The Evolution of Video Gaming

Video Games and consoles have expanded greatly in the last few decades. They have brought e  ndless hours of entertainment to millions of people all over the world, myself included. The evolution of video gaming has changed our world in a variety of ways. No longer do people view video gaming the same way. To many people, video gaming is much more than just something done to have fun and waste some time. It is a gateway for advanced communication and technology.

I have played video games since as long as I can remember. It started when I was very young. My neighbor had the Nintendo-64 and I would go to his house almost every day and play games for hours. It was the first gaming system that I was fortunate enough to play, and it truly inspired my future connections with video gaming. It wasn’t until my parents said I was playing video games too much that my playtime decreased. However, a few years later my parents bought me the Nintendo GameCube, and this was the first time I experienced some of the changes of an upgraded video game system. The first apparent change was that I had a larger selection of games to play. It seemed like what used to be only Mario games expanded to a much larger variety. Some of my favorite games were Super Mario Sunshine, Pikmin and NFL Blitz; all were much different but equally fun. Many years later, I was lucky enough to get the Microsoft Xbox 360 for Christmas. I remember the first time I played on it. It seemed completely foreign to me, as the capabilities of the Xbox 360 were something I had never seen before. First off, the graphics were much better. Everything seemed much more life-like and this was one of the main attractions compared to older systems. One of my favorite games was Guitar Hero, which was a game where you had a fake guitar with 5 buttons on it and you could strum along to real songs. This later made me believe I was good at playing the guitar, so I purchased a real guitar awhile later and tried to play, but the hobby didn’t stick. Another great feature of the Xbox 360 was the online capability. You could connect with players all around the world to challenge and communicate with them. It was very fun because it gave you the opportunity to test your skills against the best players in the world.

Now that I have talked a bit on my experience with video games, and the evolutions that I have seen first hand, I will focus on the evolutions throughout the entire life of the video gaming industry- one of the biggest changes is the variety of games. When consoles were just being made they would simply be a single game, or only have the capability to play a few different games. In today’s world, however, there are hundreds of games on a variety of different gaming systems that we can choose from. If you do not like action games, you can play sports games. If you do not like sports games, you can play adventure games, and so on. The opportunities now seem to be endless. Another huge part of the industry’s evolution has been the changes in graphics, as discussed earlier. Video games now almost give you a feeling of real life, as if you are really there in the action. This has really expanded the user base because people feel like they’re actually a part of the game. Another way consoles have expanded is in their capabilities. Consoles can now do much more than play games. They can connect to the Internet and play movies. You can use them to watch Netflix, or even connect to your favorite social media websites. It really is mind-blowing to think about all the capabilities that some of the modern consoles have, and I can’t wait to see how they continue to expand in the future.

As people experience the changes in video gaming technology, they are changing with them. As stated earlier, one evolution of the video gaming industry is online play. This allows people from all over the world to connect and challenge each other at their favorite games. It brings in new competitive and social aspects to video gaming. You can challenge the best players in a certain game, and instantly talk to people from anywhere in the world with a headset. This is a very enjoyable aspect of video gaming in the modern age, and one of the reasons for the large increase in the number of video gamers.

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle takes an interesting viewpoint that allows us to look at the evolution of video gaming in a different way. The book explores the idea that as technology expands, there are more ways to be connected, networked and to be together. However, while video games may connect us in many ways, they may actually make us more physically alone. As discussed earlier, the new generation of gaming consoles allows for greater connection and communication through online play. We hop on our favorite video games and we’re able to talk to people all around the globe and even become friends with them. But we are not with them, and we will most likely never see them. This is a problem that affects people, mostly children and teenagers, from all around the world. People lack the desire for true friendship because they think the people they talk to online are their friends. Even though this can be true and some people do make good friends online, this is a very unhealthy concept that has adverse affects on people. It will often cause people to be unsociable in real life. It is very interesting to think about the ways that video games connect us in many ways, but make us more disconnected in other ways.

Another interesting change in video gaming is the shift to more female gamers.

Video games are often seen as being mainly used by males, whom are usually stereotyped as teenagers. This is far from the truth. It really boils down to the type of game being played; for example, you are more likely to see a male playing a first-person shooter than you are to see a female. This is because video games are marketed to their respective audiences, and there has been a recent rise in marketing to females. One game series that is marketed towards females is Sims, which is a game where people can create a home and family, and really make their own fictional world. While many games like this target a female audience, gaming on home consoles isn’t the preferred method by females. The majority of female gamers are actually playing games on their mobile devices. The marketing of games on phones is much less gender-based, which is a reason for the large number of females playing them. Another method of gaming that has appealed to females is the Nintendo Wii. The Wii can be seen as a fitness device and has a large appeal to females because it is more active. With these new marketing techniques and gaming methods, the population of female gamers has been rapidly increasing.

