Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thank You Andrew Rasiej!!!

We had an outstanding guest lecture by Andrew Rasiej, and after it was over, I prevailed upon him to sit down for a quick video interview for YouTube:








And here are the links that he mentioned in the video, for your convenience:

Personal Democracy

techPresident

mouse

Sunlight Foundation


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

This Time.....It's For Keeps

During this, my finest and most junior of academic years I was treated to a class of robust interactive ability. The class in question is Fordham University's Communications Department's Interactive Media Class, taught, or should I say hosted and MC'd, by Lance Strate. 

It all began on a brisk, yet crisp, January day when I strolled into the Digital Media Lab in Faculty Memorial Hall just outside of campus. Professor Strate, a man I had actually met as a Senior in high school during a tour of the communications department way back in 2005, sat us down and promptly set up a class wide blog. From that point on, the blog postings came heavy and often. We embedded videos, commented on literature, talked about current events, gave reviews of tourist destinations, and just got closer as a group of spry minds just trying to get good grades. 

The inter-personal communication didn't stop there. He introduced, well to me anyway, MySpace. I was hesitant at first, like a freshly born deer taking his first steps on a frozen pond, but I settled into it and am now part of a couple of groups and have a solid group of friends who I share an online bond with over such things as our mutual love of Orlando Magic offensive juggernaut Pat Garrity. MySpace wouldn't have been on my radar as an online venue I'd participate in, but I was put on the Strate path towards realization of its true power. I am a habitual Facebook user so this was a welcome addition to my repertoire and contrasted the college-focused Facebook quite nicely. 

Amazingly, the roller coaster of new internet destinations for me to discover wasn't over. After our guest Paul Smith regaled us with his love of the chat site Twitter it was, as the saying goes, all the rage. The class and I Twittered until we passed out, in some cases, and had a generally unique experience thanks to Twitter. The unique, short-blurb format was surely original and it lent itself well to people with not too much to say. I could say anything I want, press update, and what I'm doing right at that moment is now out there for everyone (my subscribers, mostly) to see. I like what Twitter has shown me. 

I never thought I'd get serious face-time in a medium viewed by all the movers and shakers in  this world: YouTube. Thanks to Interactive Media that is a dream that has already been fulfilled. In a humorous, yet informative interview session with Professor Strate we talked about everything from Jerry Seinfeld to messenger boys. It opened my eyes to just how easy it was to make a video that will live in cyberspace forever; accessible free of charge every time. I wish more YouTubeing had taken place, but in a once a week class what more could I ask for.

All in all, this class had me thinking about the internet in a broader, more progressive way. I no longer check ESPN.com first...I browse the web and see what tasty morsels it has to offer. Thanks to this class there are a moatload more morsels than ever before. 

Recapping the Year of Interactive (S)excellence

Candidates using cable lines should be using Net

I thought this was a really cool class as McLuhan would say. I had a great time watching the Southpark episode on theoretical money, as well as the discussions we would sometime have. I, also liked how we used MySpace and Twitter, but still like Facebook the best. These sights are getting more and more popular each year, they are a convenient and fun way to interact with your friends. They are also being used for web ads and can reach a wide audience rapidly. It has been a successful way of advertising and mass communication. This industry has branched out in recent years and has created social network advertising. While cable television promises to get the right advertisement to the right person, based on their lifestyles, however this is a future goal for cable and reality for the internet. With the growth of the internet comes the growth of time spent on the internet. With this said, many individuals time is dedicated to social networks like MySpace and Facebook, which have also been used for mass advertising since their launch in 2003 and 2004. These social networking sites continue to grow,it is an activity that 37% of US adult Internet users and 70% of online teens engage in every month. By 2011, about half of all online adults and 84% of online teens in the United States will use social networks. However, broadcast television, received nearly 60 percent of total political spending, will be the leader in the political advertising space and may see some follow-along ad dollars from online combo buys from the campaigns. With 95 percent penetration, TV is still the fastest way to reach the broadest audience of registered voters. Even though the internet is becoming more accessible, people that are fifty five and older demographic are still the hardest age group to reach through the internet. Therefore candidates will spend most of their ad money on traditional media.

Checkin' Out

As I often do for most of my classes, I questioned whether or not, I would enjoy Interactive Media. I was hesitant about such social networks like Myspace.com but eager to discover more about the infinite network of communication in cyberspace. I am happy that I stuck with it, because I got to share and learn new information with a cool class. Also, I was able to learn from a fun professor with an immense amount of knowledge about new media.
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.

You Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello

To say the Interactive Media class was valuable to us would be an understatement. I consider our generation of students to basically be the first generation that grew up with access to the Internet beginning at early childhood (ages 8-10 when the Internet first really came on the scene.) Thus, a class based on studying social activity on the Internet as well as expanding our own interactivity was incredibly relative. This is not to say we did not benefit immensely from an older generation of "digital immigrants" made up of established communications professors and media ecologists. Over the course of establishing a new persona on the Internet we linked what we experienced to the ideas of communication and technology expressed in Communication and Cyberspace: Social Interaction In An Electronic EnvironmentIn our class's bible as we refer to it, the relationship between new media and society is closely examined through the writings of such professors as Lance Strate, Ron L. Jacobson, Stephanie B. Gibson, John M. Phelan, Paul Levinson, Sue Barnes, Neil Postman, etc. Each author examines different media outlets and their purpose for society along with some fears and possible dilemmas each could be associated with.

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

In Closing

In my ever-continuing search to be more "interactive" I checked out a random blog post on MySpace the other day that dealt with a video post proclaiming Christians as delusional. My experience with the few posts and comments I have read on MySpace has been that they are either filled with pointless spam advertisements, random messages of hate or sex, and your few comments of valid ideas and opinions. While this one was certainly filled with all those, I searched deeper and found a discourse somewhere through the chaos and clutter. Pro-religion and pro-agnostic views both rationale, eloquent and well thought out filled the comments board and what I saw was a collection of dozens and dozens of messages perpetuating a conversation of ideas. Not getting all political here but i think America is big on that kind of thing and always has been. This communication was not segmented and edited, it was raw and honest. This is the type of environment that breeds ground breaking and revolutionary ideas, the difference that Rushkoff spoke of when he talked about communication and information. The Internet does have information in the traditional sense but unlike its mass media cousins it still possesses this ability to avoid the editing and bias of television and newspapers and gives us candor.



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.



I'm Out

The End is Just the Beginning

I was going to summarize our readings into categories of textual, sensory and issues of sociopolitical importance that still may be a better option however, then I might be re-writing chapters of our bible. Instead, I would like to draw upon our online social interaction and apply those reading which aim to discuss cyberspace, virtual reality, textual de-linearity through hypertext, and time among other topics.

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!

The Internet Isn't For Porn, or The New Internet

I came to the realization the other day that I've been using the Internet for some 13 years. I do vaguely remember logging into AOL on my 56k modem back in 1995. It was an exciting time. You could actually chat with someone in another state! Though for no more than an hour a day because it cost money to use dial-up in those dark ages. It's interesting because I never really understood what Web sites were until much later. If I couldn't find it through AOL Keyword search, I wasn't quite sure where to go. It's hard for me to sit back and imagine that time period. Not many of my friends had IM, so I went into random AOL Kids Zone chat rooms and made friends. Again, it was hard because dial-up tied up the phone line, and you couldn't have that.

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.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Luke Forand--Signing Out

In what very well likely could be my last blog entry for the Interactive Rams, please sample my reflections on what I have learned in this class about where the internet is headed, and what we should do:

The whole world continues to connect itself with hyperlinks, websites and social networking, drawing together corners and discussions that could not exist without the internet and didn't exist anywhere near this scale before the internet. People can find love (if you believe in match.com), order their groceries, manage their stocks, become ordained ministers, post personal videos, and publish their writing all using their personal computers. None could argue, this freedom gives the masses power, right? Advertisements, pop-ups and spam plague the user's experience, but with a system so fluid and instantaneous, it is virtually impossible to fight all the little things that get in the way of pure information flow. We as users have become creators.

But will people be able to respect the internet and protect the integrity of the information on such an open, free source? The internet allows third parties to create applications and change the face of social networking sites like facebook and myspace. What Jonathan Zittrain calls "generativity", is the ability to create on the internet on multiple levels. "Social, content, physical and logical layers" of the internet can be influenced by any user logging on. Sites like Wikipedia allow content to be changed as users publish. Physical layouts and logical placement of information can be criticized through online networking, "contact us" hyperlinks and digital "suggestion boxes" as available as someone's email account. Social sites have laid the groundwork for people to create an identity online and collect "friends", "followers" and members of different groups that the user belongs to (on or offline). The online identity from social networking will shape social interaction for our generation and those after us.

People must be aware and conscious of how the internet works and what effect they will have on the whole web. It is my opinion that more people are using the internet and less are thinking about it. We must remember to use the internet and not to abuse it. One such problem occurs with social networking applications (individual creators) on sites like facebook and myspace have access to every users private information. The internet is such a leaderless and classless society that the problem and the ingenious of the internet is that ANYONE with know-how can post, send, receive and promote ideas/information.

