Author: junaskrami

Ms. Anita

Seeing Anita Sarkeesian speak at the symposium on Friday was everything I thought it would be, and more. I grew up in household with two younger boys who played PlayStation and XBOX religiously. I really enjoyed playing racing games, and I still do to this day, but whenever I wanted to play with the boys, I was always told no. AL my older guy cousins were allowed to be addicted to the games and spend their free time playing them. I remember one Christmas; I got a TV plug-in game called “Dream Life Superstar”. I was really confused at the time because I had shown no interest in the game and I was enjoying playing my Mario Kart and Formula 1 games on the PlayStation. Looking back, of course I realize that my parents noticed that I liked to play the games that the boys had, and assumed I only played them because they were the only ones available to me, so they decided to get me games they assumed I’d enjoy. I cannot say I didn’t enjoy playing the TV plug-in, because I most definitely did, but I did always hate the fact that everyone didn’t understand why I wanted to play the PlayStation or the XBOX. Why does gender define gaming preference?

Anita talked a great deal about her childhood experiences with gaming. She even inserted a picture in her PowerPoint of her with a controller in hand when she was really young. It was really comforting for me to hear her talk and to be able to relate to her frustration and to see how she dealt with it. It made me realize that there’s no reason I should have been feeling guilty about my desire to want to play the same games that the guys were into.

Of all the slides on her PowerPoint, the one that I really liked the one concerning Cyber Civil Rights. She talked about how states need to update their stalking laws to include harassment and threatening online and civil rights laws need to update to criminalize threats motivated by gender bias, not just racial bias. I really like that she’s bringing attention to these issues because I feel like it’s often overlooked because it is happening in a virtual world and not in a physical world. I think people seldom forget that if someone is invading your life in a harassing way, whether it is online or real life, it still should not be permissible. I think it’s incredibly hard to regulate and track people down but if there were more laws that regulated just how viral the harassment online is, it would possess more people to be cautious. Would there be less issues if there were laws? I think yes.

There was a huge line of people waiting to talk to Ms. Sarkeesian so I mostly just commended her on her work and thanked her for taking in account the thoughts of just about any feminist and going viral in doing so. I think what she is doing for the community of feminists is beyond inspiring and I really felt honored to meet her and listen to her express her feelings.

Anita Sarkeesian (third from left) posing with me (first from left) and my friends.

Anita Sarkeesian (third from left) posing with me (first from left) and my friends.

LambdaMOO take 2

Lambdamoo was an experience I was not prepared for. In class, I was having the hardest time understanding what was going on. I was getting anxiety from watching people accomplish all these things on the site while I couldn’t even decipher where I was. I decided I would hold off on it, until I got back to my dorm and I could go online without everyone else being on.

I got back to my room and launched the terminal once more. Thankfully, there was a lot less people logged on at the time and I was able to calmly try and figure out where I was. Of course, like everyone else, I started in the coat closet. I opened the door and headed toward the entrance hall and to the dining room. I tried to communicate with people but no one was in the dining room at the time so I went off to venture more.

Being an avid reader, I really enjoyed the fact that every time you entered a room, there was a highly descriptive excerpt that created a realistic panoramic of the house. At first, I thought it’d be really boring eventless, but the more I read and the more I was able to communicate with other people and robots that were online, the more I was able to see the progress of the application.

I definitely can understand how people can become addicted to these types of environments because it is all text based and it allows people to create new identities for themselves and use their imagination. I was personally proud of myself for learning how to wave at people and actually get help from the few willing characters I encountered.

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I was kind of scared when I saw the initial ‘warning’ that was displayed about how it’s each person’s responsibility to be nice while online and to be respectful of others. The fear I had was due to the fact it didn’t even occur to me that there could be people that would choose to come online with the intentions of hurting others. I personally believe that when people are online, they are much more vocal in their opinions and they may say/do things they never would offline, I would presume most people agree?

After reading, “A Rape in Cyberspace”, I realized just how cruel people can be. The nice thing about sites like MOO is that it’s really easy to be yourself without any judgment from people. With that being said, people also use it negatively. There tons of people who will go on the site with awful intentions and act freely because they know they will suffer no consequence because to them it’s just an online game where they are hidden behind a screen. But where can the line be drawn? How can we stop it from happening when it is anonymous?

I am thankful that these virtual realities exist and that it gives people a sense of community with people they have never, and probably will never meet. I wish there wasn’t people who used it for the wrong reasons, but in every society there will always be outliers that ruin a learning experience with evil intentions.

The Downfall of Too Much Convenience

In the last ten years, the phenomena of text messaging has taken the world by storm. When I was in the fourth grade, I remember a friend of mine had just gotten her very first cell phone. I didn’t really know much about them, I would just play the game “Snake” on my moms Nokia.

Then, two years later, I received my very first cell phone. It was a pink Motorola Razr.I remember that my dad told me with my plan, I had 300 texts a month. To me, that was an obscene amount and I figured I was going to be fine. I was really surprised when the first phone bill came and I got a twenty-five minute lecture on my lack of responsibility. Eventually, “family plans” came out and my parents and I both had unlimited text messaging. This was like a whole new world for me.

