Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
I must admit that I used to hate blogging and the idea seemed ridiculous however now I testify to it's adverse functionality. It turns out the my job is going to begin a blog, on behalf of it's belief in the "free flow of ideas." This network involves all ends of Draftfcb, from clients to employees and invites new bloggers and previous bloggers to join in hopes of creating a network which they say experts are calling "link love"... I admit I'm a bit of a fan of this term. I also think it's a bit funny that they say they're staying on the cusp of a trend, which they still are however, we were fortunate to have Paull Younge discuss this phenomenon of commercial providers and consumers beginning in online blogging discussion several months back. It's like we were given an inside scoop, a tip off to things yet to come. Sure I could probably read Wired or follow online sites that track new trends but it wouldn't be half as fun as seeing it's purpose (and if we even think it had one) debated out in class.
Another fun thing I discovered yesterday was that Twitter is officially on the map. I've been watching it's reputation grow over the past few months, seeing it make D list celebrity style appearances in several nooks and crannies on the online world but it's reputation as a second string niche fad is over. Twitter ranked as the second top hit on Google for "Olympic Medal Updates" and FIRST for "Medal Updates". So, welcome Twitter to the Big Dogs. Like many athletes who have risen to victory in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Twitter has shed the title of underdog and taken its place, raking with the best.
So, I'm hoping some of you check this blog time to time and will see that I'm tryign to shake the dust off after a long summer and keep the discussion alive. Or else... I'll get sucked into another blog and well, I'm just trying to stick with my roots. So lets go Interactive Rams... I know you want to :)
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Monday, May 12, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
I don't find politics as important as our modern society makes it out to be. I think it is more important to formulate your own opinion on factual issues, rather than comparing where these ideas stand in relevance to some other group or party's school of thought. From a young age I think we are all under some sort of pressure, as we grow and mature, to pay attention to what is currently happening in society around us. This is a good thing. You cannot actively participate (and feel a part of) a group or society that you don't receive a constant flow of information from. I also think that the idea of current information, and current political opinion are often confused by the general public because of how they're portrayed by the mainstream media. The way that MSNBC feels about the Republican Party's point of view on a particular subject is not technically news because nothing is happening. This is more like promotional propaganda. Now take this one step further and consider the fact that most modern news stations are politically affiliated with a specific party. I think that the diminishing ability for the public to distinguish between current information and current political opinion is alarming.
There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.-George Washington, 1796 Farewell Address to Congress
President George Washington, in the final words of his political career, warned the American government against party politics. He acknowledges the need to express the difference of opinion in a democratic society, but states, "...in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged." I think that the difference in opinion between the Democratic and Republic party has helped to maintain our country to some sort of balance between the minds of many (although this is not relatively true for recent times). This is not George's and my problem with party politics. The problem arises when the ideas and goals of a political party turn focus toward issues that do not enhance free thought and democratic opinion. When a political party has a meeting to discuss how they will raise money to fund an election or a promotional event, it is no longer is politics for the good of the country...It is politics for the good of the party. To spend money, time and effort on the promotion, rather than the progression, of current ideas indicates an atrophy of free thought and egalitarian ideals. Now suppose that the media, which in the age of simultaneous information flow is becoming a cash cow industry, finds mutual benefit in sponsoring a particular political party. For example, say FOX NEWS provides coverage of The State of the Union that primarily outlines Republican issues, or say CNN is administered by a group of people who would feel safer if there was a Democratic majority in government office. Suddenly George's ideas don't seem so 16th Century.
We sit on the dawn of an 'Information Age' age, where the constant, simultaneous flow of information provided by the internet will allow us to investigate ideas and events from more, and different sources than ever before (through both promotional websites and interactive social networks). If the internet was made available to every single person in the country via WiFi and public access ports, then everyone would have the opportunity to formulate their own detailed opinion on issues that they were willing to research. BUT If we have a source of mainstream media that gives us the facts AND nudges us in a direction with which to comprehend these facts, then we do not feel the need to formulate our own opinions from scratch. Yet the freedom of thought and difference in opinion is the cornerstone of democracy. If you are inclined to be an intuitive person, then when you hear a fact your mind will ask you, "What is the reason for that?" or, "I wonder why that happened?" If the constant drone of the 24 hour news ticker already gives us a simple answer to these basic mind-wandering questions, then we wont feel the need to formulate our own opinions on these issues.
