Author: christinechu7

CDEP – Anita Sarkeesian

I managed to catch the second half of Anita Sarkeesian’s presentation during the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy. Right off the bat, she caught my attention and had me scrambling to take proper notes when she began to explain the view people have for themselves who stand against the improvement of female portrayal in video games and online in general. She stated that they don’t believe they are in the wrong or that they’re beliefs are outdated and disrespectful. Rather, this group of people who are fighting against the change in female video game portrayal see themselves as warriors. They consider their opposition as righteous because it’s standing up for the history of video games and the tradition that lies with it.

Although I am supportive of keeping tradition alive when it comes to holidays, school spirit, and family parties, I don’t think this form of “tradition” can be justified. At this point, using tradition as an excuse just seems like a reason this group of people needs in attempt to make their case stronger. Tradition is no longer relevant when groups such as Gamergate evolve and threaten others for standing up for their right as human beings and women. Tradition is no longer applicable if a balance cannot be found between that and modern day beliefs.

Sarkeesian also brought up the fact that there are those who believe women are “asking for it,” which I personally think is ludicrous. Why would anyone want to be portrayed as sexual objects, degraded to physical representations that exploit the human body? In addition, women clearly are not “asking for it” when people like Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn are consistently being attacked online and in the physical world. If you believe that they would risk their families, friends, professional lives, and safety all for the sake of getting attention or “asking for it” then – excuse my bluntness – you’re wrong. These women are putting their safety at risk for something much, much bigger than that and I think others are shallow for believing otherwise.

Another point of discussion that Sarkeesian touched on was ways to fight and end the hatred and harassment. It shocked me that she experienced times when she had to explain to law enforcement what Twitter is and how it works, so I definitely agree that legislators and law enforcement need to have a basic understanding of the various social media outlets. It would allocate their time toward finding a solution rather than attempting to understand the foundation of sites like Reddit and Twitter. Sarkeesian also brought up ways perpetrators are indirectly encouraged to continue their terrible actions. Due to the nature of being a victim of harassment people often don’t release their names in media like the news or even courtrooms in shame or simple rights to privacy. Because of this attackers are indirectly encouraged to see no wrong in their words or actions because consequences are few and far between.

With that said, Sarkeesian managed to wrap up her presentation nicely with an analogy to air pollution. Like she states, we may not all be contributors of these belittling deeds but we all need to work together in order to end the problem. It’s not only up to women and those who are victimized, but it is the responsibility of all genders. Sarkeesian declares, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

 

Christine Chu

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LambdaMoo – Unknown & Unadulterated

I can honestly say that LambdaMoo is a one of a kind experience. Coming from a person who doesn’t game very often (basically never), logging in to this virtual world was novel to say the least. Aside from the rare instances of I-can’t-sleep-so-I’ll-play-Two Dots on my phone, the last time I gamed was probably in middle school on msn.com when I would use the free trials on all of the cool game apps they offered. Hamburger shops, Zuma, and Nancy Drew were some of my favorites. But these silly computer games, with its bright colors and engaging sound effects, reminded me nothing of LambdaMoo.

The switch from a visual based game to text based game made it seem more personable and much more mature. Due to the fact that it can be considered a chat of some sort, I can see how extremely easy it is for others to interact with one another. Although, I didn’t exactly figure out how to do that – communicate with others. I learned how to speak on LambdaMoo, but no one seemed to respond and the only thing I was comfortable with (and capable of doing) was giving directions.

The dialogue that I did experience was at the grocery store and I was lost 100% of the time. Conversation would pop up sporadically while I tried to regain my sense of location and determine my next plan of action. I had no clue who these people were and why they were yelling to clean up the pee on aisle 4. I often found myself forgetting that these were real people speaking and it wasn’t just a game programmed to do so.

