Loosening the bonds?

Thanksgiving Day, the day to play “how attached am I to my beloved technology?”  As is the running theme in my posts, technology has its hold on me, I have been tightening the bonds all of my life.  But not this day.  This day is a day to experiment with loosening a bond. My task was to go a full day without using my phone or the Internet. Let me tell you, this was no easy task.  Luckily, I chose a day where I knew I would be pretty busy. Before family arrived I would distract myself with cleaning or reading. Then when they did arrive I wasn’t too worried because I genuinely enjoyed conversation with them. Then after dinner I would read or play billiards with my brother-in-law, trying to constantly stay busy (and also because pool is fun). Then we saw a movie and came back and played a board game together, more constant distraction, then after everything I read some more….It wasn’t until a bit later that I just absolutely HAD to call my boyfriend and have our daily conversation. I had reached my limit of being away from him.  I found that I could distract myself with entertaining things all I wanted to replace the entertaining things on my phone, but what I couldn’t stay away from were the conversations that I felt just needed to be had.

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Completely changing the subject, I also wanted to reflect on a concept in my communications class. The Theory of the Long Tail was the most satisfying for me as a person who purchases some things that would fall on the longer end of that tail sometimes.  It’s nice to see it laid out in a theory that people like us matter, people who don’t always go for the most popular item in the store.  I got to see statistical proof.  It made me very happy.

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What does blogging mean for society?

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Does blogging do more harm than good? Is blogging actually a vital tool for our ever-changing society? Is it a help or a hindrance? On the one hand, we have a story such as the following, about Mrs.Nikki Haley, that depicts one side of blogging, and the effects it can have:

“The rumor — that Haley was about to be indicted for tax fraud — was so delicious that other bloggers, tweeters and even some mainstream media outlets felt compelled to repeat it.

Except that it wasn’t true. Not even a little bit. Some twit apparently thought it would be fun to start a rumor and see what happened next. We all know what happens: Indictments spread like wildfire; corrections couldn’t roast a marshmallow.

The damage took only a couple of hours. And Haley, a rising star in the Republican Party and a possible vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney, is all too aware of the potential cost to her reputation. She’s been through this before…” [Kathleen Parker – Washington Post ]

 

This obviously shows the detriments of blogging and how people can use parts of the internet to spread rumors like children and destroy reputations.  However, you see examples like this, which flip the coin:

“Sometimes a blog starts out as a hobby only to become a full-time business.

That’s what happened to Pat Flynn, who created a blog called Green Exam Academy simply to share his thoughts and insights on architecture. When Flynn was laid off from his job, he decided to take his blog a little bit more seriously and about one year later the blog had become a $100,000 per year business.”

That quote can from a blog website listing 20 benefits of blogging. You can follow the link and read them all here>>[http://www.incomediary.com/biggest-blogging-benefits]

So what’s my opinion on the blog’s role in society? The blog is a form of communication, it is an extension of your mouth, your brain. YOU are in control of what you type, of what you save, and yes, while it is proven that people feel less inhibited when they are not talking face to face, you are still in charge of your own self-control.  The blog is neutral; that is how I feel about all technology.  Like my communications teacher once said, you can make a hammer and use it either to build a house, or hit someone in the head.  It’s not the hammer’s fault, it’s your choice.

Will blogging become more of a practiced thing? I think so. I think businesses would do well to incorporate blogs with customer feedback available.  Blogs have great potential because we have great potential.

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The Woes of Computer Surveillance

Computer privacy has become a huge concern as we increasingly use portable computers, wifi, share public computers or use any sort of Internet access points for personal, school or business uses. 

AT&T wrote plainly on its AdWorks Mobile Audience Network Web site that it collects customers’ data and provides third-party companies with “the ability to reach customized audience segments based on anonymous and aggregate demographics and sophisticated psychographic criteria.” A T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed to CNN that the carrier offers similar services to third-party companies.–[TechHive.com]

Even cell phone companies are collecting and selling our information for a profit.  It’s all about “sophisticated” advertising and frankly, I am turned off.  I think it’s a cheap way out, a cop-out if you will, of working hard and selling your product the old-fashioned way–by making good products!  If you were confident in your product, you wouldn’t have to pinpoint it on an “ideal type” of customer! 

Some of the information sent back by tracking cookies includes information that could be used to identify you. [pcworld.com]

 

This is a scary notion to me.  Why would strangers want to identify me?  I am not your pawn, I am not your statistic, I do not want you to have my information and yet it is becoming increasingly harder for me to hide it! Facebook is continuously updating its privacy settings; I have no idea what to do with my cell phone records; what is put on the Internet (whether you meant to put it on there or not) has a permanent record; and everyone is looking at it! Future employers, extended family, extended church members, companies, government agencies, hackers. 

What do I do? Do I just abandon the Internet? Never surf the web or update my status again? Quit cold turkey?

I want to be free.  This is my Internet, your Internet, our Internet. Let us use it as it was meant to be used since the 80’s, after it was brought to our homes. Individually.