Besides the enjoyment that video games bring, why do we really care about how video games evolve? Well, there are many positive and negative affects that video gaming has on people, and many of these affects are due to the advances within the industry. Lets first look at some of the negatives. One of the biggest arguments against the playing of video games is the possibility of negatively affecting one’s health. This is usually only seen in people who play excessively, to the point where it keeps them from doing other activities. For example, a teenager that’s playing video games for 8 hours every day may not get the exercise that they should, or may even divert their attention from school and start to get bad grades. These are some of the reasons why people may stereotype video gamers as obese teenagers who are wasting their lives sitting on the couch all day. However, this is obviously an extreme case, and far from true for all people that play video games. Another negative is the possibility for video games to cause aggression, which is often seen when people are playing violent games. Some of the most popular games are violent, and children who play these games often display aggressive behaviors. There have been cases where kids have actually killed others because of there experiences with these games. This is why it’s very important for video game usage in children to be monitored, either by limiting the type of games played, or by limiting the time playing violent games.

While most people are able to point out some of these negative impacts, they often fail to see some of the positives of video games. One of these includes the fact that video games may improve computer literacy and coordination, which is mostly seen in children. (1) This may allow them to be able to perform computer tasks more efficiently or even enhance performance in sports. There are also video games specifically designed for educational purposes and these are great learning techniques for children.

There are many ways that video gaming has evolved since the first years that the industry was introduced. This was made possible by the great advances in technology and intellect. The evolution of video gaming has allowed for millions of people to be thoroughly entertained and there are many good and bad impacts stemming from these changes. It’s important to realize potential risks and benefits of playing video games, and to monitor the usage amongst children. Video games affect people in more ways than most people think. They evoke emotions and they change personalities, and these changes are only getting more common as technology in video games advance. I can’t wait to see what the future of this technology has in store for us, as well as how these technological advances will continue to shape human behavior.

Work Cited

1.) “The Impact of Video Games.” The Impact of Video Games. N.p., n.d.

Web. 27 Apr. 2015. <http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/general/media-web/videogames.html&gt;.

2.) “Female Gamers On The Rise.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 15

Apr. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/06/video-games-girls-markets-equities-technology.html&gt;.

3.) “The Art of Video Games.” Smithsonian. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

<http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-art-of-video-

4.) Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less

from Each Other. Basic, 2011. Print.

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Social Media Privacy

Ariel Flasterstein

Comparative Studies 2367.02

Prof. Seth Josephson

March 11, 2015

The Internet completely changed human interaction and the way the society communicates as a whole. I like to think that everything that gets out on the Internet becomes a tiny archive folder in a sea of folders, all neatly organized for us to access in the simplest of ways. When we search or “google” any word we instantly get hundreds of thousands of matching results. Not only are you getting an immense amount of information from the website but also that same search engine will remember what you just searched for and gather information about you. On most cases with good intentions this information is sold as data for marketing strategies and targeted advertisements.

Sherry Turkle wrote on her book Alone Together about how we expect more and more from machines and technology, and less from other human beings. She believes “…we are changed as technology offers us substitutes for connecting with each other face-to-face. We are offered robots and a whole world of machine-mediated relationships on networked devices. As we instant-message, e-mail, text, and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude.” We might confuse the Internet and social networks as an intimate private space where we can connect with other people; instead we are opening up and “making public” our information. This sense of privacy given by the anonymity of the Internet is nothing more than an illusion as everything, or at least most interactions, we have with the web are recorded and could be accessed by the companies owners, random individuals and even the government.

As written by Langdon Winner in his first line of Do artifacts have politics?: “No idea is more provocative in controversies about technology and society than the notion that technical things have political qualities.” We cannot excuse the Internet and social media from their political realities. There is a lot of power behind controlling or monitoring the Internet therefore there are big interests involved around it. The Internet was created for very political motives, the need of a communications network for the use of the U.S. Department of Defense, but now with the participation of large corporations and the general public in this same network not only countries have political interest but companies and individuals as well. Social networks became a platform for political candidates to address the public and spread their ideological agendas. Winner explained, to be fair with technology, that “Hence, the stern advice commonly given those who flirt with the notion that technical artifacts have political qualities: What matters is not technology itself, but the social or economic system in which it is embedded”. Therefore we cannot blame either the Internet or social networks for its political inherence but on the specific companies and individuals that want the power behind controlling the millions of data stored on the web.

