discussion I think that it is something we should be concerned with. Possibly more so than we are with addressing the inequalities in the real world. Even though the Internet has not eliminated inequalities it has empowered many people. What I mean by this is that people have added confidence when they are not communicating in person. Unfortunately this is not usually a good thing. A prime example of this is all of the Internet “Trolls” that have nasty comments to make about everything. In most cases many of these people would not have the nerve to say these things to a person’s face, yet they can make rude comments online repetitively.

When considering how inequalities online affect online classes I reflected on Hargittai’s study. The study’s findings indicated that people with more access points or ways of using the Internet have more advanced skills. This indicates that someone who only has access to a laptop will have less experience and therefore fewer skills than someone who has access to an iPhone and iPad in addition to a laptop. This creates an inequality for those who cannot afford additional luxury items. As well I think that experience is gained based on the variety of cites you use as well as the frequency. For example in this course people with previous experience and accounts with the social media sites we used for our projects I feel they had an advantage when completing the assignments. I personally had a view from both sides of this, I am an avid Pinterester so I enjoyed that assignment and had no problems. On the other hand I was not familiar with Storify and because of this I found it more difficult.

Although online classes still have aspects with inequalities I think that it also creates equalities that in class lectures do not. By taking the course online it allows a student to learn at his or her own pace. They can reread course material and any updates from the professor. However, when taking a course in class often you do not catch everything the professor says during lecture and you cannot rewind and play the lecture over again. As well, I know that personally my attention span wears out long before lecture is over. However, when taking an online class I can allot time to work on the course when I know it will have my full attention. These benefits of online classes level the playing field for all students as it allows us to each learn at our own pace.

The bottom line is that while the Internet does have many benefits, creating an environment that allows everyone to be equal is not one of them.

Supporting Videos #COMM2F00

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfKJX_3C6zQ
The first video I have chosen is a parody about a man who has a social media addiction. This is the first of a series of videos. The video relates how the man’s over use of social media is similar to a drug addiction. This YouTube video is mocking how consuming social media has become in our lives and just like an addiction we can’t stop. This video is critiquing social media as a whole as apposed to a particular site. This video is a parody, which means that the video’s examples are exaggerated in order to make its point. By using exaggerated examples the video is critiquing society’s excessive participation habits. Such as when Mason is in the washroom on his phone and reacts like he has been caught doing something illegal. This is how someone with a drug addiction may react, however we are not normally ashamed of how frequently we use social media. The video is a great critique of our society’s obsession with social media in general. Its exaggeration is funny, yet it causes viewers to stop and consider what the video is saying. If we aren’t careful then our over use of social media could create larger problems.

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWeXBqpbmIs
This video is a remix of Taylor Swifts We are Never Getting Back Together about Twitter. The entire video is made up of different critiques for Twitter. It is ironic because the chorus of the Twitter song is “we are never ever ever getting rid of Twitter”, yet most of its critiques are poking fun at how we use Twitter. It mocks the fact that most of our tweets are pointless, for example what we had for breakfast. It connects the chorus back to other Twitter users and relates to the fact that we are so concerned with how many followers we have or how many retweets we get. The video reflects on the fact that we use Twitter to feel as though we can are connected with celebrities and Politians. It gives us a way to participating in what they are doing and hope that they will notice. The video also slides in a comment about Facebook and MySpace, commenting that we just got rid of MySpace. As well we can see in the comment section people were able to participate by expressing their opinion either agreeing or disagreeing with the video. Overall I think that the video does a great job of critiquing many aspects of Twitter all while appearing to be in favor of “never getting rid” of it.

3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwuZMNtaW34
This video is a parody about Pinterest. It is a remix of Katy Perry’s song Part of Me. The video similar to the last one mocks several aspects of Pinterest, yet overall their review is positive. The video remarks on the fact that we want to look at these all day. I think this is very true about Pinterest it is very distracting and you can end up spending hours looking at different cool ideas. It also relates to the variety that Pinterest offers funny pictures, thoughtful quotes, wedding ideas and more. Just like other social media sites Pinterest users are concerned with being noticed by others. The video critiques how important having followers are and how many repins you have gotten. The end of the video is a video blog in which the YouTuber explains how he uses Pinterest and encourages viewers to participate and give him their input. The videos comments are interesting; most people agree with the video that they enjoy Pinterest. Surprisingly there are several viewers that did not know what Pinterest was, by critiquing the video it has also raised awareness of the site. This video is meant to be fun and upbeat; it gives a positive review as apposed to a negative critique.