With this flow of information comes other problems of copyright. Like "who owns mickey mouse"?. Walt Disney isn't going to sue me if I send a picture of Donald Duck in one of my emails, but prominent online authors and poets are not having such an easy time using symbols, characters and images of the past. If a lot of people are seeing something, somebody wants to make money off of it. Who knows where the restrictions and freedoms of the internet are going. International standards must be

One things is sure, the mixing of media is inevitable. The TV and computer will soon be intimately connected to the cell phone and the digital identity people have will be sinonymous with their identity in reality. 3D representation, touch-screen, mouseless computers as well as vocal/video interaction with new technologies and increasing social networking across the globe will prove to bring people closer together and continue to push the boundaries of how people experience the world we have created (and that other world that was here before us, too).

Prediction: By the time I get old, I will be ordering my prescription meds, listening to music, browsing the internet, recording my favorite shows, video chatting with old friends, writing my personal blog and text messaging my friends all from my personal "identity screen", a computer-cable-satellite phone media player that ties your world to THE WORLD(starts at $4,500). And who knows, maybe it will be 3D on my table-- the final frontier in collaboration of media (end of the world to follow shortly...)!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Interactive Rams Go YouTubing Part Two

This time the tables were turned! Here's Part One:




And now Part Two:


Stroke of Insight Video

This isn't exactly interactive media, or perhaps it's interactive media of the most basic sort, especially if you think of computer technology as an extension of the brain, and the brain as a processor, with the mind as its software.



A Society of Overloggers

The newest episode of South Park once again has tailored itself to our Interactive Media class and analysis of the internet. For some reason, the "national internet" stops working and the community realizes that they have a serious problem with "overlogging" onto the internet. Randy Marsh has trouble sleeping and some personal problems "getting off" without obscure internet porn. His daughter has an internet boyfriend who she is suddenly disconnected from after the internet goes down. At the conclusion of the episode, Kyle has an ingenious plan to fix the internet and gains access to the top secret location of "the internet". Then he does the unthinkable--unplugs it, then plugs it back in. Miraculously, the internet is back up and everyone can go back to their lives of overlogging.

Humorous as usual, South Park also brings up a point that our class has been making all year and should be obvious to anyone who is more than a product of their environment: the internet world is addictive and has become more important to many people than the real world. We feel insecure and nervous when we can't send emails before bed, look at goofy youtube videos or communicate with our online friends, some of whom we will never meet. I don't know if Trey and Matt read our blog, but they sure are playing a tune that rings true and in key with what we have learned in our exploration of social networking and the medium of the internet.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Social Networking with Fantasy Sports

Another social network that we have not really touched upon in class is the Fantasy Sports Industry. The immense popularity of sports in the current Broadcast Industry is undeniable. ESPN is an around the clock radio and television broadcast network that updates viewers (to the minute) on what is going on in the world of sports. At any given time during the day or night you can tune into a game or sports talk on ESPN or other major television networks such as TNT, ABC, or CBS. The popular interest for sports in America is aparant, and as fervor for the internet continues to increase, the Sports Industry is bound to find its foothold in cyberspace. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) reports that as of 2007, there are more than 125 major companies (including credited companies such as ESPN and CBS Sports) and 18 million adult users in the Fantasy Sports Industry. The popularity for fantasy sports is becoming increasingly evident, and in terms of our Interactive Media class (that means you Lance Strate) I think the social networking element of the Fantasy Sports Industry is noteworthy. Many employers complain about their employees wasting time at work over the internet competing in Fantasy Sports, which is reminiscent to the complaints from teachers about students interacting on social networks during class time (where computers are available). I found a fairly unintelligent video that argues in favor of participation in Fantasy Sports in the workplace, saying that it promotes positive relationship building between coworkers. In the context of this blog, the existence of this video validates the idea that the Fantasy Sports Industry is really just another type of social network. The Fantasy Sports networks actually have a leg up on some of the other social networks that we have been researching in class, based on the idea that it adds a competitive element to an aspect of society that a large percentage of Americans are very interested in (explained the the begining of this post). Personally I have not really participated in the Fantasy Sports Industry, but I think its increasing popularity within the realm of the Social Network Era (there I said it) is very relevant to the research we are conducting in this class. Anyways, here's the unintelligent video.

