Another Lap Around the Track!

nascar-daytona

 

Last week I developed a Storify story based on the NASCAR Daytona 500 Crash that occurred on February 23rd 2013. During the last lap of the race, the race cars lost control sending Kyle Larson’s race car airborne and right into the fence in front of the grandstands. The collision sent pieces of large debris rapidly through the fence and into the stands, injuring 33 fans.  The amount of media attention gained after the crash was vast. The media attacked the safety precautions for fans at NASCAR races and the need for new safety fencing infrastructure surrounding the track to prevent other events such as this to occur again. This crash has brought forward multiple issues that have the potential to change the sport of racing. I have devoted my blog to provide readers with the up to date information with NASCAR and more specifically actions following the Daytona crash.

Please view the NASCAR twitter feeds, NASCAR Fan Blogs, and links to the most recent articles on the crash!

module 8 blog

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Prodused By…

Module 8 photo

As a university student, I could not fathom the idea of completing a 4 year degree, requiring countless numbers of papers and group projects without the one tool that I use the most, my computer. It is hard to imagine that only one generation ago, university students had to travel to a library to gather all the required information for a paper, sourcing, reading, and photocopying, countless books and articles, and then travelling to another library if more information was needed, or an integral book had already been signed out. Group meetings were organized events, with study rooms having to be booked to meet and confer on a paper topic.  A mere generation later, all of this work is reduced in my world, by a click of a button to surf the Internet. I can find a limitless amount of information about any topic I choose, written with the more current information, by the leading experts in any field, without leaving the comfort of my desk. The information is available to me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the only constraints, being the availability of an internet connection. I keep in constant touch with my group project members by creating a group on Facebook where we can communicate from wherever we are, share information and upload documents. The computer is the 21st century, cultural machine (Lunenfeld, 2007).

The computer provides users with the hardware and software to generate media. It allows users to have access to the web that produces countless outlets for gathering and sharing information. It allows “produsers” to occupy the digital world. “Produsers” are described by Bird (2011) as the merger of producer and consumer in an interactive environment. They represent a cultural shift with the widespread use, and evolution between the audience (those receiving the information) and the producer, into active participants online, and the progression of how society interacts with media, specifically in the web environment. Not everyone is a produser. Bird (2011) states only 1 in 100 will be active online produsers. Throughout the duration of this online communication class, I have learned how to utilize multiple social networking platforms in order to develop and share information on a specific topic or a topic that is of interest to me. I have written multiple blog entries, developed a story on Storify, produced a podcast and created my own video posted on YouTube. Each week I actively uploaded information, produced comments on other online media, and download information. At this point, I can define myself as a produser.

My experience participating in the online community has been a learning experience. Although I have acquired the skills to be a produser, I sincerely doubt that I will continue to be an active produser after this online class is finished. I enjoy my privacy. I enjoy face to face conversations with friends and family. I enjoy the art of conversation. I am not interested in spending the amount of time needed to be an active produser in my daily life. I will return to using basic social media platforms such Facebook to communicate with friends.

If produsage continues to expand at the rate that indications prove that it is, then my fear is that society will lose its moral grounding.  The people of society will become entrenched in the online community and be unable to be an active participant in the physical world. Citizens will lose their ability to understand and comprehend emotional situations, as they will be used to providing comfort over a text message or email that cannot produce the emotional connection with an individual that can be produced in person.  Twitter and Facebook are already being filled with comments of  “first world problems“ that define the negative direction that society is turning, due to produsage. Citizens are complaining about what they feel are problems, such as receiving pickles on their burger when they asked for no pickles. The comments do not have the moral consciousness of what are the real problems and areas that need attention between members of society. The commercial for Water Is Life provides the realization of how the moral compass of society is no longer balanced and is moving far out of control.

