Cellphones as an extension of humans


Did you know more people in the world have mobile phones than toilets? It is true. Can you imagine a life without your cellphone? Would you survive without your cellphone? Many of us would think we can’t survive without them. But people in the past were able to live without cellphones why wouldn’t we be able to? Is it because cellphones were created as an extension of humans? Were they changed over time to adjust to humans?

Cellphones have a long history and to explore the connection between cellphones and humans, I have decided to relate it to my parents. The reason why I am choosing my parents is because I believe they can give a relatable story on cellphones. Unlike many people from my generation, my parents did not always had a cellphone. Even when the concept of cellphones existed, they didn’t have the money to afford it. So how did they contact people? They would use public phones and write letters. By the time I was a little kid, my parents had a cellphone. In the beginning, even though cellphones had the capacity of adding contacts, my parent would rarely use it. They still memorized many phone numbers and would dial it manually. Over time, my parents learn to use the basic functions added to a cellphone. The main function they would use is contacts. Now, they didn’t have to memorize that many phone numbers nor carry a small phone book with them. It wasn’t necessary for them. The change from a cellphone to smartphone made my parents’ life easier in terms of carrying extra technology. They still didn’t use their phone fully even though it was a smartphone. They used it to call people, take pictures, record videos, and listen to music. They didn’t have to carry a camera, a video recorder, and a music player anymore. They were satisfied with that for a while. During my senior year in high school, I already had plans on going to a school out of state. Because my parents saw the convenience of FaceTime, they decided to buy an iPad for my mom. The reasoning behind it was for my parents to be able to “see” me while I was in college. During that time, I downloaded an app called WeChat on my mom’s iPad. I told her that she could leave me voice messages since we couldn’t text each other because of language barrier. My mom would use it from time to time. She wasn’t always using it. In contrast, my dad who was in Mexico at the time, started using WeChat too. The difference, he used it 24/7. And that is how cellphones changed for my parents. They went from not using it in the past to now not being able to put down their phone during dinner.

From the beginning until now, cellphones have evolved but those changes complemented our lifestyle. Looking at my parents, the lifestyle they had in the beginning and now are different. They were busy almost the whole day so cellphones weren’t a necessity for them. They were in one place for most of the day and could use the restaurant phone. Now, cellphones are a necessity for them because they travel a lot now. But that is just one case and it doesn’t completely explains how phones are an extension of humans. To further explore the relation of cellphones and humans, we have to look at the history of cellphones.

The very first cellphones that were known as car phones were invented in 1956. They were too big to hold that people had it in their cars. With disputes and upgrades over signals and frequencies by 1971, AT&T became the first company to come up with a system in which modern phones use. In 1973, Motorola invented the first cellphone, the Motorola DynaTAC, which looks similar to present cellphones. The cellphone was invented by Dr. Martin Cooper (Keith). Then by 1983, the phone is upgraded to the DynaTAC 8000x. Although the cellphone is huge compared to our cellphones now a days. It was the first cellphone that was considered small and portable back in the days. The DynaTAC was expensive when it first came out. Only few could afford it and it was only used in the business and sales world. The cellphone quickly became shown in many different media such as movies like Wall Street and television shows like Saved by the Bell. As more upgrades to the phone came along over time, the cellphones became smaller and more portable (Ray).

The appearance of the cellphone has change greatly over time. The DynaTAC was really big. It was like holding a brick. It had the numbers and dial buttons. It didn’t have a screen. It was similar to many house phones nowadays but bigger and without a screen. Then by 1989, the Micro TAC was introduced as a personal telephone. Although it was expensive, it wasn’t just limited to people in the business and sales world. The Micro TAC was a lot smaller compared to the DynaTAC. It had an antenna and flip case to protect the number buttons. The Micro TAC added more buttons to the phone. In pop culture, the Micro TAC was used in the Star Trek series. In 1997, cellphones had a big upgrade with the invention of the internet. The Synergy by Philips Consumer Communications introduced the many other features now seen in our cellphones. It was the first cellphone to have a screen that was “touch screen” and used wireless connection. It used wireless to connect to e-mail, internet, and faxes. It has change the purpose of cellphones by adding new features other than calling. By 2002, texting became a popular thing to do that T-Mobile introduce the Sidekick. The Sidekick has a screen that flip out and a full QWERTY keyboard for faster texting. The Sidekick had features that built the current cellphones. It had apps, games, a camera, and access to the internet. In 2007, the very first iPhone was introduced to the market. The iPhone wasn’t just a cellphone anymore, it was a smart phone. It was fully touchscreen with apps, camera, and music player. The appearance and system of the cellphone started as big and simple. The very first cellphones were big and just had one function, calling and talking to others (Washington Post). Over time, cellphones became smaller and smaller so it would be easier to carry. The system of the cellphone became more and more complex. Functions were slowly added to cellphones and now cellphones have become like our personal assistant.

