We will be discussing the issues of race, class and gender in technology. We’ll research how inequalities in the real world are carried over to the digital world. We live in a white, male, upper class dominated society- how does this reflect through our online communities as well? How are women vs. men treated online? How are upper classes vs. lower classes helped or hindered by technology? What impact does race have- does race matter online? We hope that racism, sexism and class inequalities will be eliminated from the real world, but how are we trying to eliminate these things from our digital worlds? We will touch on themes from the course such as utopian/dystopian narratives, identity, and community.
The main medium we are going to use will be an activist group that we will make. It will bring to light these issues in technological inequalities to more people and hopefully bring about a change, even a minor one. We will also make an infographic to further display our data findings.
We will meet every Sunday until our project is due to check in with each other and discuss our progress. We will collect our data and have a solid base by Nov. 3rd. Then every Sunday from then out, we will meet and add new findings from that week to our activist group. In addition, we have a Facebook group made for our group so we can communicate with each other more easily between in-person meetings.
Example articles for race, class & gender issues in technology: https://comm200nmc.wordpress.com/schedule/week-12/
FINAL PROJECT PAGES:
- The “About” section
- Pinned introduction “Why do we need peace on the web?” video
- The “Photos” (both album & timeline photos)
- Timeline (Articles, videos, etc)
- Word cloud (on timeline & in album)
- Timeline (Articles, retweets, videos, pictures, etc.)
Why We Created “Peace on the Web”
We all want a sense of peace in our world. Peace from slander, peace from bullying, peace from racism and sexism. However, as the world we live in begins to become fully integrated into the digital sphere, the ability to distinguish what world is “real” and what is not becomes unclear. Modern teens spend an average of over 7 and a half hours a day consuming digital media whether its on social websites, surfing the web, or reading blogs and this number is increasing each year. The way young people use technology is only an indicator of the direction it is going in the future. Our lives continue to be so contingent upon the internet that it is now impossible to hide behind anonymity and a computer screen as it was in the past – at this point, who we are on the web should be the same as who we are in life. What is posted online isn’t written in ink, it’s set in stone and is capable of being stored forever and seen by an unimaginably large audience. This is why creating the online advocacy group Peace on the Web was so important.
Peace on the Web strives to take a stand. To start a conversation on a topic that should be important to every web user who ever made an online identity and entered into a digital community. The legislation and education on the topic of web justice is so dismal, something shocking considering the billions of people that spend so much time online each and every day. The group seeks an opportunity to inform the public on current issues that affect web users whether its online bullying, sexism in the media, the existence of racism on the internet, or other online attacks. Harassment is illegal under the law, and it should be extended into the digital world as well. It has become so easy for users to hide behind screen names and their “first amendment rights” to say anything they want to hurt people they may never know in person. Peace on the Web has had enough of this injustice.
The group itself consists of a Facebook page with almost 400 likes and a coordinating Twitter account. Every day there are multiple articles posted on the page pertaining to topics related to peace on the web. There have been posts about good things like bringing internet access to low income areas, work being done to stop online hate culture, and current court cases arguing over online justice. There are also posts about the bad such as comedians tweeting racists and sexist remarks, TV shows being created to highlight the most horrible “comments sections”, and online harassment issues in the workplace. Peace on the Web touches on parts of multiple different topics and issues currently happening online in order to inform its followers to the fullest that it can.
The internet is unregulated, and that was originally the beauty of it. However, this fact has brought extensive hurt and offense to so many innocent people that do not deserve such kinds of injustice. Peace on the web isn’t a personal issue, its a human issue and affects all internet users. Because of this, Peace on the Web has started a campaign to find out why exactly each person wants digital peace. By posting a photo on the Facebook page with a picture of their “reason” for online peace, Peace on the Web had a unique chance to see unique reasons why people believed in the cause followed. There were a range of responses such as “because the virtual world is a reflection of the real world”, “because the human spirit is greater than a spiritless web”, and “because I should always feel safe on my computer”. These photos really got the conversation going about why and how individuals are affected by issues on the internet and this was able spark the interest of the facebook community even more.
