The Growing Archive

While reading and scrolling through the blog I started thinking how this social platform has evolved from being just an empty website to our own growing archive of thoughts and knowledge. This blog is a great way to share with people what interests me, and how I think and express myself about certain topics. Together with my classmates we have over one hundred posts in this archive, and it is the result of our collective intelligence working towards a broader understanding of technology and what does technology itself mean for us.

Every week we had certain topics and readings assigned, but this didn’t narrow down our writing options. Our different interests, opinions and cultural backgrounds all played a part in forming this archive and the content in it. Although we all went through the same readings and discussions we all drifted apart towards what we found most interesting. From music and movies to science and race, every personal insight on any topic provided by each and every one of us makes this blog unique. When you bounce ideas of each other you can only get to smarter conclusions or at least they are drawn with more information behind them. I feel like this blog has become just that, a big blend of posts by a community that regardless of your interests or if you agree with it or not, gave you and your brain new ideas, different perspectives or just support something you have previously thought.

Some posts complement each other, build on top of each other, some of them might even challenge each other but the important factor is variety.

James Surowiecki writes in his book The Wisdom of Crowds that there are certain advantages the crowd holds over the individual or a few individuals. One of them is exactly that, diversity, the more diverse a crowd is the more you can ensure enough variance in approach, thought process, and personal experiences are brought up to the conversation. What better place for this than a classroom? An assortment of independent students from different backgrounds both culturally and academically. Another key element Surowiecki mentions is independence, as long as we stay independent in our way of thinking and about what we write our growing archive will continue to get wiser, “The smartest groups, then, are made up of people with diverse perspectives who are able to stay independent of each other. Independence doesn’t imply rationality or impartiality, though. You can be biased and irrational, but as long as you’re independent, you won’t make the group any dumber.” (Surowiecki, 2004)

Finishing the semester might mean there will no longer be a stream of posts flowing into the blog and generating content, but what we have learned from the diversity on opinions and discussions that have happened throughout the year is most valuable. Hopefully this archive will not only have taught us but will find its way on the internet to help and contribute to the generation of new discussions and new knowledge.

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Our Class Archive of Essays: The Pros and Cons, “Another Tag, Seriously?!

Our Class Archive of Essays: The Pros and Cons, “Another Tag, Seriously?!
Final Blog Post #8

Initially, I did not know what to make of this blog. It’s not that I had not been required to use this format, blogging, in the past; I had. However, the first couple of weeks of posting to this blog were exercises in frustration. In the past, the logistics were clear and concise starting everyone off on the same footing; I believe there is a great amount of fruit to be harvested when everyone starts with the same tools and expertise of the harvest. Yes, yes, yes, I know its college and everyone needs to put on their big people pants; but, this was pitted with hiccups and frankly, indigestion. We just recently, at almost the end of the term, found out how to properly orchestrate a “Tag”, and from the looks of things it has resulted in an “over-breeding” of the species. One other writer’s inference pointed to the difficulty navigating the blogs with the sheer volume of tags; and, how other topics were located under tags that had nothing to do with the subject matter. A limited number of tags would have led to better organization of the subjects and a more focused attempt to review the blogs. To validate my point, I personally fell prey to the failure of this current “Tag” free for all. The incorrect blog was selected as my final Midterm Paper, and graded! We were asked to blog an introductory Midterm Topic blog, followed by the final paper in a separate blog; but, it appears the “Tag” dilemma led to the incorrect selection. I am more than upset at this oversight! Now I ask you, “Is this how technology serves humanity?” Not from my vantage point.
My rant being over, I do not have to like something to see the full picture, the full potential. Logistics aside, I saw the community that this blog brought to the class. It was a means for us to access each others writings on a level that provided for communication of passion, personal competitive spirit, a deeper understanding of technology and media, and a heartfelt compassion for a little creature we call “the bee”. As a tool, the blog site accomplished community; but, it did not instill the personal investment in the writer’s theme, nor did it cultivate it. I was truly engaged by many of the blogs. Clearly, the writers downed their guard and shared with us their inner most convictions, passions, and hopes for their future. I felt the writer’s desire to share their interests with us, many, presented their ideas as a means to educate. I witnessed the maturity and depth of writing unfold as the class tackled issues representing the relationship between technology and society. At the center of the portrait lay the synergistic blend of technology and humanity. As we distance ourselves from our central perspective we begin to appreciate that technological innovations may actually denude us of our humanity. That was not the attitude I encountered in the class discussions or in the blog writings. I found classmate’s attitudes to be positive about technologies’ contribution to society and the betterment of man. One writer spoke of the self-worth and accomplishment attained as a doctor simply by having the opportunity to improve someone else’s life. Initially pointing out that this may sound naive, she counters this belief with the position that it be a necessity of every medical student. Humanity needs this strength in attitude if we are to overcome our pitfalls. Writing was, is, and will always be that means of strengthening our convictions. It brings out the best in all of us. It puts us in touch with our inner heart; that collection of compassion and conscience that drives us to pay it forward.
Despite my opening, very negative, commentary about this blog site, I am eternally grateful for having shared it with so many passionate and dedicated individuals. What a privilege to have shared this experience with such passionate writers. I am truly blessed to have known you and your writings. Thank you!