With the physical and systematic changes in cellphones, did the purpose of cellphones shift into another direction? The main purpose of cellphones in the past and even now is to talk. Cellphones were invented so people could call others no matter where they were. Although the purpose of a cellphone might still be to call someone else, other purposes have been added over the evolution of cellphones. Present cellphones allow people to not just only call others but it offers a way for humans to interact and communicate with others through not only phone calls but apps and functions. In other words, the purpose of cellphones has shifted to communicate. Other than the basic functions such as making a call and sending a text message, current phones are smartphones. Applications can be downloaded to fit anyone’s lifestyle. For example, Samsung phones have added a new feature called S Health where it counts how many steps per day you walk and also it can check your pulse. Nowadays, people are so busy that they don’t have the time to always exercise. Because of that, they can try to increase their steps per day. Which is something even busy people can easily change by using stairs instead of elevator and parking at a farther location. Another function that is now helpful for our current lifestyle are reminders functions and applications. Alarms on cellphones have been able to replace physical alarm clocks. Other applications can be used for as reminders for upcoming deadlines and work schedule. Another example is the addition of email. Email was created to adapt to people’s lifestyle. Many businessmen needed to check their email to contact and communicate with other businesses. Slowing email wasn’t just used by professionals and businessmen. Now, email it is used by almost everyone which is why it is very convenient to have it linked to our cellphones. We are able to access it even when we are not around a computer. Email being linked to our cellphones have decreases the usage of regular mail. Many business prefer to send out an email to customers because it will be easier for them to access it and possibly use it when they are at their store without needing to bring a physical paper or coupons. Although the new features and applications are changes to fit our lifestyle it is also because we dislike talking on the phone. From Alone Together, “Teenagers avoid making telephone calls, fearful that they “reveal too much”. They rather text than talk. Adults, too, choose keyboards over the human voice”. (Turkle, 11). This shows that it isn’t just the lifestyle but also our likes and dislikes that matter.

Cellphones have been helpful over time. There are many advantages of cellphones. Cellphones have become like our personal assistant. Cellphones make our lives easier by storing information so we don’t have to memorize it such as phone numbers. One can set reminders and alarms for deadlines and activities. It allows people to communicate with friends and family whether it is through phone calls, social media, or text message. Being able to carry a cellphone anywhere you go is also helpful in case of an emergency. Although cellphones have many advantages and were created for us, there are disadvantages when technology improves. Cellphones or smartphones have so many capabilities that we forget about real human interactions. People can go on dates and they would have their phone with them and check social media when they can have a real interaction. Sherry Turkle mentions that social media is there to help us connect and it is a good thing but because we are so focused on the content we see on our screen, we tend to forget to have a real conversation and interaction. We are together by keeping each other updated with technology but we aren’t really together. That’s why we are together alone. As it is mentioned in her book Alone Together, “Digital connections and the sociable robot may offer the illusion of companionship without the demands of a friendship” (Turkle, 1). It shows that we like that we get to pick and choose what we want using technology. Cellphones have also caused serious accidents that are fatal. Many tend to use their cellphones when they are driving which has caused serious accidents. They are so focused on checking that text message or notification from a social media that they don’t pay attention to the road and cause accidents.

As it can be seen cellphones have change a lot over time. How does the changes correlate to humans? It isn’t a surprise that over time humans have become more complex and busy. Our duties have become more complicated than ever just like cellphones. The very first cellphones were simple. All it was able to do was make a phone call. Now cellphones are able to multitask by storing data, making calls, connect to the internet, and notify one about different news and weather. In the beginning humans had one task, to survive. Now humans not only have to survive but also work, go to school, make money and etc. Humans have become more complex and smarter over time. Because humans have become more complex and smarter, our cellphones have also become more complicated and smarter. Cellphones are an extension of humans. Just like McLuhan mentions “All media are extensions of some human faculty – psychic or physical” (McLuhan, 26). For example, “the book is an extension of the eye” (McLuhan, 34-37) and “electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system” (McLuhan, 40). Similarly to the comparison McLuhan makes, we can infer that cellphones are an extension of humans. When you combine all the features cellphones has right now, we can see how it is an extension of us. The camera in the cellphone is an extension of our eyes. The recorder and music player is an extension of our ears. The speaker is an extension of our mouth. The memory space inside of a cellphone is like our brain. It stores different things whether they are things we can see or internal codes to make the cellphone work. The internal codes are like our organs, they work together to make the cellphone work as a whole. An example of how a cellphone might work as a whole is recording a video. It requires the camera/lenses to capture the picture. Which is like our eyes. Then while recording the video it is also recording the sounds. That part is like our ears. We listen to our surroundings. Then when the video is stored and when it is played back, it is like our brain memorizing a moment and recalling it.

Since cellphones have become a part of us or at least an extension of us, does the functions and capabilities of cellphones meet our needs? As our lives become more and more busy cellphones are there to make those busy schedule not seem as bad. We can organize our schedule into calendars, alarms, and reminders. In that sense, cellphone do meet our needs but because we are constantly thinking of new ways and ideas cellphones can met our needs even more. Because we are experimenting with different technology and making technology advance at a really fast rate it isn’t surprising that cellphones will be improve even more in the future. Although I can’t say that I have a solid idea of the future of cellphones, no doubt those changes will be made to meet our needs and make our lives easier. Improvements to intelligent personal assistants such as Cortana and Siri will be made. Those personal assistants will become smarter in understanding you. Some other changes that connect cellphones to humans even more are that cellphones will become smarter at syncing with our biological reflexes such as our eyes movements, thoughts, cultural and social preferences.

Cellphones have change greatly in the little time it has existed. Those changes wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the changes in humans. Humans becoming more complicated and smarter enable changes in cellphones to make our life easier. Different functions and applications are an extension of a different body part. It aid us when need it. We can use our brain to memorize more important things. In conclusion, cellphones as a whole is an extension of humans and the changes in purpose and function were created to adjust to the human life.



