Sunday, September 27, 2015

Below is the link to my hubsite, which will lead you to all my other work. Thanks everyone!
www.jillianford.weebly.com

Thursday, August 20, 2015

PCH Chapter 23

Chapter 23 in the Participatory Cultures Handbook dealt with incarcerated youth and how to create a participatory learning culture among them. It is now commonplace in America to believe that education is extremely important for our youth. In this chapter the idea of Digital Media and Learning (DML) is introduced to encourage a greater participatory culture in modern day society. In an institution where self-expression is dejected and the ability to collaborate and interact with peers is not a primary concern of the facilitators it is hard to form a sense of community. Therefore, finding a way to encourage participatory culture is important for incarcerated youth otherwise they will be left behind in society.

Digital media is the most realistic outlet for incarcerated youth to experience civic engagement. One of the problems researchers faced was the danger that the youth could face in court due to the publicity of their writing. If they shared their experiences and life behind bars online they could be at potential risk in the future. Even though the incarcerated youth could be kept private it would potentially inhibit their learning process. The inequalities present in the incarcerated youth is significant, therefore, their development in social skills and general intelligence is altered. While the media can be a great tool to promote participatory culture and provide learning to underprivileged youth it also has its dangers. The danger of privacy is a large topic in this day and age. Whatever you put out on the Internet is available to everyone and can never really be “deleted.” In the case of the incarcerated youth it would be easy for others to judge them for a lack of ethical behavior. This is why it would be important to first teach youth proper demeanor and social responsibility in online communities.

The Internet has had a large effect on the world today. There is, without a doubt, an online culture that can be beneficial to participatory culture in youth regardless of their place in life. With that educational responsibility and benefit comes danger and great responsibility. Digital media will always run into conflict with existing cultural practices and accepted norms. The key is to find the right balance where the youth can be educated but not put at risk. This would promote a healthy participatory culture environment that would encourage collaboration and self-expression. In addition, networking is a valuable asset of digital media allowing people to make connections and achieve greater success. Therefore, educating the youth is extremely important in achieving a safe participatory culture environment online and having the benefits of digital media outweigh the risks.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fuchs Chapters 4 and 8

In Social Media and Communication Power, Fuchs describes how social media has become a key concept in media studies and public discourse. Social Media is described as a form of mass self-communication that has changed the power structure of society. When observing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. there is a massive amount of communication occurring between people. This communication can result in societal changes if enough people unite over a common cause. A good example of this is the ALS ice bucket challenge that raised over $100 million in donations due a to a social trend they started.  With the ability to reach so many people through the computer, social media has become the most powerful form of marketing and market research in the world. The interaction that occurs over social media is hardly different from the way humans interacted when civilization first started. Instead of being face-to-face people are behind a screen. What makes the Internet so powerful is the scale and speed of communication in a costly effective manner.  Those who have a large social media presence have a large media presence and are therefore have the ability to be powerful members of society. This goes hand-in-hand with Castell’s argument that the emergence of social media has shifted the power structure in society.

            In Twitter and Democracy social platforms such as Twitter are shown to have very powerful influences on society. Although sites such as Twitter are used primarily for entertainment and business motives, they can also have very profound political effects. This is most visible in the political crises that occurred in Egypt in 2011. The government found it necessary to shut down Facebook and Twitter and later put a hold on the Internet. Following the revolt that lead to the removal of Hosni Mubarak the media portrayed young activists as heroes who saved their country from turmoil. Mainstream press initiated a call for the ban of Twitter as it played a serious role in the situation. However, the phenomenon is unusual as the “trending” feature isn’t a substitute for a political organization and doesn’t lead to any form of action. Fuchs claims that face-to-face interaction leads to greater progress. I do agree with this statement, however, I wouldn’t downplay the importance of social media in activism. While most people do tend to sit back at their computers and not take action, awareness is still spread. Awareness is significant in inflicting change; therefore, social media has its role to play in the structure of society.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wark Book Review