Society as a whole must step back out of the rapid motion of online media, put down their phones and enjoy the simple face to face conversation. Turn off the television during dinner, and sit down with the family to strengthen those relationships. Produsage must be kept under control to allow society as a global community to communicate properly, and preserve the moral grounding that is needed. Without moral grounding the connection with the real people in the real world will be lost, life is pretty lonely when you are having dinner with a tweet.

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Random Acts of Journalism

module 7

Generations in the past got the news of the world in three main ways. The evening news, the late night news and the newspaper, delivered to the front door daily. News was at least a day old, as reporters phoned intheir stories, typesetters set the pages of the newspapers, writers wrote the newscasts and getting “the news” was a daily ritual at the end of the workday.  With the evolution of technology, our society no longer has to wait to learn about what is going on in the world. Instead, we can turn to the internet and citizen journalism, where online websites, newspapers, and social media networks are  constantly updating  the news, and worldly events, national events, community happenings, and individual reports, providing our society with the most recent and up to date information.

Citizen journalism as described by Bruns and Highfield (2012), “refers to an assemblage of broadly journalistic activities (what J. D. Lasica [2003] has described as “random acts of journalism”) which are characterized by specific practical and technological affordances…”.  Citizen journalism involves the method of sharing, reporting, and discussing information that can be defined as news, by individuals whose profession does not include journalistic study, aptitude or prowess.  Citizen journalism is heavily weighed on the opportunities that are provided by social media to the everyday person. Social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Storify, provide users the tools to collect, solicit and distribute information to the online community. Users have the ability to update their social media community with news that has influenced them, or news updates on their surrounding and what they have experience firsthand (Bruns & Highfield, 2012). Users do not have to wait until the next day to receive an update on a topic that interests them; they simply can go online to their internet platforms and social media outlets and seek out whatever information they desire at the time. This constant accessibility to news platforms, provides opportunity for citizen journalism, as social media allows “random acts of journalism” to be completed easily, and remain constant in the digital world.

It is completely understandable that citizen journalism and professional journalism have come to butt heads. Hermida (2012) states that citizen journalism does not ensure validity, accuracy or truth.  It is far too easy to get caught up in the sensationalism of some citizen journalistic postings, rather than the realistic, fact finding postings of professional journalists.  The credibility of a journalist is only as good as the facts and findings they research to complete their posting. When seeking information or news on a specific topic or event that is occurring in today’s society, validity, accuracy and truth are of utmost importance.  Therefore although social media platforms such as Twitter, are shared amongst citizen journalists and professional journalists, as a user I still seek academic or professional sources, that I can trust to provide me with the correct information. Last week, I was assigned to create a story on Storify about a topic that interests me. I decided to complete this assignment on the Daytona 500 crash. During the qualifying race, a number of cars collided resulting in a large amount of debris being launched into the grandstands injuring spectators. This event had just occurred; therefore there were many pieces of information on social media sites to pull from to provide content and proof for my topic. Beyond these pieces of online media that I placed in my story, I researched the event and current status of the aftermath of the event, so that when the story was published, as a citizen journalist, I could provide the online community with the most accurate information.

Citizen journalism is completed by amateur writers. They do not have to have firsthand knowledge of the event or posting, nor do they have to provide factual details or information. Social media provides writers the outlet, tools, and efficient programs to become citizen journalists anywhere they choose. Citizen journalists can post from their living room sofa, the streets, coffee shops, bus, train, anywhere they choose.

With these opportunities available, I as a student choose not to participate in citizen journalism. Throughout my career at university, the importance of academic papers, reports, and creditable sources is re-iterated to me every time a new paper or essay is assigned. I am not permitted to use Wikipedia, or blogs or social media comments as references to my assignments, as they are not deemed “valid”sources. I am not a big supporter of personal posting to the world. I read them as entertainment, and enjoy reading them for exactly what they are- posting for enjoyment. Other than these assignments, I choose not to provide information on social media. Perhaps when I have a cause or mission that is far greater than I, I might consider using citizen journalism to have my voice heard.   For the last “Storify” assignment, I completed ample research on the Daytona 500 crash; however I did not complete any primary research, and allowed social media comments and photographs to provide the core of my story, as the purpose of the Storify assignment was to link social media information (and links) together in one “story”. As I wrote the assignment, one thought nagged on my mind. What if the social media information I used to write the assignment were not totally valid and accurate? I have now added to the clutter of citizen journalism on the online community.

