Gamification/Playbor – 11/22

“Gamification is a modern-day form of manipulation. And like all cognitive manipulation, it can help people and it can hurt people.” This quote immediately stuck out to me because it’s interesting to think how much technology has shaped our world that gaming is a way to learn and express yourself. It can also be considered a form of art in many ways. It takes extreme detail and creativity to come up with even the simplest of games. The idea of Playbor is something that I definitely support. I believe that work and fun should be integrated in many ways. Companies can “create the conditions for a play like activity that is still productive.” 

I can speak to this idea because I’ve worked for a start up that very much believes in the balance of work and play. They take it in other ways, not just games, but the idea of even working from home. I think our society is often under a lot of stress and pressure and to provide outlets for these kinds of negative energies is really important. But then, it also comes down to the individual to know their limits and what they’re capable of. If the employee doesn’t think that they can work under these conditions or are playing more than they are working – it’s important to find a balance. Often times this can go wrong, but I think it’s more beneficial to make your employees feel comfortable in the workplace they are in.

“In the economic sphere of consumption, gamification is a strategy to channel our attention and activity toward advertisements or commodities that will, ultimately, generate revenue for the capitalists who engineer the gamification…In the context of consumption, gamification can be understood as a process that transforms commodities into what Jean Baudrillard called hyper commodities” I think that not only is gamification able to increase productivity, but it’s also a great way to market a place and to show the values of an organization. It’s a way to increase productivity, efficiency and profits.

Bogad: Tactical Performance – 11/8 and 11/10

While reading this I was immediately able to notice the main difference between a tactical performance and a participatory documentary. It seems like a tactical performance is one that draws attention from an audience, in forms such as a musical, parody, or comedy. A participatory documentary is when you discuss about a community and topic that you are immersed in. Tactical performances are always non-violent and rather intriguing usually meant to protest or get a point across. This type of protest is much more interesting and exciting. It can be comical and offer relief for people that are uncomfortable about the topic. In class we watched a video about the work force and it was interesting to see how some people were shaking their head no thinking that it was inappropriate, but then there were others that had no issues joining in on the song and dance. It definitely could go two different ways, but I feel like it’s much more organized than a sit-in protest. Sit-in’s can often get very violent and shut down quickly so the point isn’t even crossed.

This leads into what Bogad had said to describe the performance – “disciplined mass performance for progressive social change.” Sometimes protests where you walk around and shout and scream things can be the opposite of disciplined. It’s often not the case that everyone in the protest had spoken about what exactly they’re going to scream or the point they’re trying to cross. Whereas, in a tactical performance, everything was previously planned and thought out.

Bogad talks about symbols and how important it is to use them during a tactical performance. Often times we forget that not everyone speaks the same language or has the ability to understand what we’re saying. However, with the use of symbols, we’re able to connect people from different background for the same purpose. It’s also a nice visual aid when referring to something or drawing something on a poster.

The way that Bogad explained tactical performances made it seem like it was on the rise, but very recently. I can see how this could be so successful especially with human’s short attention span these days. It doesn’t seem like we would be able to sit through a documentary as easily as we would be able to watch a music video. The use of symbols facilitates connections in our brains and from the examples that Bogad had provided, it seems like this is something that could be a newer way to communicate information.

Participatory Documentary – 11/1

Jenny Weight really taught me about Participatory Documentaries. I’ve never really heard of this formal term, but I’ve definitely watched some myself. An overview of this book is basically explaining what exactly a participatory document is. It’s important to make sure that your documentary is about something serious and has value to what is trying to be shown. The documentary “tells a story about a community using the community’s own words. That story is disseminated back to that community via social media.” I think what’s important to truly make this a participatory documentary is to make sure that the person actually had value for what they’re trying to show and have a part in the community. 

“Community? A community is a group of people with a common cause. It is bigger than a friendship group or an extended family. In other words, members will rarely be intimate with every other member.” I think the hardest part is to be able to find a community that you are comfortable enough doing this documentary on. Often times, there are restrictions and it seems like the best way to deal with that is when you’re fully immersed in a community to be able to get real answers.