(1). Keith, Robert D. “The Cell Phone Timeline.” History of the Cell Phone. University of Florida. 2004. Web. 28 April 2015. <http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall04/keith/history1.htm

(2). McLuhan, Marshall. The Medium is the Massage, an Inventory of Effects. California. Gingko Press Inc. 2001. Web

(3). Ray, Amanda. “The History And Evolution Of Cell Phones.” AI Blog. Art Institutes. N.d Web. 28 April 2015. <http://new.artinstitutes.edu/blog/the-history-and-evolution-of-cell-phones

(4). Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together. New York. BASIC BOOKS. 2011. Web

(5). Washington Post Staff. “The History of the Mobile Phone.” The Switch. The Washington Post. 9 September 2014. Web. 29 March 2015. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/09/09/the-history-of-the-mobile-phone/

Central Thesis, Argument, or Theme

Central Thesis: Are cellphones an extension of humans?

In order to answer my central thesis, I will categorize my paper into different categories. I will look at the technical term and history of it and also the personal effects of cellphones on people I know. The reason why I decided to expand on the evolution of cellphones is because cellphones have become a part of our daily life that many rely on it too much. I wanted to investigate the changes of the cellphone from the appearance to the interior of a cellphone. I will look if there is a correlation of changes in cellphones with the changes in lifestyle of humans. If there are correlations between them, it will show that cellphones are an extension of us. In order to answer the technical terms and history I will research it using the internet. I google the history of cellphones and found a couple reliable websites:




With the use of these websites, I will be able to talk about the history of cellphones and expand it to a more personal perspective.  I will be able to explore more of the changes of cell phones and how those changes relate to our changes as humans.

For example, the addition of email was to adapt to people’s lifestyle. Many business men needed the use to check their email to contact and communicate with other business. Slowing email wasn’t just used by professionals and businessmen. Now, email it is used by almost everyone which is why it is very convenient to have it linked to our cellphones. We are able to access it even when we are not around a computer. Email being linked to our cellphones have also decreases the usage of regular mail. Many business prefer to send out an email to customers because it will be easier for them to access it and possibly use it when they are at their store without needing to bring a physical paper or coupon.

When you combine all the features cellphones has right now, we can see how it is an extension of us. The camera in the cellphone is an extension of our eyes. The recorder and music player is an extension of our ears. The speaker is an extension of our mouth. The memory space inside of a cellphone is like our brain. It stores different things whether they are things we can see or internal codes to make the cellphone work. The internal codes are like our organs, they work together to make the cellphone work as a whole. An example of how a cellphone might work as a whole is recording a video. It requires the camera/lenses to capture the picture. Which is like our eyes. Then while recording the video it is also recording the sounds. That part is like our ears. We listen to our surroundings. Then when the video is stored and when it is played back, it is like our brain memorizing a moment and recalling it.

Class Archive

As this course comes to an end, it is great knowing that we can always refer and remember this class because we have an archive in the internet. This blog started with a few blog post and throughout the whole semester each and every student in the class have been able to contribute to this blog.

Knowing that I didn’t want to just read one blog post but at the same time not having the time to read every single blog post posted, I have decided to navigate the website through tags. We were required to add tags to our blog post and the size of the tag meant more people would tag that. I looked at a few blog post with the tags many used.

The first tag was “Alone Together”. Looking at the blogs related to Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together, many mentioned how technology is there to help us and make communication easier but at the same time with many different technological advances we are able to be closer and together but at the same time we are alone. We aren’t really getting to know and being with others.

The second tag I looked into was “communication”. With this tag, I expected to see different ways technology such as social media, cellphones, television are a way we communicate now a days. There was one blog post on this section that I thought it was interesting. The one that talked about video games and consoles. I never thought that video games was a way of communication but reading the blog post I now learned that it is a way of communication by the way it has evolved. Graphics have become better that looks like and feels like real life. Consoles aren’t just for the video games but can be used to connect to other technology such as the Internet, Netflix, and different social media.

The last tag I looked at was the “Essay Outline”. I believe this is a very helpful tag for the final project. It is interesting seeing how an outline can be so different for so many people. They way different student organized their outline will be helpful for me for my last blog post and organizing all my thoughts on the final paper. I really liked the ones that had the research question in the beginning of the timeline because at times when one is writing, one can get lost and by referring back to the research question one won’t go off topic. I enjoyed seeing people researching the facts and definitions and putting that in the outline because that way they can easily expand on it when they write their final paper. I also enjoyed reading the introduction and conclusion of many of the different topics because that is something I struggle with. It is hard for me to start a paper or essay because I can’t make a good introduction that briefly introduces the topic but also seems interesting. I also struggle with my conclusion because being able to talk so much about a certain topic, I find it hard to summarize it in just one paragraph.

Personal Reflection on Cellphones

My passion to analyze and investigate got me into technology. I liked that I could investigate and research. But that alone wasn’t enough for me to be able to talk and investigate this topic. I am usually disinterested in different topics and ideas easily. I would switch hobbies and passions every couple weeks or months. Because cellphones are relevant to my everyday life and had made an impact in my life since I was a little kid, I thought it would be a great idea to investigate even more.

I was fortunate enough to have access to different technologies growing up. As a little kid, I didn’t have a phone but I would use my parents’ cellphones and play with it. I remember playing Snake on their phone. By 4th grade, I already had my very first phone. I don’t remember the exact brand but it was a flip phone and small. After that cellphone, I switched phones every now and then. By now, my Samsung S5 is my 7th phone. The evolution of the phones I had are very like how phones had changed over time. It started with simple and small. Each phone I owned, had a special feature. Whether it was the incredible music player, camera, messenger, and now having it all.

Just having experienced different cellphones wasn’t enough for me to want to investigate about it more. The main reason is seeing someone that didn’t grow up with a cellphone their whole life use a cellphone now is what got me interested in this topic. Those people are my parents. My parents didn’t always had a cellphone or knew the concept of a cellphone their whole life. Even when the first cellphones came out, my parents didn’t have the money to afford them.