In general, my time in LambdaMoo really honed in the idea of privacy and anonymity and the ways it can affect someone’s integrity. My guest user name “Brown_Guest” meant nothing and so did the reputation that I have for myself in the physical world. I could have shouted anything in LambdaMoo, including the utmost offensive thing known to man – which is extremely unlike me – and none of you would know. Likewise, none of the LambdaMoo-ers would know what type of person I am and the kind of things I say on a daily basis. Like Rushkoff said, the more we engage anonymously, the more we lose the humanity within ourselves. LambdaMoo is an outlet in which I believe epitomizes this statement as its open for anyone to join and participate to their liking. Ultimately, it makes me wonder where the line is drawn between online regulation and freedom of speech.

Christine Chu

Push Notifications: New Marketing Strategy?

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.33.40 AM

I remember first learning and experiencing location based push notifications. As a person who has the worst sense of direction and a short term memory, I can easily say that Google Maps and push notifications combining is one of my favorite conveniences about my iPhone.

It’s no secret that these push notifications make our daily FourSquare check in simple, our weekly Facebook location tag easy, and our drive to a family friend’s lake house a piece of cake. The convenience of it all may be the source of location based push notifications’ potential utopia and according to Brett Relander and his article, 5 Rules for Using Push Technology to Your Advantage, 68 percent of consumers are likely to activate push notifications for every app that they download.

Not only can push notifications lead you out of a wrong turn, but British Airways recently introduced its newest updated app, which allows flyers to check the status of their flight. Things like when passengers may board and gate openings are connected to the app’s notifications.

However, push notifications aren’t always the most welcomed amongst smart phone users. Often times apps send badges, banners, and reminders that seem like a desperate cry for consumers to not forget their app still exists on their phones. I’ve personally received notifications from Pandora endorsing its latest playlist or from the game 4 Pics 1 Word, which constantly sends me hints to complete the next level. Neither of these examples are notifications I want to read that ultimately flood my phone.

Like Relander explains in his article above, some companies are beginning to use push notifications as a marketing tool. He states, “An app’s average lifespan is just 30 days, a very short time span,” but when used to its potential, “push notifications enable you to extend the expiration date on your app, thus encouraging your users to keep returning.”

Although this may seem like a great way to market to consumers, maybe it’ll just get lost and translate to noise like the many other advertisements on TV, radio, and through email. Will push notification marketing become as obsolete as traditional advertisements?

Christine Chu

Aesthetic Revolution

At first I wanted to track Facebook’s website history. I thought what better website to visit than the one I’ve been familiar with since high school? However, I gave up when it continuously led me to this page after multiple attempts to browse the website’s history. I guess that’s first hand evidence that I don’t know as much about the Internet as I thought I did (or as most people think). When it displayed “Page cannot be crawled or displayed due to robots.txt.” (I have no idea what this sentence means) in bold, red letters, I felt as lost as my parents probably do when it comes to simple Internet navigation.

But in the midst of trial and error I decided to switch gears and visit Disney Channel’s website instead – aka my personal online Bible when I was in elementary school. I remember spending most of my online time playing games, taking personality quizzes, and reading more about my favorite Disney Channel show characters. Since I haven’t visited the website in years, I began with the most recent screen shot from September 9, 2014.

9:9:14

 

Not only has the website changed completely since my last viewing, but it displayed a spinoff of one of my favorite childhood shows, Boy Meets World (such a throwback!). I’m surprised to see how modern a children’s website can be. Even within seven months Disney altered its navigation bar, which seemed to revolutionize the website’s vibe. It’s interesting to observe the small aesthetic transformations Disney utilizes to maintain its contemporary theme. The screen shot below was taken on February 21, 2014.

2:21:14

As I continued to browse Disney’s history and compare its changes to The Evolution of the Web I noticed that as browsers developed, so did Disney’s website. From April 2011 to just two months later, browsers’ visual appearance changed dramatically.

4:2011

6:2011

It’s interesting to note how the visual effects of browsers and websites change (more or less) simultaneously and how these visuals are beginning to emulate clean, sleek, and simple aesthetics.