All in all, I believe that social media provides the appropriate tools for citizen journalists to bring attention to news that surrounds their personal lives and their interests. These pieces of information provide the opportunity for professional journalists to have access to a database of potential stories. They can leverage information provided, from a simple tweet of a citizen journalist, into a story. As a student who is not an active participant on social media platforms outside of this course, I would not utilize the opportunity that social media provides to participate in citizen journalism, but who knows, perhaps one day I will find that cause and I will become one of the great citizen journalists, and be read by the world.

 

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The Music Industry Sets Sail Against Piracy

I have created a short 9 minute podcast based on a quote from the Journal Deviant Behaviour by Steinmetz and Tunnell from the article: Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line Pirates. The quote brings forth a controversial comparison between a music artist and a construction artist, and how they generate a living. This quote links directly to digital pirates, and the perceived reasons behind their behaviour. I found this passage very interesting, as the comparison between a regular artist and a music artist such as Britney Spears was blunt and straight to the point. It gave me a perspective that I had not thought about until now. What defines and artist, and how that artist should get paid for their work. What role does piracy take on in the ever changing world of the music industry?  The music industry and their rigid rules and regulations about their industry shed a new light, allowing me to jump off with my own perspective of the industry, supporting the authors’ initial comments.

Please take a listen to my podcast!

I used the following resources:

Steinmetz, K., K. Tunnell (2013). Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line PiratesDeviant Behavior. 34 (1), pg. 53-67
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Knock Knock, Who’s there? THE WORLD

module 5 major

When I think of copyright laws I think of patents, protecting a brand, logo, product or idea. I wonder what Alexander Graham Bell would be thinking right now if he lived in today’s world- far removed from those instruments he invented to help the deaf hear again. His 18 patents ensured that his work was protected from those who might copy his inventions and profit off the back of his hard work and ideas (Bio True Story, 2013).

Today, the same holds true in the manufacturing industry. The company Crocs, for a modern-day example, has the material that they make their line of shoes out of, protected so that another company cannot produce a competitive product. When you see a person wearing Crocs, it is reasonable to assume that that person bought Crocs, and Crocs knows that their shoes will be worn anywhere in the world.

The thought about the parameters of online content however raises a different set of issues that requires a different discussion process.  Online, there are many different platforms and outlets for both professional and amateur producer-consumers to express themselves and display their pieces of work, thoughts, advice, instruction, experiences and forecasts. For example there are social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well as YouTube, Vimeo and Blogs.  The accessibility to these resources and the increase in producer consumer’s production of content has raised concerns and re-evaluation of copyright laws, as the content produced online does not pay recognition or credit to the original source, and does not ask permission for the use of specific content to produce a new piece of work.

This situation has brought to the forefront the following question: How can online communities of “producer-consumers” literate in new media work toward building a robust and freely accessible cultural commons in the face of restrictive copyright laws?

To answer this question we need to define cultural commons. Lessig, (2001, pp. 19-20) states “cultural commons is a resource in which anyone within the relevant community has a right without obtaining permission of anyone else.” Therefore in the face of restrictive copyright laws, producer consumers need to find ways to “influence the direction that our culture takes (Jenkins, 2004)”. In Canada, I believe this can be accomplished through the statutes of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in regards to the Freedom of Expression. “Section 2(b) of the Charter states that “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: … freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication (Joseph Magnet, 2002).”

Freedom of expression allows producer- consumers to provide an outlook or perspective and additional knowledge within the common culture of the online world. It allows a photograph of a naked, dancing present-day prince to be seen by anyone and everyone who chooses to view not only the actual photograph, but also comment on, blog about, spoof the nature of and share with countless others- all while the prince stands by, unable to control the flurry of social media exposure.  Celebrity, Politicians, Leaders of countries, athletes, everyday people, and those with all the money in the world, still fall victim to the total lack of ability to copyright their image, thoughts, expressions  and experiences online.