Archive of Essays

As I write this last blog post, I cant help but to think of how this blog has become such a vast collection of knowledge, opinions and, in some cases, expertise on different aspects of technology and technologies. When I first enrolled in this class, I had a very vague idea of what technologies really were. I envisioned them as only computer-related systems and machines. However, I learned that the word “technology” has been around much longer than computers.

From our first few topics surrounding the political aspects of certain artifacts I was a little surprised that I was not the only person to make a blog post about something music-related. I chose to write about the political dimension of the iPod. And, to my surprise, someone wrote on almost the same topic. This continued to happen throughout the semester with future blog posts and even formed the basis of the group presentation that I was a part of.

It is no doubt that my key interest involves music and as I look back at the key words of our blog, I can see that I’m not alone in finding music interesting enough to write my blogs on the topic. As I click the music tab. The archive of music-related topics is almost overwhelming to read. It is extremely helpful to be able to reflect on these other student’s perspectives. Whether I’m reading for a deeper insight on a particular topic or simply reading for fun, I can see a great advantage to having this archive of music at my disposal.

The best part about this massive archive is that it doesn’t stop at music. It is incredible to click a topic that we were prompted to write about and see such a diverse display of interests and knowledge ranging from the analysis of apocalyptic fear to neuroprosthetics. The topics seem almost endless. It is hard to imagine that this massive archive took just a very short amount of time to build.

Over the semester, we were instructed to comment on each other’s blogs for a few of our assignments. I found this to be a very rewarding experience because it gave me an opportunity to actually take time out to read several other topics of my choice. It was interesting to both learn a new topic and expand my knowledge on a topic. If I were not instructed to do this, I probably would not have taken the time out to read some of these topics at all. I would have been too focused on my own music-related topic to step back and take a look at all the other topics that were at my disposal.

Overall, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to contribute to this blog. It was an eye-opening experience that I may even take further into my spare time. I was aware of blogs and many other sites that are a compilation of ideas and opinions. But, until recently, I had never been a part of one. While on vacation, or after a graduate, I may have to create or find a blog site to contribute to and create a similar archive of ideas.

Class Archive of Essays

After a few day of classes I had realized this class emphasizes the importance of different types of mediums and technologies. Which seems very interesting to analyze because we normally do not think about it. However, after seeing other classmates blog posts it left me amazed to see how far some people, including myself, would go in terms of thinking of a medium or technology. Some people even went beyond what I would think of as a medium. Also many people had very entertaining blogs I read such as Ted Talks, music, movies, healthcare, and even as far as concussions in the NFL. I have seen various patterns of going beyond what I would consider a medium and technology. This class and blog posts really has made me realize the different forms to choose from.

After realizing this pattern I found everyone always links an idea or thing back to what I would consider a medium or technology. This has also inspired me as well when I analyzed an MRI as a form of medium of information and a form of technology. Through the creativity of my classmates it really has inspired me to choose any form of technology and link it to something to the classroom. Going from language, tools, roads, and high-tech technologies truly has opened my eyes. Has allowed me to find an alternative to the classical way of looking at a medium or technology. Almost everything around us can be seen as one of the two, or both most of the times. Prior to this class I would think of medium as some sort of text opposed to something like an MRI. It truly is profound in terms of what it can consist of. Also through reading McLuhan also has impacted us in such a way to even think in these creative ways of transgressing to the classical sense of mediums/technologies. Through readings through classmates blogposts truly has advocated that. I remember myself writing about creativity as some sort of artifact, which was inspired by classmates and McLuhan. Seeing classmates posts always makes me want to think outside the box and write something just as interesting as their blogs. I saw someone have their topic for the final paper about bees. Which is amazing in terms of how far this class can go to analyze the smallest of things. Then I also saw a post on mummification of the ancient Egyptians. Which is a funerary technology, and was an entertaining read. This showcases how students can go from their interests and tie it back to a medium/ technology, which I find very intriguing.

Through readings classmates posts has helped me have a broader understanding of what it means to be considered a medium and/or technology. It has allowed me to think outside the box, and dwell into almost all of my interests, and choose whichever I find fitting to write about. Although the class is focused on technology, I can always tie whatever I have in mind to technology or medium. I see more of a creative writing and going beyond what I would consider a medium prior to this class, as a obvious pattern in our class blog posts.

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.

