Pecha Kucha Reflection

Well this has been fun to say the very least, my last blog entry.  I learned a lot, how to blog, how to do a Prezi presentation, and how to not be scared of Twitter.  Anyway, this last blog post will be about my group’s Pecha Kucha project.  We focused on how beauty has become subjected to the tyranny of Photoshop, airbrushing, and just the most impossible standards that can be afforded to women.  They make us hold this standard that is not healthy or beneficial to young girls’ self esteem.  Our identities have become what morphed into not what we think we should be but what society thinks we should be.  Our individualistic tendencies are crushed in favor of more cookie cutter brands that aren’t realistic.

A Walk Through A Slide

CB - hands

During the slide I said, “With the far reach of technology there is something just as dangerous coming after these easily manipulated, gullible girls: sexual predators.”  These girls don’t realize just how much their need to be physically appealing makes them targets.  It could incite violent reactions just because “not bodies touched” like Dibbell mentioned in his article.  It doesn’t mean that girls aren’t affected by these online [malicious] acts.”

I found the picture of the hands reaching out the computer slightly disturbing, but also symbolic.  Social media has gotten out completely of control.  We also have to be connected, if we aren’t we lose our minds thinking that we might not have access to the great big world out there that we will miss something important and requires our immediate attention.   Where some people may use social media for professional means, there are a lot of people who use abuse it.  From teenagers using it to cyber bully “unpopular” peers, to sexual predators preying on the weaker people, to regular citizens using it to further spew hatred though the web.  No one is safe from vicious attacks and anyone can become a victim.

In Turkle’s article, she was talking about how the MUD games “are laboratories for the construction of identity.”  In a way that is what Facebook, Instagram, and other social media has done to society.  They have become ingrained so much into our lives that we feel we can’t live without however it makes us sad or depressed because if our lives aren’t as picture perfect as other people show their lives to be and then we feel as if there is something wrong with us because our lives don’t look theirs.  It is a vicious cycle that most people don’t seem to understand at the point where they are looking at those happy faces are how many shots it took to get it just right.  There is nothing in this life that is picture perfect but we are all capable of trying to put our best foot forward to make others believe that everything is good.  My other slide is of a girl with her head buried in her hands after looking at something online.  In hindsight, I think I would have put the hands before the girl but done the weight scale first.

What I Learned about my Blog Topic

My group’s blog was about beauty and how the web has helped cultivate society’s unsustainable standards in regards to beauty.  The one article that stands out to be is Sherry Turkle’s “Who Am We?” and when she speaks about MUDs.  People have taken to hiding behind virtual masks in order to be themselves because they don’t feel as if society will accept them for who they are inside.  People lose themselves in these virtual games just like they lose themselves while looking at social media and wanting to be or have something that isn’t theirs in the first place.  People’s identities have become linked with that of their social media outlet.

To be honest, the readings did not specifically do much for me in terms of beauty, regular social media did that.  It opened my eyes a little to people’s comments under a celebrity’s picture.  It could be a pretty decent picture, but people will tear her down because she’s isn’t glammed up to the nines as if the celebrity doesn’t have a right be natural.

Thinking about Deb Roy’s “Birth of Word” video gives me an idea about beauty and the web.  His son picked up words around his natural habitat.  Over the course of months he started going from gaga to water, I think that could be applied to society’s standards of web.  If we can get magazine’s and other publications to STOP photo shopping and airbrushing celebrities on their magazine after a while well we can start rebuilding people’s standards of beauty.  It will take time but I think we can do it, if only we put our best effort forward.

One thing this module has taught me is that you never know between Twitter, blogging, and even YouTube.  You have the power to reach a lot of people and you never know who can be listening or reading your words.  You must be considerate when putting information out there and make sure that it has the power to help and not hinder.

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Communication Malfunction

Do Digital Natives Really Suck at Communicating Face-to-Face?

The fact that the title uses the word “suck” instead of “have a hard time” or “Face-to Face Communication: Difficult for Digital Natives” leads me to believe that the author might be a digital native themselves.

What this article says is absolutely true!  My brother and sister are 23 and 22 respectively and they were ever so ecstatic when online pizza ordering became a reality because neither one of them wanted to pick up the phone and call to order it OR answer the door when it finally arrived.  I would try to force them but it became so problematic that I just threw up my hands and said “to hell with it.”  A lot of young people would rather communicate through email or text messaging than go meet with something face to face.  I think it is a responsibility of this generation who is straddling the line between the old ways and the new digital way to make sure that their children aren’t afraid to look someone in the eye.  If you can’t look at someone’s face then you have no business talking to them.  The article mentioned that younger people aren’t very empathic.  This could be a reason why cyber bullying is becoming a problem and why people feel the need to put other people down because there is a sort of disconnect when you aren’t faced with the person you are making fun of and it leads you to become more of an unforgiving person.