4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaADQTeZRCY
This video is a critique of Wikipedia. The video is a parody, which has a professor acting as “Wikipedia” and the class is the online users. The video does a great job of critiquing how widespread each topic on Wikipedia is. For example an x-ray can lead to explanations on x-ray vision, which would then lead to super heroes. The video also critiques the websites control over what is posted. It has a student ask the professor to give information on her and she ends up disappearing because she is not notable. The video also mimics how the website is often updated and changed because so many people have the ability to edit. It demonstrates how this creates confusion when for example a date is repetitively changed. This also goes along with the outrageous facts that are available on Wikipedia, which makes it hard to believe everything that is posted on the site. The video is critiquing Wikipedia’s lack of reliability and sources to back up its facts.

5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSTQDo2bqR4
This video is a parody of Tumbler, it is a remix of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from Frozen. The video entitled “Do you Want to Get Off Tumbler” critiques the addictive tendencies society has over Tumbler. It is something that is very distracting and we often spend a lot of time on Tumbler either posting gifs or reblogging other people’s posts. The video also critiques how depended we have become on Wi-Fi. The video is critiquing the fact that because we are spending so much time on social media, particularly Tumbler, we have spending less time outside. The video goes on to represent that we are all falling into this path as Elsa gives up trying and gets a Tumbler account as well. In the comment section we can see that YouTubers are in agreement with the critique of the video. The video is primarily critiquing the way we participate on Tumbler and how we allow it to consume our attention for long periods of time.

6) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn-dD-QKYN4
The video is a parody of Instagram, it is a remix of “Photograph” by Nickleback. Its primary critique is of our extreme over use of the social media for pointless bits of information and updates. For example, what we had for breakfast. The video also critiques the way Instagram has causes us to become so obsessed with publicizing everything we do. As well it points out that we use Instagram to make others jealous, or to make others think we are having more fun than they are. As well it critiques some of Instagrams features, such as the filters. We are constantly with taking pictures editing them in multiple ways and posting an outrageous picture. As well many of the things we all post of Instagram is repetitive. For example on a nice summer day, how many people post a picture of a sunset with the caption “Perfect Day!”. The video also points out that as we mature our picture feed will change, when we are younger it will be our food or friends and when we get older we post picture of our kids. I think that this YouTube video does a great job of critiquing how the over use of Instagram distracts us and we miss the important things that happen right in front of our eyes.

Social Media’s Critique of Social Media

Society has always been very critical of everything around us, however we have not always had the ability or opportunity to express our critiques in such a widespread way. The evaluation of Web 2.0 and different social media platforms has provided us this opportunity and allows us to participating in critiquing easily. In the past only television or radio shows had the ability to share critiques with the public, however today every member of the public has the ability to share their opinions. There are many different ways that we can use social media to critique social media I am choosing to focus on how YouTube and Twitter are used to critique other social medias.

YouTube has become a popular medium for this as it gives people a voice. It allows people a variety of options on how they can express their critique. Some may choose to create a short video mocking a social media site. While others use YouTube as a way to post a video blog where they are expressing their feelings both negative and/or positive towards a particular social media site. Some videos may contain both of these types of critique, as you will see in my second part to this assignment, the videos I found have taken different approaches. All of these methods allow people to critique either the entire site or only one particular aspect depending on what they want to critique. YouTubers that have a large follower base have the ability to start a conversation and create noise about the particular site they are discussing. With the comments section available to each YouTube video anyone who views the video can add his or her two cents, either agreeing or disagreeing. YouTube is a great forum to use to critique other social media sites as it has the ability to reach large numbers of people without everyone having to create an account.

Twitter is another social media site that we use to critique other social media sites.
In order to use Twitter it is necessary to have an account, however there are also many “fake” accounts on Twitter. What I mean by “fake” is that it is not a person or organization’s account, it is an account that normally only Tweets on a particular topic. There are numerous “fake” accounts that are used to critique other forms of social media. These include @facebook03, @RememberingMSN, @PinterestFake and many more. Anyone has the ability to create these accounts and remain anonymous behind whatever Twitter handle they decide to create. These accounts also have the ability to engage other Twitter users in participating. By retweeting or favouriting a tweet that is critiquing a social media site, this Twitter user is indicating that they support the statement being made and agree with the critique. On the other hand if the Twitter user does not agree they have the option of replying to the tweet and expressing their opinion. Whether we create a fake account in order to express our thoughts on a particular issue or just retweet and favourite something someone else has tweeted, we are all participating. Twitter offers us a forum to express our opinions and allows us to critique other social media sites in the process.

There are so many different social media sites which all allow us to use it as a medium to critique many things, including other social media sites. I think that this has resulted in making society very difficult to please. We are always complaining about something because we have the ability to do so whenever we’d like by using social media. Ironically this has driven us to critique and complain about many social media sites in which we use to do our complaining. I feel that our ability to use social media sites to critique and evaluate other social media sites has an influence on society over time. This eventually results in us forcing out the old social media site (MySpace) and replacing it with the new (Facebook).

An Inclusionist’s Wikipedia

To quote the Wikipedia website “Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project… based on an openly editable model.” Wikipedia states that their articles are written collaboratively by anonymous volunteers, anyone with Internet access, expect in limited cases. This directs us to this week’s focus of Wikipedia’s divide between inclusionists and deletionists.
Wikipedia has not denied that they have administrators who monitor the articles being posted. Nor that they have the ability to limit the accessibility people have to making edits on particular documents, I just think that this is contradictory to my understanding of Wikipedia’s purpose.

While I do see the value in being able to recognize the reliability of Wikipedia articles I feel that this is unrealistic and not the main intention of Wikipedia. If Wikipedia is meant to be a medium for society to pool their knowledge and therefore be the largest encyclopedia I do not think that articles should be so strongly monitored. I agree with the point Carr makes in questioning who can be the one to determine what is “worthy” or “important” and what is this relevant to. Whatever the subject large, small, person, or place it should all have equal opportunity to have information available on Wikipedia.

While this idea of two different Wikipedia’s one for deletionists and one for inclusionists seems like a great idea, I think that it is very impractical. I feel that this would negatively impact what I feel is the most important aspect of Wikipedia. That aspect being the large network of gathered information and a world worth of knowledge all in one place. If everyone had a choice between the two “Wikipedia’s” this information would be divided or in some cases could be duplicated. I think that while there may be a very firm line between the two sides of inclusionist and deletionist, Wikipedia would be most beneficial operating the way it does today with only one Wikipedia.

Considering why deletionists might want to manage the site, I understand it is their hope that Wikipedia can be a respected online, universal encyclopedia. In order for people to trust Wikipedia as a reliable source their information has to be notable with recognized references. However, thus far Wikipedia cannot always be trusted as a reliable source. For many different school assignments I have been told that Wikipedia references are unacceptable because it is difficult to determine if the information is accurate. I see the direction deletionists want to take Wikipedia, however I think it will be difficult to achieve society’s trust in complete accuracy of all information. In order for this to be a possibility Wikipedia would have to guarantee all information posted is accurate, which would dramatically impact the open editable format the website currently follows.

Overall, I have taken the inclusionists side in this debate. I think that Wikipedia’s primary importance is the gathering of the world’s knowledge, in one place. To achieve this it is necessary that the site be open to everyone with out limitations. In order to prevent absurd lies and completely inaccurate information from being posted a different approach could be taken than to restrict publication. Instead, Wikipedia could take a similar approach to law enforcement, innocent until proven guilty. Therefore allow anyone to post anything and it will remain published or assumed accurate until proven inaccurate. I agree with the inclusionists’ point of view in that I feel a wider variety of information is more important than the amount of depth available on each topic.