Tools & Project

Utilizing tools like Google ngrams has really broadened my ideas by looking at the rise of certain words and trends. Looking through various articles on the digital age, I’ve found that my interest has increasingly turned to social media and social media’s influence on both the younger and older generation. I don’t know what kind of direction I want to take my project yet, but I would love to look into the negative and positive effects of social media because that’s something we’ve spent some time talking about in class. In this day and age social media has become integral to digital interactions, and it’s almost inseparable with our modern-day culture. It would be cool to further explore specifics concerning social media and social media trends, particularly the longevity of certain outlets like Facebook. 

Free Culture in the Digital Age

There’s an idea that everything that’s put on the internet, should be free and accessible for the public’s general usage. In today’s world where we can easily find entire copies of books online for free, it seems as though “free culture” is already starting to take root. Lawrence Lessig, one of the pioneers of this movement, is the founder of Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a site available to everyone that promotes the sharing of creative works and ideas. The idea that everything should be free to us on the internet stands in opposition to the capitalist society we live in where everything is sold and turned for a profit. In fact, the free culture movement is detested by record companies and copyright distributors, who state that the movement stunts economic growth and the salary of artists. Of course, it’s impossible to feel pity for artists like Beyonce who lose .000000001 of their million dollar salary every time someone downloads a song for free (not an actual statistic). However, struggling artists who are not making that type of money are at risk from the free culture idea as well. While free culture promotes accessibility to the creative works we admire, it also works against the artistic market, ultimately hurting the artist. It is a double-edged sword because we want to see more from our favorite musicians, authors, artists, etc., but we often don’t want to pay for it. 

The Circle- Review

The Circle by Dave Eggers is a metaphor for the increasing role of technology and social media in today’s society. Readers are encouraged to view the effects of technology through the eyes of Mae Holland, a young woman who has just managed to get a job at The Circle. Initially, The Circle is a utopia of young individuals who work to further the goals of TruYou, a giant social networking site that connects all individuals by removing privacy from the internet. However, like all things in life The Circle seems too good to be true. SeeChange, tiny cameras that are hidden all over, prevent Mae from keeping anything in her life private. When Mae agrees to have all of her actions captured on the SeeChange she becomes an instant success. She fails to acknowledge the harm in a world without privacy, and watches as those around her are destroyed by the invasion of The Circle. 

Egger’s novel is a testimony to the dangers of a world without privacy, especially in an age that is increasingly dependent on technology and social media. Mae is a representation of our generation, and the ways that we only see the good of technology. Mae, like today’s youth, puts her private life on display for the public and slowly begins to adopt the ideals of The Circle. Eggers novel can be a bit preachy at time, using extreme situations to emphasize its point, but overall the book works to successfully critique today’s youth and society’s obsession with putting our lives on the internet. Mae is the perfect protagonist for the novel because her naivety and eagerness allow us to follow her success in the company in a way that we readers can relate to. Overall, The Circle is a perfect novel that not only warns of the dangers of the digital age, but presents them in a way that is easily relatable to society. 

The Agony of Instagram- Post

The Agony of Instagram- Post

I found this article about a week ago and posted it onto my own Facebook page. I figured that it accurately captures the great problems with Instagram and how we live in such an image-based society that entirely depends on how others perceive us. The post talks about Instagram-envy and our own need to compete, or be apart of memorable moments to capture them and add them onto social media sites. Our lives are gradually becoming less private, and for some that is related to their own self-worth and how much buzz their Instagram pictures can generate. Eventually the article is questioning our Instagram posts and wondering how much of it is the result of genuine artistry and creativeness, as much as it’s based on presenting a cool and enviable version of ourselves. 

Digital Storytelling

Last week I had no idea where to start with my digital storytelling. After class discussion last week, I decided to do my digital story on the people who inspire me the most- my parents. The thing I find most interesting about my parents is the difference between their upbringings, and how they met. My mother in particular has a very interesting story, since she is a first generation immigrant from Puerto Rico to New York, and the first of her family to go to college. While my father (who is Puerto Rican as well) was born in New York, but raised in an mostly-White neighborhood.

I ran a test on iMovie since I have previously worked with that platform. As I plan on using interview clips of my parents in my digital story I worked with a couple of pictures just to test transitions and how I would like using iMovie for this particular project. I’ve always found iMovie to be organized and easy to use for people with little experience in film editing and digital presentations. I’m excited to work on a project this close to my heart.  

Mind Map

Photo on 2014-02-19 at 16.35 #2The challenge I chose to complete was the mind map. The images are tacked to a board I have in my room, and they represent my different thoughts. The watch shows my constant worrying over time. The women represent my friends. The tiny images of the Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Big Ben are meant to demonstrate my longing to travel and my future plans. The bubbles show the things that I worry about concerning my future, particularly my living situations and jobs. The sandwiches represent my inner foodie. I took all the images from my favorite magazine Cosmopolitan, which is where I aspire to work one day.

Dawn Maestas’ Digital Story

Dawn Maestas’ Digital Story

The interviews on StoryCorps really caught my attention. The layout of the site and the striking portraits are just a couple of reasons I ended up clicking through over 40 interviews, and wondering where the time went. Of all the stories I heard, Dawn Maestas’ was one that I remembered so vividly. Dawn is in charge of a tattoo-removal site, and using her business she helps victims of domestic abuse. She offers to remove tattoos that women have received while in their abusive relationships. She herself is a victim of domestic violence, having been tattooed by her ex. Having gone through so much, I found her story inspiring. Not only did she escape her own relationship (which included having a gun held to her head while her ex was high), but she uses her success to help others who were in a position similar to hers. 

The power of the story was personally what I found most compelling about the interview. I am usually someone who relies on imagery, but the way they spoke and the emotion in their voice drew me in almost immediately. It was moving to hear the raw emotion with which she speaks. I personally would’ve liked to learn a little more about Dawn’s business as the link provided was invalid, and I want to know if it is primarily used to help victims of abuse, or if she had only helped this one woman. Other than that, I found the digital story to be much more entertaining than I expected. 

My Internet Routine

8 a.m.- Wake up and alternate between Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

9 a.m. – 2 p.m.- Decide between whether to tweet or not, ultimately end up tweeting.

2 p.m. – 5 p.m.- Vow to do homework, instead distract yourself with Buzzfeed articles.

5 p.m.- 7 p.m.- Work on homework, end up on a Wikipedia article completely unrelated to the assignment.

9 p.m. – 12 a.m.- Binge watch Netflix before bed.

Actually writing down the amount of time I spend using the Internet, whether it’s on my computer or my phone, is a scary thing because it makes me come face to face with the terrifying realization that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t have access to it. Largely, it all seems like a way to distract myself from actually getting anything done. All the time spent on the computer, could be time spent doing my assignments or building relationships. As cliche as that all sounds, it’s very true. People say that technology links us together, but in actuality it isolates us from inter-personal communication.

Although, I say interaction’s overrated. If I don’t get my daily Netflix fix I will probably be very upset. So maybe the internet seems like a large waste of time for people my age, but the appeal of it is the unlimited opportunities. You can watch television, write blogs, read books, etc. all at the click of a button. Without my daily internet routine my life would be very dull.