For them, cellphones only had one purpose, calling people. That idea didn’t change until a couple years ago. They bought cellphones so it would be convenient to contact and call others. Even though throughout the years my parents have switch to better and smarter phones, they didn’t see the necessity of the other features cellphones had. Even earlier when phones added cameras into it, my parents would rarely use it. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I could start to see changes. My dad would take pictures and record videos with his cellphone. He wouldn’t carry his camcorder around anymore. By my senior year of high school, my mom got an iPad so she could communicate and FaceTime me when I was going to go away for college. With her iPad, I made the initiative to download WeChat, a voice messenger app popular in Asian countries. She barely used it. She didn’t have any interest in learning about the app. She only wanted to learn how to FaceTime with me.

As I was away in college, I would FaceTime my parents often. Slowly our conversations were shorter and shorter because they were on their “phone”. I went back to New York during Thanksgiving break to find out my parents have all upgraded their cellphones to a smartphone. They all knew about the different features in a cellphone. They would constantly take pictures of everything they saw and recorded many videos. They have also started using WeChat. I remember that Thanksgiving dinner was very different. In the past, the kids in the family would be on their phone most of the time but during this dinner, it was my parents who were on their phone. They would keep on taking pictures, message others through different apps and looked for new online.

Seeing how even though my parents had cellphones that were capable of doing more than just making a phone call, they chose to not use the other features to seeing them wanting to learn about every single feature in cellphones now is interesting. I don’t know what made them want to learn but seeing how they are adapting to the way technology and life is now made me think if in some ways, technology is an extension of us. In this case, seeing how my parents now rely and make their lives easier with cellphones. Are cellphones an extension of us?

Essay outline of Cellphones

  • Central Thesis: Are cellphones an extension of humans?
  • Introduction: Begin the essay with a fun fact or an interesting opening. Then briefly mention the purpose of the essay. Explain my personal experience on the topic. Introduce the central thesis of the essay.
  • Background on personal experience on cellphones and how it has change for me. Explain the story behind how my parents have used the old and simple phones to the new and complex phones.
  • History of cellphones: Talk about the history of cellphones. Previous blog post will be helpful for this paragraph. Mention the key people behind the make of the very first cellphones. Mention different examples of cellphones in history and pop culture.
  • Physical appearance of cellphones: Describe the physical appearance of cellphones using the five senses. Be able to describe it will enough that people can picture it. Give examples of the different shapes and appearances mentioned.
  • Purpose of cellphones: Has the purpose of cellphones change over time? Describe the changes in here. Not only describe the changes on the purpose of cellphones but also give a reasoning on why has it change. Bring in different sources here to support the changes. Also talk about some examples of the changes in the purpose of cellphones.
  1. Break this topic into parts
  2. Historical purpose of cellphones: Talking.
  3. Present purpose of cellphones: More than talking. It offers a way for humans to interact and communicate with others through not only phone calls but other apps too.
  4. Talk about the features/apps. Choose a couple to mainly talk about that has change the purpose of cellphones
  5. Future purpose of cellphone” Make predictions and possibly have those predictions supported by sources.
  • Advantages of cellphones. Mention the good things about cellphones. How has cellphones helped humans? Mention and describe different times phones have been helpful and necessary. Talk about emergencies and news.
  • Disadvantages of cellphones. Talk about the bad things about cellphones. Do people use cellphones in ways they shouldn’t. Do cellphones harm people? Are cellphones dangerous? Explain the disadvantages of cellphones and how it had affected us.
  • Comparison of evolution of human and cellphones. Are there similarities between the changes in humans and the changes in cellphones? Talk about the historical facts that are similar for both.
  • Cellphone as an extension of…… our ear? Eye? Nose? Hand? Mouth? Explore the cellphone using the five senses and make the connection of how our cellphone is an extension of our senses. When explaining how cellphones are an extension, be able to find different features and apps that allow that to happen.
  • Cellphones and our needs. Talk about how cellphones are able to meet our needs and wants. Mention how applications and features inside of cellphones are able to make our lives easier.
  • Future of cellphones. Predictions on how phones will keep on changing. Look for sources that can support the predictions
  • Conclusion: With the historical facts, the comparisons, and examples make a conclusion on whether cellphones are an extension of us, humans. Rephrase parts of the introduction by answering the questions brought up in the introduction.

Ring ring…. anyone there?


What comes to your mind when you think of cellphones? Do you think about the usefulness of it? The appearance? Cellphones have a long history that goes back to the 1940s. The main purpose of the earlier cellphones were a more convenient way of communication. Some were fortunate enough to have phones at home but there was a need to be able to communicate to others when they weren’t home.

1949 was the very beginning of cellphones. It started with Mobile Telephone Service which were not at all like the cellphones we have now a days. It was set up by an operator and it was like a big box. By 1965, the Mobile Telephone Service was improvised by having the customer dial, instead of an operator. This still needed much more improvement because it wasn’t very “mobile”. Most cellphones were more like car phones because of the size. The phones were in the cars.

On 1983, Motorola introduced the DynaTAC 8000x. This created the first handheld mobile phone. That model is very similar to the phones we might have seen our parents have or seen on movies and television. Many shows such as Saved by the Bell and Wall Street show those legendary cellphones that looked like a brick. Being expensive, most couldn’t afford to buy it for personal use. People that used it and had it were in the business and sales world. Dr. Cooper had finally made the first handheld mobile phone. His purpose behind it was to make a mobile phone for people to communicate.

