The most interesting topic I found out of all the lectures is how our online self differs from our real life identity. This is something I will look into in more depth, not only because it is a good essay question but because I can somewhat relate to it. I have had some interesting debates related to this topic as a few of my colleagues argued that just because our online profiles are standardised, we all have our individual identities, we have not lost our originality. However, I believe that in the online community, we are trying to follow trends, the online ‘challenges’ in order to fit in with our community. We constantly get happy when people ‘like’ our posts and by doing this, I think we have became a part of the online ‘herd.’ We are all following these trends in a way, which takes away from our online experiences. I believe we have become dividuals, with a dual identity for our online and real life self. We struggle for recognition of others online and we are outside of ourselves in these communities. However, these online communities can also be helpful as we can always find sites such as Tumblr where we can go for support and to generally bond with people from the same interests, which is a good aspect. There is so much to cover and look beyond this topic, we could spend all the lectures on this one single issue, however there are other important topics beside this, I just find this particularly mind-triggering. The idea of disembodiment, leaving our physical self behind, we can be anyone we want online and I believe by this, we are becoming more anti-social, yet we think we are more social. As Rheingold stated, “Mobile phones have become the ‘remote control’ of our lives, they are indispensable for orienting ourselves in our daily lives.” I could not agree more as we find it hard to go a day without checking our ‘online life’ and we often tend to put our online conversations before our real life connections. How many times have you been on your phone while sitting in a pub with friends? This idea of becoming more connected but less social is definitely a debatable issue and definitely worth looking into it in a more critical and deeper manner.
Netflix is one of the most obvious examples of content that is copyrighted and only accessible for a monthly fee of £6.99. Some people might find it too much to pay as most of the films/tv shows that are available can be found for free, however they are online pirated/illegal versions in lower quality for example on Putlocker. Many Internet Service Providers have blocked users from accessing these websites as they go against copyright laws including the Creative Commons license. However, Netflix has created some original films and TV shows such as Orange is the New Black which I could not find on these illegal websites, probably because of Netflix’s strict copyright regulations which causes the content to be removed from any other sites other than Netflix. This is done so customers will still maintain their monthly subscription and the website will have some profits. Why would anyone want to pay if the content is available online right? This is why it’s very important that we have a Creative Commons license, which doesn’t only keep the company going, but also gives some credit to the original creator of the TV Show/Film and not misuse it by uploading them to illegal websites. However, I have come across different versions of Original Netflix shows such as ‘The Returned’ in foreign websites which the Internet Service Provider does not recognise, however the website requires you to watch adverts and click on links to access content for free, which cannot be trusted due to possible viruses, so I think it is worth to pay that small amount to enjoy content in a HD quality without worrying about copyright license breaking and viruses. If Netflix did not have these restrictions, people would take advantage of enjoying free stuff without anyone benefiting from it financially; therefore I think Netflix should stay under the Creative Commons license to maintain its content.
A lesson I learnt from sharing personal information on social media is that once it’s on the internet, it always will be and there is no way to take it down. This is why we have to be careful of what we share and post for the public to see. I was shocked when I saw an application service on Facebook called “Bongo- What does Bongo Know about you.” (www.facebook.com/askbongo). It requires you to text a number from your mobile phone with your full name and location and it will give a response about your future. I thought it would be ridiculous, so I gave it a shot and was very shocked when I received a text back:
They not only know that I have blonde hair, they know I am studying television and also mentioned two of my friends names, though one was not spelled correctly; therefore I believe there is a person operating incoming texts and looks at Facebook profiles of costumers. This is an example of my private information not being so private on social media as everyone has access to it, not only my Facebook friends, but third party websites. I find this very disturbing; therefore I will give much more thought on what to share about myself online. Since a very young age, I have been involved with social media, sharing pictures of my life which are still probably around on the internet if I dig deeper. Have you ever googled your own name and found pictures and screen shots from your vine, twitter, Instagram or any other websites? If you can see it, everyone else can. It is essential that we look out for our online privacy and only share information that we would want our future employers to see as well. Since I am a media student and want to work in the industry, I have to put myself online so I have visibility for opportunities; however it is important we check the amount of information and the type of information we put on social media, even applications such as Snapchat. We might think our information is safe, however it travels through a system and it is always available somewhere in the world wide web and websites might gain access to it through other websites, such as finding screenshots on twicsy.com of my ‘Vine’ videos. However, if we have nothing to hide, we should not be worried, right?
