I attended Anita Sarkeesian’s digital ethics symposium talk and I do have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed. After discussing with people about her talk I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people expected more out of the talk and hoped she would breach a further discussion about her personal work and data found through analyzing women’s roles in video games. But instead she took the time to discuss the current situation that she has endured because of her work. I understand the intensity and importance of the threats Sarkeesian has faced, but I also think the media recognition she is receiving should be used as a venue to further note her discoveries and work, not give these extremists the attention that they so crave.
The GamerGate community wants us to share their works and get their name out there and that is exactly what we are doing. I think this limelight would be better put to use to reiterate the importance of Sarkeesian’s work. She touched on this a little bit, showing the audience that their threats only intensifies the need to look into women in games, but not as much as I’d hoped. When I look back at my notes from the talk, majority of them are about this community and their recent actions they have taken against Sarkeesian. We’re giving them exactly what they want. Their work doesn’t deserve any more attention than they have already received! But I did appreciate her ability to discuss this hardship in her life with courage and transparency.
I do think through this talk, Sarkeesian was able to touch on some important topics about digital media and the digital space. Because of her recent threats, Sarkeesian pointed out social media’s lack of responsibility and control options to eliminate this kind of Internet bullying. Sarkeesian talked about her experiences with Facebook and Twitter and their inability to protect her from harrassment during this challenging time. She was able to criticize this neglect and in turn discuss options for creating a system where harassment isn’t as simple to do through creating sharable block lists and allowing family and friends to block users.
One of the moments I loved in the speech was when Sarkeesian took an obvious and past-time toy— the gameboy and highlighted its significance as a male dominated object, hence the name. Which is something that I never even realized but says so much about gender roles within the gaming community.
Another moment that I found to be influential was when Sarkeesian compared sexism to pollution— although we aren’t all contributing we all still have the responsibility to clean up the mess. I think here Sarkeesian used a very effective way to state her call to action. We live in a world where so many people bypass an issue because they think it’s not their problem or they haven’t done anything to contribute to the issue. But this is the exact mindset that furthers the issue and leaves it untouched. If everyone thinks it’s someone else’s responsibility then who do we have left to implement the change?
I found LambdaMoo to be extremely frustrating at times. It was really hard to navigate through without someones else’s entry ruining your response or your own entries not being a route. But once I started to understand what the space was about I really enjoyed the freedom of it all.
I appreciate the exclusivity of it and the space being a kind of escape for many people on the Internet. I could definitely see myself going there just to free my mind or blow off steam because it is almost soothing to be able to navigate your way through a digital space.
I think what I loved most about LambdaMoo was the fact that there were no visuals. LambdaMoo opened my eyes to how limiting visuals can be, because you are given a description and then the photo paints a specific description that doesn’t allow your mind or imagination to perceive anything else. Because LambdaMoo was so open for interpretation i enjoyed reading the imagery or the different spaces and the unknown of it all. You are able to paint a vivid picture in your mind of what you think the scenery would look like based of of the detailed description they give you. I also really liked the whole aspect of being in charge of you own destiny. Which ever route you decided to go would then effect the rest of your journey, and so on. So you as the player has limitless options that could even take you to Paris or on an air balloon.
There’s something ironic about the old-school system with a innovative and creative concept that I don’t think new technology and games have today. I also think it’s funny that so many of us, who consider ourselves to be tech-savvy millennial’s who grew up with technology, were lost when it came to LambdaMoo because we are so used to modern technology and easy access. We aren’t used to the difficulty of navigating through a digital space because it comes so easy to us now– the computer does it for us.
The one thing I wasn’t so keen on was the anonymity of it all. I grew up watching my dad play final fantasy where he was able to communicate to different Xbox users with anonymous gamer names. Some of the peoples responses and interactions with my dad were inappropriate or just plain odd. I think spaces like these attract people who can be cruel and hateful using their anonymous persona to spite and express their cruelty to a larger group. Mentioned in Solove’s article “The Virtues of Anonymity,” this can create dangerous spaces of unwanted “hate mail” and can take away from the freedom and community aspect of spaces like LambdaMoo.
Because social networking sites have almost been our mascot as millennials, we are prone to receiving judgment as well as praise for our use of technology and its advancements. I am so used to having discussions with family and classmates about the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet because of its controversial aspects. For years now, we have put technology on a pedestal one day and shot it down the next.