Cellphones after the DynaTAC 8000x became smaller, cooler, and better. For me, the first phone I used was a Nokia 3210. Yes, those phones that kids see as a brick now a days. As cellphones improved, the purpose of cellphones started to change. The very first cellphones had one purpose, talking. As more technological advances were created and discovered, more features were able to be incorporated into cellphones. Features such as voicemail, contacts, and games were added. Talking was still the main purpose.

Then cellphones had a big enough memory that people could add music and take pictures with it. With new features like this, the purpose of a cellphone started to shift. Although talking was and is still the main purpose. Cellphones nowadays are used for more than just talking. People can listen to music, take pictures, browse the web, text, and play games. The purpose of talking shift to communicate. With different apps and features we can still stay in contact and communicate with other without “talking”. We can communicate with other by texting them or using social media.

Many of this generation rarely make a phone call on their cellphone. They can spend hours on the phone to communicate with others through social media and browse the web but on very rare occasions, they will call someone. I only call people when it is urgent or emergency. I rarely call a person to catch up with them. I would much rather send them a text in that situation. Even when I talk to my parents, I don’t call any more like I used to a couple years ago. I use different apps and social media to contact them. I skype them more that I call them.

As cellphones keep improving to adjust our lives. We will see different features added to complement our lives. So for now, my opinion on the purpose of cellphones are for people to communicate and make peoples’ lives easier and more convenient.


1. http://new.artinstitutes.edu/Blog/the-history-and-evolution-of-cell-phones

2. Image: http://yourfirstsmartphone.com/evolution-of-cell-phones-technology/

Social Media as a Medium

Social media can be understood as a medium. A medium is a system that engages our senses. From the information gathered from it, our emotions and feelings can be developed. According to Merriam Webster, social media is a form of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (Merriam Webster). Because social media is able to transmit information by sharing ideas, emotions, and sentiments through content and message in online communities it is understood as a medium.

The beginning of social media started with BBS (Bulletin Board System). A BBS is an online board where users can share files and games. Before wireless connection, users had to use telephone lines to connect to a BBS. BBS and CompuServe (the first commercial online service) aren’t exactly what we think of when we think of social media. AOL (America Online) is similar to current social media. AOL, similar to current social media, had users create a “Member Profile” in which it would list details about the users. Social media started to grow with sites such as Classmate.com and SixDegrees.com. Sites like that allowed users to connect with other users such as classmates and the start of making groups and creating online profiles (Digital Trends).

By 2002, social media sites such as Friendster (similar to SixDegrees) created communities by having a concept of “Circle of Friends” that let users with common bonds to connect. Because the success of Friendster only lasted for a little especially in countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, Friendster decided to abandon social networking and become only an online gaming site.

In 2003, LinkedIn and Myspace were launched. Although both social media were very different, both became very successful. LinkedIn was a more professional social networking site that enable professionals to connect and network with other professionals. LinkedIn is also known as a professional social media. It is one of the largest and most well-known professional social network that started in the USA. It is used to connect and expand professional networks by showing skills, career information, and academic background. LinkedIn can help users explore opportunities, network, and look for careers.

On the other hand, Myspace started as a popular social media in which users could customize their page, add pictures, profile, friends, music, and etc. Myspace was popular among celebrities and musicians as they shared their music and projects on it. Myspace was created by people in the entertainment industry and not by technology gurus. Because of that, it couldn’t make advances and changes as fast as Facebook. That caused the failure of Myspace and allowed for the popularity of Facebook to increase. Facebook started as a college site by Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook was only for Harvard students but slowly expanded into other colleges and finally becoming open to the public. Facebook was similar to Myspace. Users could post pictures, videos, notes, and etc. The main difference was that when Facebook came into the social media world, it didn’t have many competitors. It only had Myspace and also it was exclusive to college students.

With Facebook already becoming so popular, other social media such as YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest started to become part of people’s daily life. Every different social medium offered something different to the users. Video bloggers, musicians, and actors would use YouTube to show trailers of movies, songs, tutorials, and etc. Photographers and artists would show their work through Instagram. Businesses try to use most social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and etc. They would keep their social media updated by posting something about a new product or promotion. Celebrities would incorporate all social media to become more well-known in the industry. They would tweet new projects, their opinion, post trailers of their movies on YouTube, post pictures on Instagram.

YouTube is a video sharing website that was created in 2005 by three PayPal employees. YouTube allows users to upload, view, and share videos. The content on YouTube includes video clips, TV clips, movie trailers, video blogging, music videos, and etc. The idea behind YouTube came from Janet Jackson’s incident in the 2004 Super Bowl and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The three PayPal employees wanted to create a social media in which people could share videos of topics being talked about. YouTube success wouldn’t have happened if it was limited to the United States. Being a social medium, YouTube could reach other countries. Currently YouTube is located in 53 countries with 61 languages. About 70% of the traffic comes from outside of the United States.

YouTube was able to change the way many different things work. It has changed education and knowledge by having videos of tutorials of “how-to” and with Khan’s Academy’s channel. Tutorials and educational channels have allow users to learn something new or get help on homework and projects. It has sparked innovation and creativity in users by creating new products and new projects and sharing them on YouTube. It created awareness on social issues such as Ice Bucket Challenge and Kony 2012. The Ice Bucket Challenge was a challenge in which people would raise awareness for ALS. Kony 2012 was a movement to capture Joseph Kony.

