Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Great Seduction

1. How does Keen define Democratized media, and what are his main issues with this trend? use examples from the web in the form of links.
Keen defines Democratized media as a society that has power from everyone, there are no higher-ups to control what the mass does.  An example is anyone can produce a type of media without any formal training or knowledge of a subject, spreading their ideas to millions because they have an Internet connection.  Nearly every website has a place to comment on works such as youtube.com, places to post information such as wikipedia.org, and numerous boards to post opinions and find answers, like Yahoo Answers.  Keen believes that with this unlimited power and no guidelines culture is blurred an/or lost to uneducated peoples-- order is lost in the online realm.  He takes issue with the amount of responsibility people are given and how it's abused as groups attack websites, change information and cause problems for others trying to reach a certain site.  4chan.org is a big offender, Keen has not mentioned them but they are constantly bombarding online sources.  So much information is shared through Web 2.0 that most of it is lost and stolen, reposted and no one receives credit for their work.  Much of the information is copied and it's becoming very difficult to identify what is reliable; it's a large mess of information with little regulations.

2. Compare and Contrast Keens take on Social Media with Douglas Rushkoff's. Which one speaks to you and your own experiences and why?
Andrew Keen is explicitly disgusted by Web 2.0 and the new culture that comes with it.  Douglas Rushkoff sees these issues but understands that we as a people can overcome the problems and find a middle ground-- further online use to benefit everyone. Both present the problems, but in entirely different ways.  Keen shows no mercy, no room to budge in his opinion on Web 2.0 saying that nothing good will come from it and it's detrimental to society.  Rushkoff looks at all parts of Web 2.0 and takes it case by case, how does something hurt of benefit society, what are the best ways to use the Internet.  Rushkoff observes how we can utilize the Internet to our advantage, while Keen believes all wrong has been done, there's no going back and it's a travesty how culture is doomed by Democratized media.  I stand by Rushkoff who is not totally one sided in his work; there are many negatives but plenty of positives.  Only a matter of time will people mature generation by generation and utilize the Internet in new ways to improve lives.  I find Web 2.0 very beneficial because I can locate numerous opinions and information on topics and opinions on that information. Any information can be found and with my diverse class topics finding it is easy, plus classes have taught me what is reliable and what should be avoided. I like Web 2.0 because people can expand their horizons and learn new things, voice their thoughts on just about anything.  All sides are represented and one can decipher for themselves what is the most logical.  Keen shows too much bias and is unable to see any benefits, but his argument has some legs, it's just he doesn't trust people. Rushkoff is more rational and sympathetic towards people and believes Web 2.0 is a wonderful thing that when used correctly can expand ones world.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Digital Nation: The Mob


            You can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it.  The world has driven this idea into our minds, preaching a choice in individuality.  Did it work? Have we as a society listened, put an idea in our mind and become whatever we want to be?  There are a few considerable factors to look at when analyzing effects, one being technological advancements.  At any one point in time, a person can be connected to a vast network of people, little to hinder the links.  But with this extreme network come positives and negatives, issues society must face or advancements to embrace.
            A common term used to describe the mentality with all of the social networks and Internet use is “the mob” which works perfectly.  Some of the effects of the nearly ultimate connectedness are positive: globalization is refined and spreads allowing businesses and services communicate in any situation, people can stay connected no matter where they are (I for one benefit from this, my immediate family lives in Oregon, and I only see them at Christmas, spring break and summer, but I can stay in close communication with them) and information can easily be shared for the world to learn and understand.  With the connections maintained through online interactions, information can be passed on to anyone; there are no obstacles such as time to restrict what can be shared. And with the spread of business and work across the world, friends and families can stay in touch through any number of technologies, from cell phone, to social networks, Skype or e-mail. And in this new world, all people can learn anything and everything they want to through the Internet, a faster way to learn. Ideas are shared and memories saved using the Internet, innumerable connections are made everyday to all across the world.  People use Facebook to connect to friends, stay in touch and make new friends when in the past relationships were limited to time and place.  Facebook is a way for people to receive a small dose of another’s life in as much information as is shared.  Skype is a great way to stay in touch in a more personal way than phone, as it is in a sense, face to face.  Video chatting has picked up the past five years, and is used to share how ones day is with a friend, or for an employee to relay visual information to an associate anywhere in the world.  However, with this power comes conflict, responsibilities are abused and privacy is broken; anonymity creates a new monster.
            The negatives are clearly apparent, everyday stories of online bullying; identity theft and other issues are chronicled.  The negative effects of the connectivity are in my opinion totally unintended, as those who abuse it, have no reason to other than selfish disregard for people and wasted time when bored.  Misbehavior runs rampant because people are scared and hide behind the wall that is the Internet.  People conclude that no one can see them, they have anonymity on their side, and so they can do whatever they want.  Any person can get away with almost anything so they use and abuse what the Internet gives them. Opinions are voiced and harsh criticism doled out because there are no consequences—it is a wild-west smack down, people can do whatever.  In relation to society, it’s making people more critical, a person can say anything anonymously, and it carries over to the outside world.  The lack of consequences creates a false air for people to criticize others to the furthest extent.  The boundaries have been completely changed, almost non-existent and people are being hurt, lives disrupted.  The “online mob mentality” has changed to insult people from afar, without ever knowing them.  Places such as 4chan.com, and Formspring ridicule people to the extreme and post false and hurtful things about others.  Hatred is clearly evident online; there has to be some reason for this.
            The unlimited connections online can put you in contact with billions of people.  What would you say to them? Where would you go to say these things?  In the past decade this has been a major issue, people are being rude and hateful online, for almost no reason.  Is society to blame for this?  One explanation is it is an outlet for these people, a place to get rid of anger.  But this is totally irresponsible; how can anyone be comfortable doing this sort of thing? The anonymity factor.  It’s all about what you can get away with.  Universal connectivity has its obvious problems, but with those are the advantages.  As the world changes, so does our technology and the etiquette has not carried over, rules and boundaries have been more and more vague.  The wall that is the Internet has created a new monster; everyone is connected to each other.