Peace on the Web aims to prove that equality on the internet is necessary and create a movement that people can and want to join. No matter what social class, gender, sexual preference, race, etc., Peace on the Web believes that the internet should be a safe and enjoyable place. Being a group of 4 women, the topic of gender equality on the web resonated with us. During class discussions, the idea of women being treated unfairly on the internet came up frequently. Women have fought for equality in the real world, but are oftentimes ostracised and treated unjustly on the internet. We decided to study gender on the internet, but after doing some research, we discovered that other groups of people also face the same challenges with the web, so we decided to create a larger, more inclusive movement.
Many internet users are oblivious of the unfairness and social injustice that constantly occurs on the web, so Peace on the Web’s goal is to raise awareness of these issues and encourage users to spread equality on the internet. We decided to bring about these changes using our Facebook and a Twitter page. We figured that these by using these two forms of social media we would be able to reach a large audience fairly easily. The key aspect of our Facebook and Twitter page was generating likes and interaction with our followers. It was very simple to invite all of our Facebook friends to like the page, however, we needed to make our page stand out from others, so people actually wanted to follow our page. We did this by posting interesting articles that were relevant to our movement and chose titles that would grab user’s attention. As previously mentioned, we also decided to generate followers by asking people to share their own photos of why peace on the web is important to them. On Twitter, we shared the same articles and photos from followers, but also retweeted relevant accounts. We felt that social media was the best platform to raise awareness of our cause because it’s on the internet and there are plenty of trolls lurking on Facebook and Twitter.
This issue is important to address because, as we have learned through this class, our real lives and our virtual lives are highly intertwined with each other in this technological day and age. Sexism, classism, racism and the like are all issues in the real world and are thus reflected in the virtual world. In a way, they are almost bigger issues in the virtual world because it is still unregulated as a whole. People hide behind anonymous, usernames and their computer screens in general to lash out and spread hate. Some of these people try to justify this hate by bringing up their First Amendment right to free speech, yet hate speech is not free speech. Hate speech and harassment towards certain groups or individuals makes them less likely to want to speak up for fear that they are going to be further subjected to these things. Our goal is to try and give the oppressed their voices back and stop this harassment. Our culture has made progress on these issues in the real world, we don’t want to figuratively take a step back by allowing these issues to exist on the web.
Many people tend to just overlook these issues because they are so ingrained in our culture. Our goal is to make people aware of them and show them what’s happening so that we can work together to stop it. It’s not just one persons issue, it’s all of ours’ issue as a culture. When we see these injustices taking place online, we need to speak up, not avoid them. We can educate younger generations, and even older generations, on what is and is not appropriate to say online. Education is key. Hopefully we can motivate people to call for more online regulation as well. The internet claims to be a utopian place for everyone to share information and thoughts, yet right now that’s hardly the case. We hope to bring equality back to the web and make it a more even platform for people of all ages, sexs, class and gender to express themselves freely and without ridicule.
With the digital world continuing to grow in popularity and advance in technology, we are increasingly able to communicate with thousands of people at our fingertips. This has made the internet a popular option for people or organizations looking to spread a message to a vast amount of people . The internet allows activist groups to build a following, connect with those who share the same ideas and passions, and raise awareness and/or funds on the issue at hand. Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter have proven to be beneficial in spreading a message, whether it be via a facebook group or a twitter hashtag by gaining support, providing information that may otherwise be overlooked, and ultimately reaching an audience in an innovative and efficient manner.
For those reasons, we chose to use social media as our platforms for our digital artifact. We have created and continued to work on Peace on The web, which like previously stated, focuses on raising awareness and putting an end to online inequality, through the use of two of the most popular social media channels, Facebook and Twitter. Not only do these platforms allow us to provide information quickly and for little cost, we also chose to use social media to host Peace on the Web in that the very cause we are representing often takes place on these websites. Online inequality is everywhere in the digital world, and with social media dominating the internet right now, it is no surprise that inequalities dealing with race, sex, social class etc. have a growing presence on these sites.
The internet overall emphasizes openness and the ability to express oneself, however, being open and being equal are not the same thing. The lack of “peace” on the web limits people to voice their opinion in fear of backlash, and we felt that we had to do something about it. We tried to create an opportunity for the general public, those who are not going to be the protesting and in the street activists, to be part of our community. Facebook and Twitter allows for people to be part of spreading our message, without having to march the streets of Chicago. We wanted to give people an easy way to make change happen and we believe we have achieved that.