Today most information is kept online, making it harder and harder to safeguard, so the future of social media is linked to the amount of security and privacy these social media companies provide. How much “stalking” or research on one’s social media is considered invasion of privacy? These relatively new ethical questions have been growing quickly as the public has become more aware of their privacy loss. The way companies deal with the legal liabilities, involved with saving and utilizing your information, is through privacy statements.

A communications professor, Joseph Turow, offers some great insight about privacy statements. His research focuses on digital culture and he points out that the general understanding of a privacy policy is that it protects our privacy, which is erroneous. He defines privacy policies simply as the legal documents that explain how customer data will be managed and used by that company. Not only does his research showed that more than half of the “digitally active” Americans do not know what a privacy policy is, but even the ones that try to read them and understand them find themselves delved in a long, tedious and confusing document. Turow said: “These misperceptions are enhanced by privacy policies that are often difficult to interpret, even to the small number of consumers who do try to read them (…) researchers have found that people do not read privacy policies — they’re unreadable. They are filled with jargon that is meant to be understandable only to the people writing them, or to people who work in the advertising industry today.” We assume that any legal document, in this case privacy statements, will protect our interests and privacy but that is not the example on most of these documents but as we normally do not read them we will never know.

There is a similar issue happening between governments and their populations. Under the idea and promise to ensure the safety of its people the governments have both explicit and implicit permission to “stalk” over social media and other social communications platforms such as phones. This particular issue was brought to the public eye most recently by the famous WikiLeaks, disclosing over a million of documents from different governments and their intelligence agencies. In this incident people became aware of the global mass surveillance existing in this world, and although it can be legal it is pretty disturbing.

On a different setting, it has become harder and harder to separate your professional life from your social life. Social networks are a double-edged sword, having your profile out on the Internet can help companies find you as a potential employee and connect you with other professionals to build a business network. On the other edge of the sword universities can quickly judge you through your social persona and an employer’s perception of you might be affected by your online behavior. Even though your social media account might not be completely accurate or a true reflection of yourself, judging a book by its cover is still a strong tendency. This loss of privacy can cause predetermined judgments on other people; at the same time it dehumanizes the hiring processes, as you become your digital self. You become a compilation of pictures and posts that have no context or tone.

These kinds of breaches to our privacy will eventually lead users of the Internet to be afraid of sharing information about them our about any other subject. This would case problems for a lot of companies that their main product is public information and data. Right now there is a lawsuit going on between the NSA and a group of plaintiffs that include the Wikimedia Foundation, who is the company in charge of the Encyclopedia Wikipedia. The journalist David Ingram wrote about the lawsuit and said these breaches “reduces the likelihood that clients, journalists, foreign government officials, victims of human rights abuses and other individuals will share sensitive information with them”. The lack on transparency and anonymity that is embedded on the Internet culture make it very tricky and complicated to regulate theses issues as the amount of information available to everyone is massive and tracking everyone’s interaction with the web is absurdly impossible. This field is largely unregulated and it will only continue to stumble upon more legal, ethical and moral issues, so policymakers should be aware and address these before some irreversible damage has been done to society and the Internet.

Being extremely optimistic and naïve the best solution to these problems come within the companies that gather your information. The more companies know about you the more they should value and take care of that information, in the end it’s the public who has the power to generate the information for these companies or in other words, the “ultimate” client.

In some cases I would not mind to know that the companies are using my information to improve their service or even to offer me merchandise, as long as they were honest on their privacy policies and I know specifically how my information is used. It is the not knowing and that paranoid feeling that someone or something is out to get you that generate the most of the insecurities about the Internet. Companies should try to balance or outweigh their use of our information with the service they provide or by giving us something “valuable” in exchange instead of hiding what they are doing. This “perfect” balance could satisfy both of the parts involved, where individuals would still want to use these social networks and input their information and companies would still be able to make profits out of the data they recollect.

Drawing this ethical line is very complicated and although I do not have an immediate answer I do believe there is a process in which all the involved parties should work on in order to convert this still blurry boundaries into clear rules for the game of social networks. A process where individuals demand their privacy rights, companies make strategies to have both their and our interests as the objective and governments being honest and truthful as to what extent they invade our privacy to ensure our safety. Hopefully the next coming years will clear out the unknowns and shape digital social communications for the better.

References:

Ingram, David. “ACLU, Wikimedia File Lawsuit Challenging NSA Mass Surveillance.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 10 Mar. 2015. Web. 3 Mar. 2015. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/us-usa-nsa-wikipedia-idUSKBN0M60YA20150310&gt;.

Smith, Aaron. “Half of Online Americans Don’t Know What a Privacy Policy Is.” Pew Research Center RSS. 4 Dec. 2014. Web. 2 Mar. 2015. <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/04/half-of-americans-dont-know-what-a-privacy-policy-is/&gt;.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic, 2011. Print.

