“Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: Chapter 2” – reflection

It is ironic to me, amazingly even, that I am writing a reflection paper on filters being as I don’t have one. Incidentally, I was born without one. It’s a scientific medical condition, look it up. Also, being a person that has never really used Instagram, and rarely, if ever, uses Snapchat, it was interesting to find an entire chapter dedicated to the comparison of filtering photos to technology filtering every day life. And coming to think of it, there are certain times in life that I wish I had such a filter attached to my glasses. Earlier tonight at Wal-Mart, in fact, this would have come in mighty handy.

The deeper I read into the article, the more I realized that this was starting to become a metaphor for the way we perceive things in general. We do take filtering for granted. And I am not talking about my inability to stop certain things from coming our of my big mouth, or the shitty flavor of the coffee at the gas station on my way to school, but the cultural filters that define us. Norms and moreys and that of the like, and these cultural filters, in my humble opinion, can be far more important than the technological ones. We filter everything, a lot of times without even noticing that we are doing it. Meaning, it seems these days everything is sugar coated, and instead of filtering in the traditional sense that we take something away, or remove it, we are now adding it.

We filter our behavior, some more than others, and as I mentioned before I am an extreme example of the latter, we are even being filtered by social media. Twitter limits the umber of characters one can “tweet” at a time, effectively eliminating long winded posts, one of the reasons I would never fit into that scene, and Facebook is now filtering our newsfeed using different algorithms to show us what they think we want to see. How does Facebook know that I am sick of seeing people post about how long they have been clean from meth? I don’t know, but I am glad it does.

One thing I found interesting, was that a lot of journalists have set down their expensive cameras in place of the smart phone from their own pockets to capture pictures so that they, you guessed it, can filter them before they get to us. I, for one, am grateful for this, but it would seem that some people have themselves convinced that this type of filtering is taking away from the inherent “realism” of the whole thing. I disagree. Because, like this 12 page article dictated, things of that nature are what is real these days. Photo filters, I believe was said, is a cultural phenomenon, and photography, in its purest form, is just a manipulated interaction between style and substance (just like me) and maybe that’s how I like it. My girlfriend is a photographer so maybe I am a little biased, but art and beauty alike are subjective, so if a photographer filters a photo before it gets to me, the implication, as I see it, is that is how it is supposed to be. That is real enough, is it not?

Everything is beautiful to someone, just like the converse is true, everything is ugly to someone as well. The writer referred to the technique of art as making things unfamiliar, so filtering seems like as dandy a way to unfamiliarize something as I can think of, although that isn’t exactly the way that I would describe the technique or art, per se, but what do I know?

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“Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: Chapter 2” – notes

(summary)

This is chapter 2 of the book “Seeing Ourselves Through Technology”, and whereas the first chapter we read was about self representation (I.E. selfies and the like), this chapter is about filtering. The author talks about all of the different filtering we use today, some literal, and some figurative. Including, but not limited to, Snapchat filters, Instagram filters, and coffee filters. As with the first chapter, I really enjoyed the use of the dry humor and metaphor combination to get the message across. The premise of the book itself being, how technology has not only shaped our world, but shaped us as well. It was a shorter chapter than the first, but kept in tune with the theme and didn’t veer off. I would have never imagined there would be so much to talk about regarding filters, but I have been known to be wrong once or twice.

(some key terms and main ideas)

  • Algorithmic Culture -the use of computational processes to sort, classify, and hierarchise people, places, objects, and ideas, and also the habits of thought, conduct and expression that arise in relationship to those processes.
  • Discursive –digressing from subject to subject. The implication being that today people bounce from one thing to the next quite easily.
  • Ethnography –the scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures. (As they relate to “Cultural Filters)
  • Aestheticizing – represent (something) as being beautiful or artistically pleasing. (The very reason we “filter” things to begin with)
  • Defamiliarization – render unfamiliar or strange (used especially in the context of art and literature).
  • Technological Determinism –is a reductionist theory that assumes that a society’s technology determines the development of its social structure and cultural values. (We ARE our technology and vice versa)