For All The World To See

It’s hard for me to think about YouTube only having a life span of 7 years.  It’s incredible how much YouTube has changed the lives of a fair amount of people.  A lot of people have been discovered on YouTube, the one that comes to mind the quickest is Justin Bieber.  (insert groan here)  In my mind, I associate YouTube with those annoying videos that my sister always tries to get me to watch.  (I believe she spends TOO MUCH time on YT.)  I usually gravitate towards celebrity interviews around the time their movies go out.  However, there is one video that gives me chuckles to this very day.  I’m pretty sure that everyone in our class has seen it at least once because the catch phrase that it has spawn has caught on, well like fire.

Michael Welsh spoke about the joy, fun, and empowering feeling that people get from creating videos.  A lot of them are parodies because they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Dance videos have become extremely popular even to the point that it doesn’t matter whether you understand the lyrics or not, like PSY “Gundam Style” has demonstrated. (It currently has 1.8 billion views on YouTube.)  A lot of people have made it their careers to make YouTube videos, from video-blogs like Jenna Marbles and Kingsley to make-up videos, and how-to-do videos.

An interesting thought came to my mind as I was watching Michael Welsh’s video.  He said that while we are becoming increasingly individualistic we are also desire the feeling of community.  It got me thinking about the people who feel alone in this world or feel like they don’t fit in.  They might be able to connect with someone who understands them through the power of the video they put out.  I never really understood why people would put themselves out there like that, but I guess it makes sense to them and that might be all that matters.  It could have to do with the fact that it’s “a connection without constraints.”

Michael also mentioned the comments that are left on the videos themselves.  I must admit that I agree with Lev Grossman from Time Magazine about “weeping for future of humanity just for the spelling alone.”  I guess people don’t care what they put out there because they feel as if they are invisible.  And when you are invisible you can say whatever you want and you don’t have to worry about it coming back on you.  Hide behind the username and maybe instead of creating chaos… create something beautiful, positive, and uplifting.

Beauty Screen

A lot has changed in the five years since Kevin Kelly wrote the article “Becoming Screen Literate.” What he said was true about screens popping up “in the most unexpected places,” like billboards.  Billboards have become electronic, in fact I’ve seen a couple on the NJ Turnpike, which I consider to be extremely dangerous.  Think about it.  You are in a moving car going AT LEAST 55 mph and all of a sudden you have a changing billboard.  Your mind is going to be distracted from driving to pay attention to the screen.  As we become a society driven more and more by little videos and clips, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.  In the last 5 years, we’ve obtained apps like Instagram and Vine which makes us even more screen addicted than ever before. With Vine being 6 second videos (I think) and Instagram just this year adding 15 second videos.  We have become more obsessed about capturing those little moments that might break out us into the industry.

Kelly talked about mashups in his article and how we “cut and paste words on a page.” (Just like I did there and here also) “You borrow the structure from one work to use as your own.” But if you don’t say where you got that information from isn’t that a form of plagiarism?  All these people who takes clips from shows and put them together, are they plagiarizing someone else’s work?  Or is it because that person put the information out there for all to see then it becomes everyone’s property?  I guess that’s more for authorship than beauty?  So let’s make it about beauty, shall we.

As a society, we are inundated with images of what the ideal should be.  Young girls and teenagers are growing up with an unrealistic view of what it is to be normal.  And when the girls around them don’t look like the norm, they get picked on for being different and we get picked on.  You have teenagers taking part in cyber bullying.  One way is when teenagers take pictures of their peers and “touch them up” with cruel and hateful thoughts and images and then they spread them around for all to see.  Becoming screen literate and having all of these apps that make it possible has made it easier to bully.  Young girls see all these images on the screen and feel as if they have to live up to that expectation when the person in the photograph doesn’t even look like that in real life.  When is enough, enough?

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Half of the time I forget I have Twitter or Instagram, unless I get a burst of inspiration or insanity that I feel like sharing with the world.  So it comes to no surprise to me that I feel like a failure with the whole Twitter assignment and to be quite honest, I don’t believe that Twitter had that much of an impact on my reading the texts for the course.  Only because when I read something, I block everything out in order to concentrate on what I’m reading if I stop to “tweet” something then I lose my concentration.  I guess I could “cheat” and write little notes to make up a “live tweet” afterwards, but I feel that is cheating so I’m not down with it.  However, I do realize the importance if you have a thought after you read the article then you might get some feedback on it and it might lead you to discover something else that you might have missed.

Another reason they wouldn’t work out is because I don’t read my articles straight online.  This entire module was blocked off at my job because it wasn’t on blackboard and so I had to email myself the article links and print them out so that I would be able to get something done.  Even that didn’t work that well.

I found these two articles about tweeting.  I wish these articles were around when I first joined twitter because I believe they would have helped me out immensely and I hope they might be able to help you also.

http://www.careerattraction.com/are-your-tweets-error-free-it-matters-more-than-you-might-think/

http://www.careerattraction.com/getting-hired-through-twitter-a-real-life-example/

Originally, I joined twitter so that I could follow celebrities and I actually have one comedian who follows me (I thought that was the coolest thing ever!), I also follow shows but after reading those two articles I think I’m going to do a little re-vamping of my twitter account in order to make it more professional but at the same time still maintain my personality on it.