Winner, Langdon. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” The Whale and the Reactor a Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. Pbk. ed. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1989. Print.

Magazines

Andrea Mayer

Professor Josephson

COMPSTD 2367.04

4 March 2015

Magazines

                In 1741, the first two magazines in North America were published by Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Bradford. Franklin competed with Bradford to see who could publish their magazine first. Bradford’s American Magazine, or Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies beat Franklin’s The General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations in America by just three days (American Magazine). Magazines have come a long way since the 1700s and target specific audiences in today’s society. As a medium, magazines are tangible, book-like bound packets of information on any possible topic. Magazines target specific audiences such as pre-teens/teenagers, young men, young women, expecting parents, middle age parents, and grandparents. By targeting a specific audience, the publishers of magazines are able to relate to a certain genre and topic.

The first “teenage magazine” created in the United States was Seventeen in 1944 (History). Pre-teen and Teenage directed magazines such as J-14, Girl’s Life, and Seventeen use vibrant colors to gain the attention of their desired audience. They typical portray a well-known celebrity on the cover with a flashy headline. Magazines for this age group express themselves as a medium by containing posters that you can tear out and hang up, surveys for the reader to take, and quizzes such as “What actress are you most like?” By using such tactics in the set-up of the magazine, the publishers are able to acquire and keep the attention of the reader. However, teenagers do not stay teenagers forever and grow up into young men and women with magazines directed specifically for them.

Men’s Health and Sports Illustrated are two of the most popular magazines that target young men, ages 18-35. These magazines relay information about recent Sports topics and also give tips for men to use on how to lose weight or stay fit. Built like any other magazine, Men’s Health grabs the eye of the reader by having a shirtless man with chiseled abs on the front.  Sports Illustrated is known for either having a recently important athlete on the cover, or a woman in a bikini for sex appeal.  Sports Illustrated is credited with the first photographs through the use of an object in sports for a better angle (for example, in the net at a hockey game or through the glass backboard during an NBA championship) in 1965 (Sports Illustrated).  Contrary to these genres of magazines are magazines directed towards a young women audience.

Vogue and Cosmopolitan are two of the most famous magazines focused towards young women, roughly age 20-40. Vogue made its first appearance in American in 1892 and contained basic yet direct titles such as the 1916 September issue, “Forecast of Autumn Fashions”. Although modernized, Vogue is still directed towards the same audience as it was in the late 1800s and keeps women up to date on the latest fashion trends. Magazines as these typically portray a beautiful woman in appealing clothes on the cover to make the reader want to know how to have a body image like the model. Through the use of neutral colors with a pop of red or pink, magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan bring the reader in to what’s “hot” in the fashion world. Many times, these magazines will have multiple pages of perfume samples where the reader can lift a tab and smell a fragrance. This hands on experience is one of the many reasons women still love to get their magazines at the end-cap at the grocery store. For the women who are a little bit older and ready to start a family, a different category of magazine is specifically for them.

Fit Pregnancy and Babytalk are two of the most popular examples of magazines directed towards expecting parents (mothers in particular). By using big names such as Kourtney Kardashian on the cover, publishers are drawing in readers not only for the reason of parenting advice, but also to see what the celebrities are doing during their pregnancies. These magazines give expecting mothers an idea of what vitamins and supplements they should be taking, what vaccines are said to be controversial, what is fashionable to wear when pregnant, and what to expect when having their baby. They are also known for giving advice for the first year of parenting and have been referred to as the “Bible for new moms”. These magazines use pictures and description to let the reader know what is normal and when to seek help with a new baby in the house. Many new parents immediately think the worst when they hear their baby’s first cough, but with the help of magazines like Babytalk, they may learn at what point they should begin to worry. There are also references to designers when coming up with ideas for decorating the baby’s new room.

Magazines like People and Bon Appetit are directed toward the middle age parent. By providing entertainment for the reader, People keeps its audience up to date on all the drama in Hollywood.  People is also a fairly new magazine as it started in 1974 featuring photos of the beautiful Mia Farrow, a major star of the era. A magazine like Bon Appetit is designed to enlighten the reader on cooking habits by providing recipes, how-to’s, photo’s, and responses of those with first-hand experience. These magazines are perfect for a reader who has some extra time on their hands to try some new things. The Bon Appetit website even has a link to its own archive, showing each monthly magazine and its main topic (Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December, etc.).

Good Housekeeping and Grand are two examples of magazines designed for older individuals. These magazines relate to the life of a grandparent and provide the reader with activities and ideas to try when watching their grandchildren next. These magazines also include family friendly recipe’s and “self-improvement” articles. The information is portrayed in an organized manner, making the magazines easier to follow and seem more professional. There are also images that show real-life examples of the topic at hand.

