Category: Readings

The Trouble With The Echo Chamber Online

The Echo Chamber is something we as internet users cannot avoid. Everything is now connected, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, YouTube, Apple, everything. With all the free information i’m continually throwing at these big name companies it comes as no surprise that i’ve become a victim of the Echo Chamber. I check my Facebook and there I find to the right an advertisement that seems to know exactly what i’m interested in. My YouTube commercials are based on where I am in the world and my google search results are based on things specifically “fit for me.” So what does this all mean? Is it a bad thing that my internet experience is more personal? I think some personalization is nice since there have been a few times where an advertisement, which clearly was custom fit for me, has proven itself successful (i clicked on it). However, I feel that a personal online experience may be limiting my potential for discovering new things outside of my realm. Suppose I don’t know I love secretly love country music (I don’t) well based on the information i’ve given to google, non of which being country music related, I would have no chance of coming across something that could change my music taste completely. So is personalization bad? Not necessarily, but it would be nice to see something random every once in a while. The internet knowing everything about me is a little creepy.


Virtual Rape Is Traumatic, But Is It A Crime?

Is virtual rape a crime? In Regina Lynn’s article police investigated a rape – in Second Life. When I read this article I was just as shocked as I was amused and confused. I kept thinking, how could one possibly be raped inside a video game? Although the online world has become more advanced, and therefore more real, I still can’t justify the thought that being raped virtually is the same as being raped physically. I’m worried that the victim of the Second Life rape as described in the article is using the wrong word to describe the situation. If virtual rape were to be punishable by law what would happen? I think virtual rape is more along the lines of cyber bullying and should be “legally” treated as such. However, I do not believe cyber rape is the same as real rape. Rape is a terrible act which has life changing consequences and I feel that for someone to say they’ve been raped in Second Life is a slap to the face for those who’ve actually experienced this traumatic event physically.

Mind To Mind: Life On Screen

I believe technology will undoubtedly become so efficient that we won’t know the difference between what is “real” and what is not. However, the thought around hiding behind another virtual identity (or three) I feel will eventually diminish as technology becomes exponentially more advanced. I believe this because in the near future there will be more reason to step away from the computer due to the fact that computers will be everywhere, and in everything. As technology becomes more ubiquitous the notion of physically using a computer will be reversed, the computer will come to you. Thus, I feel that people will stop sitting in front of a desk or hide within another virtual world, simply because there will be so much more to do away from the computer then ever before. What it all comes down to is boredom, and I believe people browse the web for countless hours simply because they have nothing better to do. Just watch these videos and you’ll get what I mean. THE FUTURE IS NOW!

The People Formally Known As The Audience

Everyone seems to have an opinion these days. That never-ending lust to have your voice heard when accompanied with the internet is simply a disaster waiting to happen (this blog for example.) The media has changed. Any yahoo can post absolutely anything for the world to see. My pointless Facebook status about the weather, my Tweet directed towards someone in the same room, my trolling comments on YouTube, my Instagram’ed Italian dinner. For as long as the internet exists the list of ridiculous things we The People Formally Known As The Audience will never cease to end. Jay Rosen talks about how the public has changed from a viewing audience to one where everyone’s talking, sharing, producing, for better or for worse. In my opinion the internet is a fantastic place to gather and share information, it’s changed the world we see it today. However, the fact of the matter is anyone can post anything, whether it’s valid or not, credible or fabricated, original or photoshopped, it’s our job as the people formally known as the audience to tell the difference

Alpha Users And Communities In Politics

The article Communities Dominate Brands describes a series of events throughout a 2004 Spanish election where social media played a critical role in the outcome of an election. With the U.S. presidential election just around the corner I’m interested in seeing just how influential social media has been for Americans this year. All around me I’ve been bombarded with posts, updates, and headlines regarding the election and its two candidates. What’s most annoying however, is that every four years absolutely everyone has become an expert on politics, how this phenomenon occurs I do not know. Regardless, I feel that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and every other media outlet have played a massive role in the election. Candidates spend absolutely ridiculous amounts of money on advertising and it’s all because social media works, we know it does because we’ve seen it work in elections before. In my opinion however, all these posts and updates have become too much to handle and therefore become background “noise” on my newsfeed. Practically everything that is related to politics I completely ignore. Why? Because I feel like every 4 years social media becomes a haven for people to voice their uneducated opinions and take part in the popularity contest that is politics. Not to say social media doesn’t play a role in the election, it certainly does, I’m just simply one of the many who’s not easily persuaded by a 150 character status update.

The Daily We

People seem to want everything split right down the middle, black/white, democrat/republican, with us/against us. This mindset of having everything so arbitrarily divided has created a phenomenon called The Daily We. In short, this phenomenon is when people are only exposed to the same thoughts or ideas as their own and results in people becoming extremists of their own opinions, unwilling to consider a different position. The same goes for groups as well. “Group polarization” is simply the occurrence of a group of of like-minded individuals surrounding themselves with one sided ideas which then become extremist. Obviously, staying unexposed to other people’s thoughts and ideas is just asking for trouble, and luckily for us we have the internet as our portal to knowledge all around the world. But is the internet promoting diversity or defying it? I’ve discovered that the internet is a place filled with absolutely everything, good and bad. However, how I use the internet is up to me. I could choose to only expose myself to like minded ideas and stay closed off from the rest of the world just as easily as I could embrace the diversity found all over the web. I believe that the internet is an amazing tool in which one could use for better or for worse, how ever one chooses to utilize the great potential behind the internet is completely up to them.

3 Necessary Conditions For Human Cooperation

In, The Evolution Of Cooperation, written in 1984. Robert Axelrod suggested there are three necessary conditions for people to cooperate with each other.

1) A likelihood of meeting in the future.

2) An ability to identify each other.

3) A record of past behavior.

For all I can say, Mr. Axelrod was as spot in 1984 as he would have been today. Even though Axelrod’s view on cooperation was written many year ago, the rules very much so still carry merit. People are friendly and “cooperative” amongst strangers simply because (most of the time) Axelrod’s rules are met. For example, everyone’s nice to the cashier at the grocery store because 1) Odds are that I’m going to see that cashier again. 2) I can identify that person as a cashier and therefore have an idea of what to expect from that person. 3) I can make the safe assumption that because that person was hired from said grocer, he/she can’t be all that bad of a person nor have all that terrible of past behavior. Pretty cool!