#5 Cyberactivism

Placeholder ImageAnd as with many other posts in this fantastic blog 😉 we see a link between the invention of the online world, and connectivity creating reach.

Cyberactivism, like the protests of old, are a coming together of a group of people, whose strong belief in something, or a drive for change, sees them uniting.

Groups with a cause used to come together in front of government buildings, proposed forest clearing or, for example: the Steritech anti-irradiation camp.

The anti-irradiation camp became a seven-month saga, with protesters creating a shanti town across the road from the Steritech plant. Their goal was to stop the irradiation of food before going to market. Unfortunately, their message became lost within the mire of mess and destruction of 100 people camped out in one small spot for seven months. I’m sure you can imagine the site. The public became immune to their message, and instead thought the protesters a disgusting burden on the land they sought to protect.

This is where the new wave of Cyberactivism comes in strong. It has a far larger reach than physical protests, where only a small group speak out. Cyberactivists can jump into any stream within the online world, connecting to groups, individuals and those who’d never thought to protest. Bringing together all the armchair protesters, and giving them a way of expressing beliefs they’d previously been too afraid, or too busy to voice.

Cyberactivism, at its most basic, is still a way for people to reach out and be heard. The main difference between the old and new forms of protesting is the reach. With the invention of many forms of social media, a large collection of “netizens” (Ayers, McCaughey 2003) with a cause, have a far larger reach, demographic and sustainability. Once the term ‘Protest’ brought out the “oh no, those damn hippies are at it again”, from some of the population. We now see a different response. Big companies and governments take notice and are held to account for actions by enormous groups of protesters. They are able to bring to light the cause greater then a few individuals holding up homemade signs. This bring important issues into peoples living rooms, showing, through online means, a way for people to get involved at the clink of a few buttons.

With the differing causes online, we now see things like e-activsts creating easier ways for people to lodge their option. Such as e-petitions that can be filled out and emailed to those in charge. Instantly sending thousands of protests, without the loss of message.

Thanks Ben for being patient with me as I jumped in the deep end of Social Media 🙂

 

References:

Ayers, Michael D., McCaughey, Martha 2003, Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice, Routledge, New York.

Carry, V., Onyett, J. 2006, Protest, Cyberactivism and New Social Movements: The Reemergence of the Peace Movement Post (/11, Social Movements Studies, Vol. 5, pp. 229-249.

Illia, L., 2003, Passage to Cyberactivism: How Dynamics of Activism Change, Journal of Public Affairs, issue 3, pp. 326-337.

McNutt, J., Menon, G. 2008, The Rise of Cyberactivism: Implications for the Future of Advocacy in the Human Services, Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, vol. 89, pp. 33-38.

Sandoval-Almazan, R., Gil-Garcia, J.R. 2013, Cyberactivism Through Social Media: Twitter, YouTube, and the Mexican Political Movement, System Sciences, Hawaii, pp. 1704-1713.

Taubenfeld, R. 2010, Food Irradiation and Australia, A Brief History of the Campaign, Food Irradiation Watch – Australia, accessed August 6, http://www.foodirradiationwatch.org.

 

 

 

 

#4 Social networking

Exploring the dreaded world of Social Networking…

Social networking, the use of sites such as Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and others similar, allow individuals, as well as businesses to connect with others. We each have ideas and personalities online (weather their true or not remains to be seen) that we use as a tool to connect with others. You like Kelley Armstrong? Me too, let’s discuss her books… And the same for everything else anyone else could possible think about. The web, as in my previous post, allows for the sharing of information. Sometimes this is abused, and misused. Other times it helps family and friends across the world stay in touch. This is my personal use for social networking. Knowing which high school friend has just had a baby, and how fast I can send her a care package full of twisties, minties and Tim tams.

We form “interconnected social communities” each one populated by those with similar interests, blood relations, or those we’re  seeking to be employed by or impress. 

Some of the groups I’m in remind me of the 2004 Nicole Kidman movie Stepford Wives. They (myself included) present the best possible example of themselves. Every photo with perfect hair, makeup and surroundings. Baking, bushwalking, conquests, tributes and tribulations. And I’m not trying to poop all over them for doing this. I do it too. No one wants to see a picture of me in my Pjs at lunchtime, messy bun, reading a trashy novel with too many empty coffee cups. This is the joy of social networking. I can put forward the face I wish you to see. And you have no idea how long it took me to look like that. 