Myspace versus Facebook

The other day I noticed one of the major social differences between Myspace and Facebook. I observed that Facebook has become the dominant social networking site for the typical college students, while Myspace particualry attracts people of all ages in urban areas. It has topics of interests for everyone and has become the biggest social networking site available. Every person, I have become friends with in New York City has a Myspace page, while most of my college friends only have a Facebook account. Social networking has become a less creepy way to stay in contact with a person you have just met. Subsequently, it is more popular in cities, because you interact with a lot of new people. You get to explore their custom website highlighting their personalities. Nowadays, people are using less pick-up lines involving one’s telephone number and concentrating on their Myspace or Facebook connection.
Primarily, you will find that kids in suburbia have abandoned their websites on Myspace due to the recent popularity and engagement of Facebook. Orginally, Facebook limited their accessibility to the website, because it was designed for college students. As Facebook blew up, they opened their website to high school students and it is now available to everyone. I found there is a boundary between the two websites with a small percentage of people participating in both. I wonder why certain people prefer one social networking site opposed to another? Thus, I found an article called Class War: MySpace Vs. Facebook, in which, Researcher Danah Boyd from the University of California Berkeley confirms what teens in any high school across the country already know: “Affluent kids from educated, well-to-do families have been fleeing MySpace for Facebook since it opened registration to the general public in September, while working-class kids still flock to MySpace.”
“MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. These are the teens who plan to go into the military immediately after schools. Teens who are really into music or in a band are also on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.”

I thought this was an interesting observation that other people have begun to research. We should explore the boundaries between the social networking sites and why certain people choose one group opposed to another.

Blogging Just Got A Little Louder...

In this class (particularly Camille Paglia's piece) we have discussed the contrast between traditional print newspaper and magazine writing and that of its digital counterpart on the Internet. No more is this more distinctive than in the blogosphere; spawning from a diary-like function this genre of writing has weaved itself into the most accredited of traditional print news media like the New York Times and CNN. News and media organizations have acknowledged this phenomenon as best they could and incorporated it into their business models and infrastructure.
But the blogosphere is a creation of the digital domain, and while to some extent it has been manipulated to function in the format of traditionally print-oriented editorials, the ever expanding choice and multitude of the blog on the web is not as such that it can be limited to a narrower class of "accredited" bloggers.
It is true that there perhaps exists some hierarchy of blog writing in the web; that for every 50 blogs about insignificant personal rants masqueraded in poor grammar and syntax we will find one heralded by a noticeable portion of the online masses. But to assume that these "few" Nobel like blogs entail those found on ESPN.com and USA Today is to be foolhardy. Undoubtedly the blog writers that have been brought in to usher this fusion of internet-print journalism must have been talented and popular so as to have been able to garner such attention from the high and mighty news media, but the law of averages coupled with the sheer abundance of blogs out there covering every possible interest and subject tells us that there are more out there than just the ones we read about in the technology section of USATODAY.com

Many of you guys are going to look at the adjoining article I link to this post and wonder what the coherent connection is. The point that I'm trying to make is that blogging...Internet writing and journalism as a whole, which has often been criticized by detractors as an inferior form is growing louder in its cry for equal artistic and journalistic consideration. This NY Times article which delves into professional sports' issues and concerns with "sports blogging" is a clear example of the reality and attention blogging has begun to command. The questions being asked about traditional press privileges for reporters as opposed to bloggers are noteworthy signals of the changes surfacing on the horizon of news, media, sports and journalism.

Please Read Up & Comment:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/21/business/media/21bloggers.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=technology

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Interactive Rams Go YouTubing Part Two

Three students were MIA last time, so here's the make-up interviews:

Lawrence Lessig on Remix Culture

Lawrence Lessig gives an amazing talk on remix culture and its influence changing the way copyright laws work. Looking at the past, it's inevitable for copyright law to change to reflect new practices and it would benefit us now and not wait until the last minute.

Postman's Message

Neil Postman writes in his epilogue that we should not judge technology, new media, and the Internet by the aspects of our lives that they enhance. On the contrary, we should consider if a technology like the Internet is essential to the human race at the current moment. Today, I feel podcasts, mobile Internet devices, and PDA's do not solve any specific problem, but are designed to make people's lives even easier. At the same time the existence of the Internet as a whole may soon be viewed as a necessity for the younger generations to come. In today's fast-paced, large-scaled, and global society the value of human life can be greatly affected by a person's access to the Internet. The emphasis on being connected to the web in a person's life will only be increased in the future. I know in my own life where more often then not the Internet in my home is either down, or being used for other purposes (Halo 3), I miss out on my own obligations of studying at a University and working for a website. Not to say this is a problem for society, but eventually the Internet will become more and more of a necessity for all people. What would Postman think of this?


Good For You Twitter!