There aren’t solid ideas of the future of YouTube. Some social media are able to succeed but some aren’t. Although YouTube is very successful right now, that can change with the creation of a better and newer social medium that can replace YouTube. As of now, with the help of other technology and website such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Smart TVs, YouTube can replace the way we watch television. Although televisions might not vanish in the near future, the way we watch TV has changed a lot. Many have Smart TVs that have YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus connected to it. This has decreased the number of households that will get cable to watch television.

Social media is a medium that is used to connect, interact, and meet other users. Social media has changed the way we communicate and interact with others. Not only are we able to reach a greater community through social media but with social media we can personalize and custom the way we want to be seen. Many celebrities, like Justin Bieber, became famous because of social media like YouTube by showcasing his talent. Like Smith and Watson says, we are able to brand ourselves on social media. We can put ourselves out there like a product. Making ourselves look the best way possible. Users can alter their identity and no one would know. Overall, social media is able to help and make human life more convenient but at the same time, has caused privacy issues and other problems. Social media can be used for our advantages such as promoting a business, getting help from friends, communicating with others. (Smith & Watson, “Studying the Digital Self”)

On the other hand, it can cause problems such as privacy, identity theft, and cyberbullying. How much of ourselves are we willing to put out to the public? Social media makes money by collecting your information and selling it to marketing sites. They customize your ads, to items you have searched or liked in the past. They are able to track what we are doing without being obvious. A new problem caused by social media is cyberbullying. According to Merriam Webster, cyberbullying is the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person often done anonymously. Because of social media, cyberbullying has become a problem because we think that we can criticize and say mean comments online because no one will know who posted it. One can create a fake profile just to cyberbully others. Cyberbullying has become a big problem that has causes some users to commit suicide.

Although we use social media to connect with others, in the end is it really for that reason? Do we use social media to our advantage and use it as a way to make communication easier or is it pulling us apart? Turkle mentioned how even though it seems like we use social media to keep each other updated and communicate with each other through social media, we are actually alone. We are alone together. Turkle explains the impacts of social media using different examples of how people use it and change because of it. She says that technology and social media is able to meet our human vulnerabilities because we are alone but at the same time we are fearful of intimacy. Technology such as social media is able to offer the illusion of a friendship and companionship without demands (Turkle, 1). When we are online, we can ignore others because we can pretend we weren’t online or we didn’t see the message. When we are communicating face to face we aren’t able to hide and ignore others. Talking requires an immediate response while texting and using social media does not require an immediate response.

Another great point that Turkle mentions is the anxiety from social media. As mentioned earlier, people can lie when they set up their profile on social media. No one is checking so one can easily lie. This causes deception in social media. Social media is there for us to represent ourselves in a simple way but knowing that there is an audience, we tend to feel pressured to conform the simplifications. An example Turkle uses is Brad. He makes sure that through Facebook he is seems as “Mr. Cool”. He would omit different likes such as Harry Potter because it isn’t cool (Turkle, 185). Trying to perfect a social media profile and knowing that colleges and work places search for your social media profile had cause a lot of anxiety in humans. We believe that social media is supposed to be there to make ourselves look better but, we know that there is an audience, we spend a lot of time trying to perfect it and because of it, people are stressed.

The online world and social networks makes it seem like we are supposed to share everything on our mind. It doesn’t matter whether those thoughts are ignorant, ill considered, informative, or funny. We should all share our thoughts to broadcast it to the widest possible audience. (Turkle, 276) Sometimes the thought we have can become helpful to spread awareness on certain topics such as the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge. People would share videos of having ice buckets dump on them to spread awareness to educate and support ALS Association. Because of how popular the challenge was, more than $115 million have been donated to support people with ALS (“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”). Another popular event was Kony 2012. Kony 2012 is a short film produced by Invisible Children, Inc to promote and spread education on who Kony was and how he recruited child soldiers. The video was uploaded to YouTube and got a lot of attention. Users would share the video on other social media, tweet about it, and it even got celebrities such as Rihanna and Bill Gates talking about it. The video became viral really fast that within days of the video being posted, it got national and global media attention (Sanders).

Social media has not only created a digital self but it is also an archive of feeling. Even though social media is digital, our feelings and emotions are invested into social media. As Cvetkovich says that peoples’ personal lives were deeply entangled with their intellectual lives. (Cvetkovich, 2) Social media has become an archive of feeling for many because people have feelings and emotions towards them. Technology and social media has become a big part of our lives that a study from IDC Research found out that about 80% of smartphone users will check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up. People wake up to check what was posted on social media, check their emails, and etc. (Pinkham).

This shows that social media has its advantages and disadvantages and the way we use it to create our digital self can be positive or negative. Some will use it to create a digital timeline, advertise, and communicate while others will use it to hurt others and lie to others by pretending to be someone else. Social media can be good to spread awareness but some people abuse that power and are able to post other things.

The future of social media is unknown but with a lot of speculations. YouTube and other video based social media can replace televisions. Other social medias such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube is already a new form of medium in which news are spread. As print media starts to decrease, digital media will increase. New social media will be created to adjust humans’ lives.

Whether one sees social media as a good thing or bad thing. It is here to stay. Some social media might become less popular over time but because we are moving towards a more advanced and more technological world, other social media and technology will be created with the goal of making human life easier. All social media and technology will have its advantages and disadvantages. Some will use to make their lives easier while others might abuse that power and use it to harm others. At the end of the day, will all the technological advances and new social media, it is a medium whether that is used in a good or bad way. Social media was created to become a medium in which engages the senses and information, emotions, and sentiments will be developed and transferred.  It requires our senses to work. We use our sight, touch, and hearing to interact with social media.