By targeting certain audiences, magazines are made to relate to any individual. Each magazine is set up a little different, but has the same book like design. In Marshall McLuhan’s, The Medium is the Massage, he argues that the context is what we take away consciously, and the medium is what we take away subconsciously. This is seemingly perfect in terms of a magazine. McLuhan continues to share that the way information is portrayed is just as important, if not more important than the actual content of the information itself. Magazines of each genre portray themselves differently as stated before. Through posters for teens or perfume for women, each magazine does something a little different to relate to its target audience. Having a medium with such strong variety, the magazine industry is still thriving even with the advancements of technology.

Magazines are also used for companionship. In Alone Together, Sherry Turkle states, “We are lonely but fearful of intimacy…We are psychologically programmed not only to nurture what we love but to love what we nurture. So even simple artificial creatures can provoke heartfelt attachment” (1). This can relate to how some people thrive off of the information found in magazines. Readers can become so consumed in the lives of others and the drama portrayed to them that they seemingly find companionship in such an artificial item. Magazines can become a source of information and entertainment for many that essentially eliminates them from reality. They are in their own fairytale world simply by feeling involved in the lives of other people whom they have never met.

In the Archive of Feelings, Ann Cvetkovich states that an “archive of feelings” is, “an exploration of cultural texts as repositories of feelings and emotions, which are encoded not only in the content of the texts themselves, but in the practices that surround their production and reception” (7). If we view magazines as an archive of feelings, we are allowing ourselves to question the meaning behind magazines and also the messages being portrayed. This becomes much more apparent in terms of controversial tabloids. If the reader explores the cultural text and the feelings and emotions encoded, it becomes much more than just the latest drama. In terms of magazines such as Sports Illustrated, the reader may begin to look into much more detail than they would have originally. It begins to twist the interpretation of the reader.

The onset of technology and internet has made many forms of writing suffer. Almost all magazine articles are online now and can be viewed with the just the click of a mouse. This will lose the true affect that magazines have on readers. Readers will not be able to rip out posters or write in their answers to a survey, and they will not be able to lift a tab and smell the designer perfumes and colognes. Although the industry is suffering, magazines will never fully leave the paper-back world. Whether it’s in line at a grocery store or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, magazines are everywhere waiting to be picked up and enjoyed.

Works Cited

“”American Magazine” & “The General Magazine,” the First Magazines Published in North America: Both Very Short-Lived (January 1741).” : HistoryofInformation.com. Jeremy Norman & Co, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.

Cvetokovich, Ann. Archive of Feelings. N.p., n.d. Print.

“History.” Teen Magazines -. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.

McLuhan, Marshall, Quentin Fiore, and Jerome Agel. The Medium Is the Massage. New York: Bantam, 1967. Print.

“Sports Illustrated.” Sports Illustrated. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

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.

Reference

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

Social Media: Like, Follow, Pin, and Share

In 1971, the first email was delivered. 40 years later, social media has taken over our world. Medical News Today defines social media as an array of Internet sites that enable people from all over the world to interact (Whiteman). This connection can be through photos, video, and audio. Social media has changed the way our society communicates and has become such an essential part of our lives. Social media can help us stay connected with friends and family. It can help us get involved with different businesses, organizations, and charities. Social media can also help promote our creativity through sharing music, ideas, and art. It can also help people to meet and interact with others who share the same interests as you. The connections we make through social media can cause you to feel like you are part of a community, but these connections can have negative effects as well.

According to Steven Strogatz of Cornell University, he believes social media sites can make it difficult for us to differentiate from real-life relationships and the relationships and connections that we make through social media (Jung). If we focus too much on the relationships that we make online, our real life relationships will not be as strong. Our real life relationships are the ones that matter the most. Another negative aspect of social media is a new form of bullying, cyber bullying. Stopbullying.gov defines cyber bullying as bullying that takes place using electric technology. This electric technology can include cell phones, computers, and social media. The bullies anonymously torment their victims or can even pose as a person that the victim trusts. Cyber bullying is also 24/7 and can take place anytime of the day or night. These online attacks can have negative, impactful effects on the victims. Many victims have also turned to suicide. Social media can also be a distraction and even cause us to not be as productive as we need to be. In chapter 13 of Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together, a young girl stated that a particular social media has taken over her life. She could not log off. She finds herself looking at random things, and then realizes it was a waste of time. Another girl commented that she is afraid that she will miss out on something important (Turkle, 242).