I am actually happy to hear that Twitter may begin providing ad space on their site. Why should they miss out on the money a popular networking site like Twitter should make. Many people have expressed a greater interest in the uniqueness of Twitter than they have with any other, more intimidating, social-networking sites. I feel if its got the buzz, it should have the bucks. MySpace and Facebook have generated monopoly money for their creators based on the sponsors they receive and still provide free registration for members. If Twitter does the same I feel it will only expand to new members and advance its content, thus making it more popular and easier to reach new people and make online connections and relationships.

Twitter Going Corporate?

In a recent article from Techcrunch.com it is reported that the popular micro-blogging site Twitter, which we have all come to love possibly started introducing ads into its site as of last night. The site, which is currently free and extremely popular has yet to incorporate any traditional ad partnerships that would allow it to start making money. Another possible option would be to add a subscription fee to the site in order to generate some funds, but will this go over well or even come into fruition?? We shall see...

Here's the link to the blog post/article about the issue:
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/14/twitter-testing-advertising-in-twitter-streams/

Monday, April 14, 2008

Interactive storytelling: We Tell Stories

We Tell Stories is an interesting take on the idea of interactive storytelling using the Internet. From the site:

"Starting on 18th March, Penguin UK is launching its most ambitious digital writing project to date. In collaboration with fĂȘted alternate reality game designers Six to Start, Penguin has challenged some of its top authors to create new forms of story - designed specially for the internet.

Over six weeks writers including Booker-shortlisted Mohsin Hamid, popular teen fiction author Kevin Brooks, prize-winning Naomi Alderman and bestselling thriller authors Nicci French will be pushing the envelope and creating tales that take full advantage of the immediacy, connectivity and interactivity that is now possible. These stories could not have been written 200, 20 or even 2 years ago."

The first story—The 21 Steps, uses Google maps to tell the journey that the protagonist takes throughout the story. The company that helped to make this calls it an ARG—an alternate reality game, which according to Wikipedia, is defined as “an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions.”

The second story, Slice, uses blog posts and Twitter to tell the story, which I guess is a pretty interesting idea; people can get updated with the story almost immediately. The site in general seems to take the most prominent aspects about using the Internet and using it to tell stories. With the first story, it emphasizes how far satellite technology has gotten and how it allows us to look at anywhere on the globe (via Google Maps). Another story plays on the immediacy that the Internet can provide; the authors write the story in real time for readers to read immediately. Another, which uses blog posts to tell the story shows off an entirely different way of telling stories. I suppose the language used will be a lot more colloquial and casual to create Internet personalities where readers can easily get a sense of what the blogger is like. With Twitter, actions in the story would have to be shortened to fit within that 140 character limit. The fourth story, "Your Place and Mine," have two narrators telling about their encounter with the other one simultaneously. Though I think so far, the fifth one, "Hard Times," was the most interesting. It begins with, "More of us live online," and continues on with statements and statistics regarding the current state of how information, ideas, etc. travel and how the current generation is different from the older one.

In general, I think this is a pretty interesting site. It definitely puts a new perspective on how we can tell stories using the resources that the Internet has to offer as well as methods that are currently so popularly used on the Internet.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Viral Marketing

Digital videos and video sharring are working for more than just media savvy individuals like us, the Interactive Rams. By forging sites like Youtube.com where we create and share videos, we promote ourselves (your name is your brand). Clearly, by sharing our videos we hope to create some type of attention or recognition. When a videos or online games generate some hype and gain recognition solely by viewer sharing, it becomes a viral piece. If an advertiser does this it is called viral marketing. I came across a great viral video which also promotes a product and a brand in this non-traditional form of advertising. So, to keep with the tradition of viral marketing, I am sharing the vide with all of you. Very cool and very boy-friendly. I love this stuff so, enjoy!



Can anyone figure out what this is about? I can't wait to know!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Interactive Rams Go YouTubing

Our first YouTube video, awkward and lacking any redeeming value:


SP deals with web video

Episode 1204 of South Park begins with all of Canada going on strike. To the boys dismay, this means no new episodes of Canadian humorists Terrence and Phillip. In an attempt to raise enough money to give to the Canadians to end the strike, the SP boys create a YouTube music video that shows Butters singing a vulgar and hilarious song. When they try and get their "internet money" from an office, they run into every YouTube legend you can imagine. Check it:


Curious Articles I Found

This was on the Open Anthropology blog I read, thought it was pretty interesting in the context of the class Interviewing the 'Electronically Archived "YOU."'

Also, here's this article about this program called Oddcast.