Our Class Archive

Time goes fast. There were almost no blog posts at the beginning of this semester, and now I think there are over 150 blog posts (estimated according to the number of the authors and how many blog posts posted per author). Everyone made contribution to this blog with great variety in topics. I really enjoyed reading this blog and also found something interesting.

I noticed something interesting in tags. Fifteen blog posts were tagged as “Alone Together”. Actually, “Alone Together” was the tag which contains the largest number of topics. I clicked this tag, and tried to find why it was popular. I found that many topics with this tag were related to social media. Others were a little bit different: these essays also mentioned “Digital Self”, robots and etc. No matter what these authors wrote, they focused on something about technologies. Why did this phenomenon appear? I glanced at my table, and saw my smartphones. I suddenly knew potential reasons. I realized that we live in a world with many technologies, and many of them have already become essential parts of the daily life. Technologies have never been as important as we can see nowadays. We know what “Alone Together” is and we know what “Digital Self” is. For example, in many topics, the application of social media was associated with “Alone Together”. We use social media every day, so we have such feelings. We live with technologies which allow us to communicate no matter where we are. But with the development of these technologies, we are alone. However, at that same time we still have an access to communicate by the social media. In a word, the most popular tag is a reflection of our daily life. Also, it’s a reflection of our generation—we are the generation who rely on technologies.

Back to the blog itself, it’s a medium designed for the collective creation. In this blog, we can write and share our thoughts. And I saw the power from concentration of various thoughts. Usually a single author can write a book which conveys his personal ideas. However, his ideas will be limited by his own experience. If we can create a blog with a topic, different thoughts will be collected in it. Although there are some differences between various blog posts, readers will get more information from this blog than a book wrote by one author. Readers will be able to see more aspects of a general topic. From my personal experience, sometimes when I read some blog posts, I felt amazing to see the completely new thoughts to me. Some authors came up with something I could not do. So I really enjoyed reading these new materials and learned more aspects about the same topic. It’s good to see a blog as a technology which can generate thoughts from different authors. We have our own “think tank”, and this “think tank” created much more interesting topics than a personal blog.

For each contributors of this blog, I think it helps a lot. As a great archive of thoughts and ideas, it contains thoughts in different time period. So when we tried to write an outline of the paper, it would be a convenient tool for everyone in this class. After all, this blog is a collection of various thoughts in this class, also a collection of personal archive. Every contributor of this blog can easily find their previous inspirations and apply them in their new essays or papers.

Class Archive of Essays

When I arrived on our first day of class this semester, I had no idea what to expect as far as the content of the course. The title, “Science and Technology in America,” was intriguing enough, but I was unsure how the material would be structured. Early on in the class, we covered many of the basic “technology” topics that face society today: social media, cell phones, and the Internet. However, as the course continued I was impressed by the topics we planned to cover on the syllabus. “Science and Technology” encompasses so much more than just the obvious takeover of the Internet on modern society.

Now, in retrospect, it is simply fascinating to review how each student took their own interpretation of the science and technology theme of the course. I never would have initially thought that the science of happiness, collapse of civilization and nature, and the future of food would be incorporated. Nonetheless, I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to expose myself to these topics, and also to evaluate other students’ responses.

As we near our final project, I have noticed a broad range of subjects over which students are writing their papers. Some of them follow the more traditional and well known aspects of modern technology, such as social media and cell phones. However, even these students have broadened their perspectives and chosen to research a particular facet of the topic that proves to be more intellectually stimulating and exploratory than what we have covered in our classroom discussions.

A large majority of the students in our class have selected a topic for their final papers that epitomizes the diversity of material we have experienced in lecture. As I was reading through our class Web site, I encountered everything from hip hop music and microscopes, to mummification and technology in athletics. The best thing about this course is the freedom we are given to explore topics we enjoy, rather than being forced to research a less interesting subject. I couldn’t help but be impressed with this range of themes for the final paper.

One topic that especially resonated with me was the future of food production and its correlation with the takeover of the food industry by massive corporations. We did have one class discussion about the current state of our food production and how it is affecting society. However, this student is expanding on the lecture and analyzing the detrimental separation between farm and table. The outline went on to explain how this separation, coupled with misleading food sources and promotion, are playing an integral part in the obesity epidemic and overall poor eating habits among Americans. This subject matter is particularly important to me, so I look forward to reading the student’s paper at the end of the semester.

I was also intrigued by one specific post that outlined a sports topic, which focused on ways in which technology is shaping the athletic industry. This is another case that the common person would not initially think of as being affected by technology, but the points presented in the outline were all valid reasons, such as the use of video review during games and using advanced technology to reach the “human limit.” As our course comes to a close, I firmly believe that every student has allowed the class material to impact their own lives in one way or another. As the diversity of final paper topics can easily show, each student now has their own idea of science and technology in America.