Busuu is an online community in a social network form which allows users to learn new languages and connect with people from all over the world that also want to learn new languages. Some features are free to use, including learning one language, however there are premium features for more advanced levels of language study. The website provides the choice between twelve languages including: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Polish, Turkish, Arabic, Japanese and Chinese.
The website enables you to select which language you already speak and allows the user to connect with people that speak the language they wish to learn. This is a useful feature as users can ask other users to correct their mistakes; therefore learning from native speakers of that particular language. The website comes with quizzes to test the abilities of users and test how much they have learnt from other users online. There is a friend request and a messaging system where users can interact with each other, similarly to a social media website. This is a positive example of an online community which users can benefit from, as learning a new language can always be useful. However, this website could improve by adding a wider range of language to select from as only 12 languages are included. I believe the website could expand the number of users by adding more language choices that are not included such as Romanian, Korean, Hungarian and a lot more.
After reading this week’s question, I immediately thought of Tumblr which is a blog type of website where people share thoughts and images of their personal interest, experiences, life stories and a lot more. Almost everything we see on the website was created by its users/audience, only the domain name and the original idea itself was created by the company. It is a fascinating blogging website where people are able to be themselves by re-posting what the other users have already posted if they sympathise with it. The content is one hundred percent made by its audience which go around amongst the users, who ‘reblog’ it later, making it more visible. There is a follow system which enables users to interact with each other and share their personal images, videos and content they have found. Tumblr has a mechanism which enables users to code their own themes, designs and layouts, therefore even the outside look of the website is created by the audience itself.
By altering these codes, the website will immediately look different, so the users can create their very unique appearance. These codes and themes were already created by users who used this website. The information on Tumblr travels rapidly amongst the audience which enables them to share knowledge, interests and entertainment. It is considered as a blog, yet it is so different to WordPress which is used for a more professional purpose, other than entertainment and sharing information and content with other people that they have an interest in ‘following.’
Content of other people are seen on their dashboard and as they scroll down, they see more and more posts from different users. This is a great way of being a part of an online community and I do believe this is a good example of an online website that was completely shaped by its audience for the audience.
I have only recently found out, when I purchased my newest version of the iPhone, that there is an option on there called “Apple Pay”. I was wondering what it could be, and soon realised it can replace my bank card and allows me to pay directly from it, just by touching my iPhone 6S to another device that supports it. A network was created in which we are able to use our mobile phone to use it for purposes that were originally done by physical objects. I do believe this is a good example of digital convergence as we are now replacing the old technology (credit cards, oyster cards) and combining it with our newest technology: the Smartphone. We rely on our smartphones for everything now and it is replacing everything we once used, for example, calendars, alarm clocks, notepads and many other features.
I was surprised when I found out that we can use our Apple Watch or iPhone 6s to use contactless payment on the Tube, DLR, Overground and all other transportation methods in London. It works as the same way as an oyster/rail card in which people can touch in and out of the checking gates. This is a very interesting form of convergence of combining the old with the new and makes me wonder where we will go from this. Will it advance even further, and will this be the end of Oyster Cards?
I have found an interesting online organisation blog called PsyBlog.org in which professionals elaborate on psychological issues relating to many topics, including media, the internet and social networking. My main focus was on online networking and how the mind becomes manipulated and how people become a different person when they are chatting online.
This website offers different posts written by academics on various topics, so I think it is useful to look at if you want to find out about the effects of social media and the internet on people’s behaviour. I have looked at an article which I found interesting called ‘Online disinhibition’ which is written by Dr. Jeremy Dean, a psychologist and author on PsyBlog. Online disinhibition is the idea that people feel less inhibited with social conventions when online and they abandon social restraints when interacting on online platforms. For example, in face-to-face conversations, people would be less likely to say something cruel, fearing the consequences, whereas in the online world, people abandon this inhibition. The article justifies the reasons of why this is happening and goes in depth for the effects it has on society. I think it is an interesting website to look at to find out how the Internet psychologically effects us either in a positive or negative way and we get an insight to the professional view of academics and professionals.
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