BBC Articles about the Internet
Sex Offenders and Social Networking

Man gets $2.6m for pizza.com

Search Engines Warned over Information

In class on Monday, one of my professors gave us an article about the electric car in Europe. It was tongue-in-cheek and mentioned the Lizard Alliance and Ray Guns. Our professor thought it was a legitimate article. It from the British technology Web site The Register which presents articles about new technology in comedic fashion. Consistently starting articles about Yahoo! with every word excalamated (yes, I just invented a word). Interesting place with fun articles. One of them linked me to a video of an Italian CEO giving an inspirational speech to his workers where he says that Napoleon won the Battle of Waterloo. (He didn't)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mobilizing to Save Civilization

As I noted in our last class class, I found the last chapter of the book to be most intriguing. In our modern and fast-paced society, I believe we often forget the most basic principles.

Recently, I started reading a book by Lester Brown called Plan B 3.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization. The book is a part of a short series to address and help change problems in our environment. If you are not interested in purchasing the book; the author made the book free of charge on the Internet to help reach a larger audience. If you click on the link above, it will take you to the website. I am aware that I have continually stressed all of you to check out these preservation websites, but this one is essential. I recommend just checking out the introduction or first couple chapters, because the numbers and facts are simply astonishing. It is an easy read with a powerful message. President Bill Clinton praised the book saying,
“Lester Brown tells us how to build a more just world and save the planet…in a practical, straightforward way. We should all heed his advice."

The book is divided into four overriding goals: stabilizing climate, stabilizing population, eradicating poverty, and restoring the earth’s ecosystems. “We have the technologies to restructure the world energy economy and stabilize climate. The challenge now is to build the political will to do so. Saving civilization is not a spectator sport. Each of us has a leading role to play.” He discusses the global role that is so pertinent in saving our civilization. We must globalize to prevent further damage that we will be unable to save known as the tipping point. I wanted to throw out a few overwhelming facts so that you will actually check out the book or website.
"Nearly all of the 70 million people being added to the world population each year are born in countries where natural support systems are already deteriorating in the face of excessive population pressure, in the countries least able to support them. In these countries, the risk of state failure is growing."
"In 2006, the world pumped 31 billion barrels of oil but discovered fewer than 9 billion barrels of new oil. World reserves of conventional oil are in a free fall, dropping every year".
"During the late summer of 2007, the news of accelerating ice melting arrived at a frenetic pace. In early September, the Guardian in London reported, "The Artic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented pace this summer, and levels of sea ice in the region now stand at a record low. Experts were "stunned" by the loss of ice, as an area almost twice the size of Britain disappeared in a single week".

Sobering the Cyber-Generation

In Chapter 2, CyberWalden: The Online Psychology of Politics and Culture, John M. Phelan incorporates a conservative point of view into the progressive idea of cyberspace and the increasing importance of the internet's capability. Phelan states the reiterated idea that the internet may not be able to replace tangible interaction. Seeing pictures and reading about a city on the other side of the world is not the same as actually being there, and a conversation over AIM or even through video web cams using programs such as IVideoChat or Chatablanca is not the same as a conversation face to face. Phelan actually states on page 54, paragraph two, "In this broader cultural context, cyberspace can in some way be a step backwards." Although the internet has introduced an entire new culture of ways in which we can obtain information faster, or reach people easier, we must take this efficiency in context. Since the internet is such an incredible invention, that has developed more within this generation than any prior, I think our generation has formed a type of obsession with cyber-culture. As the internet continues to grow, specifically through channels which allow anyone who can get online to contribute (Wikipedia being an obvious example), our generation continually builds upon this idea that our we have helped to contribute to the boom of what is possibly the most extensive technological advancement ever. Being the first generation to be effected by the internet, as well as foster its growth, there is a astronomical idea that we are the first generation to recognize the human "need" for digital interaction over the internet. I agree with the comments from John Phelan in this chapter which look to sober the obsession that our generation tends to accumulate with the excitement of the internet's growing capabilities. Cyber-culture and the internet have proven to be a cutting edge way to access information, interact with people, and even complete menial tasks (such as banking or paying bills), but this does not mean that the creation of the internet has created a human need for its capabilities. The internet is a tool, not a necessity, and the effects of the internet on a society which aims to expand online capability towards the idea of Universal Service will reflect this. The effects of an incredible technology on our society will not supersede the effects of issues in our society which actually do constitute human needs. While we are worrying about how porn on the internet is going to effect the sexual decorum of our children, people living in the physical world are dealing with starving poor living in inner-city slums, and natural disasters which might point towards global warming. We must look at the internet as a tool to help us solve issues in the world which actually effect our human realm of necessities, rather than obsessing over our adaptation to the technological capabilities of the internet and the resulting effects.