In one perspective, we have such high expectations for the new media forms that we name its capabilities as utopian. Some forms of social media are seen as perfect sources for building the perfect self. We are able to adjust our “about me”, profile picture and cover photos, in order to mold ourselves in what we believe is the perfect person or what we believe others will see as ideal. We are able to hide and delete pictures or statuses that don’t meet our standards.
This could also be our downfall into dystopian capabilities. We spend so much time building our identity virtually that we forget about what it means to build ourselves in real life, not just in the virtual world. It also alters our perception of reality when so much of our time is concentrated on building a self-constructed persona.
Another thing that we see at utopian is the fact that social media is a reliable source for storage of information. We use twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. to help us find peoples birthdays, where they work, and their contact info. We have forgotten the study of memorization. I remember the day when I used to have to ask around the classroom or write down on my calendar what day my friends birthday would fall on. But now it is so easy to just log onto Facebook, look at the side bar of birthdays, and post happy birthday to their wall.
There is a huge dystopian factor of loosing the skill of memorization and becoming more and more reliant on social media for information. It’s scary to think how reliant everyone is on technology now and how much trust we put into a virtual device. We no longer need to memorize people’s numbers or write down an event in our calendars because Facebook can manage those for us. But I believe memorization is a skill that may become extinct, when it is extremely important for our everyday life. Whether it’s memorizing the walk to work or memorizing the notes you just studies for your class, memory is an important skill that could be lost if we don’t stop relying on social media so heavily to manage it for us.
This week’s readings made me feel as though I may have been misusing Twitter for the 4 years I’ve had it, due to the main reason I didn’t want to get Twitter in the first place: using Twitter as a thought box. For some time now, random things will pop up in my head and I tend to think “Oh, that’s so tweetable.” Yes, I realize tweetable isn’t a word. But what about all the articles I read a day? And all the sources and material I come across and that other people could also find beneficial or interesting? It’s funny that it took reading Silver’s “The difference between thin and thick tweets” to make me realize how petty and insignificant my past tweets have been. And that most are practically inside jokes with myself. And it took Silver to make me realize that other people really don’t care.
Now that I’m studying journalism it is a lot more logical to be using Twitter as a way of marketing ideas, and sharing conversation-starting pieces. And in many ways Silver explains his “thick tweets” much like we write our leads. You put the meatier more detailed and layer-heavy information first. A tweet acting as a lead is a lot more noteworthy than a tweet talking about how I have a sudden urge for a donut (yes, I actually did tweet that, but I used an Emoji, so it’s different…)
And I think that when you look at Twitter as a source for information and a quick and easy way to be directed to many links and sources you can justify the site as stimulating. Referring to Shirky’s “Does the Internet Make You Smarter?” I think there are always going to be the occasional Facebook updates, and “cottage cheese tweets” but the Internet also challenges the way I think daily, it’s a big resource for where I get my information and I think without it I wouldn’t have the best accessibility to the information.
Here’s the screenshots to my “thick” tweets:
My mother was not always tech savvy so it took a while for her to hop on the technological advancements bandwagon. And in turn, my interaction with the computer was a little delayed. But when I finally did have my first interactions, I was completely taken aback by the possibilities. The first time I really remember experiencing the web and Internet, besides using paint to scribble nonsense on a PC, was when the new Apple computers came out. My stepdad at the time just got a new desktop computer from Apple while my elementary school got a mass supply of the chunky, translucent Apple iMac’s. The iMac was a major upgrade with its built in CD player, less cables, and sleeker design. This was my first introduction to iPhoto where I was amazed by the storage aspect. We no longer needed to go through overwhelmingly stuffed boxes of old pictures down in the basement. But instead we could store all the family photos in the application iPhoto.
MySpace was a big milestone of my history with the computer. It was my first time encountering the integration of data. I was able to add photos, select a layout design and add the latest now that’s what I call music hits to my profile. Although, I do have MySpace to blame for a lot of preteen angst over who was number one on my top friends list. MySpace was also a source for experiencing the interactivity of the web. I was able to send a message to friends within seconds (time dimension). It was hard to grasp that sense of immediate reaction when I was so used to sending letters to pen pals and anticipating a letter that could take up to a month to receive. Right around the time I got a MySpace account I created my first e-mail account, email@example.com, which of course epitomizes the way kids interacted with the web at that time.