 

(commentary)

Overall, I really like this book so far. I am one of the few in my class that has gotten to live through a lot of these changes and I remember almost each one and the affect it has had on us. Now, I did miss a little while I was incarcerated, but have done my best to catch up since I have been home. I, personally, don’t use a lot of technological filters (Snapchat and Instagram) but my future wife does, so I like to think that I am hip to, at the very least, the lingo and context that this chapter represents. In truth, I like how the author uses figurative thinking and metaphors to explain that we are doing our best to filter everything these days. Combined with chapter 1 on self representation, it’s as if he is suggesting that the way we think of OTHERS viewing us is more important than the way we view ourselves, or sometimes how the two things become one. I was also really interested in how journalists using filters for their own pictures and articles has become so “controversial.” Journalism, photographic especially, is just like any other art form and is subjective in its beauty. If I take a picture of something because in it I see something that maybe someone else might not, and I filter it in a way that it becomes more visible, is the original piece any less true? Maybe I am biased because of my history with art, but I would imagine that seeing something the way it is INTENDED to be seen would only ever help us understand something. 

“The Folklore We Create…”

I guess first and foremost, I have never considered myself to be part of the “we” that is creating all of the things that are… being created. I certainly would question whether or not my digital footprint was really contributing to anyone. Unless you consider raising the hits on all of the (Eminem) and (Machine Gun Kelly)  beef videos on (Youtube.)

But on a serious note, it is hard to imagine what someone, two generations from now, would think of my social media posts, yikes. A lot of people would probably be confused. I have been through a lot of changes in my life, some of them good, others not-so-much, and as I have evolved my social media and regular media interests have shifted. Right now they would see my passion for art, more specifically tattoo art, music, and writing. I am also obsessed with my credit score so they would probably see a lot of (Credit Karma) goings on.

I am 32 years old and I am only now getting the chance to discover who I am and develop a personality that would then develop its digital footprint that we have been talking about. People would definitely get a sense of the love I have for my family, my devastatingly beautiful other half, and my comrades and brothers who either can’t be with us at the moment, or won’t ever be again. And my, sometimes excessive, fascination with “Norse Mythology,” and me doing my part to keep that alive, long after we are gone.

(Amazon) will probably be running the world by then, so nobody would be surprised at the obscene amount of frivolous things I purchase from them. Those purchases, in and of their selves, would probably confuse people even more. While I do have a ridiculous number of hats and shoes, a lot of my purchases from (Amazon) are the result of my boredom and impulse control. It’s not my fault, they shouldn’t have made it so easy!

As a whole, I think it would be hard to pin point a specific conclusion about who I am, but there are certainly some things that would give them a pretty good idea, from my pictures and things, and then there are those weird things that we all look up in private and hope nobody ever sees or they might make fun of you. Or is that just me? In a nut shell, if the people two generations from now were to dissect my internet and other media usage, and were to draw the conclusion that I am a brash, sometimes arrogant, thoroughly tattooed guy that drives a motorcycle, has a really pretty girlfriend, buys way too many shoes, and whose favorite color is red -well- then, yes, they would be accurate.

“The Mechanical Bride” (notes)

(summary

This is usually the easy part for me, I thought I could just casually read this article and jot some notes down, ha! At first I had NO earthly idea what this article’s purpose was. It wasn’t until I read it the second time that I absorbed all of the metaphors and figurative thinking. Collectively, this article is about how people so blindly hear the news or read the paper and absorb it as fact. And even the journalists, get a different point of view seeing it through the other side. News and newspapers have become all about SELLING news and newspapers, and using any means necessary to do so. (Marshal McLuhan) referred to newspapers as “collective work of art” . He is essentially breaking down modern journalism and trying to express to people that all of the created media and news and advertisements should not be taken at face value, and not only should people have educated opinions of their own, we should be reporting things that will enrich our lives and purpose. Because the majority of ads, and newspapers, and “breaking news” stories on television – are failing miserably.

 

(some key terms and main ideas)

  • Discontinuity – A sharp difference of characteristics between parts of something. (Personally, I think the implication is the separation of “Industrial Man” and “Common Man.”)
  • Quantum – The smallest possible discreet amount of any physical property
  • Industrial Man” – The man (and woman) from before. When our community functioned without the use of most of today’s modern technology.
  • “The condemnation of modern art” – the belief that art has to have some sort of message
  • We are losing sight of the true beauty in the world. Mentioning the turtle who has no idea that he has grown a beautiful shell.

 

(commentary)

The first thing I had to do after I read this, was to RE-READ it and throw away my notions that it was another blurb or article, as it were, and realize that it was but one small part of a book; of an entire message. And personally, I have mixed feelings about the message itself. On one hand, I completely agree that todays media and news is not much more than entertainment, and a lot of times even fails at that. And the magazines we read, and the advertisements we use to bait people into doing this or that, and the technology that we have grown to depend on so much. Smart phones have become a symbiotic extension of ones own arm. It pulls people away from what is important, or what used to be important, and puts us all into a reality created for us by someone else. Free thinking and expression growing fewer and farther in between. Everything is “politically incorrect” and it offends everyone. There are a lot of things that would be so much simpler if all of the various what nots we have been talking about didn’t exist. And then there is the other side where we have a world where we can buy ridiculously expensive things, with credit cards that we can’t pay off, all whilst laying on the couch in your underwear. The media part I am in 100% agreement on, but to lose shopping time in my underwear on the couch – I think not.

“Into the Blogosphere” – reflection

This is my all time favorite part of these assignments. Everyone knows how much I enjoy reflecting. Especially, when that reflecting puts me in a position where I get to disagree with something. This article annoyed me, if I am being quite honest. The pretentiousness of the whole thing really just irked me. Like I mentioned up there in my notes, saying that something like the “blogosphere” is not a community just because the people involved in it have never met and sometimes don’t directly interact with each other is bullshit. If you google the definition of community, one of the alternate meanings defines community as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals…” Citing things like religion as an example. If Christianity, by definition, is a community, does that mean that only Christians whom have met one another or correspond with one another in some way are part of it? I think not. And if a teenage girl wants to create a blog just so that she can post what she is or is not going to wear to school that day, or whether or not Tommy REALLY likes her or is just pretending to do so that he can get in her pants, who is anyone to tell her that she, likewise, is not welcome into the community? The more the merrier, I say. As long as it gets people writing and learning, even if that inherent knowledge is meaningless. My curiosity is why people put that much thought and effort into breaking it down. If you don’t want to read something, or if you are not interested in it – don’t read it. As if there is a shortage on things to read on the internet. Anyway, I did not think the article was overtly negative, or poorly written, or wrong in any way. That was just some of what annoyed me about it. And this is my reflection, I will reflect in any manner I deem fit. That is the point after all, is it not? I do, however, really like some of the comparisons the author made. In particular comparing the blogosphere to ancient Athens, in that it is a system of enlightened democracy that one day was only available to a wealthy few. But, the problem still does lie with the fact that just because a lot of us take the internet for granted, that does not mean that everyone does. In fact, as the author pointed out, a lot of people still don’t even have access to the internet and consider it to be a luxury. Couple that with the fact that most blogs on the internet are, in fact, written in English, and as much as we in America like to ignore, English is not the preferred language of everyone else. One of my favorite parts of the blog was when he spoke of  “The Homeless Guy,” and how this homeless man used to post on his blog from computers at public libraries. Now THAT is dedication to ones craft. Another thing that really struck home with me was the comparison of our little blogosphere to “Big Media.” I have long since feared the news I watched and heard was skewed into the agenda of those who fund the news source in the first place. Is it really news if its only purpose is to serve – well – someone else’s purpose? The problem, as the author pointed out, bloggers still depend on these other news sources for breaking stories and because, frankly, investigative journaling can be expensive and tedious. And I can certainly relate to the desire for less tedium. Give me a short day and a long nap over hours of research any day. For real. The really cool thing about these blogs, again like the author talked about (see, I didn’t find him all that bad) is how the information contained inside of each and every one of these posts is directly reflective of the person writing it. Ohhh… reflection paper. Now I get it. It was right in front of me this whole time, ha! I could’t believe the statistics of how many blogs are abandoned, however. Although, now that I think about it, there are COUNTLESS things that I write and have written that I don’t ever give a second thought about afterward. Scratch my previous comment, as it turns out, I can believe it. I guess, in conclusion, I had mixed feelings about the article. I am always one for learning new things, and taking on new information, so anytime I can walk away knowing more than I did before is a win for me. This is the end of all of my reflecting. Your’e welcome, lol.

“Into the Blogosphere” – notes

(summary)

This article, pretty appropriately titled, is about the evolution of blogging and the way it is making its way into the mainstream. The author begins this article by citing an internet survey that explains that even though there are millions of blogs on the internet today, not many are being used very often, certainly not daily. Especially when they are all looked at comparatively, most of them being “one shot wonders,” or diaries of sorts, written for friends and family that the writer already knows. The article goes on to compare blogging to media journalism today and even makes predictions of it perhaps taking over newspapers and other internet news one day.

(some main ideas/key terms)

  • Blogosphere – Personal websites and blogs, collectively, as an imagined community
  • Money vs. Information – The insinuation that most media is in it for the profits, whereas blogging tends to be geared more toward being informative
  • Global Mediascape – Refers to the electronic print media geared toward cultural flows
  • Blogdom – Singular blog
  • “Blogging Iceberg” – Survey conducted by the Perseus Development Company on various blogs and their inherent purpose and use
  • Community – 1.) A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. 2.) A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

 

(commentary)

I respect all of the views written in this article. I learned a long time ago to always respect the written word of people who have written passionately. I am just more likely to correct the assumption that just because a group of people have never met, does not make them any less a community. And even the “one hit wonders” of the blogging world still have a place inside that community. And even the teenage girls of the world that want to blog about the cute thing that their cat did that day should be able to feel the freedom to do so without some internet company conducting a survey that tells them that they are wrong for doing so. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy reading tasteless garble anymore than the next “real writer,” but who am I to tell anyone else that they aren’t part of a real community when they were so freely invited in. I did, however, agree with many points of the article. In particular, the comparison of small time bloggers to huge media corporations, and the differential in the way news reaches people. I have long since viewed the media I have forced down my throat every day to be a little slanted at times, so kudos on the comparison. Over all, I liked the writing, but I personally share a different view on things. More often than not, I do, though. And the mention of the ritualistic nature of reading the newspaper struck home to me, as well, since I have fond memories of watching my father read the newspaper in the mornings when I was a child and have a hard time picturing him clicking through hyperlinks over his morning coffee. The article was very well cited and very factual, and the more I am learning about blogging, the more interested I become in continuing to do so in the future.

 

Reflection paper “Seeing Ourselves Through Technology Ch. 1”

Being as how busy I am, I really should not be waiting until the last minute to try and organize my notes into an organized, well written, reflection paper. But, here we are at 12:45 on Friday. This is me… reflecting. My initial thoughts and reactions to this article went like this “wow, this is really long..” and then there was “wow, this is going to be long AND boring,” haha, and while I was not exactly riveted to my seat, it did turn out to be a lot different than I thought it was going to be. I have never once put that much thought into the way I represent myself, which is odd because anyone who knows me or is close to me will tell you that the way I “represent” myself is quite important to me. But, the reasons why, or how it started, or the effect is has on us has never crossed my mind. The only time I feel old in my daily life is when I am on my college campus. I am about 14 years older, give or take, than anyone of my average classmates, so while I am not a dinosaur, I do remember when things were different. In retrospect, they were a LOT different. My first cell phone wouldn’t even fit in the pocket of one of today’s “snug” pair of pants that all the kids are wearing. It was Huge. And it served only one purpose: To make and receive phone calls. Yea, weird, I know. There were no apps, or games, or cameras. And the internet that I did rarely have access to was very slow, and it did have chat rooms and things of the like, but for a while it was fairly difficult to connect with anybody, or someone specific, let alone everybody. Technologically speaking, I grew up in a different generation. Like, I mentioned before, when I wanted to write I wrote in a notebook. The process of “saving” anything I wrote involved me just figuring out how NOT to lose it, as opposed to today’s “ctrl s.” Anyway, back to reflecting.. The fact of the matter, as it was mentioned in the article, self representation is much more conversational. It is exponentially easier to be seen at all, let alone the ease we now have to be seen how we WANT to be seen. Everything feeds into everything else now, social media is connected to EVERYTHING. Most of today’s information comes from one form or another. Like the saying goes “if it’s not on Facebook, it never happened.” And it all began with texting, I even remember when instant messenger started becoming pretty popular and that eventually transformed into texting. Somewhere along the line we have developed this inherent NEED to know about something right away, and being able to get ahold of someone instantly, right when you want to, is of the utmost importance. I’m not sure if life just got more intense or we just got more spoiled and needy. I tend to lean more toward the latter. The article itself, at least the chapter that I read shines a different light on it all. Explaining specifically that it isn’t even necessarily about being seen, but also about seeing yourself. I like to think of myself as an artist, or it could just be my excuse to be broody and irritable, but it is how I express myself, not only because someone else might see it and judge it, but because there are things in my head that I can’t explain that need to get out sometimes! And the same is true for many, many, people. The desire is the same, the medium is just different. I also seriously got a kick out or the comparison of a painted self portrait and a selfie. Ha! They both certainly had a similar intended purpose, but rather than sitting for hours while someone paints your portrait and being stuck with it whether you like it or not, we can now simply hit a button to “snap” a picture of yourself. And if you don’t like it, nobody ever has to know about it, unless you accidentally hit the “send” button instead of the “delete” button, in that case it is out of your hands forever. That is one of the big problems, too. Once you put something on the internet, you can’t take it back off. Anyway, I feel as if I have done enough reflecting for today, I should probably get ready for work so I will end with a quote from the article that I wrote down for no real reason: “Find a bit of beauty in the world every day, and if you can’t find it, create it.”

“Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: Chapter 1” – Notes

(summary)

This article is very well, written and surprisingly deep in the point the writer is trying to get across. It is about the way that we represent ourselves – also called “self representation” – today versus how we have represented ourselves in the past. The biggest difference being technological advances over the last 500 plus years, but it is a lot less boring than I thought it would be. It is, in fact, very interesting. The writer compares having self portraits painted, which was popular for hundreds of years, until the invention of the camera, and even then being able to SEE yourself while you are taking the picture is even newer yet with the invention of front facing cameras and then those cameras subsequently being added to our smart phones, giving us the capability to edit and choose the way we are seen in some cases. And the over-all pretense of the article is explaining that even though the way we express and represent ourselves has changed, in some cases drastically, the meaning behind it and the reason we do it has stayed pretty much the same. In some ways, technology makes it easier for certain people to represent themselves, and in other cases it has the opposite effect. And then there are some people who think that the use of technology is mis-representational altogether.

(some key points and main ideas)

  •  3 distinct modes of self representation: Written, visual, and quantitative
  • Quantitative representation – representing ourselves with numerical value.
  • Visual Self representation – representing ourselves visually, through photographs and things of that nature
  • Written self representation – (My favorite) Representing ourselves through words and the things we write
  • Selfie – A picture taken of oneself with a front facing camera
  • Social Media – Websites and apps that allow us to create and share content
  • The use of digital technologies to “see” ourselves, even though “seeing” one’s self has always been a part of our culture.
  • Technology has made it easier to document yourself
  • Self-representation can me a good method of self improvement
  • Social media and blogging are the modern day diary, journal, and memoir.
  • The text we read on social media represent real, living people today, not only celebrities and people of great importance.
  • Writing/sharing photos allows us to SEE how people represent themselves instead of just reading about it.
  • The things we post on the internet are not merely words typed or written from far away, the words and pictures are part of a conversation.

(commentary)

I guess I am just a little confused as to if this article has a singular purpose. It seems to go pretty in depth on the way we represent ourselves and how we use technology to do so, but to what end? The problem is, we don’t know yet. 100 years from now they can be writing articles titled: “How Blogging Ruined our Civilization,”  haha, I severely doubt it, but, hey, I have been known to be wrong a time or two. And this is merely speculation and throwing ideas around since, in reality, I am only on chapter one. I am also a college freshman and would never claim to know how self representation effects us in our daily lives nearly as well as you do, if at all. I was, however, extremely fascinated since, while I am not SUPER old, in the general sense, I do remember growing up with a significant chunk of the technology we have today. Reading about how we have been using self portraits, and diaries, and numbers to represent ourselves for hundreds of years, was particularly interesting. The comparison of having a self portrait painted and snapping a selfie, Ha! Rather than sit for HOURS and be stuck with it whether you liked it or not, we can now edit it before hand. It really made me think how you implied that we have so much more control over how people see us and how that in and of itself is changing us. For the better? Or for the worse? I will just have to wait for chapter 2…

My copyright license choice…

Otherwise titled: “My Creative Commons Copyright License and Me: An in-depth study.” Haha, ok the title is a work in progress. Anyway, I chose the Creative Commons license because I like being able to give people the freedom to use something that I have written for something else. To be honest, it feels good just thinking that it would ever even be an issue in the first place and someone would WANT to use something I have posted and do something else with it. It would be kind of cool to see someone else’s perspective on my writing and when and where something like that would occur. So, yea. That’s why I chose this one. Plus it’s the same one Bonnie uses so I figured I could get brownie points;)

Reaction Summary (“Why Blog?”)

For some reason I always find it funny when I am asked to write a “reaction summary”, haha. I just always picture a “reaction” as being physical. Well, while I am pretty sure I didn’t have a physical reaction the this article, I definitely do have some thoughts on it, some of them I shared in my notes, and even though I have a chronic fear of redundancy, we will dig in anyway. As some of the people reading this may already know, I was introduced to writing by my grandparents whom were a high school english teacher and a magazine writer/owner/editor, respectively. I have almost always kept a journal, and I have been writing music my whole life as well as a few other blurbs and various what nots. My point is, it feels like nobody writes anymore. Not for the intrinsic joy of it, at any rate. They don’t even teach cursive in school anymore, like writing is just falling by the wayside. I mean, my question has always been: How are kids supposed to learn how to sign their names without honing their signature by writing it over and over again on the the cover of a notebook? I digress. My point is, it is all kind of disheartening for me in a way. I always hoped that my children would share a similar love or writing, but with everyone’s eyes and attentions focused whatever screen they happen to be holding at the time, it seems a daunting hope. I honestly never really knew what a blog was before I started this class, and still wasn’t quite sure I had a full understanding until I read this article. And even though, personally, I feel their is no substitute for a pen and notebook, I am part of a dying breed. And this is how our whelps will keep it alive; blogging, even social medial. Whatever the subject matter, whatever the motivation, people are writing and the people reading those writings are, in turn, at least sorely tempted to join in. That’s good enough for me. I even have plans to use a blog to help me organize my thoughts for a book I have been writing in my head for the majority of my life. If I can convince my children that it’s just like any other social media phenomenon, maybe I can get them to broaden their writing horizons as well. My grandmother always told me that it doesn’t matter what you’re writing about – as long as you’re writing. Writing and journaling is now typing and blogging, but the words will stay the same.