So basically, after all of this, I'm not saying much. I'm providing you with a political argument that doesn't even support politics. I will say though, that if you claim to watch the news (via tv, internet, mobile, or whatever new medium is created in the next decade), and assume that you represent an accountable reference on a current issue, make sure you have researched whatever it is your talking about. Better yet, if you are distributing news to the public, claiming to know what you're talking about regarding a controversial political issue, make sure you've researched whatever it is your talking about. The internet has provided us with the ability to globalize information retrieval, making it available to anyone who can get online. We need to take advantage of this resource, so that we can help enhance the cultural awareness of everyone in the world, for all classes and societies. We must also use the new ways in which technology has enabled us to obtain information to formulate our own opinions about current events. If you decide to watch what MSNBC has to say about the depreciation of the American dollar, then make sure to also read an article about it, and then find out what your social network feels about it in a community blog, and really consider your personal thoughts on the issue...all before you formulate your own opinion, and decide to offer that opinion to someone else.
Thanks for a good semester guys, see you in cyberspace.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
And here are the links that he mentioned in the video, for your convenience:
And once again, on behalf of our entire class, thank you Andrew Rasiej for spending time with us and sharing your amazing experiences and valuable insights.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
One of the best things I developed from this class was the ability to think outside the box about the vast capabilities of the Internet. Consequently, I purchased my first website, Thecollegebible.net. Although, I need to take a computer programming course or hire someone to perfect the site it will being running soon. Nonetheless, the site is designed to be a social network for college students all across the country. It is not really designed to be for personal communication like Facebook.com but a network of information. I intend to make a site where students can leave something behind for the next generation of college students such as recipes, videos, pictures, art, music, and other sweet stuff. Also, I thought of another good website idea, but I cannot reveal yet.
I believe it is essential for our generation to stay involved in such networks of communication to make progress for a better world. I routinely felt obligated to blog posts about important environmental issues like global warming. I tried to encourage peers to check out good links and their movements. As a part of the Internet generation, we must utilize the web to our advantage. We can make positive social changes, because we have the ability to communicate so easily on a global scale. The InteractiveRams must live on and continue to stay socially connected.
Hopefully, I helped my fellow students learn something new similar to how I learned something from them. The beauty of interactiverams.com was sharing with a class rather than just communication between you and a professor. I believe we were all able to get a better understanding of our peers’ style of writing. The blogs reflect aspects of one's personality. For instance, owe have published an array of blogs from Pat Garritty to episodes of South Park. I believe it is safe to say we all have benefited from Interactiverams.com. The blog has become a powerful on-line tool helping even the common person become involved in journalism.
Although some of the terms and theories in Communication and Cyberspace went over my head, I enjoyed reading many of the technology theories that became true. The authors predicted the future benefits and dangers of cyberspace. I felt the book taught us to think ahead and differently about how we should use the Internet. Many of the social networks that they predicted became the basis for this course. We explored interaction among social networks such as Myspace.com, InteractiveRams, Facebook.com and Twitter.com.
Originally, I bashed Myspace.com for being a creepy and lame social network, but I have incorporated it into my Internet routine. I have found it is a great website for aspiring musicians, filmmakers, and other artists. I will continue to keep my Myspace.com page and will probably start putting some of my short films on my site. The visual media on the web has truly captivated America. New web sites like YouTube.com have enabled anyone to share their favorite home video or short film. The InteractiveRams left their mark on Youtube.come. Now anytime that I miss our class, I can watch the video.
P.S. I am not sure if this will be my last blog on InteractiveRams.com, but I may take a personal leave of absence with summer around the corner. I hope everyone enjoyed my blogs, and I wanted to say thanks for a fun and educational class.