Cognitive Logic and Relational Fascination

In James R. Beniger's Chapter 3, Who Shall Control Cyberspace, he explains three major characteristics of the internet and cyberspace which foster the adaptation of this new conceptual space into our everyday lives. Beniger says that cyberspace is physical, cognitive, and relational. The physical aspects of cyberspace are needed, but probably the least important in terms of the human adaptation of cyberspace, consisting of the actual computer, modem, keyboard, etc...that we use to access the internet. Cognitively, the internet offers users the availability to do their own research, and pay attention to the information that specifically effects their own personal lives. Also from the cognitive view of making the computer a personal medium of exchange, the evolution in the personalization of our own computers and their desktops is becoming an increasing factor of why we may choose brand loyalty to one computer brand over another. Personally, I think this is why Mac has been so successful in marketing their laptops, pushing Microsoft out of the business of computers and into television (see my previous blog Microsoft ...Television) Lastly, Beniger refers to the new conceptual space of the internet as being relational. This is obviously the most fascinating part of the new world of cyberspace, as it is probably the least understood yet fasting growing characteristic that Beniger names. We can understand the physical means used to access the internet, and we can logically understand why someone would want to use the internet for cognitive purposes (accessing more desired information at a faster pace), but is the relational part of the internet really needed? Cognitively we have almost solved the "problem" of not being able to access information fast enough, but from a relational point of view what has the internet provided us that we could not accomplish more efficiently face to face, or even on the telephone? I don't think anyone is really sure of this, which is why a large portion of the cyberspace community has become so intrigued by online social networks. Learning how to interact with people strictly using digital means is new, unchartered ground that has grabbed the attention of many people who use the internet on a regular basis. Is it possible that as our society evolves, the online social network evolution will have become so prevalent that upcoming generations will need to be able to interact digitally in order to meet the social needs of a modern society? I think this may be pushing the envelope, but it is interesting to note the current fascination of online social networks and the eventual direction that this fascination will lead us in.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wikipedia Takes Manhattan...

...is a scavenger hunt and free content photography contest coordinated with Columbia University and New York University students, aimed at illustrating Wikipedia articles covering the wondrous sights on the island of Manhattan.

The student participants will compete to photograph as many sites as possible from a list of goals whose articles lack photographs, or that are missing certain essential photographs.

The event will be held on Friday April 4, and will run from 11:30 AM/noon to 11 PM/midnight. Everyone will meet up and check in at the two starting points at noon, and after a day of subways, street rambles, photography and free culture goodness, the night will conclude with a party back at Columbia. For more info go here or here

Gotta love Wikipedia!

Fears With Social Networking

Here is an article about a Muslim girl who was killed by her own father for using Facebook in her home country.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Facebook-Kills-Saudi-Girl-Shot-Dead-For-Using-Facebook-82081.shtml

Twitter Updates

In case you hadn't noticed, I added a tweetpeek to the sidebar on our blog. This applet will display the five most recent tweets from the twitterers in our class. Any one who I missed can follow InteractiveRams and I'll follow you backs you're added.

I learned of this site another group I became a part of known as The Pulse of Ubuntu. The group follows users of the Ubuntu Linux OS on Twitter and I was lucky enough to make "Twitter friends" with some of the people who set it up. We've had some awesome discussions on Twitter and I grow to enjoy the service more each day. Just as a note, our site is based off The Pulse of Open Source which tracks the tweets of prominent open source software developers.

I hope everyone gets a chance to play with Twitter. It takes a little effort at first to make contacts and gain some followers, but afterwards it's very easy to start thought-provoking conversations and network with people you might miss on other sites. If you get a chance, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/tedbaker. Looking forward to reading some new tweets!

The Net Generation

As most of you know, my lap-top, I-pod, and some other sweet things of mine were recently stolen from my house. I missed a couple blogs, so I am writing one long blog to cover certain points of interests from the assigned readings.

