Author: cpreciado2013

Digital Ethics & Policy Symposium 2014

The 2014 Digital Ethics and Policy symposium brought to light many ethical problems that take place in the digital world. I started the day various speakers and stayed through till the keynote speaker Anita Sarkeesian. This keynote speech gave insight on the power online platforms have on harassment, slander, and much more. Anita gives us a look at how she is affected for simply stating her opinion on video games.

Anita Sarkeesian is known for being one of the main supporters of “GamerGate,” which is a controversy that concerns misogyny, sexism, and harassment in video games. Since stating her opinion, Anita has been the victim of shameful and disgusting harassment by gamers. From what I understand, Anita believes that these games act out this way because they feel threatened by women gamers and what their presence can do to influence the games. She has been unfortunately harassed through direct threats online, being superimposed on pornographic images, and much more. This online community has the idea that if they bring her down through these threats and harassments, she will give up her fight for equality in video games.

However, Anita is almost fueled by these negative comments. What this has done is expose her work and research to a larger group of people. It has essentially made her the face of women equality in video games. She also tackles the main idea of digital ethics. Why do these things happen? Why are they allowed to happen? There is no clear answer to these questions. Loopholes in the legal system along with the community the internet allows users to build, plays a big part in allowing these people to continue their agenda.

Cyber civil rights is being affected by these people online who believe it is “okay” to do these things with no consequences. Anita then spoke about ways to change these things and help improve cyber civil rights. Some of the suggestions she gave included: having a sharable block list, allowing friends of targets to report harassment, option to block any accounts that been recently created, option to block any user who has also been blocked, and blocking anonymous users. These are just some of the simplest changes that can be made in order to stop the harassment and violation of digital civil rights.

Overall the Digital Ethics and Policy symposium was very insightful. It was interesting to see the various views on digital ethics and what can be done to ensure that they are not violated. The event ran smoothly and the speakers were very knowledgeable on their topics. There was a lot of information I was exposed to that gave me a better idea on how communities online can have an impact either negatively or positively on various things. I did wish that Anita had been available for a public Q & A as opposed to the private Q & A. At times the event seemed like it would focus on one particular topic without expanding and giving a more thorough explanation of things. However, I did find the event informative and useful in providing insight on the digital world.

LambdaMoo, and interesting concept.

Logging into LambdaMoo was a very odd and somewhat exciting experience. When I first logged in, all I could think of was of how I already didn’t feel like reading all the text. As I set off into the game, I became more interested and fascinated by how drawn in I was into the game. The options I was given kept my attention at each stop and wanted to continue simply to see what option I would be given next.

I am not an avid video game player, in fact I don’t own any video game systems aside from my roommates old Nintendo. I find that I just don’t have the patience to sit through a whole game without getting distracted. However, LamdaMoo is completely different from typical video games. I decided to research the game further and find out what makes LamdaMoo such a large community. After finding out that you can become a member and create a custom character, I became even more interested. I didn’t become a member, but the whole idea of the community in a text-based environment is alien to me.

As I delved deeper and deeper into LamdaMoo, I would occasionally run into someone else who was in the same area as I was. On one of the paths that I took, I was taken to a cemetery where the usernames of other players who have died where written on the tombstone. The game was so descriptive that I was able to visualize the paths and events that where taking place. As I continued to research, I found information on how other players had been able to create separate rooms and paths within the game. This community was able to contribute to the growth of this game, making it now an even bigger platform.

Overall, I enjoyed exploring LambdaMoo, but  like most games, after awhile I simply became tired of it. It might have been because I was only playing as guest, and couldn’t do all the things users do. The concept of the game is interesting, and definitely engages the user into wanting to continue playing the game. Its something I would play again, just to see where I would end up next in the game.

 

Disconnected from society

New technology has become a main topic in today’s news stories. The idea is implemented into our minds that new technology will change our lives for the better. The utopian idea is that new technology will help us live a better life by giving us instant communication and gratification. Many people have taken this idea and made it truth. There are consumers who strictly live there lives through their new technology devices. For instance, I have a friend who will not for any reason leave without her iPhone. If she is out where she doesn’t get any service, she feels disconnected and anxious. The idea that technology is the cure to our problems has led to the argument that it has continued to ruin our lives.

 

The dystopian idea is that new technology has done nothing but take us to an era where consumers are discommunicated from reality and the people around us. New technology has become more important to people than their families. For example, consumers are willing to wait in line for days just for a phone. In reality, this new phone won’t drastically change anyone’s lives, but it has become an essential part in peoples lives.

Social media is a big proponent in fueling the utopian as well as dystopian idea. Social media gives users the ability to connect from distant locations. However, it also has become an addiction for users who have only known to communicate through Facebook or twitter. Social media is not a bad thing, but the way people use it has become a problem. Many communication problems have arisen because people are used to shortening their sentences, abbreviating, and relying on these social media sites to communicate. People would rather text or tweet to someone than give them a phone call.