Posted on YouTube- suddenly, a stream of single words used by the President of the United States in a serious address about serious issues becomes a music video as he “sings” Call Me Maybe by Carley Rae Jepsen.  Surely, if the President of the United States wanted to be seen singing, he would have done so himself. Luckily, the video is light-hearted and entertaining to most, however, it could be done with malicious or ill-willed intent as well, and there is where the lack of copyright becomes a much bigger issue.

Manovich (2008) talks about how producing information online stimulates conversation whether it be through comments on a video or image or a blog about a topic. In BennetsBlog (2013) he states “basically everyone who had a phone and an internet connection could upload their videos to YouTube and share it with the world”. In Chadaglae’s Blog What’s going on today?  he states “media is everywhere”.

There is no opportunity for producer-consumers to achieve any level of ownership or copyright ability once they post something online. Restrictive copyright laws will never be able to keep up to the dynamic fast-paced world of social media. The producer-consumer must be ever- cognoscente of this fact, and realize that whatever they share online can and may be used by countless others for their own use, without permission, guidance or thought about the original source. It may and will take on a life of its own once the originator lets go of it online. A producer-consumer, who is starting a new business or testing an idea for a new product, would be wise to never provide any of the resources or plans online, as they can be easily copied and remixed. I would imagine that FORD Motor Company keeps plans and discussions on their latest line of vehicles far away from social media, just as sure as I would imagine that their competitors are monitoring all social media for clues and hints as to what may be included and excluded from the next line of FORD vehicle releases.

Media is everywhere and is easily accessible by anyone at any time. In order to produce anything online or verbally, the idea or concept is influenced by another piece of work. Using the online world, “cultural commons” to gain knowledge and share ideas and opinions is essential to growing our knowledge as a civilization as a whole. If we don’t allow each other to gain access to material or create an opinion on an idea, then how will we learn? Ferguson (n.a) states that in order to produce something new we must copy, transform, and then combine. This idea enforces the fact that restrictive copyright will never be achieved online.

Therefore my conclusion is that as consumers, we can gather and exchange information on the online world however must take precaution as to what information we choose to share. The accessibility of this information is up to the discretion of the producer as to whether they allow this information online.

References

(2013) Bio True Story, Alexander Graham Bell. Retrieved from http://www.biography.com/people/alexander-graham-bell-9205497.

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence  International Journal of Cultural Studies March 2004 7: 33-43

Manovich, l. (2008) The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production?

Everything is a Remix  from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

BennetsBlog (2013). Engaging in the online community. Retrived from http://bennetsblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/engaging-in-the-online-community/.

Chadgaleblog (2013) What’s going on today?  Retrived from http://chadgaleblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/whats-going-on-today/.

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What Do You Share?

minor blog 5

 

The online database of information is mind boggling. When searching on a single topic I can find factual and statistical data written by leading authorities, videos, photographs, newspaper articles, journal articles, and written opinions by everyday people.  If the topic is mentioned in another posting, I can access that article at the click of a button. More importantly, I can access all that information at any time of day or night. There are no limits, as long as the internet is up and working, and the connection intact. I can search for the more important information that I need at that moment- to the most obscure information – not necessarily needed, but of interest at that time. There are so many mediums of information and extreme accessibility to this content, that the internet or “online database” has become a communication medium (Manovich, 2008). Manovich (2008) explains the shift on online use, from professional use, such as gathering information and using statistical and credited information, to non-professional use by representing oneself online by creating online profiles, personas, blogs and videos, has created a great interest in the remix of information.

Online I consume information to gain knowledge, seek content to support an idea or argument for papers or for pure conversation, and entertainment.  The internet allows me to choose a good movie, bake an amazing apple crisp, get my Brock parking pass, and get me to the Toronto Boat Show on time! It also allows me to keep in touch with friends – some more closely than others. Some post in the “What I am doing right now” feature- I know when they brush their teeth! My question back to those people…is why?

Other than this blog, I do not often produce content online. I enjoy my own privacy, and want to hold onto it for as long as I can. I have a Facebook account, but I rarely update it, and certainly do not post many personal details of my daily life. I did use it when I was travelling to Peru for a “Sport Management” course. I was seeking donations from others, and upon return, wanted to share my experience with others in the hope that the life of the Peruvian people and my experience visiting them would inspire others. As a group- we shared pictures and thoughts. It felt safer, and more important to share, being a part of a group. If I had travelled myself, I am not sure I would have shared as much.

I do not like the idea of the amount of availability my idea would have to the online community to be copied and re-distributed to others who I have no personal contact with. As Kirby Ferguson states (n.a), “When we copy we justify it, when others copy we vilify it.” I strongly believe this to be true. Social media companies such as Facebook and YouTube provide access for users to store endless amounts of information and provide tools to share their ideas and opinions with the online community easily. These companies make money, and gain greater market share based on the amount of people who have created an account or profile on their site; therefore it is not in their best interest to outline the consequence of posting personal details.

User generated content such as a blogs are often produced off of an original piece of information or idea that is essentially used to stimulate conversation online. When producing a blog such as this one for example, I have gathered and copied information from 2 online articles based on this topic to gain understanding on the topic and create a foundation for this blog to be generated and transformed it into a piece of “new” writing (Ferguson, n.a).  This idea of “copying” is essential in the learning process to write a piece of material, whether it supports an argument or influences your work.

As I graduate, I will be actively seeking employment. I want my future employer to be comfortable with me as an individual representing their product.

Using social media with respect, and a careful eye on privacy, will hopefully pay off with a great job, and a positive relationship between myself and the world around me.

References

Manovich, l. (2008) The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production?.

Everything is a Remix  from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

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Here is one headline that won’t be making the 6 o’clock news.

Mobile Communication Users Taken Hostage

Christian raised a rhetorical question in his blog titled Mobile Communication (2013). He asked, “Do we use our mobile communication responsibly? Or do we abuse it?” Sara stated in her article Mobile Communication (2013), “we are controlled by technology and as much as it has assisted society in developing, it has constrained us to be prisoners of our own mobile devices”.  Both of these statements struck a chord in my thought process. How do I use my mobile device and witness others using theirs? I believe that mobile communication is taking their users hostage, and steering them quite effectively away from traditional face-to-face communication between one individual and another.

Mobile communication has become the most predominant piece of technology to individuals living in an urban setting (Josgrilberg, 2008). Josgrilberg (2008) states that “More recent numbers, from January 2008, shows that there are 122,857,577 registered mobile phones lines within an estimated population of 183 million people…”, Mobile communication devices have become more than a simple calling device; they have become a handheld personalized computer (Goggin, 2009). Mobile communication devices provide users instant and unlimited access to all aspects of the internet, from entertainment (such as movies and games), to fact finding and knowledge- seeking, to world-wide sharing, and multiple social networking channels. These capabilities allow the user to, as Campbell and Park (2009) state, overcome the restrictions of space and time, as individuals can communicate with someone half way across the world within seconds. Each of these aspects is useful and allows users to learn and grow and maintain their social network easily; however, is there a time and place for such activities? Many would say yes, nevertheless do they follow them?

How many times have you sat in a public place and looked around to see groups of friends or family members sitting next to each other, obviously out together, however each utilizing their mobile device on their own, rather than communicating together? Watch a lineup of strangers, waiting for something, yet each individual focused on their own mobile communication in solitude, rather than communicating with others. How many times??….Countless. When did engaging personally with the community surrounding you, and inter-personal relationships take a back seat and sometimes disappear altogether?

I suggest that it has begun to occur since the availability of mobile communication devices to the general public. Face to face communication involves language, tone and body language that alters and change with communication. Participants in a face-to-face conversation perform a dance; one speaks and one listens, one seeks a response and one gives a response. They interact together and engage each other using social cues and develop the ability to be compassionate, understanding, affirmative, demanding or instructional. It is hard to be indifferent in a face-to-face conversation.  Mobile communication devices are eliminating the art of conversation as a face-to-face interaction.   When communication on a mobile device through writing an email or text message, the user has the opportunity to edit what they are saying. Emotions and attitudes are indicated (not shown- just indicated) with the use of  capital letters and smiley faces in a text message. Emotions and reactions are not “real”. Users have the ability to communicate while performing a number of other tasks thus making the communication less personal and more global.

One definition of hostage describes the state in which” one that is involuntarily controlled by an outside influence”.  Mobile communication holds its users hostage and controls their communication patterns. It is generally assumed that users are always accessible. Campbell and Park (2008) describe mobile communication as wearable. As Raymond states in his blog The Advancement of Mobile Devices, mobile devices can be very useful when working in a business setting as the phones allow users to track important dates and make changes to documents on the go (2013). This is useful, but is it necessary? There has become a need to answer promptly as it is assumed that the device is accessible. Regular work hours extend to personal time.  Users are presumed to be accessible 24 hours a day. Mobile communication devices indicate whether a message has been delivered, and if the intended recipient has received it. On Blackberry Messaging for example, when a BBM message is sent from one phone to another (or group of phones) the sender can tell if the message has been delivered, and if the recipient has read their message. This feature makes many users obligated to answer each message immediately, and thereby controlling the time and conversation of the receiving individual.

It doesn’t matter what brand of phone you have or what colour case you may choose to use, a hostage situation can take on many looks, but the result is the same. (Campbell & Park, 2008), It has become an addiction, controlling our every interaction and limiting the way we communicate in general and communicate properly.  Have you ever been sitting and watching TV with someone when suddenly you notice that both of you aren’t watching anymore and are solely focused on your phones, and conversations with others, rather than with your TV companion? How many times have you text your friend that you are waiting outside in your car, instead of knocking on the door to announce your arrival? When did this become socially acceptable?

Privacy is no longer an assumed part of a conversation when mobile devices are involved. In public spaces, the use of technology has become awkward as Campbell and Park (2008) state it causes bystanders to feel uncomfortable, as they can’t help but eavesdrop. As the user tries to create a sense of privacy, they speak quieter, or turn their body to create a wall between themselves and the individual near them (Campbell & Park, 2008). This body language creates a different tone between the two individuals hindering any communication in which they may have had.

As a user you need to break away from your mobile communication device for a period of time, and get control of your own communication skills. Start a conversation with a stranger on your way into work, or the person beside you sitting on the bus. The ability to communicate face to face with someone was once a social responsibility, now it’s a skill that has to be learned. Anyone can write an email or send a text message, but to create a conversation, an interaction, a relationship, even creating a memory with someone is essential to maintaining a balance between the technological world of communication and communication in its raw state.  So I ask you, test yourself and don’t be held hostage by your mobile device. It will not be the thing that will get you your first job, or find you a person you will fall in love with. Your face to face interactions will allow you to show people who your really are, instead of them making assumptions based on the brand of your phone or colour of your cell phone case or the size of the font in your message.

Don’t be held hostage to your phone- break free and have a coffee and a chat.

Reference

Campbell, S. W. and Park, Y. J. (2008), Social Implications of Mobile Telephony: The Rise of Personal Communication Society. Sociology Compass, 2: 371–387

Goggin, G. (2009). Adapting the mobile phone: The iPhone and its consumption. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. 23:2, 231-244.

Josgrilberg, Fabio B. (2008). A Door to the Digital Locus: Walking in the City with a Mobile Phone and Michel de Certeau. Wi: Journal of Mobile Media. Spring 2008 (10).

Sarajnewman (2013). Mobile Communication. Retrieved from http://sarajnewman.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/mobile-communication/

Christian (2013). Mobile Communication. Retrieved from http://christiansblog91.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/mobile-communication/.

Raymond (2013). The Advancement of Mobile Devices. Retrieved from http://raymondsg.wordpress.com/.

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From Land to Sea…Talk to Me… Anytime

Businessman Using Cell Phone Underwater

When an urban architect maps out the infrastructure of a city, they must take into account how a resident would navigate its sidewalks and roadways to get from one location to another. Restaurants are located near theaters. Buses and subways connect the residences to the locations, and enable them to enjoy the city. However, these same designs constrain the resident as well.  Not all locations and routes are accessible at all times. Sometimes the resident must find an alternate route or choose another day to travel. In A Door to the Digital Locus, Jasgrilberg (2008) states that the design of a city allows pedestrians to have access to all different entities (such as restaurants, entertainment and recreational spaces) however, when travelling to these different places, pedestrians are constrained by the design and dynamic of the city.

This pattern of design, described by Jasgrilberg can be used as an analogy for the use of mobile communication devices. Mobile communication devices enable us to live a technology and socially connected lifestyle that empowers us to enjoy the benefits of instant communication and connection, but they also constrain us by socially isolating us from peers and friends and open us to unwanted communication and exposure.

Mobile communication devices have evolved from large, cumbersome devices that were a burden to use, to small, hand-held, touch sensitive devices that utilize internet speed to provide answers much faster than we can type in the question. Technology has advanced the cellphone to a point where it is actually a small, hand-held computer, fully capable of functioning in all manners that a full desk-top computer would (Goggin,2009). However as the advances of technology develop, mobile devices will adapt and be able to do more, as well as the overall environment in the world will adapt to the use of devices. Goggin (2009) speaks to the adaption of current mobile devices to the use of the internet. Mobile devices have turned into a pocket-sized computer that can receive and send emails and search the internet (Goggin,2009). In the competition to gain a larger share in the mobile market, cellphone developers are creating and enabling cellphones to do more, faster, using less data and  power, all while the technology uses less square space of the cellphone.

As technology has increased the ability of cellphones to perform a vast amount of digital functions, the price of these units has made it affordable for people of all economic backgrounds to have access to these devices, and thereby allowing almost every person who wishes to have a cellphone, the ability to afford one. Companies use “pay as you go” as well as detailed plans to entice users to connect with a cellphone device (Jasgrilberg,2008). It is not uncommon for children to own and use cellphones on a daily basis. Likewise, it is not uncommon for the elderly, retired people to have access to a cellphone.

While cellphones have opened the average user up to fraud, exposing them  to the potential of being “hacked” and loss or worst still- identity theft, mobile communication devices have allowed people to connect in a manner unheard of some years ago. Our military personnel fighting in other countries are able to communicate with family and friends at home, while fighting in another country. Travelers visiting foreign countries or experiencing the unique or mundane are able to share their experience with a whole handful of interested people at once. Organizations and charities have picked up the technology of mobile communication to connect to their followers. Sports heroes, celebrities, politicians and company leaders tweet to their followers creating a connection that would otherwise not exist. Even the everyday person can connect with the world through Facebook, Twitter, and personal blogs. How else could anyone learn how to fold a napkin into a swan shape?

Certainly the use and technology of mobile communication devices has come a long way in the past few years, we cannot predict what they will be able to do in the future but we can say with some certainty that they are here to stay and will only increase our dependence upon them.

References

Goggin, G. (2009). Adapting the mobile phone: The iPhone and its consumption. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. 23:2, 231-244.

Josgrilberg, Fabio B. (2008). A Door to the Digital Locus: Walking in the City with a Mobile Phone and Michel de Certeau. Wi: Journal of Mobile Media. Spring 2008 (10).