It seems that as the Internet becomes more and more polished in today's world it is encompassing all of the myriad of media that came before it. Clearly, the Internet will inevitably bring forth all of the concerns that were expressed about media before it. This was evident at the outset of the course when Professor Strate's first assignment was to begin a MySpace page. Almost all of the class preferred other social-networking sites such as Facebook to MySpace and gave Prof. Strate some grief right from the beginning. The fear with MySpace was that it was almost too personal and would instantly make us more intimately connected with the online society. Most of us connected MySpace solely with spammers, online marketing agencies, bad musicians, and creeps. Yet we created a profile hesitantly to see what the class would be all about. Looking back I feel that our fears before joining a new social network have equated to the best parts about this particular site. The fact that people are not afraid to cross borders and reach out to new and interesting people allows all of us to join extended networks made up of people we do not know in the real world, instead of just communicating with our own friends and family via a site like Facebook.
Every reading took us along the path of technology, from the telegraph, trains, and a postal system to radio, television and the Internet, every new media was examined with respect to society. In order to follow along with what the readings were teaching us we attempted the best we could to describe the message through our own online social interactions and other external sources. For example we took what Sue Barnes and Herbert Zettl wrote about virtual reality and the digital self and applied them to social networking (the idea of having friends and relationships that are solely online-based) in addition to Halo 3. The fact that a video game that came out right at the beginning of the course could all of a sudden be pertinent class information was the very nature of what we were learning. The simulated battle scenes with other online players along with constant communication and flaming all coincide with what these authors teach us about virtual reality. In addition we were able to use the ideas expressed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in two consecutive South Park episodes to further understand what Neil Kleinman, Eric A. Zimmer, and Christopher D. Hunter teach us about intellectual property, copyright, and Internet dependancy.
I had studied the work of Marshall McLuhan before taking this Interactive media class however I would be lying if I said I could have understood it as well beforehand. To study Interactive Media in the manner we did gives new meaning to McLuhan's phrase, "The Medium Is The Message." That is to say that we were not learning from the content discussed which often consisted of random YouTube videos, meaningless tweeds, South Park, video games, Pat Garrity, etc. On the other hand it was the medium in which we communicated our ideas to the rest of society thorugh online profiles and groups, and our own videos and blogs that truly drove the course. Neil Postman questions us in his epilogue, "Cyberspace, Shmyberspace", the true purpose of the Internet and humanity's need for this. The simple answer would be to say that it represents McLuhan's idea of the "global village" far more than any technology before it. In today's complex world that is in need of political and social communication without bouandaries, the Internet truly allows us to interact with people we never would have been able to before. Thus, uniting the world more and more each day as a "global village".
As the summer nears I feel the best part of this class is that it is only just begun. During the course of the semester we have started online personas and lives that may continue on into the future without end. This class is still closely connected on MySpace, Twitter and within this blog, so we can continue to learn from each other, maybe even more so, when we are not meeting in a classroom once a week. Our interactions online will now have new meaning as we further expand our networks without the guidance of Professor Strate. How well we stay in touch and continue to understand Interactive Media will be a testament to what this course has taught us. See you in cyberspace. 1
This experience has shown me the extent to which the Internet and its properties of virtual reality and community can allow us to completely immerse ourselves in this digital landscape. But I'm worried about what we're immersing ourselves into. Is it the blogs, social networks, posts and message boards that link us based on social interaction and shared interests? Or are am I allowing myself to dive into a world using freedom and choice as an illusion? I worry because the web is too 'honest' and powerful of a medium to not garner attempted manipulation. Just like there are some people who think the news we watch and read is 'fair and balanced' and don't question it for a second, I wonder if we are not doing the same thing, or at least will unknowingly believe the same to be true if such a transition ever happens. We see glimpses of this in countries where national control or partial censorship of the Internet exists, we even question that it might be happening here with issues of the phone companies and net neutrality. But how do we know if it hasn't happened in the quiet of the night. James Beniger states that the Internet's progression is bottom up, but in our day and age for every web innovation created there is a multi-billion dollar company or investment group there to propel it from the bottom up. The optimist in me says they are just cultivating and polishing it while getting a nice monetary surplus in the process and that its ideological purpose and functions is of minimal concern to them, but why is this so hard to believe?