Professionally, I follow a lot of the publishing houses because that is where I want to work someday.  Interesting enough on December 1st I re-tweeted an article from Publisher’s Weekly and several hours later I had the author of that article actually thank me for re-tweeting it.   The author, Tim Manley, actually wrote a book called, “Alice in tumblr-land and other fairy tales for a new generation.” I wrote him back and told him that after my semester I will be looking into his book because I found it interesting.

alice

I looked at his profile and noticed that he follows about 400 people but has over 4,800 followers.  We actually follow a couple of the same people.  He thanks everyone who re-tweets or spreads the word about his book.  I started following him on Facebook and tumblr because I liked the fact that he took time out to thank everyone for their support.  It’s a loyalty thing that I have.

Anyway, final version about Twitter is that it’s useful if done correctly.  I noticed that Twitter mobile received a new update so that is going to take awhile to figure it out.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to put people into lists and just look at groups one at a time instead of everyone at once.  I can understand why celebrities rarely tweet back with the amount of followers they have.

No Facebook, No Problem.

I gave up Facebook on November 26.  It wasn’t right after class, because I decided to soak it up a bit before I left.  So I shared links, posted comments, and then I said so long to Facebook and all of its goodies.  I decided to take it a step further and said “hasta luego” to Instagram because, in my mind at least, the two have merged.  If I like a picture on Instagram then I have to go to Facebook and like it also, and vice a versa especially if the pictures are of my nieces.

Interestingly enough it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be; I used to think I was addicted to Facebook, but I somehow managed to pull through.  I didn’t turn into a crack addict needing their crack or anything like that but it was actually kind of nice to be disconnected for awhile.  I think I knew it was fine because evidently I would be able to log back in; however I did notice a feeling of disconnect from other people’s updates about their children.  When I logged back on I found out that one of my friend’s son had tubes placed in his ears and had his tonsils taken out and I had no idea and so going back and commenting on it days later makes it seem like I don’t care when I do.  That was the only thing that bothered me.

According to my professor, I cheated because Facebook sent me an email telling me what I was missing.  It wasn’t detailed to the point it gave me every single thing, but I guess it was enough to ‘corrupt’ my integrity.  Well that just burned my biscuits because I wasn’t even thinking of the email notifications set up on Facebook because I did them so long ago and it shouldn’t be my fault that Facebook decided to send me an email because I completely logged out of everything and they wanted to tease me back in.

In an article written by Dr. Sreedhar Potarazu in January of this year, he stated that women in their mid 30s to 40s experience Facebook envy after looking at postings or pictures that are related to happy families and physical attractiveness.  I found this to be particularly enlightening considering that I am 32 years old and well I’m not extremely jealous, I do feel a sense of longing when looking at their happy family pictures or baby pictures of their children.

The only reason I got a Facebook in the first place was because my cousin was only going to put her wedding pictures on there and I wanted to be able to see them.  I took one of those silly quizzes that tell you how “addicted” you are to Facebook and I was only at 58%.  More than half, I guess it that is bad enough.  But I’m glad to know that if my life depended on it, I could give up Facebook for awhile especially now that I know to navigate Twitter better.  So now I have a question for you, how addicted are you??

Are you a Facebook Addict?fb 58

Addicted to Facebook: Study shows users are lonelier

We Are Many

It’s interesting to note that not many things have changed in the fifteen or so years that Sherry Turkle’s article was first published.

I’ve never really given virtual reality much thought.  In my own personal opinion, I don’t understand the fascination of role playing games and they make my head hurt.  However, I can understand the addiction that can arise in pretending to be someone you aren’t for a couple of hours.  Think about it, isn’t that what actors do when they play a character?  The difference there is that actors limit their “role-playing” to the movie or play they are performing in and “regular” people sometimes let it take over their lives to the exclusion of everything else.  I read once about this couple who lost their children because they weren’t taking care of them and they were only all about playing those virtual online games.  Ironically, they met each other on that game, but I’m guessing they couldn’t fully function without that game in their lives.  It makes me wonder how they had children in the first place.

Reading about virtual role-playing brought to mind this new show that has appeared on MTV called “Catfish,” and if I remember correctly it’s where people are introduced to people they have been talking online with and they find out that the person isn’t who they say they are.  It’s just like Turkle said, “players commonly try to take things from the virtual to the real and are usually disappointed” (8).  Most of the time the player is disappointed because they were lied to (at least on Catfish) but in these role playing games you can like a male someone and it turns out to be someone totally different.  And in this sadistic world we live in with serial killers and homicidal maniacs, you can never be too careful who you are letting into your world, even if it is your virtual one.   

One major thing that struck me in this article was how people have cybersex with someone else.  I’m surprised that anyone would be okay with something like this because in my own personal opinion, emotional cheating is just as bad as physically having sex with someone else.  If you are giving someone a little bit of your thoughts and emotions every day to someone who isn’t your significant other then you are cheating: no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  It makes me feel as if I am lacking something that my partner needs and I can’t fulfill it. 

Either way pretending to be someone you are not for any length of time is bound to take its toll on you and doing it for too long may warp your sense of self and cause you to become someone you aren’t.  We become more than one person and taking on multiple personalities can be dangerous.