In Alone Together Turkle states that, “Anxiety is a part of the new connectivity” (Turkle, 242). Social media can have effects on our emotions as well. A survey on social media use was conducted in 2012 by Anxiety UK and they found that 53% of participants said social media sites had changed their behavior, while 51% of these said the change had been negative (Whiteman). The participants also said they felt less confident because they compared themselves to their friends. The survey also found that two thirds of the participants had trouble relaxing and sleeping after they used the social media sites (Whiteman). Another negative aspect of social media is the feeling of validation and recognition. We can get so caught up in how many likes we get on a comment or a picture, and if we do not get the amount of likes we were expecting we get sad, or even feel like we are not good enough.

Have you ever been searching the web and you find something you don’t want to forget? Think about the different ways you save it; either by emailing it to yourself, printing it out and putting it in a binder, or saving it to your bookmarks. Well Pinterest is a great way for you to bring together all of the things you find online, whether it’s a great recipe, clothes, or a great book to read on vacation.

Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp, and Paul Sciarra founded Pinterest. They released a prototype of Pinterest in March 2010 and shared it among family members and friends (“Press”). Pinterest became a hit and grew rapidly. Pinterest is like a virtual bulletin board; it’s just like if you were adding different items you found on an actual bulletin, but Pinterest is a website that allows you to pin things you find online on your own account so that you can easily go back to them whenever you need to. The first thing you need to do is create a Pinterest account you can sign up by email, Facebook, or Twitter. Linking your account with Facebook or Twitter will allow you to be able to connect with your family and friends. After creating an account, you should install the “Pin It” button to your browser toolbar. This button allows you to pin things while you are online. For instance, if you come across an article about a DIY project, you can click the “Pin It” button and the article will then be saved to that specific board.

Just like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has some important terms to understand. The first term is “pin”. A pin is an image added to Pinterest. This image can be uploaded by the user, or a website. Each pin you see links back to the site it came from so you can learn how to make a specific recipe, or where to buy a certain product. The next term is “board”. A board is where all your pins are located, and you can have separate boards for different topics. And the last term is “repin”. A repin is once something is repined on Pinterest, it can then be shared or repined by other Pinterest users.

One of the greatest things about Pinterest is that you have the ability to pin whatever your interests are. Everyone uses Pinterest for all different sorts of things. You can save recipes that you want to reference to make for dinner later. You can plan your whole wedding on Pinterest as well. You can find different ideas as far as types of flowers you want to us, even down to the style of cake you would like to have. Others use Pinterest to find ideas for outfits. You can find and create a whole new wardrobe for the upcoming spring season. Pinterest is also different from other social media in regards to having a specific topic for each board. This is a great solution to having one social media but so many interests. For instance, many people have two Twitter accounts, one for their business and then one for pleasure. With Pinterest you can have boards that are unrelated to one another and it does not have to clutter your followers stream.Pinterest can also be a great tool for businesses. Different businesses can use Pinterest to market their products and grow their consumer base. Since Pinterest is a visual medium, businesses can capture their consumer with fascinating images that they can use to promote the product or specific deals.

Just with every social media, I believe Pinterest has its positive and negatives. Pinterest can be a great medium to find ideas, recipes, and allow one to have a collection of important interests that you can reference back to later. I believe a negative aspect of Pinterest is that is very addicting, and time consuming. I can say that I am just going to go on there for 15 minutes but then find myself being on there for an hour, and not even realize where my time went. Since Pinterest engages our senses by being mostly visual, I often find myself looking at the images and comparing my life or circumstances with what I see. For instance, I have a board called ‘My Future Home”, it’s a collection of all the things I want my future house to be. And just like Turkle explains in the introduction of Alone Together, with technology and social media we can create a second life. It’s a place where we can have the perfect life. So it’s like you are trying to create the perfect future life. Also the feeling and emotion of always wanted more material things could occur while being on Pinterest. When I pin clothes and shoes, I just feel like I have to buy those items instead of realizing that I need to be content with the things that I have.

In conclusion, social media has become such an instrumental and impactful aspect of our lives. It has transformed the way we communicate with one another. Although social media has many positive effects on society such as helping us stay connected with family and friends, there can also be many negative effects, such as cyber bullying and anxiety. And with technology growing and new ideas coming about every day, I believe that social media will be here for the long run. I also believe that we have the choice to choose whether or not we will let social media take over our lives and pull us away from our face-to-face interactions. I think it is important to limit the amount of time we spend on social media, put down our phones and pay attention to the people that are in front of us because these are the relationships that matter the most and who we are going to make lasting memories with.

Works Cited

 Jung, Brian. “The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals.” Small Business. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

“Press.” About Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together. New York. Basic Books. 2011. Web. 2 Mar. 2015.