Previewing and buying books, television, music...whatever we want has become a reality. More than a simulation of the social landscape, the web has become an extension. We can now yell at, insult, meet and lie to one another at distances and times larger and further than ever before. The outcomes are good and bad but seemingly always more convenient. But if for nothing else that wasn't already readily available to us before the web as we know it today, it has upheld and at least noticeably perpetuated freedom of speech and the discourse of ideas. This is a problem that was not solved before the Internet, will probably not be after it, but is undoubtedly helped as a result of it. This is the saving grace of the Internet, the propagation of our ideas, wherever they may be directed. It is important we keep them free from tyranny and manipulation; corporate, ideological or otherwise.
This is perhaps what I have gotten most out of the class, the productive and creative potential for the web. Whether spitting a hot bar of oratory skills on Youtube, or textually dropping dope rhymes via blog. Seeing the next generation of manifestos, pallets, note pads, and drawing boards on those streaming videos and blog entries, I've learned that at my discretion I can be putting as much in to this Internet-thing as I get out.
Throughout the past few months we have submerged ourselves into social networks such as Twitter, Myspace, and Youtube. Sure we have asked what types of spaces are being created here but what are we actually submerging out ourselves into? We have discussed that virtual reality is simulation of reality. Youtube is one site that I think we might use to test this statement. Digital videos capture the visual and audio experiences of reality and encode that information, allowing us to view a reality known to us in a digital space. Do we still call this a virtual reality or not? Is it a simulation? A virtual space does not need to capture all sensory experiences experienced in physical reality to be virtual. Virtual reality simulations often only encompass visual and audio senses however, the more senses involved in the virtual experience, the more similar to physical reality it becomes. Jay David Bolter believed that there is a different sense of self, of placement and interaction when mediated. Who are you in a virtual space ad where are you? So when your videos are published to the web and played repeatedly by viewers like a menacing episode, is that an accurate simulation of yourself? What rules apply?
[Side thought: With the beginning of hypertext, all rules of linear thought are broken, unorganized movement throughout a text introduced, forecasting the future of the internet as a network. ]
Gibson coined the term Parasocial interaction and defined it as talking to someone through a mediated form in a personal context. This is an everyday occurrence for many people. Parasocial interaction is made possible through iChatting and vlogging amongst other emerging technologies. How are we affected by conversations that imply geo-relativity while there is no physicality at all? Unfortunately, the term parasocial communication rings of abnormality. It sounds like an irregular form of communication. It is different in comparison to the forms of communication we grew up with (interpersonal, broadcast, non-verbal, etc). But today, mediated communication is no longer parasocial interaction, it is a step closer to true virtual interaction. As it become second nature use mediated communication, we inch closer to a more virtual world where very little human interaction will occur. Constant connectivity to out social networks will allow for more fluid and constant communication that actual social interaction in the physical world will become almost unnecessary. We will then begin to live in a virtual world, a simulation of reality, a place where meetings occur in virtual spaces and parental visitation is a two hour online interactive gaming session.
With time avatars will fade and we will replace online profile with and actual virtual presence. No longer “getting rid of the meat” (Sue Barns) but including the most accurate representation of self possible.
In regards to ownership of the internet and the direction it takes by way of ownership, I would hope to see it remain in the hands of the cyber-junkies and digital geniuses which reminisce on ARPnet, the cyber-cowboys and renegades that explored the dungeons of MOOs and MUDs. I see no option but to continually undermine the wish for governmental control. The internet can only flourish is the same way it was rooted, from a democratic and independent community because the public will overthrow any regulation.