Text messaging was the most addicting form of social media that I’ve ever encountered. Soon after, I got an iPhone and I began to iMessage.

imessage

I am still very much connected to people through means of text messaging. I am always near my phone and it’s very strange if I don’t respond to a text within an hour. I mean, who doesn’t check their phone at least once an hour? Through a Utopian viewpoint, I clearly can see why text messaging is wonderful and how it has brought so many people together. Coming from an international family, I love that iMessage has made it possible for me to be able to talk to my cousins/aunts/uncles etc. on a daily basis without fearing my monthly bill.

Unfortunately, I think that the availability of being able to text message at any given moment, is a disadvantage. Every single day, someone dies due to an accident caused by text messaging. Some people, cause deaths by sending texts while they drive, others cause accidents as they are walking through traffic with their eyes glued to their screens. I just don’t think the dangers that come from this convenience, are worth it. The amount of people that are dying is not worth the easy access of communication, is it?

Along with that, I also think that the need for human contact is slowly diminishing. We no longer ask for people’s number with the intent of calling them. We send them texts and quite frankly, it’s become rather weird for someone to call you solely just to have a conversation. I think we lean on technology and it is impairing our social skills out of the internet scene. For this reason I would have to agree with the Dystopian viewpoint.

#Hashtag

I have always been fond of Twitter. I made my twitter in my junior year of high school. I was pressured into making a Facebook when the hype of MySpace died down, and I never really enjoyed using it and I rarely ever posted. One of my close friends introduced me to Twitter when she was reading tweets from a parody account. I remember hysterically laughing and immediately wanting to make an account so that I could follow more accounts.

I made a Twitter and I was lost. I did not understand how to use the hashtag and what the purpose even was. I was just so mind-blown by the fact that I was able to follow my favorite music artists and authors to see what they were up to and what kind of inspirational posts they had to share with the world.

I currently have been really interested in learning about ISIS and what is happening in Syria and obviously, American journalists and Syrian victims. I follow a lot of foreign correspondents on Twitter and I think it’s really beneficial because I feel like I’m getting a lot more info, that is much more honest than I am when I watch the news. I think a lot of people think that it’s crazy that I trust people on Twitter over the internet but my question to them is, how can you decide who has more credibility when we are constantly lied to by the media?

Over the summer I went on a trip across Europe and I used twitter all of two times in a month. I had the ability because of wifi and hotspots but I was too busy exploring and when I got home I’d be so tired that I wouldn’t have the energy to check my social media. This made a big impact on me because prior to this, I would be very active on Twitter, as it was my second favorite form of social media, following Tumblr, and I would post on average about 3 thin tweets a day. Now, I just scroll through my feed and if I see an interesting BuzzFeed or UpWorthy article, I’ll retweet it or favorite it. Sometimes it gets really difficult because I start getting bored easily throughout an article and I constantly tell myself, “Oh I can just come back to this.” I could really relate to Nicholas in his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”when he said “My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” I would be really interested in knowing if the internet has had the opposite effect on people and if it makes them read much more closely and absorb everything?

I hardly ever make my own tweets because I’ve developed a new mentality that I only speak (tweet in this case) if what I have to say will improve the silence.

Juna Skrami

Addiction Over Time

My earliest memory of using the Internet is when I was in 4th grade and I learned about Disneychannel.com. I remember that we had dial-up Internet and I had to ask permission to use the Internet for twenty minutes at a time because that would prevent my parents from being able to talk on the phone. When I discovered the Disneychannel.com I was overwhelmed by all the opportunities I had for online gaming, in so little time.

The first game that I ever played online was called, Rufus Snow Ride. Actually, I was ranked number 8 in the United States for a verrry short period of time. Nonetheless, my few moments of glory existed and they were wonderful. Disney Channel had a lot of games as time went on and I found myself consumed by their website for most of my free time.

My first form of social media was AOL Instant Messenger. Thinking back, I’m quite embarrassed of the things I used to post and my “Away Messages” which were almost always a quote about a boy who probably never checked them. I think that AOL really was the first spark of a fire that encompassed all social media. The popularity that skyrocketed from just about all of the preteens of the US, was astounding.

I think MySpace was a product of the success of AIM. I remember all of my friends having MySpace’s and the constant begging to my parents about wanting to make a profile. MySpace was addicting because it was new media and it was so interactive. You’re constantly looking at new things that are being updated and you have so much more ability to connect with friends outside of physical means.

Currently, I’m an active member of Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. I think that the capacity that new media holds is astounding. I can literally check my twitter in two-minute intervals and have a completely new newsfeed. I don’t think I would consider myself addicted, but then again, I can’t imagine going a day without checking my newsfeeds.

 

  1. What do you think is most interactive about new media?
  2. What do you think is the most beneficial aspect of social media?

 

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http://games.disney.com/disneychannel-rufus-snow-ride

 

http://blog.pixellogo.com/industry-news/industry-news-myspace-is-back-and-with-a-brand-new-look/

 

http://findlogo.net/show/detail/A/aol-instant-messenger-239-logo#.VAn8lWRdWQY

 

Juna Skrami