“What Is Cyber bullying.” What Is Cyber bullying? N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

Whiteman, Honor. “Social Media: how does it really affect our mental health and well-being?” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 16. Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

Social Media: The Future of Communication

The world is much different than it used to be. Social media has changed many aspects of our lives. Communication possibilities have changed drastically. Take a look at the biggest social media websites. What do they do for you? How do they connect people? It’s obvious that social media has changed the way people communicate, but how exactly has it done this? Facebook is the largest social media website, and thus, it will be the main point of focus. Facebook was created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, who was a student at Harvard University at the time. He went through many struggles in his creation of Facebook. These struggles included lawsuits, the loss of friends, and many hours of hard work. Mark Zuckerberg is a very intelligent man and he created a legacy for himself through his passion and strive to create something great. These were the components in which Facebook was built upon. Facebook is based in Menlo Park, California and today employs almost 10,000 individuals. It is, without doubt, the largest social media website in the world. Every single day, over 890 million people log on to Facebook, and there are about 1.4 billion people that use the site monthly. 1.2 billion of these users access Facebook through their phones. In addition, there are 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook everyday. Think about these numbers. There are about 7 billion people share this earth, and many of these people lack basic access to such a site. China, the most populated country in the world, has banned Facebook for the majority of its citizens. A company with this type of power has endless opportunities to change communication, and the world as a whole. Facebook’s mission states the desire “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” At the core, the idea is very simple. People want more ways to connect. Facebook fulfills these desires. Facebook, however, is much more than just a simple communication method. Facebook allows people to accomplish a large variety of tasks. At a basic level, people can communicate instantly. Through status updates and posts, people can see what their friends are doing at all times. Photos and videos also allow people to show others what they’ve been up to. Other things people can do include sharing their interests and other information on their profile page, playing games, and even connecting with celebrities or businesses. One of my favorite features of Facebook is the ease of planning events. People no longer have to call, text and email all their friends for events. With a few clicks, you can invite all of your friends to an event. This is great for things such as weddings, graduations and other parties/events. Look at Facebook in its entirety and you will find endless opportunities for entertainment. Facebook does much more than you may think. Ann Cvektovich’s An Archive of Feelings was an interesting read, for a variety of reasons. The book is about the story of women and their accounts of trauma; seen as an archive. The book is very powerful and resonates with many audiences, not just women that faced the same struggles and conflicts seen in the book. While looking at this “archive of feelings”, one may also look at how different technologies may be seen as an archive. I decided to look at others example of archives, including modern technology along with social media. It seems that a large number of technologies may be considered an archive in this day and age. Many technologies, in their nature, record activity over short and long periods of time, which may be considered an archive to some extent. In definition, an archive could be described as a history of information. Think about all the things or technologies that may fit this definition. Think about the things you use everyday. Look at simple things such as your computer. This is an accumulation of many of the works you have done throughout yours and its life. Going off of this, a phone works in the same way. Your phone has messages, pictures and conversations that have been created over its history, and a portion of your life. An archive I’m interested in speaking about is social media, and Facebook in specific. It’s not hard to see why Facebook is an archive. It is a collection of life events through media. Think about the day that you first got a Facebook, and how much of your life you can review since then. You can hop on Facebook and you have access to years of pictures and conversations. It’s crazy to think about this stuff. Look back and see how much you’ve changed. Some people put photos from their everyday lives on Facebook to be able to access it later in life. Years of people’s lives are captured on Facebook, and they will continue to be captured until Facebook is no longer functioning. In many ways, this is a great thing but it can also be sad to think about. Some people may get on Facebook and look back at pictures just be reminded of tragedies that occurred earlier in life. For example, it may bring memories of deaths in the family, or other moments you wish had gone uncaptured. On the other hand, some people may have had Facebook for half of their lives, and be able to look at pictures from when they were a child and recall how fast they grew up. Facebook is an archive, and as an archive it will evoke many thoughts and emotions. In addition to being an archive, Facebook can be looked at in other ways as well. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle takes an interesting viewpoint that allows us to see social media differently. The book explores the idea that as technology expands, there are more ways to be connected, networked, and stay together. However, while social media may connect us in more ways, we are often physically alone now more than ever. With Facebook, it’s almost as if people don’t even need to leave their home to talk to others, as all of their communication needs are already met. This is true power in technology, and this is where the idea of “alone together” plays in. We no longer need to communicate in person to be satisfied. In many cases, communication has changed to status updates, pictures, and likes. We can now communicate online in various ways for unlimited amounts of time. This is how communication has changed. Social media is highly addictive to a large number of users. Everybody feels the need to be seen, and everybody wants to fit in. Through Facebook, even people that aren’t the most outgoing can have hundreds of friends, and with one post all of these people can be connected to this individual. In some ways, this encourages them to stay at their computer and be sociable online, yet barely talk in real life. This is a tragedy. Another thing that is occurring is people are becoming obsessed with likes. Instagram is a perfect example of this. Many people spend time planning and taking perfect photos just so people online can like it, and therefore they fulfill a need for self-presentation. They want to show the best versions of themselves. This can be good in some ways. However, many of the effects are bad. For example, some of these likes may be from people that they have barely talked to in real life, and this is where a problem plays in. People are gaining positive reactions from others online, which just reinforces people to stay online and in-person interaction is, therefore, often limited. This is exactly how social media has changed people. There is no reason in the foreseeable future why social media would stop growing. Now that these possibilities are out, they will only expand. People will only get more connected online. For this reason, we must think about the fact that the world is changing. People are changing. This means that social media must change with them in order to remain successful. There are many ways that social media has changed, and it will continue to change with the times. Facebook is not just a website people will get on for a few minutes and leave. It’s not just a website that people get on to say hello to their friends. It’s a website where people spend hours straight simply looking at other people’s lives. Privacy is almost non-existent online. The time wasted on social media is one of the greatest outrages in our technological age. Social media will destroy us. It’s an innovational masterpiece, but it is also a social disaster in many ways. People are starting to care more about how they are seen online than they are in real life. We are in a world where people may care more about how many friends they have on Facebook rather than how many people they can truly confide in, have fun with, and with whom they can share meaningful conversations. The expanding of communication can be good, but it starts to get bad when it prevents people from real life experiences. This could be the way of the future, and that is not a future I want to be a part of. We have social media, but ask yourself, do we have a social world? Works Cited: “Facebook Passes 1.23 Billion Monthly Active Users.” TNW Network All Stories RSS. N.p., 29 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2014/01/29/facebook-passes-1-23-billion-monthly-active-users-945-million-mobile-users-757-million-daily-users/&gt;. “Company Info | Facebook Newsroom.” Facebook Newsroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb.