“Not being able to create a firm endpoint is a feature of this media. Learn to love it.” This was very interesting to me because most movies or films have a clear ending and there is a point to what you’re trying to show. However, this is different because it’s really not about what point you’re trying to make it seems like there is more of an importance to get the awareness out and ask questions that you think would be interesting to get answers from.

#Occupy Everywhere – 10/25

On October 15, 2011, I was able to simultaneously participate in and follow events in dozens of cities around the world from my handheld phone set.”

This quote really intrigued me because it’s insane how much you can do with your phone these days. Technology has really shown and played a huge role in our society. New movements are constantly happening all around the world and I have definitely seen a lot of it on social media. I also tend to get invited to random ones on facebook. I think using social media to get your voice heard or to do something with a large force is definitely a good thing and something our society has moved towards.

“Social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and especially Twitter were particularly important during #Occupy’s initial mobilization phase…This shift toward less publicly visible forms of organizing and networking outside centralized physical spaces may help to ensure the staying power of #Occupy—a significant challenge given the vulnerability of the #Occupy movements to disaggregation in the absence of longer-term network structures. A foundation is thus being laid for a struggle that is potentially more sustainable, tactically diverse, and strategically flexible, although this out- come is by no means assured” (Juris 4).”

An interesting thought I had while reading this is – would #occpy be this successful if it weren’t for social media? Social media helped people with similar thoughts and passions to come together and fight for something that they believed in. Another thought I had while reading was how happy I was that people still have freedom of speech. Often times, I think these kind of movements are looked down upon and stopped but this was a very successful one and it’s good that this type of practice is still working in the USA. 

Google and the Culture of Search – 9/27

The beginning of this post was already so interesting with Hillis asking what would you do before Google? It’s a very interesting thought and question because it takes me back to the days that I would just sit at the library and read books to learn things or get answers. Nowadays, I can quickly whip out my phone or computer and find exactly what I’m looking for at the convenience of my fingers. The Oxford English Dictionary authorizes this understanding by listing “to google” as a transitive verb meaning “to search for information about (a person or thing).” I read that and didn’t think much of it. While re-reading the article, I noticed how huge that is. It’s a big deal that this is actually a verb and commonly used in the english language. Over time, I’ve noticed that technology has been more and more defined as words in the dictionary, along with slang.

While Google is a huge way to search, learn, and dive into topics, it’s also important to note how it’s a gateway to other websites.
“most of us have become in some way searchers — whether by researching family heritage on ancestry.com, seeking a date on sites like eHarmony and chemistry.com, looking for a job on monster.com or LinkedIn, seeking religious or spiritual guidance and inspiration through sites such as beliefnet.com, or electing to follow breaking news through hashtags on Twitter.” This quote is very true and suggests that there is so much more than Google and how Google is just a way to simplify what else is out there.

What I found most interesting is that technology can now be smarter than humans ourselves. If we think back to a decade ago, I don’t think that we would be able to say that with confidence. Now, it’s just normal. I realize that a lot of people might find discomfort with that, but it doesn’t bother me at all because it just provides us a way to be the best individual that we are with the most resources possible.

Final Project Proposal

For my final project, I plan to talk about living in the Anthropocene. I wanted to use a tactical media approach and use a video, particularly a parody video of the original parody video about Carps. I plan to get my videographer, Cayla help me record my stellar dance moves in order to make a difference and spread awareness about the geological time period that we are approaching. The anthropocene is a huge environmental deal because it’s all about the human impact on the earth and it’s an important topic to spread because it encompasses more than just pollution, but also global warming, population extinction and water loss. I think this project and video will help open eyes to how we are killing the planet that is the reason we are alive. If people don’t change their habits watching my video or reading my project, I hope they at least become more aware of the impact that they have on this world. 