            The Spectacle of Disintegration is about the Situationist International, an international organization of social revolutionaries including avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and political theorists. Wark focuses on the concept of the spectacle, a crucial aspect of situationist theory. The spectacle is a critique of capitalism where the core motive is a growing concern over the inclination to express and facilitate social relations through objects. The situationists believed that the quality of human life was affected by an individual’s ability to define oneself based on commodities or material possessions as opposed to lived experiences. Situationist theory was a mode of counteracting the spectacle where people felt the freedom and adventure of everyday life. At the beginning of the Situationist International there was primarily an artistic focus that later changed into revolutionary and political theory. In his book, Wark discusses the society of the spectacle and the Situationist’s critique of modernity.
            Situationism consists of the belief that there are no perfect ideas or criticisms. It is the participation of each individual that is significant in the advances against consumerism. This is where participatory culture plays an important role, as it is an important aspect of defining the spectacle. As Debord puts it, “The spectacle is a social relationship between people mediated by images (5).” Wark follows this by saying that “The trick is not to be distracted by the images, but to inquire into the nature of this social relationship (5).” When analyzing this quote an important theme arises, that which distinguishes necessity and desire. Desire is the strong feeling that tempts people towards consumerism, a concept that goes against Wark’s Marxist ideals.
            In evaluating Wark’s Spectacle of Disintegration against modern day ideals and theories in America, it is very relevant. Some of the ideas expressed about how the advancement of capitalism in areas such as technology, wealth, and the convenience of everyday life do not necessarily outweigh the social consequences that it has brought about. Wark states that “The landscape of leisure emerges as the symbolic field for the conflicts of a spectacular identity. At stake are the forms of freedom, of accomplishment, naturalness, individuality” (36). In this context leisure is referred to as vacation or an escape from the everyday busy life capitalism imposes on us. However, Wark is arguing that even leisure is filled with stress; it is a place of tension similar to work itself. In addition, leisure is a mode of economical advance. In his book, Wark provides the example of nightclubs. Although people go there for leisure they are spending money to receive it. The nightclub is a business that is motivated by profit; therefore, they are seeking to provide leisure in a way that best benefits them. As a result, leisure can often be a business. This is one of the disappointments that capital produces according to Wark.
In examining different forms of art throughout history, Wark comes to conclusions that are often times unconvincing or hard to comprehend. With the anecdotes given, Wark extrapolates the evidence into a theory that is often times difficult to understand. The reader is left to his own interpretation and evaluation of the purpose of Wark’s writing. Even the anecdotal passages are, at times, hard to appreciate due to the reader’s unfamiliarity with the context. The Spectacle of Disintegration is a challenging first read if you are not familiar with the Situationist movement and events of that period in time. That said, if you have experience or knowledge of the topic then Wark’s Spectacle of Disintegration seems to be an eye-opening read.

When reading this book I was able to discern the importance of participatory culture to the Situationist movement. The active participation of a group of people is important to any movement and to inflict change. In the case of the Situationist movement as a stand against certain features of capitalism it was especially important that those who shared the same beliefs came together. Without people voicing their opinion progress would not be made. Change was the primary motive behind the participatory culture involved in the Situationist movement. Social events, word of mouth, the media, and other sources helped to spread the beliefs that the Situationist shared. This is also visible in modern day America. Participatory culture is part of everyday life whether it is through social media, school, sports, or any part of life where people come together and unite under a common cause or even share differences, along as people are participating and collaborating with one another.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Final Coursework! - Emma Reigel

Hubsite Page: http://emmarei.weebly.com/ - 
     has all course work under course work for both projects and assignments outside of projects

Midterm Project Site: http://helpthearcticc.weebly.com/

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sites completed and in progress



Folks, here are the sites I have completed or in progress. The links are also available at the top of the course syllabus. 


There is some really great work in there, and I'm proud of the effort you all put in. If you have an extension, please post your own hubsite with completed coursework page when ready before August 31. Have a great summer. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Coursework

All my coursework can be found at

hirofumikusumoto.weebly.com/

I tried to remember everything that we did but if you see something that's missing please let me know so I can add it to my coursework page.

Thank you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lily Kronfeld's Final and completed coursework

lilykronfeld.weebly.com

Completed Coursework

Hi everyone!

Here is the link to my completed coursework page: http://chloe--renee.weebly.com/coursework.html
I've checked all of the links, but if you see one that doesn't work in passing, please let me know.

Thanks, and keep in touch!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Submitting coursework reminder

Folks, just a quick note to remind you to post a link to your completed coursework page here on the blog. There's a continuing issue with email containing a weebly subdomain link in emory.edu communications. Don't forget to test all the links on a library computer: I can't read privately published material. Have a great summer!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Link to everything

To see all coursework, go to http://joshuambloom.weebly.com/ and click on the coursework page.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

PCH 12: Halavais

The mass-demass cycle is as follows: technology or media is created by a group of pioneers who collaborate in order to use and popularize the new technology or media, the technology or media is then taken over by a small number of powerful people (i.e. corporations), who in turn, present it to an audience, which then reclaims the media or technology as their own and begins to create with it. This is significant in terms of participatory culture because it explains the methods through which technologies and media are obtained. Blogging is different from this mass-demass cycle because it began in the hands of the people and continues to be an accessible technology for the people, as most blogging can be done for free (though there are corporations that are involved). Halavais describes blogging as a "free frame of reference" because it is a simple act that helps the user to reframe their way of thinking about the world. Blogging is an accessible format for discourse that almost anyone can use. When there is a free, accessible discourse format, the opportunity for radical sociopolitical change presents itself.

"Free frame of reference" originated in the late 1960s as a store where all of the items were free. The store had essentials such as food and clothing, and the "frame" was in reference to "a large yellow picture frame" by the entrance (Halavais, 114). The store revolutionized the way that its "customers" thought about consumption and the value of items in our society.