As Paull predicted, a child of the Internet and cell-phone generation, I feel cut off from society. I can no longer have the luxury of sitting on my couch and doing my daily Internet routine. Honestly, I do not really miss checking my My-Space page, but I still have the same impulse to check my Facebook. It is weird how every time you go to the computer, you have the urge to check your e-mail, facebook, and favorite web-sites.
We are the Net generation. A generation that always feels the need to stay socially connected. Check around your college campus, everyone walks to class chatting on their cell phones and listening to their I-pods. The Internet and communication have become such an important element in our life. Why do we daily check our facebook and call friends the instant we get out of class? Thus, I wanted to discuss the relevance of conceptual space in cyberspace. I found an excellent quote from James Gleik defining the Net as “It isn’t a thing; it isn’t an entity; it isn’t an organization. No one owns it; no one runs it. It is simply Everyone’s Computers, Connected”

I like this quote, because it brings up the concept that the Internet has become the most valuable global connection. We stay connected through a vast amount of networks and channels of communication. When you think about it, websites like My-Space, Craig’s List, Facebook, Ebay, are truly remarkable. You could make friends before you even move to new town or auction against a sea of anonymous people for an artifact in Egypt. There are a world of opportunities (.com folks) and information in the universal knowledge of the world known as cyberspace. How many times have you heard an argument come down to “Dude, Wikipedia it”!

Last Friday, we decided to have a last minute fundraising party, in which, we facebooked probably a few hundred kids at about seven o’clock. It is amazing that we are able to send a message so easily to a vast amount of people in so little time. No telephone calls, no instant messages, or the thought of mailing any letters! The Internet has forever transformed our generation. For instance, I have witnessed the Internet divide between my grandfather and me. I find it amusing that he needs a list of instructions to log on and check his e-mail. We bought him an I-pod for Christmas, but that was too complicated as well.

In the epilogue, Neil Postman asks “Do we actually need cyberspace technologies? Is there a problem that cyberspace is needed to solve?

I am not quite sure if the Net generation has seen the second part of the question yet. If I had to answer, I would say cyberspace has improved our systems of global communication. We have created networks of communications to help form a common connection for everyone in the world. Hopefully, we can use cyberspace technologies to make social improvements like ending world poverty and help save our environment. Websites like FocusTheNation.com and WorldVision.org
can make a difference. Personally, I like to join all of the environmental groups on facebook to help spread the preservation of the earth to my friends and strangers. Hopefully, we can help answer the first part of Postman's questions.

For spring break, I camped out for about 10 days in the California Redwoods. With no cell phone, electricity, a house, hot water, or computer, I was forced to slow down from the New York City lifestyle. I took the time to enjoy some of the smaller things in life that Neil Postman would surely advise. I got to enjoy a nice hike and swim in the local creek. As he noted, the Internet and technology cannot fulfill personal satisfaction, but as any invention, they improve a way of life. I can tell you that cyberspace technologies are not essential for human survival, but the innovation of cyberspace helps communication among a global level. I hope we can continue to use the Internet to help benefit society.

Cyberspace Our Relationships and Gentrification

In the first piece of the book Gary Grumpert and Susan Drucker look at the electronic highway that is cyberspace and analyze the properties and duality it gives the human social relationship. In the piece of the connecting power of cyberspace (primarily through the Internet) is reinforced by its tendency to cut across time and space and its seemingly un-biased treatment of people based on interests and personality not race or creed. But along with the beauty of Internet friends holding online eulogies Grumpert and Drucker discusses the perils that exist and are yet to be determined. "Progress and technological developments can be terribly exciting...but it is much more difficult to forecast the impact of such developments" (33).

One of the most powerful parts of the piece was the analogy made using the construction of the traditional interstate highway in the United States and its effects to that of the digital information highway. The interstate highway, which among other things was used to propel commerce and facilitate social communication spawned mixed results as it lead to a partitioning of urban and rural community. This separation, which the authors claimed has lead to the increased violence and lack of safety in urban areas has lead people to secure safety in most aspects of their lives, an element they believe can be satisfied by the sociability of cyberspace. While I believe the authors have perhaps exaggerated the ideas of violence and dis-trust with the physical realm I do agree with their view that people have a perception that the Internet is a place of relative safety and anonymity.

Transitioning on this belief Grumpert and Drucker then question this notion with concerns about privacy and other rights in the realm of cyberspace, where the difficulty of transferring traditionally real world laws to the Internet has proved confusing and far from successful. It is the still expanding and relatively new nature of cyberspace which has allowed for laws and rules to manipulated by the anonymity of instability. This is cited best by the authors' examples of employee privacy with e-mail in the work place, and while internet protection and privacy acts are applied their real world basis often inhibits their capacity to properly protect.

The larger question of this piece, which deals with over-reaching notion of quality of life is what makes it particularly interesting. Grumpert and Drucker are not simply analyzing digital socialization but rather looking at human socialization in general. The digital mode of communication inherently serves the same purpose as the actual version but will its existence change the reality of things? I believe the importance lies in understanding the scope of what we have come to know, anticipating what is to come and combining the two carefully while being aware of threats and problems both new and old.