  1. <http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/&gt;.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York: Basic Books, 2011. Print. Cvetkovich, Ann. An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2003. Print.

Alone, and Educated, Together: Loneliness in College

The college environment is perhaps one of the most technologically and socially dynamic in our modern society. Tens of thousands of students, most within 4 years of age of each other, live together in a kind of quasi-city going to classes together and living together. Usually, these same students are extremely technologically adept as well. Applications like facebook, twitter, instagram, tinder; all are household, common names among the population of college students. In “Alone Together,” the author often referred to various technologies as barriers to social interaction, rather than promoters. In our modern college world, I think that this ia a possibility that need consideration. As the author Peplau details, “loneliness is most common among teenagers and young adults and appears to decrease in older age groups. College students are one of the groups most likely to suffer from loneliness.” (1) In this blog post I’ll discuss why this might be.

The classroom is the staple of an educational environment, and a university is no exception. However, the classroom of a college is often quite different from that of a high school or grade school. Hundreds of students are sometimes packed into the same room, giving the feel more of a seminar than a personal experience. Many classes such as our own still offer a more intimate environment, but even despite this they are sometimes likely to feel impersonal. In large or impersonal groups, the effects of loniness are often exaggerated. When students grow so absorbed in their education that they are unable to socialize, or they simply feel uncomfortable meeting to people, it is expected that they will soon grow lonely. I think that like in the article “Alone Together,” huge numbers of people actually accelerates these effects.

Another issue that I have seen college students face is the idea that romance is a necessity for happiness. In the same Peplau article, she writes, “putting all your energies into any one relationship or assuming that one person can satisfy all your social needs is a risky strategy. Unfortunately, the myth that true love solves all our social problems is widely accepted. Hence, young adults may tend to neglect friendship in search of romance. Rather than developing a close relationship with a best friend or nurturing close ties with companions at work or school, people may focus on “falling in love.” (1) Young people place so much emphasis on “finding the one” or discovering romance that they often times neglect other parts of their lives that actually will give them happiness. I have seen friends find a partner, and then simply fall off the map once they continuously spend all their time with them. In the college environment, balance is key. Though it may often seem that perfect grades, or great friends, or an awesome relationship can all individually lead to happiness in truth it is a combination of factors that cure loneliness.

College is often described as the best time of a young person’s life. However, there are many studies which show that this may not necessarily be the case. As with any time of a person’s life, loneliness is often inevitable. I believe that as is detailed in “Together Alone,” the technologies and situations we encounter are not necessarily what will define our emotions. What will is our interpretations of them.

1. Peplau, L A. “Loneliness and the College Student”. 1987 Advancing Psychology. 475-479.