Cvetkovich, Ann. An Archive of Feelings. Duke University Press. 2003. Web

“cyberbullying.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 3 March 2015. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cyberbullying&gt;

Digital Trends Staff, “The History of Social Networking” Digital Trends. Digital Trends 5 August 2014. Web. 3 March 3, 2015. <http://www.digitaltrends.com/features/the-history-of-social-networking/&gt;

Pinkharm, Ryan. “80% of Smartphones Users Check Their Phones Before Brushing Their Teeth… And Other Hot Topics” Constant Contact. Constant Contact. 5 April 2013. Web. 3 March 2015. <http://blogs.constantcontact.com/smartphone-usage-statistics/&gt;

Sanders, Sam. “The “Kony 2012” Effect: Recovering From a Viral Sensation”. NPR.org. NPR. 14 July 2014. Web. 3 March 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2014/06/14/321853244/the-kony-2012-effect-recovering-from-a-viral-sensation&gt;

Smith, Sidonie and Watson, Julia. “Studying the Digital Self.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p. 21 April 2014. Web. 3 March 2015. <http://chronicle.com/article/Studying-the-Digital-Self/145971/&gt;

“social media.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 3 March 2015. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20media&gt;

“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.” ALS Association. ALS Association. N.d. Web. 3 March 2015. <http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html&gt;

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together. New York. BASIC BOOKS. 2011. Web

What is your digital self?

My group project is social media. So talking about how we are represented online fits the blog post very well. How are you portrayed online? Do you filter some stuff? Are you friends with everyone? Did you change your privacy settings? Those are one of the many ways we can alter the way we are seen online. Watson’s “Studying the Digital Self” is categorized into five different groups. It is broken down into interpreting digital archives, evaluating claims of authenticity, understanding the use of branding, parsing identity online, and assessing quantification.

I decided to ask some of my close friends Joe and Marc about what they thought about their digital self. The very first question I asked them was the definition of digital self. For Joe, it meant what the online world knows about him. The things that people can find about him online. Although he is very family oriented, he doesn’t post many of his personal stuff online. He keeps it professional and only post and share information to promote his organization in school. He use it as an advertisement tool. He changes his cover and profile pictures to events and information his organization plans. For Marc, it is the opposite. He posts a lot of pictures whenever he travels. He likes to keep his Facebook updated with many pictures and statuses of his personal life. The reason why he likes to keep it update it is because Facebook is a way for his family to be updated on his life. Being an out of state student, he doesn’t always have the time to call home so his family can see.

According to Watson, the way they interpret their digital archives is very different. Their habits and desires online are very different. In terms of authenticity, Joe’s digital self is more professional compared to Marc. They both have LinkedIn accounts but Joe is able to present his talents and skill much better. He keeps his personal life away from the online world. Also, Joe knows how to brand himself. He even has his own logo that he labels in his products such as flyers. Talking to Joe and Marc about their digital self was very interesting because of how different their perspective are when it comes to social media.

I think that another great point is from the book Alone Together by Sherry Turkle. She interviewed different people about how teenagers see social media as. One good point was how they would use it to stalk people. When they add their family members, they can’t help it but to stalk and look at their pictures. And how some teenagers think that their family might be too old to even have a Facebook and MySpace. Joe doesn’t like having people look into his private life so he keeps a lot of things away. He knows that people will look into his past from social media. Marc is completely different. He knows that people will look at his pictures so he shares more. He knows that his family wants to look at pictures and know more about his life so he posts more.

Another great point by Sherry Turkle is that we never know who is on the other side of the screen. People can lie about their information and post pictures that are not even them. Our digital self can be used to show our best but some people might lie to make themselves look even better.

In conclusion, we show many different side to friends, family, and strangers. The way we are portrayed online is also very different. We get to choose what we want people to see. We are able to block and hide things we didn’t like. We don’t have to put out everything about us online. We can put our best traits online. Like Joe and Marc, we all use social media to our advantages. We use it to communicate with people we know, network with others, and use it as an advertisement tool. Our digital self is like another part of our personality were we try to make ourselves look the best.


Turkle, Sherry. (2011). Alone Together. New York, NY: Basic Books

Conversations with friends over how they use social media.

Watson, Julia (2014) “Studying the Digital Self”

Netflix is the Massage

As mentioned before, Netflix was able to change the television industry. But how was it able to change it in just about 25 years? From having good marketing strategies to the timing. When Netflix was founded it knew that people enjoyed buying and renting movies. To make it even more convenient, Netflix started a DVD delivery system. As Marshall McLuhan mentions that we focus on the obvious. We know that there are changes, the advantages and disadvantages of a new system but rarely do we know that the new system or invention had changed our lives. Sometimes it is a long change, other times it is a subtle change that we don’t even realize it (Mark Federman)  “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication” (page 8) bring up a good point on how Netflix works. The content of Netflix is great but the reason why it could become so big wasn’t because of its content but the nature of the media. It is convenient. We don’t have to store physical DVDs or go to a store to get a movie. We can see anything easily anywhere.

Netflix being electric technology could change the way society is now because “electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without knowledge of the workings of media” Which is true, Netflix was introduced in 1997. There were a lot of technological improvements but we still didn’t understand it well enough. We didn’t that it was slowly changing the DVD industry because we couldn’t understand it well enough.

McLuhan also mentions that a medium is the message; it is an extension of us. It is proven to be true with the analysis of different mediums. In this case, Netflix is an extension of us. We might deny that it isn’t an extension of ourselves but we are the reason why that medium is so big. Even the content of the medium is tailored to our preferences and our likes. By watching certain movies and television shows, Netflix can give you a suggestion of other movies and television shows that you might like to watch. That isn’t the only thing that it is a part of us. It tries to be like us by having a “brain”. It categorizes the contents into different parts very much like our brain. Netflix is also able to tell you the likes of others by getting information from other social media like Facebook.