I can see this disconnect almost everywhere in my daily life. For example, at my internship many interns find it difficult to make phone calls to clients. They explain that they don’t know what to say when a client Is on the phone. The art of conversation for many people has become cut short and uninteresting. I feel particularly lucky that throughout my past internships and jobs I was required to communicate with people on a daily basis. I personally don’t find it difficult to communicate but many people do.

New technology has disconnected many but at the same time has given the opportunity for people all over the world to communicate. It can be seen through both a utopian and dystopian point of view with plenty of examples to prove both.

-Christian Preciado

Getting back on Twitter was not what I expected

My first experience tweeting, happened well over   3 years ago when I first signed up to the website and began following friends and musicians. I didn’t understand it initially because I didn’t see the reason behind why someone would find what I tweet interesting. As I began to follow more and more people I became hooked. Every tweet from my favorite band, every rant I wrote, and every article I retweeted was exciting. I was hooked to the idea that my thoughts and opinions were relevant to someone. My twitter followers began to slowly increase and before I knew it, I went from 10 followers to over 300. That might not seem impressive but for a fairly new person on twitter I felt a slight importance.

Even with this new following and my experience on twitter, I still didn’t quite understand it. In Dibbel’s article, the same questions are asked. What exactly is twitter? Is it a simple form of blogging or is it much more than that? As Twitter began to grow, so did the importance of its 140 characters. Twitter campaigns and celebrities tweeting their opinion on things took a strong hold of how people were influenced. So one day about a year ago, I decided to leave twitter. I deactivated my account and just like that, the social media platform which had taken importance over Facebook was erased from my daily routine. The first couple days I had an itch to get back on and continuously scroll until I found something interesting enough to favorite or retweet. Once I forgot about Twitter, I was back to checking Facebook regularly. I was off Twitter for awhile until my work required me to continuously be on social media.

I never reactivated my personal account but I was still on Twitter constantly. I decided for this assignment I would create a completely new handle where I would try to experience all over again the first tweet.  However, once I was back on twitter everything came back very easily, a sort of muscle memory. I almost immediately retweeted a couple of tweets and followed about 40 people. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am way too dependent on social media. I find myself learning about breaking news and odd facts through social media accounts I follow.  My question to whoever reads this is “Why do we rely so much on social media? Why do we find ourselves constantly checking our social media accounts for different information and facts that could easily be researched elsewhere? Just some thoughts I came across while checking my twitter feed.

Christian Preciado

The addiction that is New Media

As a child, my first exposure to a computer was at school. I specifically remember ONE computer in the classroom that could only be used by certain individuals after a form of “training.” That year, our school opened a full computer lab. The majority of the time when we were allowed to use a computer, it was to do Learning Programs or practice our WPM. I particularly remember one of our lessons was learning how to save on a floppy disk.  Then came my family’s home desktop, a massive Gateway computer with that beautiful AOL dial up sound. You heard that dial up tone every time you wanted to wait 20 minutes just to log in and check your email or in my case, my instant messenger. At the time, I didn’t comprehend the idea of the internet and how powerful it was. The internet was becoming more and more popular in my age group, AOL instant messenger allowed us to gossip and talk in groups about school and anything that was going on. We loved it. This was the beginning of what I NOW understand is the power of the internet.

We began to rely on AIM to communicate with each other and although it wasn’t a big deal at the time, our human interaction was beginning to slip. New media has given us the opportunity to connect and have information at our fingertips. The first time I SKYPED with a family member in Mexico my parents were amazed at what the internet could do.I went from learning how to use a floppy disk, to video chatting my cousins in a different country. It was amazing, the ability to connect easily was wonderful. New media is addictive, I can say I’m addicted to checking my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn constantly. I find myself sometimes opening Facebook on my laptop, then closing my laptop just to open Facebook on my iPhone. My iPhone has become my life. Like this article states, losing my iPhone would be a terrifying moment. My life relies on this little tech device. Emails, work schedule, homework schedule, etc everything is put on my phone.

New media is interactive which is what I find to be most addictive. It allows you to connect and become involved through various platforms. New media is so powerful that is has the ability to change your mood and opinion. All day long as you scroll through your social media accounts, you are exposed to different scenarios and feelings that you find yourself replicating. The use of big and slow computers is out of the question now days. Instead of taking my laptop to class, I find it easier now to just take my iPad which is essentially my computer now and doing all my work on there. As I reflect on how computers and the internet have influenced my life, I can see it has made things both easier and complicated. As new media continues to evolve, I can only imagine how much more it will influence my day-to-day interactions.

 

Christian Preciado