With that said, knowing the power of the user. It is also in the hands of the online community to close the digital divide. Access and computer literacy are two growing issues. As mentioned by Frank E.X Dance, it is going to have to be a “trickle up” effect. This responsibility should be a communal one. Starting small and blossoming outward. Contributions to communities throughout the world will enable access, increase literacy, and start a true global nation. If we want to keep the internet from governmental regulation is is a necessity that the community acts on the gaping digital divide so that they may maintain the democratic community that it was founded on.
Well I’m not sure how much more I could write (definitely a bit) but I feel like I’ll be monopolizing our blog. To all my Interactive Rams… it was fun exploring the unknown, pioneering a new course here at Fordham University and getting know all of you in the process. I’ll see you all in (our final:( ) class and online!
In February 1999, I was "born again" on the Internet. I got a brand new iMac and it changed the way I used the internet. I finally figured out how to get to Amazon.com, and I learned what Yahoo! was. It was a strange time. It's hard to think that was only 9 years ago. Still on dial-up, but so much faster than it had been 4 years before. After a few furtive purchases on Amazon, we didn't touch it again until Christmas of that year, nearly 10 months later. For my family and I, the Internet was still new. We even called in the Credit Card number on that first purchase.
By 2002 (and Sophomore year of High School), I had finally figured this Internet thing out. I was using Web sites regularly, making frequent use of Amazon and eBay and exploring. In 2004, we finally upgraded to broadband and this just served to mean I was on the Internet more. And now here we are, 2008 on the eve of my last classes as an Undergraduate and I'm filling out a blog entry for a class on Interactive Media. It's been a weird 13 years of the Internet for me. But it does give me some unique insight into how things have changed. (It's also hard to imagine that incoming Freshman to Fordham where born in 1990.)
Web 2.0 is new the buzzword of the last two or so years. This is the big, user generated internet push. Things like Wikipedia, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and more are representations of this move toward users creating the content of a Web site. Blogs and online Journals have recently become media savvy, gaining legitimacy. They've become cross-media platforms with embedded videos, a plethora of hyperlinks and tags-a-plenty. Web 2.0 is part of the evolution of the Internet into that which is being called (with about the imagination of a 6 year old) The New Internet.
We've heard recently that we're running out domain names in the next 2-5 years, that the Internet (that is the current or "Old" Internet) will hit its maximum capacity of users and demand by 2010 - 2012 (The latter being the year the World ends for some people, see Mayan Calendar). The New Internet will apparently run on fiber optics and is projected to be 10,000 times faster than our current Internet, broadcasting around 1800 MB a second. For those in the ever-growing field of Internet piracy, that means rough 6 episodes of a 45-minute long TV Show in a second.
But the New Internet won't just be better at processing information and getting you the latest mash-up of Chocolate Rain on YouTube in seconds. (Or perhaps you're a fan of Tay Zonday's other hit Internet Dream.) The New Internet will be a place where Wikipedia-type Web sites are the norm. Resources where the users are using their own expertise to make content better. Blogs could be the place to see news first on the new Web, MySpace and Facebook might replace AIM as a means of a communication (especially now with the ultra-creepy Facebook IM system.) The New Internet could very well be based heavily on Web 2.0 principals. (PS, they're already working on Web 3.0).
I couldn't tell you for sure where the Internet is going to go in the future. One hopes that it will evolve into something strong, something universal. Who knows, maybe Second Life will become the visual aspect of the Internet? Kind of like that Dave Chappelle skit which I would gladly post if only Comedy Central didn't delete anything they copyrighted on the Net. But I don't think we're quite ready for a visually-interactive Internet. We need to still get over Web sites with pictures and videos because they're still relatively new. Heck, there aren't even really books on the subject of social media yet. We're still exploring for ourselves, and the best people suited to develop Web 2.0 and the New Internet are still coming through college. They're the kids who were born with the Internet, the ones who don't remember a time without it. (And to be honest, my early memories of it are pretty boring.) So, that's it. My thoughts on the Internet after looking into the subject these last few months. It's a weird thing. An organic inorganic-technology. It lives and grows because of the millions of people taking care of it. With those kind of parents, it has all the potential in the world.
And, because it's an Interactive Media class, I feel I should share the best medium of them all: The Rick Roll.