McLuhan argues that the message is the medium. The content or the use of the innovation is not the message. The message is the “change in inter-personal dynamics that the innovation brings with it” (Mark Federman) In the case of Netflix, it isn’t the content of Netflix or how it was founded but possibly the changes of lifestyle of us as humans and the changes in users in the internet because of Netflix. It is the change of point of view in people because of Netflix. Because of Netflix, people have found ways to learn about less known shows and movies and some have a positive attitude toward the movie industry when knowing it isn’t all “Hollywood”. The point is that the obvious changes aren’t the actual message. The message is hidden, it is not obvious.

For McLuhan, the changes, the innovation was television. It is interesting to see how that had change over time. Television is still around but the way it is watched has changed a lot. But I also believe that McLuhan knew that there would be changes. Just like he said “the medium, our process, of our time- electric technology – is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life. It is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted” Many innovations have change the way our society works from our personal life to our social life. The changes have its advantages and disadvantages but many things that we took for granted in the past and in the present might not be there anymore in the future because of the many changes.

In conclusion, like many different mediums, Netflix was able to change the way our society is. It reshaped and restructured how our personal and social life is. It changed the way different industries that we took for granted, disappear or restructure.


  1. Mark Federman, “What is the Meaning of The Medium is the Message?”. Utoronto.ca. July 23, 2004. http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/article_mediumisthemessage.htm
  2. McLuhan, Marshall. “The Medium is the Massage”
  3. Image: http://s3.amazonaws.com/digitaltrends-uploads-prod/2013/12/netflix-movies-expiring-jan-2014.jpg

Artifact Politics – Netflix


What is a VHS? a DVD? It is surprising how some might not know what they are. Newer laptops don’t even come with a cd drive. When Netflix was introduced, DVDs sales have decreased greatly. What it Netflix? Netflix is a streaming media that has variety of movies and TV shows with a monthly fee of $7.99. Netflix had change the way people watch movies and television shows.

Netflix has revolutionized the TV and DVD industry. When Netflix launched in 1997, it killed the DVD and video stores. Subscribers could watch an unlimited number per month. Video stores such as Blockbuster reported bankruptcy. Netflix’s DVD service wasn’t the end of it. By having entire seasons of TV shows would allow subscribers to binge watch the TV shows. Netflix had its competitors such as Hulu but Hulu had advertisement in their videos. Another advantage that Netflix had was its expansion outside of the United States. Netflix is available in other countries such as Canada, UK, and Mexico.

To get even more subscribers, Netflix started ordering its own shows. Shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” have received many Primetime Emmy Award nominations. So what was the difference between the shows ordered by Netflix and shows shown on TV? The opportunity to watch the entire season is one of the many reasons. Television shows would have one episode each week, with commercial breaks and hiatus during breaks such as winter and summer. Netflix’s shows would release the entire season so subscribers could binge watch the entire season or watch a couple episodes a day without waiting until the next week.

I believe Netflix follows both a democratic and authoritarian political arraignment. It is democratic because subscribers get to choose whether they want the service or not. . If you don’t like it anymore, you can cancel your subscription. Also, Netflix is not the only streaming site that people have to subscribe. People can choose between different streaming sites or watching TV shows and movies the old fashioned way, television or buying the DVD. It is also authoritarian because if you do subscribe you would have to pay for a whole month. One would be stuck with Netflix for at least a month. It is also authoritarian in the video industry. It was able to cause many video stores to go bankrupt. I think that Netflix disrupted different industries but at the same time reinforce other industries. Video stores and DVD industries have died because of it but many new industries in the technological world have benefitted from Netflix. Netflix also reinforces communities and families by having a streaming site that can be shared with other family members. It created a new industry and the creative writing of movies and shows without needing to be in Hollywood. It made an online community. At the same time, it has disrupted international governances because Netflix is not available in every single country so some would buy a VNP or use programs to change the country they are in.

So what is the future for television? Netflix has an answer. According to an article from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky, Netflix believes that in 2025 televisions will have 48 million tv channels, more smaller shows that makes up Internet TV, commercials will die out, everyone will have a Smart TV, and live sports will probably be on Netflix. That is saying how much bigger Netflix is planning on growing. Netflix is known for not having commercials and as the personalization technology improves, it will be able to know what movies and TV shows, subscribers want to watch which will create 48 million TV channels. Netflix being a streaming site, it requires internet. With more and more Smart TVs in the market, people will switch to them in order to watch Netflix everywhere, from your laptop, tablet, and now TV.

In conclusion and just like how the article from Business Insiders say: Netflix started as a simple mail-in DVD service to now a powerful streaming site and with original shows. Netflix was able to expand quickly from 1997 to now. It was able to change the video industry. It created a new way to watch television. And even with competitors such as Amazon and Hulu, Netflix was able to stay on top.


  1. Issie Lapowsky, “What television Will Look Like in 2025, According to Netflix”. Wired. May 19, 2014. http://www.wired.com/2014/05/neil-hunt/
  2. Veronique Dupont, AFP, “Netflix Has Revolutionized The TV Industry Several Times In Just 17 Years”. Business Insider. September 12, 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-netflix-the-revolution-that-changed-the-us-tv-landscape-2014-9
  3. Image: Netflix Logo. http://www.ranklogos.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/netflix_logo.jpeg