Nine Propositions Towards a Cultural Theory of YouTube – 9/22

“In the age of YouTube, social networking emerges as one of the important social skills and cultural competencies that young people need to acquire if they are going to become meaningful participants in the culture around them. We need to be concerned with the participation gap as much as we are concerned with the digital divide.”

I found this to be interesting because there have been many times this has become a barrier between the generation of old media vs our generation of new media. I have been interviewed several times for any kind of job and almost always they ask for things like what programs do I know how to use, what software I have, and how active I am on social media. Whenever I apply for a marketing job, they always ask to follow my social media platforms. I rarely ever think that what I’m posting actually has such an impact, but it definitely does. One man hired me because of my Instagram and the people that I was able to reach out to and how many people followed me and what I was posting.

“It’s Complicated” – 9/13

“Though almost sixty years had passed since the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public high schools is unconstitutional, most American high schools that I encountered organized themselves around race and class through a variety of social, cultural, economic, and political forces. The borders of school districts often produce segregated schools as a byproduct of de facto neighborhood segregation. Students find themselves in particular classrooms—or on academic tracks—based on test scores, and these results often correlate with socioeconomic status. Friend groups are often racially and economically homogenous, which translates into segregated lunchrooms and segregated online communities”

This was something that I could relate to because I felt like this is something that hasn’t changed yet. In my high school everything seemed to be segregated by imaginary borders. Although it wasn’t technically segregation, it definitely felt like it. We always sat in specific seats that showed who our friend group was. Generally the most wealthy were known to be the most popular because they had the newest clothes, shoes, and were up to date on all the fads. I remembered that all the parties had the same people and you knew exactly where you belonged. There was a part of me that knew that this was how it was always going to be. I knew that things weren’t going to change until I left and was able to recreate myself in college. Don’t get me wrong – I really didn’t mind where I was socially but I know that there were several people who would beat themselves up for not being “cool” and would do the most desperate things to hopefully achieve social acceptance in a group.

“The most explicit manifestation of racial segregation was visible to me in schools like Keke’s, where gangs play a central role in shaping social life. Her experiences with race and turf are common in her community.
The resulting dynamics organize her neighborhood and infiltrate her school. When I first visited Keke’s school, I was initially delighted by how diverse and integrated the school appeared to be.”

When I first read this I didn’t realize how it’s possible for all of this to be controlled. But the answer is that it can’t be controlled because wealth, society, and class is something that you’re born into. It’s not her fault that she goes to the school that she does and is in the group that she is in. It’s probably just where she is most comfortable. No matter how diverse it is, there will always be social categories. I remember when a lot of the “unpopular people” would avoid the cafeteria as much as possible. They would scatter around the hallways, sit outside, or even in their cars just to avoid certain people. It’s crazy to see how people view high school in different social categories. It’s as if we’re living different lives but going to all the same classes. In Keke’s case, the gangs are the ones that shaped social life, but for me, the JAPS were the ones that ran the social scene. 

 

Competitive Photography and the Presentation of the Self – 9/8

“The same can be said about his predictions about photography—although today we may not even realize that we all are photographers, as taking and sharing images often is seamlessly integrated within work and leisure contexts, and our everyday behavior. We can speak of a certain democratization of the medium—much of the knowledge and skills that earlier were in the hands of professionals, specially trained individuals who also had access to exclusive equipment, now are available to non-professionals. Yet making “good” pictures still requires a certain amount of leisure time and dedication.”

I found this idea to be particularly interesting because in a way we took away jobs from people who are used for their photography, but also in another way, technology opened up an entirely new talent and recognition for even more people. For example, the simple idea of a wedding photographer has become less of a job because there are so many photographers just on Instagram that now you can just ask a photographer via Social Media if they would want to take pictures for you. This idea also reminds me of what a micro celebrity is – someone that is trying to be famous based off of their dedication. I think this is a similar concept to us being non-photographers because we aren’t all looking to be photographers but get noticed for taking good pictures. 