 

Christine Chu

Sacrificial Twitter

To be honest, my Tweeting history is pretty brief considering I created an account on my own accord and not by that of a class requirement. I remember my friends surrounding me with it during my freshman year at Loyola, which led me to question my non-existent Twitter presence. From there, an on-going (and extremely trivial) personal struggle spread throughout my social media self. Should I make a Twitter account? What should my first Tweet be about? What do I Tweet about after my first Tweet??

After much debate, I finally decided to create an account and well, you can read what my first Tweet was about for yourself.

Untitled(Ellie Saab dresses are seriously gorgeous, so this question still stands.)

It’s strange to think that although Twitter may encourage participants to post, share, and comment on their free will – like most social media platforms – the content is tailored in someway both voluntarily and involuntarily. As Nicholas Carr states in his article, he comments on how attention spans are getting progressively shorter and Twitter seems like the perfect example of this observation. With a 140 character limit, Twitter automatically tailors the kind of content that is exposed on its website. Like van Dijk mentions here Twitter allows its readers to pull content as a characteristic of new media. Users can follow anyone of their choosing in order to filter their newsfeeds.

Carr also believes that the Internet is becoming a “multiple information processing system” (a clock, calculator, radio, etc. all in one), which alters the web with hyperlinks and other media content ultimately leading to scattered attention and low concentration.

However, I agree with Clay Shirky’s response to Carr. Shirky understands sacrifice will take place regardless, especially with the “transformation of the media landscape.” Shirky proposes that the question is not “Is there sacrifice?” but “Is the sacrifice worth it? What can we do to make it worth it?” and I couldn’t agree with him more. Although Carr sheds light on legitimate concerns and its supporting evidence, there is no solution to go along with it.

Sure, Twitter may not be the most traditional news source but in alignment with Shirky’s question, Tweets contribute toward what make the sacrifice worth it as a whole. Connecting people across countries, sharing global news updates, and providing an outlet of expression? Seems like a website worth the sacrifice to me.

 

Christine Chu

Who Needs Sound?

One of the most distinct memories I have of using a computer takes place in my family’s office space. I can’t recall the exact name of the computer game I loved so dearly, but I do remember the excitement and novelty of it all. I can picture the ivory, clunky computer screen that displayed the bright colors, the friendly characters, and randomly enough, the ice cream machine maker.

I would pull up an extra kitchen chair next to my sister and eagerly wait for a chance to create my very own fantasy ice cream cone. The only thing missing from this 1998 dream scene were the sound effects. Being the computer newbies my family and I were at the time, we had no idea how to properly connect the speakers to the tower. After several attempts at what seemed like the right location, my dad finally called in back up in the form of a co-worker one night and voila! With a few minor adjustments, the once mute ice cream machine became the most entertaining post-school activity my sister and I experienced.

From this moment on, I took advantage of a computer’s ability to be ubiquitous, one of van Dijk’s characteristics of new media. I slowly realized that at any time of the day I could hop on my computer and launch my favorite games like Carmen Sandiego and Jump Start 1st Grade.

I guess I never realized it at the time, but our family computer’s ever-present quality might have been what caused one of the first sparks of rebellion during my childhood. As someone who’s always been a night owl, I knew that at any time I could sneak into our home office late at night and start my new masterpiece on Paint or, as my pre-teen years kicked in, chat my best friend on AIM.

The omnipresent quality of computers and the Internet shaped my ever-evolving response to it. At first, I couldn’t believe the convenience of it all. I could have sources of entertainment within arms reach from floppy disks to CD roms. It was so simple and instant.

However, not until recently did the ubiquity bother me. Everyday actions like walking down the street, waiting in the doctor’s office, or socializing with friends was never without some type of connection to the Internet. Like Paul Miller mentions in A Year Offline: What I Learned, I realized that ultimately it’s about finding a balance between sharing your life online and offline regardless of new media’s perpetual presence in our lives (which has definitely been one of my New Year’s resolutions several years in a row).

 

Christine Chu