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Informational Age

As mentioned in my previous blog, “What do we mean when we say we live in the Informational Age?” I describe the term Informational Age, and explained the transition of society from an Industrial Society to a Digital Society. When writing about this topic, I learned that I am part of the Informational Age and can think of multiple parts of technology that have already developed so rapidly in my life. For example, the VHS has become non-practical and not commonly used, as DVDs and purchasing movies/renting movies right off of your cable box has become the new norm. Even the TV that I grew up with had a bulk back and a slightly bubbled screen. Now we have the ability to purchase at reasonable rate, a flat HD screen, which are maximum 5 inches thick and come in any dimension you choose, or even with a 3D feature.

I decided after understanding what the Informational Age means, I wanted to explore the relationship between technology and society briefly. Castells states that “ We know that technology does not determine society: it is society. Society shapes technology according the needs, values, and interests of people who use the technology (p. 3, 2005)” I found this point very eye opening because I have never considered the behaviour of technology to be based solely on what society wants and needs, when in turn society has become so controlled and distracted by the penetration of technology in which they have themselves generated and asked for. Seancaley 2012, stated in his blog that “we as society have let our electronic devices take on a role much greater than before.” This I believe is true.  In 2002 Newfoundland implement the distractions law, and as we know it now to be the “no text and driving law”. When did it get to the point in society, when looking a your phone after hearing the “bleep” of a text message, became more important than watching your surroundings when driving?

I don’t believe that we as individuals who do not want to be dependent or as some would say somewhat controlled by technology have much of a choice. I believe that an individual has the power to determine their relationship with technology, however moving forward in the Informational Age it is in my opinion that it is expected for individuals who are required to full fill a position in a job (dependent on what kind of job) to have prior knowledge on basic technology skills, such as how to use Microsoft Office, how to send emails or even an individuals typing speed. Many jobs require more knowledge on technology, which may include a social media aspect, such as updating twitter accounts, facebook accounts, or blogs.  For me these basic technology tasks are easy, and second nature as I have grown up learning about these basic practices.  This expectation has proven to force older individuals who have not grown up in the Informational Age to fall behind, as expectations rise at their position, causing many individuals to loose their jobs for lack of basic skills in technology are not at the new level of standard.

When searching for data on the above opinion I came across a blog called “G” who wrote a blog title “Old People and Technology” (2007). The blog spoke about their perspective on how the older generation cannot cope with technology. The writer came to the conclusion that he grew up “playing” with technology therefore he is not afraid to test its limits and hit the wrong button, however an older individual is afraid to hit the wrong button, as they are unfamiliar with the attributes of technology and don’t trust it. The writer states that in order to move forward and learn from technology, you need to trust it to “not blow up at the slightest mis-click” (G, 2007).

I feel that the Informational Age has just begun, and myself personally have learned to monitor my relationship with technology. I believe it is important to utilize technology, and continue learn about and through technology as much as possible however, it is more significant to live in the moment and not have a single “bleep” of text message in my pocket, distract me from what’s really important.

 

 

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What does it mean when we say we live in an “Informational Age”?

A society is a community, or group of individuals living in a specific location. Throughout history, societies have developed and changed as information and knowledge from the people has evolved. Society was once a Traditional Society that transitioned into an Industrial Society as knowledge on industrial technology grew. In the 21st century it has been stated that society has transitioned again into a Digital Society, or Informational Age. The term Informational Age was given to the transition in the 21st century and its place in human history, as it marks the distinct and rapid growth of digital technology.  Digital technology is the evolution of the methods and knowledge of the Industrial Society.  Industrial technology has been utilized as the foundation of methods, in which new knowledge and understanding of digital technology is applied to better enhance industrial methods.

The term Information Age has been given to the 21st Century, as it has allowed new generations to be exposed and accessible to vast masses of new digital technology. These generations have grown up with information at the tips of their fingers, and the ability to communicate in a fast and efficient manner. This constant connection to information and ability to communicate, allows the people of society the opportunity to learn more, for they have the ability to research and grow their personal knowledge due to the development of digital technology.

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