personal learning journal

Lesson 2
-The heart of the well
–After reading this article I would agree with the fact that CMC is a good means of communicating and forming relationships. While many people critique CMC because of various pseudo personalities and the ability for people to completely make up who they are, they don’t take into account the fact that people can trick you just as much in person. Also I thought this quote in particular was specifically interesting and a really good argument for the benefit of CMC. “Some people–many people–don’t do well in spontaneous spoken interaction, but turn out to have valuable contributions to make in a conversation in which they have time to think about what to say. These people, who might constitute a significant proportion of the population, can find written communication more authentic than the face-to-face kind” (Rheingold). These people who are better at communicating their thoughts and ideas in this way will thrive in a computer driven environment through using CMC, whereas they may not do well in life if faced with situations that require solely face-to-face and spoken interactions. I agree with Gavi’s post as well that CMC can be considered a “drug” for certain people and that these people have particularly addicting personalities. Blair was addicted to cocaine and wasn’t even tempted to take it when it was next to his computer. He described this experience as “a battle of obsessions,” which is a scary thing to think about. Like Gavi said, “This was allowing him to continue having an addiction without others thinking it was life threatening. However, people are wrong because it can be extremely life threatening,” and eventually led Blair to suicide.

-A slice of life in my virtual community
–I believe that in order to answer the question of if a virtual community is a “real” community or not, it is important to consider what a community means to an individual. It is clear, after reading this article that the author feels the WELL is a community. He uses this online community to make friends and share his views on topics as well as gain information, which to many defines a community. However, some people feel that face-to-face interaction is necessary for a community. I personally believe that a virtual community is a real community, but it should not be the only community you participate in. One advantage of a virtual community is that you are able to be put in contact with people that you probably would have never met otherwise. This includes people from other locations as well as people that you simply probably would not “ran into.” It is certainly easier to become “friends” with someone in a virtual community as opposed to real life. Another advantage of a virtual community is the convenience of it. Many people, especially now are busy all of the time with work and family. Having an online community allows you to stay in contact with people much more easily than having to plan a time to meet someone in real life. One disadvantage that the article pointed out was the threat of losing political freedom as well as the question of who controls privacy and censorship. This generation is growing up in an age where privacy is sparse and extra effort needs to be placed into ensuring our privacy. As we discussed in class, the technology of virtual communities is growing faster than the laws to protect us. One final disadvantage of a virtual community is that although people can still be connected and have communications with others, only talking to people through virtual means can isn’t healthy. Like Gavi and Gabi both said, you need to fully show yourself to others which can only be done in face-to-face contact.

Lesson 3
-Netsurfers don’t ride alone: Virtual Communities
— The question I found most interesting is “Is support given on the net reciprocated? Do participants develop attachment to viral communities so that commitment, solidarity and norms of reciprocity develop?” I thought this question was particularly interesting because there are many online support groups but many are anonymous. So I wondered how do you ensure that the help is reciprocal and that if someone giving help eventually needs help from someone that they will find it. I learned in this article that reciprocity is not ensured. In fact, some people enjoy the fact that the person giving or receiving help is anonymous. However, because support is not required, it can be more genuine. As the article said, many members of a group will help others who they both know and do not know. This anonymity and intrinsic motivation to help others contributes the helpfulness of these web groups and allow people to sometimes get more help than they would in person.

-Brave New World of Digital Intimacy
–I really enjoyed this article and found it very interesting. I was particularly interested how people become adjusted to the changes in social media. For example, how initially there was such an uproar about news feed and eventually people began to rely on it as their source of information. I find this in myself as well, whenever facebook makes a change I am initially upset and confused but then become so accustomed to it that the same thing happens after the next change. It is interesting how technology is also changing us. Like with the Dunbar number, it is allowing us to keep tabs on many more people and feel as if we are closer to all of these people. By reading the short, seemingly insignificant descriptions of their lives we are able to stay connected with more people than ever before. My grandparents do not believe me when they see how many people from childhood I stay in contact with, but social media sites like facebook and twitter allow me to feel like I am a part of their everyday lives even when they live far away.

