Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Digital Ethics Symposium due to some unforeseen circumstances Friday. I would have like to see Anita Sarkeesian and Sara Perry speak. As a guy I was never really aware of the digital harassment that goes on pretty much everywhere. I knew it existed in the gaming community as I have played a good amount of Call of Duty in my day. Obviously I know harassment exists and happens everywhere daily, I guess I was a little oblivious because it hasn’t happened to me.
After reading Sara Perry’s article Academics Face the Cyber creeps Alone, I was a little angry that even working professionals have to deal with this sort of crap. It really makes you wonder who is doing the harassment and it makes me sympathize for those who have to put up with this. From Anita Sarkeesian’s stand point she has to constantly deal with anonymous threats (in this instance) from the gaming community. Who in my mind consist of a mostly male culture, who believe they can say whatever they want because they are behind a screen in the comfort of their own home. The anonymity of this situation in Anita’s case creates a deeper threat. In a mostly male driven culture Anita is fighting the good fight bringing light of this situation. Before we talked about Anita Sarkeesian in class I only knew about trolling online. It is frustrating that somebody would go out of their way to threaten someone’s life over video games.
Sara Perry is also facing harassment digitally, however her case is a little more alarming because it is not anonymous. It is shocking to hear that even in a professional environment Sara Perry and God knows how many other women have to deal with what she goes through. As a man I can’t help but feel disgusted that other men are subjecting women to this sort of treatment. I can’t relate to the men who are harassing but can only guess they come from a troubled past or are simply trying to compensate out of jealousy or whatever they are lacking.
One can only hope women like Sara Perry and Anita Sarkeesian keep standing up for themselves, and keep empowering more people to put an end to digital harassment. Hopefully someday the gaming world can be an equal playing field, everyone can play it, so everyone should feel welcome. In Sara’s case I hope the people making her feel uncomfortable are dealt with, and her story gives more people the confidence to speak out against harassment.
Written by: Colin McCall
As a casual gamer I was excited to try out this Lambdamoo “game.” Only to be completely shocked finding out it was a game that only consists of words and no visual images. My initial reaction to the format of Lambdamoo was this, cannot be fun at all. I was completely wrong! I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting Lambdamoo was.
Figuring out how to operate Lambdamoo was a little bit of a challenge to be honest. Once I learned the “language,” it turned into a game instead of a tedious task. After capturing my extremely short attention span Lambdamoo became an adventure. Although different I found myself enticed by the unknown. Lambdamoo is appealing in that it forces you to use your imagination, like reading a book you create the visuals. I would describe it as getting lost in your imagination.
I couldn’t help but wonder what Lambdamoo would look like in the form of an actual video game. The way I pictured it was like Grand Theft Auto (without the violence) in the sense that it is a free roam game, however I pictured it in the first person like I was actually there. It is weird to think that there are other human beings playing at the same time and that you can be in the same space as them.
It is weird to think that this game exists in the deep dimensions of my computer, and if it weren’t for this class I would most likely have never heard of it. I believe Lambdamoo is the foundation for what we now have today in terms of virtual gaming and online communities. It is crazy to think about how broad Lambdamoo is when it is simply an interactive text box. It amazes me how much technology has advanced since Lamdamoo’s creation.
Posted by: Colin McCall
In a world consumed with good and evil it is interesting to focus on the good and bad qualities of technology. In this blog I am going to take a look at text messaging, something pretty much anybody with a cell-phone can do. A good starting point would be the utopian aspect of texting. With each passing day technology grows, data is collected and we stick to our daily routine. Now I know society is not perfect, but we are certainly striving to be. In that sense text messaging has given us a form of instant communication. It is something so basic, but highly technological that we definitely take for granted. From a utopian stand- point, texting has given us the opportunity to be in constant contact with people. Which can only help us grow technologically right? Just look back in history and how communication used to be done, now look at how far we have come. One could argue eventually we will have perfected communication. Now countering the utopian viewpoint, the dystopian point of view would suggest that communicating via text message is not a good thing. To some extent I would have to agree with that statement. From a dystopian perspective texting almost hints the end of communication, as we know it. At rate of technological expansion I feel like sometime in the near future we will all be so technologically inclined nobody will have the social skills or need to communicate with anybody in person. As for whether I think texting and the rapid advance of technology is utopian or dystopian it is hard to choose. Technology is constantly improving and impacting our lives, making us more efficient, better and human beings to an extent. The dystopian side of me sees the potential fault in that if we get caught up in this technological world we may get lost.
Written by: Colin McCall
Now, I can’t fully attest to the pre-tech era we have today being a 90’s kid. What I can say is for the short amount of time I have been alive and using the Internet it has grown up a lot more than I have. As a kid, doing homework and working on projects meant using the assigned text or going to the school library to find resources, which was half of the work. Even then my generation has it easy. I am not implying our work is any easier than that of our parents (personally I think more is expected of us because of technology). I believe a lot of that knowledge we would gain going to the library and digging through books is now lost in translation with the existence of technology. We need to take a step back before books are a thing of the past.
With that being said, the same thing has happened since the creation of Twitter. The world we live in today is all about instant gratification. With the need for instant information we often only scrape the surface of articles. Information is then lost in translation. Personally I find myself only skimming through internet articles, where as a book or even a magazine I sit down and take the time to read them. This could also be attributed to the easily accessible articles the Internet provides. With the information readily available at our fingertips do we really need to read it? I can totally relate with this observation Nicholas Carr talks about in “ Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Here he talks about his experience reading online “Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, and begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.”
The transition from books to technology is pretty scary. Will this lead to a dumbed down future, or will we use this to our advantage? In the age of Twitter and instant gratification the way we read and even the way we think is changing. For me personally I still prefer a hard copy to digital and that connection you get actually holding a book or magazine.
Written by: Colin McCall
My first memories of computer use take me back to watching my Mom use AOL to write her emails (she still does 15+ years later). I was not allowed to use the computer for what seemed like the longest time. This all changed when my older brother broke out his new game titled Backyard Baseball. I remember rushing home after school trying to finish my homework before my brother so I could use the computer. Very quickly an addiction ensued.
Fast-forward a couple of years to my discovery of AIM, possibly the single greatest invention during my elementary school tenure. As van Dijk said, “ the speed of bridging large distances in communication is one of the strongest capacities of the new media,”(Pg. 16). Being able to send instant messages to all of my friends and more importantly my grade school crushes at the time was the coolest thing. Which is also mentioned in the article as “interactive media,” which fails to reach face- to face communication. I believe AIM is to blame for this generation’s compulsion with social media; it set the standard for instant communication.
As time continued on, AIM evolved into MySpace, which became Facebook. Now I am not against the use of technology and social media, it does in fact have many benefits and advantages. However I do believe it is slowly outsourcing human interaction. In the article “ What Is New Media?” Lev Manovich talks about modern “interaction,” and that it should not be interpreted literally, because it fails to reach the psychological connection face-to- face interaction has.
In just fifteen years time it is pretty crazy to think my use of a computer has transformed from a simple video game into social media and much more. As for now, remembering how I got my start on computers and how far we have both evolved is a pretty crazy thought. Social media and the internet have definitely shaped my generation.
Written by: Colin McCall