Thursday, April 2, 2009

Class Twittering

Professor Boutros suggested in class that next year she was going to have students twitter throughout class. I think thats pretty cool...think about it. Students will get to communicate online and offline with the same people in the same proximity. Not only will this portray citizen and participatory media, students will also have to multi-task which is a big part of innovative technologies today. I think you could also make students purchase webcams as well so that they can vlog during class lol. You could have an array of networking technologies going all at once. It could be the technological classroom of the future, really. There might even be a few hackers in the class who could demonstrate there hacking procedures for a presentation on hacktivism. All students could be required to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, and the next social networking site thats going tobe established by first semester next year...almost guaranteed. Talking may not even be would make your job a lot easier Professor Boutros! Students will truly experience the depths of citizen media while in the classroom...chucklechucklechuckle.

Why Networks Matter: Online and Offline

Networks are crucial in our lives in order to maintain and build relationships, whether it be with friends or to promote ourselves for job opportunities. Who you know, and how you them, plays a key role in finding a career and establishing yourself in the workforce. As I reflect on the social networks Ive(ps the apostrophe button doesnt work on this library CPU) developed over my life it makes me think of which form of networking is most effective. Obviously, meeting someone face-to-face and leaving a good impression is a great way to develop recognition and build a network, but Ive realized that as Ive gotten older the internet and online communities have continued to play very important roles in establishing social networks. People Ive had lectures with, played intramurals with or against, or people Ive seen out on the town have added me to Facebook and the relationship started from here. Had they not added me or had I not added them, I possibly would never have talked to them again. Im not saying that the relationships with these people are only on Facebook, Im saying that it was because we found each other on Facebook that lead to more face-to-face talking and getting to know each other. Posting event invites online leads to face-to-face meetings, and if one friend adds you the odds are two of their friends know you and are going to add you afterwards. I do thank Facebook greatly for the friends Ive made by using their social network, and I think the best thing about Facebook is that it can initiate a relationship by simply letting someone know that you want to be their friend.
Ive also heard of companies asking to see Facebook profiles when people are applying for jobs, which is kind of crazy but maybe thats whats going to happen as our technological society continues to develop. In conclusion, who you know and how you know them is going to play a big role in distinguishing your career and Online networking can definitely contribute to the size and success of your social networks.

Record Labels threatened by Online Communities

Social networking and participatory media pose a very strong threat to big record labels across the globe. The ease of accessibility and low cost (no cost) of listening to music online has become dominant for music listener's around the world. Specifically MySpace, YouTube, and uTorrents or other forms of torrents have prospered significantly in the past 5-7 years. Online listener's interact with one another as to what downloads are good and bad, and can display their thoughts in a a comment box. One of my favourite bands, Wilco, used the internet strongly to their advantage in 2005. Their album entitled Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was shunned by their record label Warner, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and release the record via the internet. It was a huge success, leading to a 30-city tour and a large increase in the band's fan base. Jeff Tweedy, the band's front man, displayed his thoughts in the following quote: "“The audience is our collaborator. We should be encouraging their collaboration online, not treating them like thieves,” (Tweedy, Wired, 2005). Wilco has continued to use the internet for many different purposes such as live webcasts, bonus songs and concerts, and they released their last album A Ghost Is Born over the internet 3 months before it's commercial release. Metallica believes otherwise, condemning online listener's and online music communities, labelling online listener's as theives. Who do you support....Wilco or Metallica?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Children Today: Are Cellphones a Birthright?

These days, more and more children are being provided with cellphones from their parents at a very young age. I work at a summer camp where children as young as 9 years of age have been caught using their cellphones. Cellphones are prohibited at Camp Celtic, because to truly experience camping in the wilderness there can't be cellphones....or am I wrong? I really hope not. Most of the time when kids are caught with the phones, they explain that their parents told them to check in with them on a daily basis. Are parents going crazy? You send your child to camp to experience new things and to get away from everyday living, but you tell them to use their highly technological device to communicate with you everyday...hmmm. And if they get homesick, which we all have been, they have a cellphone to call mommy at home which isn't going to help them get over their homesickness and if anything will add to the problem.
I'm very glad that my parents didn't give me a cellphone at age 9 or 10...I wouldn't have been able to a lot of the things I did as a child. Pogs, for example. A great game that was very popular when we were 9-10 years of age. It's long gone. Do kids sit in a circle and compare their phones or text each other instead of experiencing the awesomeness of recess? I may be a little extreme, but I know that more and more kids are getting cellphones at younger ages and it could be possible that the true enjoyment of being a kid is getting disrupted by technological devices like the cellphone.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fan Culture: Do Musicians need anything more than the Internet?

Participatory media has become very important for musicians all over the world. Social networking sites on the internet allow artists to promote their music online to anyone across the globe. Musicians can put together trendy YouTube videos accompanied by their music that may attract thousands of hits and increase their popularity potentially leading to fame...or a person who likes the musician's song can put together their own video like the "Numa Numa" guy did. The song is actually called "Dragostea din tei" by O-Zone, and we all have danced to it at the bar before...guaranteed. If fans like what they see then a desire for something more develops and fans create their own adaptations of the song, which will increase it's popularity on the net. And fans will share with their friends...again increasing the artist's popularity. The ease of listening to new music online is much more accessible than going to a show or buying a CD. MySpace is a social networking site where artists can post songs, videos, and blogs about their music and upcoming concerts, and their popularity can soar depending on how many hits they attract. Networking plays an essential part in any musician's career, and I wonder if a Musician needs anything else other than the internet to promote themselves? Social networking on the Internet can lead to record label signings for musicians....I think it's definitely possible. The accessibility of music has increased drastically since the days before the Internet, and the way our technological society is moving now I wonder if fans will attend concerts by way of the internet rather than in person...rock on.!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Activism online: Will it ever be comparable to standing in front of a tank??

As we discussed in class this week, online activism is becoming more and more popular as our society becomes more technological. With technology advancing so strongly, online activism will produce more radical outcomes with more political strength behind them. Also, the amount of work that is done online by large corporations and political parties has increased profusely in the past decade. What I wonder is if online activism will ever have the same effects of offline forms of activism, such as picketing and protesting. The videos we saw in class where protesters were calmly placing flowers in the barrels of guns was very powerful...can hactivism or online activism ever match this strength? Hacking into corporate websites and shutting them down may be effective but I don't believe these forms of activism are as heroic or meaningful as standing in front of a tank or being active at the site of the problem. Will online activism ever be comparable in it's meaning and strength?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hacktivism: Hackers learn how to act both socially and politically. is a very interesting site that offers many different links to different hacktivist sites on the web. As a forum, it allows people to post comments and blogs on different aspects of hacktivism and the challenges that hacktivists pursue in the present and in the future. There is a comment section where anyone can post their ideas and concerns with respect to hacktivism online. The terms and conditions of the site are clearly illustrated in the 'about us' section, and the site welcomes any online individual who wants to explore hacktivism in terms of politics and society. In the 'comrades' section of the site, different hacktivist hyperlinks are listed and you can access their sites by clicking on their hyperlink. I think that the people who frequently visit this site do share similar beliefs in the idea that hacktivism can develop social awareness and possible political change. I definitely got a sense of the community that the site offers simply by reading the mission statement at the top of the page and skimming the comment section.
I think that hacktivism can definitely increase the awareness of the public by revealing information about mainstream capitalist corporations that is meant to be hidden from the public. People should be informed about large corporations and how they exploit the public and deceive use with their advertisements and information that is sometimes false. Hacktivists exploit the negative side of capitalist corporations and give the public a more realistic depiction of how these large corporations affect our society. Agreed?