“The majority of Instagram authors capture and share photos that are of interest to the author, her/his friends and family, and perhaps expanded circle of acquaintances, as opposed to complete strangers. These authors are not trying to get tens of thousands of followers, nor do they share only their very best photos. Instead, they use Instagram for documentation and communication with people they know (Fig. 3). They may be happy if their photos get many “likes” and they do not mind getting more people to follow them and comment on their photos—but this is not their primary purpose. And just as with non-competitive family snapshots in the middle of the 20th century, the main value of Instagram’s non-competitive photos is emotional rather than aesthetic”

This part of the article connects with me a lot because this is exactly why I post pictures on Instagram. My sole purpose is to either communicate things that I’ve been up to with my friends and family or to document my life with pictures that I enjoy. I know several of my other friends care too much about their “grid” and whether or not a picture is acceptable to the public eye. I really never understood why it matters what you post as long as you want to. I never put too much thought into my pictures as much as some of my other friends. However, the people that I know care about what other people think about them do everything for likes. There have been instances where people buy food, take pictures, and then don’t even eat the food. There have also been instances where they would post a picture and then delete it because it didn’t get enough like. I wonder how much Instagram effects people’s self confidence?

“By not displaying the author’s face, these photos clearly signal their goal—to show person’s participation in a situation or an experience. By including a part of the body of a person who is in this situation / experience cut by a frame, a photo includes you in the experience. You are not the disembodied eye observing the world from the distance as in Renaissance perspective, but the body that is part of the pictured world. “

While looking through my Instagram feed and trying to distinguish competitive and non-competitive users, I found this statement to be the easiest give away. For celebrities and musicians, I noticed that they often had several pictures of themselves and where they are in the world and what they are doing. For professional Instagram photographers, they often took pictures of other images and other people. What I noticed was the consistency. I saw that the professionals generally had a constant theme whether it be the way they edit their pictures, what they are taking pictures of or who was in their pictures. I realized that I would only unfollow professional photographers when their pictures were no longer recognizable or in touch with my likes.

SelfieCity – 9/5

“Writing about media interface presentations and their relation to larger cultural trends is tricky. Different elements are constantly added, changed or removed, new services are frequently developed and released to public use, and new technologies capture the imaginations of many.”

This part of the essay stood out to me because it never phased me how quickly technology is changing. There are so many different ways of capturing an image and posting it somewhere. There are even technologies like Snapchat that are aimed to specifically connect you and share your surroundings with people. It’s interesting to think about what was before Snapchat because all I can really think about is taking a picture on your camera or phone and personally sending it to someone or posting on a social network. Now there is a social network to do exactly that. It just raises the question: what is to come? how will the capturing and spreading of images change over time? how easy will it be to see where people are and what they are doing?

“One of the most crucial and dramatic processes that we can point to is the fragmentation of images: the automatic and manual annotation of images with “external” metadata , and with “internal” metadata that is extracted from within images’ content itself: images taken inside vs. outside, the identification of people in a photograph, automatic detection of different scenes or atmospheres in photos (i.e. nightlife; happy; sad) and much more.”

This paragraph took me straight to the idea of Snapchat because we’re able to tell the internal and external annotation of images. When taking a snapchat not only are we trying to picture where we are, who we are with and what we are doing but also the added effect of location filters to further a suspicion and make it concrete. This app has become a way of documenting your life for not only yourself but also to your followers. It also has the ability to show what your emotions are and potentially thoughts if you offer it. There were several times during a show where people would document their feelings about an episode. 

“How do we study these communities? What type of relations they suggest?”

I think there are too many communities to be studied. There are apps that are able to track a persons lifestyle, spending habits, and activity through social media. I think the communities are so intertwined that it is hard to study them. There are too many variables and too many different technologies. I wouldn’t know where to begin unless it was an extremely specific study “Girls from Long Island on a Saturday night” based off of the “Long Island” Snapchat filter. Although that doesn’t encompass an entire population, it’s a good start.