Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week Six - Reconstructing Identity through Digital and Social Media

It is interesting to witness the rapidly changing pace of Social Networking Sites and the identity we reconstruct and create for ourselves on sites such as Myspace, Facebook, Tumblr, Formspring amongst other social networking sites.

It can be thought, that through these social networking platforms, we are creating a narrative of our own lives for others to read. However, these are perhaps not fully formed, timelined and structured narratives we are perhaps used to reading in autobiographies/biographies. The identities we create for ourselves are most likely to be fragmented pieces of our feelings and lives that are not true or accurate pieces of information from our own identities. On Facebook for example, users only choose to share information or create identities which will look

Monday, October 4, 2010

Week Five - Defining Privacy, does it still exist?

This week in class, we begun the class by being asked by Peter (our tutor/ lecturer) to think about and write down how we view and define privacy. 

After some after sitting in my chair looking around the room watching the majority of the class fursiously write their own definitions I came up with this;

  " Privacy can be defined as the space in which one can control who can and cannot access ones personal space/ sphere. The private sphere is a/the sphere of a person in which information is kept private, confidential and in total control of the individual whom it belongs to".

It was a definition which I found rather difficult to define off the top of my head as there as many defining points that could have, and can be explored, discussed and put into the definition of privacy. I found the class to be, as all of them are, rather insightful and thought of privacy in a different way.

Take a moment to think about what you define privacy as? In a day and age, where there is so much technology accessible we do not analyse what we consider, private information, we are putting out into the public sphere. Take Facebook for example, we (society) are so concerned with public image and acceptance from others, we do not consciously realise we are opening our lives to those we do not even know.

Facebook asks for your Name, E-mail address, Interests, Gender, Relationship status, Religion etc. Whilst it is an option to publicly post such data (from anecdotal evidence) the majority of people still post their real Names, Interests, Gender, Political views, Political views, Relationship Status and Religion. Whilst such information may not seem harmful or important by posting such private data, we are essentially freely handing over information we usually only tell those close to us or institutions with some authority who require such personal information.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Week Four - Is technology making us lazy....and overweight?

A rather interesting tutorial activity arose the other day in DMC in which students were divided up into groups to think about and discuss how media could be related to several other issues that are often thought and debated about in recent times.

I belonged to the group that need to collectively think about and discuss how media is directly/ indirectly linked to the growing epidemic of obesity in the worlds three largest industrialized nations;

and Great Britain

It is rather intriguing that over time as technologies and time progresses, the more we rely on techologies to keep us in a fixed place, having everything we need or want within close proximity to us. For instance, if one is feeling as though they have perhaps gained some weight but cannot be bothered joining the local gym, or see membership as a waste of money what can one do? Switch on the television and surely there will be infomercials about a new piece of exercise equipment that will only take three minutes to work! (yeah right!) 

Can't be bothered cooking? Not too worry there's no need to prepare fresh and healthy meals anymore as you can order take away which in most cases can be delivered straight to your door. As I am getting older the more and more I become frustrated with people becoming lazier and relying on others or technological functions to do things for them, in this case loosing weight whilst still eating crap food. It seems, nobody can be bothered with working hard nor putting a little effort into tasks they undertake anymore. I actually miss the days (and yes, despite being young I do remember them) of writing letters to my friends and sending them as well as receiving them. Not having to worry about my mobile, Facebook (which I have since deleted, Myspace (again deleted) e-mail etc. 

Back to the point, the link between weight gain and technologies are evident, nevertheless, technologies are not the main factor of our weight gain, it is our own reliance on technology which blinds us to the fact that as a whole, we are becoming lazier and larger.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week Three - In the social-networking we trust. Does it care for us?

Along with ever-changing and progression of digital media functions (here we will look at the internet as an example and social networking sites, namely Facebook available through the internet) readily available to those who have access (i.e. a steady income which will allow for such a 'luxury') there is often a question that will be raised as to whether users are handing over their privacy or whether it is being taken from them?

With the set up of social networks such as Facebook, Flikr, Twitter and a long list of others people young and old and from all social groups are finding themselves drawn into what I see as a obsessively unnessaryly open world of cyberstalking and obsession. What happened to a time where we called up family and/or friends from landline telephones or wrote a letter as opposed to logging online through iphones, laptops etc simply to see whether a notification has been made to oneself.

Now people are defined and defining their lives by status' "I want chocolate..." and "The world is going to the shitter..." regardless of insignificant and non-sensical status how much do users put out into the nasty yet wonderful cucoon world wide web and all the social network "viruses" that we become so naively become sucked into.

What I am really trying to argue is exactly what James Cowen has articulated in the most perfect way immaginable;

"1 You Should quit Facebook."
"2 You probably won't." (2010)

Why is this do you ask? As Cowen reinforces, there is the strong allegation that Facebook has the capability and does change its privacy policies most likely as often as you change your status (note: I do strongly believe this but I may be exaggerating a little as I strongly dislike Facebook!) As Cowen as so nicely put it into words, "Mark Zuckerberg...founder is a false prophet who claims his generation values openness..." Zuckerberg also labells those who wish to hold onto their privacy - "old-fashioned" and  "fuddy-duddy" (2010) What's wrong with Zuckerbergs' claims, 1) PRIVACY is most definitely not old-fashioned and
2) I'm sure he would say anything he's making billions (again I exaggerate but I'm probably not far off) and meanwhile us users are making squat!

Unfortunately for us, our battle for privacy in relation to Facebook has been lost. Facebook is predicted to have 500 million users in the very near future, the option of being anonoymous is not even avaible rather we have to opt out of being tracked as opposed to opting in if WE want to remain private online anymore  (David Fewer quoted in "Why we'll never escape Facebook, Cower: 2010) Funnily enough, even if you decide to opt out of Facebook altogether (which I did) your profile is never ever completed deleted, you are able to log back in at anytime. Friends - will still be there, information, photos, comments etc all still there.

Sad, yes. True, unfortunately yes. It is unknown what happens with users information and whether or not it is being providedto third parties (not sure if this is likely however, I believe it's used for profiling).

Although, at the end of the day,whatever relationships we share with social networking sites/forums the majority of the control is left and the responsibilites (I believe) lies with users. You choose to sign up. You choose to share your personal information and ultimately you have to decide, is posting a status,photos of yourself and chatting with friends you can see or communicate with in many other ways, ultimately worth loosing a part of your privacy?

So I leave you to think about this and come to your own conclusion and I apologise if this has turned into a rant solely about Facebook.

If you would like to read James Cowen's entire article click on the following link: