Thursday, April 2, 2009

Online Identity Revealed?

Online identity seems to be a hot topic in class discussions. In the day and age of technological everythingness- online identity is important to consider while spending time online. We often forget that the image you project online is just as, or even more so important than that of what you show of yourself in person. At least in person, those around you get a feel of what your like and who you are. Online, they have to take your word for it.

Game theory talks about how identity functions in the online world and how people behave in online situations. Given the reality that online dating, social networking online and other online communication methods are sweeping society away- creating and maintaining an online identity is unavoidable.

I myself am very weary of the internet for social purposes. I do not use online dating servies, however, my best friend is an avid fan. I make fun of her constantly, but she swears by it. Plenty of Fish- how cute. Her online profile contains a list of activities she claims to enjoy. White water rafting, mountain climbing, rollerblading- just to name a few. I've never in my 8 years of knowing her witnesses any of these acts. Actually, in all truth we did go white water rafting- once. This online identity she clings to isnt real. For the most part, its all fake. It is what she wants to project. Im sure she would love to do these things, but it just doesnt happen. So I continuously poke fun at her Plenty of Fish account. The guys she meets on there have never worked out. For the most part just been disapointments looking for a hook-up. They are not who they say they are either- not 100% at least.

It all relates back to game theory. Its a strategic thing. Developing and maintaining an online identity. Facebook is another great example. I dont have pictures on there that I dont like. I untag myself in pictures I do not want people seeing on my profile. I dont have much in my profile written about me. My photos are of me partying and travelling. My friends list contains only people I know, and I do not accept invitations to lame parties or groups I think are stupid. This is my online Facebook identity. Carefully groomed to be what I want it to be. Its not the real me. There no pictures of me doing homework or waking up and brushing my teeth- its doesnt happen. But it does happen. But not online. My online self doesnt clip her toe nails or burp loud in front of people. My online self doesnt vacuum the carpet or pull gross hair out of the sink. This is what I actually do in real life.

So it all boils down to what you want others to think of you. What you are on the internet is not what you are in real life- at least not 100%. The most important thing is to remember that those standards apply to the people we deal with on the other side of the screen.

So, Ive stumbled upon a great site while doing some online surfing! This page is called and it talked about alternative voices in the media. On this page I found links to a variety of alternative voices – and opportunities for participation. This site addresses the notion that media contributes to a lot of social problems. It lets you have access to alternative websites, print magazines, radio, TV, film & video, books and other sources of alternative media by non- professionals! This site allows users to explore more than one facet of citizen media at the same time. They say "Face-to-face communication is key, so we include listings of resource centres, gathering places and events. Finally, we wrap up with a section on how to "become the media" – as a writer, by starting your own publication or website, or simply by writing a letter to the editor". This is so awesome because it basically serves as directory for alternative media- amazing.

Alternative voices talks about what it wrong with the media and emphasizes the notion that we get our information from the dominating class. The site describes media as "An Unholy Trinity: Truth, Market Forces and the Media – Mass media performance - its omissions, biases, distortions, deceptions – reflects the fact that the mass media is itself part of the same power structure that plunders the planet and inflicts human rights abuses on a massive scale." This is why they believe that alternative voices are so important, and having them heard is crucial. Citizen media is all about participation and teamwork.

Publicization of media events is another manin issue that Alternative Voices addresses. The media chooses what we hear about and what we dont hear about. This is such a problem that society deals with because we dont know how seriously to take the news.

Journalism is such a powerful tool, but it can cause problems within society. Citizen media calls for critical thought and analysis through its wide range quality and the notion of free speech for all. With citizen media, we are able to analyze what we hear and take it as seriously as we want. This site is awesome for finding sources and learning more about the concept of citizen media and paticipatory action!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dangers of Facebook

I have been thinking and hearing about the dangers of Facebook a lot lately. Made me wonder how many potentially incriminating photos I have up on that puppy- and the amount of potentially incriminating photos that I'm not even aware of are up there - SCARY! Is my potential employer actually going to find a way onto my Facebook page and creep me out? Is that why I havnt been getting those jobs after the first interview?

Its been bothering me for a few reasons. Are my children going to one day have access to my ancient Facebook page and see pictures of me pouring vodka into my topless friend's mouth in Mexico over spring break? Just the thought that this is a potential issue makes me cringe...

Will my parents see the insane online version of me and my friends? I know that Ive exposed children of family friends online to my parents. No harm done though, right? Wrong. Obviously these photos show a side of you that no one knows other than your friends at University. I think that Facebook should have stayed a University networking site, for this reason.

I hate worrying that other will interpret my online identity as something that it is not. And the idea of Facebook owning my online face! This kills me, it will never be mine again. I want to be a lawyer one day- how will Facebook affect that plan? It has the ability to potentially ruin my future career! Im scared...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Environmental Activism as Citizen Media

With each passing day it seems as if the status of environmental health and well being becomes lower and less likely to improve. Modern society, in particular Western modern society has been swept away with technology that involves a high frequency of energy consumption. The use of such technologies is so ingrained into the everyday lives of people around the world, especially in North America, that it is almost unimaginable for most people to be without it. On many levels, technology facilitates life for millions of people in North America, as well as in many regions of Europe and more developed regions of the world. This society relies so heavily on the use of these forms of technology that it is taken for granted and hardly even considered. This unnatural phenomenon has swept over many parts of the world often going unnoticed.

Global warming, climate change, oil depletion, pollution, water contamination and other countless planet harming events have become a bigger deal today than they have ever been considered as before. It seems to have crept up on today’s society out of the blue. These life-threatening realities seem to have not existed only a few short years ago or at least to the extent that they are being considered at now. It is almost as if the people of the world have practically used the world’s resources to such a maximum capacity that they are close to complete exhaustion.

Energy use, emission of green house gases, environmental contamination and other events that occur on such large scales as these have been happening for decades but the effects and potential effects are only being felt and foreseen at this point in time. The question now lays in the issue of what people can do to turn this planet threatening situation around. In the beginning pages of “Igniting a Revolution”, Bron Taylor discusses the notion that the planet is in such a state of peril that many are tired of sitting back and watching this happen. Beyond that even, many activists have made attempts to send their message out and have looked to assistance from officials and governments that have the ability to raise awareness and set rules that when combined, could truly set precedence and make a difference. The use of technology functions both for and against this movement. The use of technology often requires such high levels of energy that people could never fathom that their everyday actions require energy on such a grand scale. Technology is the leading issue when it comes to environmental peril and global damage. There are so many factors to take into consideration when it comes to the depletion of non renewable global resources that they are literally countless.

On the other side of this problem, technology is used to send a message against its use. Radical activists and environmentalists alike have gone to extremes to have their voices heard. This course has taught that sometimes when civil behavior and communication proves itself not to be enough, people who care enough will go to violent extremes in attempts to make a difference. Bron explains that the term “revolutionary” is not a concept that should be feared, but rather to be understood as a process of positive change making and as something that is long lasting rather than disposable. The author goes on to say that many of the ‘revolutionaries’ that together created “Igniting a Revolution” part-take in efforts to change the current social system for they do not believe that the appropriate foundation has been set to facilitate a difference.

This book is comprised of many authors who want to make a difference through activism and speaking out against the state. In many ways this is a form of citizen media. Average people working along side one another in efforts to make a difference. Having your voice heard and facilitating an arena in which to have this happen is what activism and citizen media is all about.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'd like to comment on and explore this whole Twitter phenomenon that is taking over the internet and the way that people communicate. I watched a video regarding Twitter on Youtube a couple of minutes ago and it helped me to understand why people are for and against the use of Twitter. So basically this online tool is supposed to help people stay in touch and have perpetual knowledge of what all their friends and/or associates are up to. To me this whole concept seems invasive and a little strange, but I see the potential appeal. We are living in an age where everything is virtual and digitalized. On Twitter, you are talking to noone and everyone of this same time. People are putting every second of their lives onto this device just because. The video I watched comments on the notion that if these people who are friends on Twitter were actually friends, they would pick up the phone and make the call to let eachother know what they are doing- if it actually mattered. But it doesnt, people care becuse its up there- if it weren't, it would become obsolete. Like the video says- it's like yelling into the open air "Im watching tv with my cat". I presume that this is a form of citizen media, but what exactly is the point? The video also highlights the notion that people are exhibitioning themselves online. Facebook, Twitter and all these other forms of presenting youself online is one hige exhibition of youself- or your online self. Game theory ties into this whole online identity concept. Why do we bother creating an online self to begin with? Why do we use our citizen media skills for such seemingly pointless purposes? If we put half the energy into something more useful than we do into Facebook and Twitter, we could all be professional journalists. Why do we put our lives up on display in such a way. People become obsessed with the virtual world and I feel as if our social skills are going down the tube. I dont understand why we can no longer pick up the phone to make a phone call- its all about online communication and expression. We have entered a new rhealm of life and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Here is the link, this video is very funny and cute- fun to watch as it expresses nothing but the truth about Twitter- or the trouble with Twitter! ENJOY!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


After exploring, I came to the conclusion that this is an informative site available to all who wish to have access to it in order to educate and to encourage participation.

I noticed as well that a component of this site is the sharing of hacktivist information for the purpose of encouraging the free use of internet. This site is a blog in the respect that it is compiled of updates, links, archives and more. It is citizen media in its purest form; this site allows anyone to join in the mission to ‘free the internet’ and wants people to have their say as well as to respond to the various compartments of hackbloc. It is multilingual which suggests that this site is not limiting anyone’s access and/or participation. There is definitely a feeling of community to this site. After reading about the various projects which are posted to this site, I’ve gathered a general idea that regular participants of this site indeed have a somewhat shared set of beliefs however, the uniqueness of the projects suggest that no group or individual has the exact same motive for their participation. For instance, the aim of a group such as Tapatio is to practice somewhat anarchist actions. Tapatio is geared towards the reduction of authoritative impact upon society. A group such as this is aware that they cannot reduce the presence of authority so they have decide to do what they can to work against it in different ways. Whereas a group such as Anarchist FAQ is simply there to educate visitors on what it means to be an anarchist. Their participants do not devote the majority of their time to Anarchist FAQ, they have jobs and this group is more of a hobby. I found this site to be very interesting and it’s a great example of social citizen media. It has been created to serve as both a forum, so everyone can get their desired information, as well as a participation tool. This site goes beyond blogging in a way and it has taken me further into the world of citizen media.

I've really enjoyed exploring the world of blogging and sites such as this one appeal to me a lot.
It reminds me a bit of Facebook in a way. People coming together for a purpose (even though the purpose of Facebook is quite different) and sharing with eachother their goals and progress.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hi everyone,

I have recently been surfing the net for blogs I personally find interesting and useful. It has been an eye opening experience and I've realized that the possibilities are endless- literally!

I've learned that citizen media may very well become the new way of the world. Mass media has reared it ugly head so many times in recent news that it is difficult to find continuity in one source, and even more difficult to trust. Bias in the media exists everywhere, but at least with citizen media we know what we are getting ourselves into and can enter the experience with open and critical minds.

I stumbled upon a page called Youth Service America on while surfing the net not too long ago. This page talks about all new and old forms of citizen media tools which are available online and help people get their message out. Twitter, Antsa and Koloina were tools which I didn't know much about- and still don't really, but have come to see that they are interesting ways to stay connected. The mobile phone update concept is intriguing to me, but I'm not entirely sure I am 100% behind the idea. Twitter seems like a great tool for those who are comfortable with others knowing their every move, I'm not quite sure something like this is for me. After reading more on the YSA site, I was introduced to some young people who had been commenting on these online tools, writing of their positive experiences and goals they wanted to reach through this type of citizen media. One young person suggested that:

"One of our priorities was to bring more and more news from the provinces. Not only because of the very little place they take on mainstream media but also to share to the world the cultural diversity and great potentials of each regions" (Patrick).

This is exactly what I think is the key behind citizen media, to get your word out and encourage others to do the same. Although a service such as Twitter may not necessarily be for me, I think it is important for those who find it useful to use it to it's maximum potential. Another young girl commented on her personal situation from Majunga. Her region had just experienced riots due to war and she used this site and other tools to get her word out for others to help and to understand what was happening from a young person's standpoint. Not only did she tell her story online, she also went to the streets and conducted interviews with people sharing her experience. This is such a courageous person who risks her safety and well being just to ensure that others can get a grasp of this horrendous situation. It is still difficult for me to wrap my brain around her story and truly feeling it would be impossible, but hearing it from her was one hundred times more meaningful than if I'd heard it through and actual news report.

After reading up on and hearing stories from young people who are using different online tools to reach others and affect the world, I am finally starting to see what citizen media means. It is a new world of communication. I cannot wait to find more stories such as the one of this young woman and learn about others without a middleman.

Until next time