Lesson 4
-We the media
–Before this article, I rarely thought about the transitions and changing jobs in the past few years. The author pointed out the concept of a “former audience” as being people that once only consumed news changing to make the news better. It made me think of how today we live in such an interactive world in which we can see and change almost anything. The idea of Wikipedia being a collective encyclopedia and any person is able to submit their input for review. The introduction definitely made me start to think about this growing change in news and how our news will continue to change in the future. I chose to continue reading chapter 12, “Making the news”. In it the author stated that the internet is the most important medium since the printing press. I believe this is true in that it created an entirely new platform for virtually anyone to voice their opinions and write about what they want. It allowed people to make their own news and provide their own interpretations.

-Beyond Bowling Together
–Social Capital refers to social resources that make tasks easier to accomplish. The article gave examples such as trust and shared identity. There are many new kinds of interactions that accompany the increased use of technology in social relationships. Some of these new kinds of interactions include distant communication, being able to talk to people from far away, being able to send out information to a large number of people and managing notifications and privacy. Due to technology we now have much more control over how we present things to others and is therefore changing the way we interact with others.

Lesson 5
-Physical Place and Cyber Place
–I believe a true community can be found online but only in part. I don’t believe that you can fully experience the benefits of community without any face to face communication and contact with others. For example, in the article, Wellman points out that “The online-offline dichotomy may be overdone” and that online communication is used as a way to strengthen face-to-face communication instead of simply replacing them. People that only sit behind a computer in order to try to gain a sense of a community do not get the full benefits. Although the transfer of information and communication is fun and helpful, it is not a complete community. In another question, Wellman points out again that most people communicate with others both on and offline. It is also pointed out that the closer the people are the more they will communicate, no matter the means. This shows a community exists and our means of communication are simply ways to support that community. No one mean of communication can create a whole community, instead we use communication as a mean to facilitate stronger relationships in anyway we can find it.

-Friends Friendsters and top 8
–When I originally saw this question, my mind automatically went to conversations that I have with my grandparents about social media sites. They don’t understand how I call so many people my “friends” and why I allow them to see so much personal information and personal photographs. Friendship on social media sites does not mean that you need to know something personal about the other person, that you need to share some experience with them, or that you even need to know them. Instead, friendship means that you have something that another person is interested in. Whether they want to see your tweets so they “follow” you, or you have friends in common so you want to see their pictures on facebook. The loose definition of the term friend on social media sites allows the phenomenon to grow larger and faster than it ever would otherwise. This loose definition of the term friend also allows there to be more information shared. Instead of only gaining information from your close circle and people you would normally come into contact with, we now are able to exchange information with people from all over the world.

Lesson 6
-The People Formally Known as the Audience
–Rosen is telling us that there has been a shift in power. The people who simply used to absorb information now play an active roll in both sharing information and forming others opinions on it. As we discussed in class, some news stations now look to independent bloggers for their news. We the audience now are able to shape both the news the world gets and what people will think about the incidents. The recent incident of the disabled olympic runner was tweeted about and posted all around social media before it was on any news program. Furthermore, there is now a system of check and balances, in that the audience will now fight back if something is incorrect. The audience is now more involved in the news than ever before.

-Who Owns the Wisdom of the Crowd
–Jarvis made very interesting points about our ideas about control on the internet. He stated that more people now have control. It is not only a handful of people controlling what we see and hear anymore, but a vast majority with many different opinions and ideas. This has very interesting implications for intellectual property. We believe that we have control over what we put out into the world but now other people also have the ability to post opinions about your work as well as change the intent of something you post. With the ability to post on the internet and show our work to a large audience, we must also accept the fact that other people can post just as easily and change intentions and perceptions. Due to this, the question of ownership and control is very difficult. As Jarvis questions in this article, do we own, control or simply share the information we put on the internet? The line of ownership and creative control is blurred. For example, the famous picture of Obama that was changed to red and blue and sold across the US; does the photographer have a right to make money off of the work or was it the artist who changed the color that deserves all of the money? The laws about privacy and control of our work have not yet caught up with the technology and we therefore run into many problems.

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