I can not say that I agree entirely with Halavais in terms of the perspective demanded by blogging. Self-expression has always been accessible in one public format or another, blogging just magnified the scale and audience. I believe that, with the diversification of blogging, it has still maintained its spirit as a free frame of reference. Very few people are willing to pay actual money to blog, whereas as few years ago, people would pay quite a bit of money in order to keep and maintain a professional blog. Now, there are more ways than ever to express oneself freely through the Internet.

The ideal is tarnished, though, through the commodification of blogging. In order to be a true "free frame of reference" profit would not be an issue. Now blogging sites are able to make money off of their users through the use of advertising. Yes, the users may not have to pay directly, but they are still being used for monetary gain.

Equality within the attention economy is a difficult idea to navigate. Perhaps equality within the attention economy would be an egalitarian format in which each person gets their say for the same amount of time among the same number of people.

Social media as gemeinschaft would be the use of free blogging among a group of people to organize a social protest. Social media as gesellschaft would be the requirement of monthly subscription fees for a website in order for the few people in charge to make a profit off of it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hub site

Here's my hub site




Fuchs Ch 8

In Chapter 4 of Social Media: A Critical Introduction, Christian Fuchs explores the connections between Twitter and political participation. While reading, I started to think about the potential of repurposing aspects of Twitter to be geared more toward political activism and change. Fuchs states that, on Twitter, the topics that attain the highest visibility (as demonstrated by the Trending Box on the left-hand side of Twitter) are those that pertain to entertainment-related topics. However, I started to explore the idea of tailoring Twitter to be used as a political tool. For example, the Trending Box could be separated into subcategories, including Entertainment and Politics. This would allow for higher visibility within each category, therefore preventing the domination of visibility of one category over another, therefore facilitating political visibility within the interface of Twitter itself.  
Later, Shirky states that “with the arrival of globally accessible publishing, freedom of speech is now freedom of the press, and freedom of the press is freedom of assembly (Shirky 2008, 172). This statement resonated with me because I began to think about both the benefits and downsides of online political culture. I see the value of social media in politics the same way as Papacharissi interprets it - the idea that social media eradicates the line between the political and public spheres. I think that a greater visibility from a grassroots level is key to political change. I also think that, at times, the anonymity offered by the internet is beneficial in terms of political participation. It allows one’s voice to be heard, without suffering social repercussions from their peers or even an oppressive government. However, one downside to online political participation is that in person, physical spaces allow for an agglomeration of individuals that “provide opportunities for building and maintaining interpersonal relations that involve eye contact, communication of an emotional aura, and bonding activities that are important for the cohesion of a political movement and can hardly be connunicated over the internet” (186). So, at the end of the day, there are certain shortcomings of online participation that simply cannot be overcome or overshadowed by in-person, face-to-face, political movements.

PCH Chapter 28

Chapter 28 of The Participatory Cultures Handbook, edited by Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson, explores the ethics of participatory culture. In her essay entitled “Toward an Ethical Framework for Online Participatory Cultures,” Jennifer Jacobs Henderson first defines participatory cultures as “spaces where thoughtful, engaged world citizens tackle complex problems, build creative networks, and contribute to political decision making” (272). Henderson then goes on to describe the potential that these spaces can achieve, such as advancing scientific discovery, empowering those who have little voice, and the elimination of geopolitical boundaries (272). However, in order for those potentialities to occur, ethical structure must first be assigned to participatory culture. To do so, Henderson establishes five fundamental aspects that must be assigned - access, rule making, connectedness, contribution, and freedom.
According to Henderson, two barriers to active participation have existed for many years - income, and geography. However, the recent development of new technology hasn’t remedied these two barriers. It has simply perpetuated their existences, but in a new way. For example, wealthier countries have more widespread internet access compared to less wealthy countries, which does nothing but perpetuate the “digital divide” (273).  In my opinion, however, barriers extend beyond income and geography. Another barrier that exists is technological literacy, or the lack thereof. Technological illiteracy prevents members from taking advantage of the participatory technology, so that even if they have the physical access to it, they are unable to use it in a meaningful way.
Henderson then asserts that another structure that must be enacted is rule making. She acknowledges that these rules may differ based on the medium at stake - the rules governing original uploads may differ from the rules governing comments. However, regardless of the specific rules being applied, she argues that these rules must be enforced if participatory culture has any chance to thrive.  
Henderson continues with her structural establishment, emphasizing the importance of both connectedness and contribution. In my opinion, participatory culture inherently involves a sense of commonality and connectedness. Henderson advocates for these aspects of participatory culture to be even more developed and encouraged within the community in order to facilitate the survival of the culture. She also values the aspect of contribution, stating that “respect must be at the core of valued participation” and that this respect is “often attained through recognition by others” (277).
Finally, Henderson develops the idea of freedom in participatory cultures, and asserts that a wide range of voices and opinions must exist in order for the full potential of participatory culture to be reached.