 

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The Role of Video Games Now

Tonight is the night that I discuss one of my favorite topics: Video Games.

In my previous blog, I mentioned various console and handhelds I acquired over the years.  Well, to be honest, I didn’t even list them all.  Video games have been an intricate part of my life since I was around six with Mario Kart for the N64.  I know from personal experience that video games have helped promote my creativity. 

And I’m not the only one.

Video games can change a person’s brain and, as researchers are finding, often that change is for the better–[http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/06/hours-playing-video-games-can-change-brain-for-better-research-finds/ click to read more]

 

Video games and society are harmonious. You see video game material in movies, merchandise, books, and vice-versa. [Communication and Technology Update and Fundamentals, Ch. 16] Video games and people work together.  I know personally, without the privilege of the video games I have today, I would be under a lot more stress.  As a matter of fact, playing video games for a short while was one of the coping strategies my counselor gave me to deal with my anxiety.

I found another link depicting why video games are good for you and supporting my claims, 

[http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/09/10/5-reasons-video-games-are-actually-good-for-you]

I’d like for you to leave in the comments your stance on where video games fit into your life.  How big of an impact do they have on you or someone you know?

 

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In the Beginning

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I remember being seven years old and sitting in the basement with my mom. We were using Windows 95 with the old dial-up connection. I remember hearing that annoying noise that reminded me of using the house phone in the shower with a bad connection. Of course using the internet meant that we couldn’t use the house phone, but I was still excited to be able to use it.

Some mistakes I kept making were that I kept closing the browser on accident and I would lose everything I had been looking for so I had to start all over.  I was really proud when I was finally thirteen and old enough to join MySpace (yes I waited til the age I was supposed to be) and made my first social account.  I wasn’t really allowed to interact with other kids my age in person, so having internet “friends” was a big deal to me, however short-lived it may have been.

As the years went by I was often grounded from the Internet so I didn’t get a chance to get used to it the way others did my age.  So I find that in college where there is heavy use of websites and Internet I find myself several steps behind.  But that’s okay because I’m forcing myself to get over it and embrace frustrating technology and concepts like I said I would in my last blog.

I find myself easily frustrated sometimes with technology, because I was deprived of it as a child.  But I want to get used to it and like it because I really do like it I just want to like it more and catch up to everyone else.

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It’s New!!

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Nostalgia fills me as I walk by and see this “ancient” treasure.  Tetris! Nintendo! Who would’ve thought they could have made something better?

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Gameboy Color? N64?! This is the best thing ever! I think to myself, age eight or so.  I devote hours of Zelda and Mario Kart and the like.

gameboy advance spnintendo ds lite

Gamboy Advance SP?! Nintendo DS Lite?! Surely this is the end of the line. I think, around age thirteen or so.  I saw how much better Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets looked on the DS Lite and even the SP as opposed to the Gameboy Color.  I felt how much easier the controls were for the DS Lite as opposed to any handheld before it.

3ds XL

Six years later, I still find myself surprised.  3DS XL!! WOW. This is innovation. 3D touch screens, inner and outer camera, easy controls, high quality graphics…this, this has to be the best they can do.

As I grow older, I have to wonder, how often am I going to be surprised?  How long am I still going to embrace new technology?  So far, every upgrade, every new thing has been a wonderful improvement in one way or another.  But I have to ask myself, is it because it has always been catered to my age?

“Technology is created by the young, for the young.”TheTerrifying Truth About New Technology [DANIEL H. WILSON]

Wilson talks about assimilation into technology.  Young people who are born into a certain type of technology may get it right, but older adults may have more trouble relating that technology to its intended purpose.

“This is probably why I once caught my grandfather speaking into a computer mouse as if it were a ham-radio mic.”[WILSON]

Growing older is a part of life, and I, personally, want to take one last thing away from Wilson’s message as I grow up.

“When those kinds of thoughts scrabble into my aging brain as I hold some magical new device in my vein-laced hands, I will bite down and swallow my confusion and anger. I will power through it, try to figure it out, and I’ll even try to enjoy it.

I will do my best to keep faith that with each passing day, technology still makes sense. It didn’t used to be simpler. It wasn’t better before. It’s not useless.”

I want everything new I hold in my hand as I grow older to be like my awesome 3DS XL, yet still be able to look back fondly on things like my old Tetris game for the SNES.  All technology is a beautiful thing. 🙂

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Where does video stand in the communications world?

This short video explains the pros of including video in the communications field, particularly in the business aspect.  Visual aides of any sort when used properly only help convey whatever message you are trying to present.  Video use is also appropriate  for communications fields such as advertising, communication education, television/broadcasting, high technology industries, and more.

However, I do not believe every communications career absolutely has to be video literate.  If you’re going to be a Legal Reporter you may watch a few video clips but I don’t believe it will be necessary for you to shoot and edit a video.  It is the same for a Media Analyst, Announcer, Reporter, or the like.

[bolded print is information about communications related careers coming from http://web.olivetcollege.edu/careerdev/communication.htm]

 

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