#4 Evolution of the Web

 When someone mentions evolution of the web, I hear the old dialup signal sound that used to drive us nuts. But in reality, the web is constantly changing to suit our ever expanding needs. New apps, webpages, interactive games, banking, emails and social media merging with the online stream. This ever expanding drive to do better, see better and have more from every experience online, gives web designers and developers the encouragement to push the boundaries of what has been, and create new and more exciting experiences for everyone on the web.

We have this privilege to bigger and better web experiences due to those web developers who have excelled at understanding and and interpreting web technologies like WebGL, HTML and CSS3, and making sure they are cohesive with other web browsers. 

Time to get technical:

“The Web has evolved from the rudimentary, hyperlinked collection of read-only static information resources to a ubiquitous participative network computation platform” (Karhu, Korhonen 2009)

Basically, the web was created to provide “easy access to online information in documents that are linked to each other” (Karhu, Korhonen 2009). And has kept this meaning regardless of time. At its most basic, we each seek the Web as a way to gain information, harking back to its original intent. 

References:

Karhu, Kimmo, Korhonen, Janne J. 2009, Explaining the Evolutionary Development of the Web, Aalto University, School of Science, Finland.

#3 TimeToast

http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/1561697

Ok, after accidentally deleting my timeline, wasting hours of work and a bag of salty chips, here, finally, it is.  The evolution of Kindle.

I thought to pick something I use every day, and that is the kindle app on my iPad. I treasure the iPad. I’m never without it or it’s stash of over 1000 books 📚 

#3 Cyberpunks are literary punks

Cyberpunk, finally a class topic I already understand! So rare 😊

I mean no offence by the title. What I mean is my understanding of the term punks. Like the street kids who cause chaos for reasons known only to themselves to create a stir amongst those too tight to change, so too, do writers of cyberpunk. They take pieces of past themes, like detective novels and cowboy westerns, and flip them on their heads. Creating chaos in the literary world. We have detectives solving murders in 2077 using technology we can only understand at the behest of the writer, with flying cars and whole communities striving to survive in a new world, yet using themes we can safely recognise. Good guy catches bad guy, some low risk targets, like prostitutes, being killed in gruesome ways, and soccer mums threatened. And it is only through good old fashioned detective know how that the crime is solved. Technology helps, but human nature, knowledge and a need to survive, rules in these new order worlds. 

This movement of creating new and exciting worlds began in the 1960s and 1970s. Allowing writers to drop what had always been considered the correct way of telling a story. This freedom from fitting into pre ordained squares gave birth to some great  stories. For example, The Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shiro 1989. Set in the near future, it is a story about people who have cyberbrains, and use this to connect with systems through interfacing.  I can only imagine the the chaos it created when it first came out. Now, it seems almost expected, desired. And it has been made into a new feature film.


References:

Shiro, Masamune 1989, The Ghost in the Shell, Kodansha Comics.

Featherstone, M. and Burrows, R., 1995, Cultures of Technological Embodiment: An Introduction, Body & Society, 1(3-4) pp. 1-19.

#3 Neolution

Today’s topic, Cybernetic 😬

Technicall, cybernetics is the approach for “exploring regulatory systems, their structure, constraints and possibilities”. I can understand it to be the study of systems, with areas in social, biological, machines and physical. It seems to be focused mainly on communications through feedback. There is an element of control and studying the science of it. Whether this is explored through animal, man or machine it raises too many ethical questions. And with the amount of sci-fi available at the click of Netflix or kindle, the term cybernetics has warning signs flashing.

Which may be because I’ve just binge watched Orphan Black. Neolution, the bad guy company in the show, has some in my family concerned about the direction of where we’re going as a species (regardless of how many times I try to explain the fictional world that show lives in). We see in Orphan Black how cybernetics is used to further the advancement of agendas. Clones, weapons, fibre optic eyes capable of being used to spy on the unsuspecting and probably the grossest of all, a tiny machine worm implanted in the cheek that either cures or kills, depending on what the controller desires. But don’t think of taking it out cos you’ll explode 😎 

Cybernetics has been used in too many fictional worlds to be listed here, regardless of the 250 word count Ben I won’t bore you by listing them all. That’d be mean, and tedious. But like with some works of fiction, we can see the writers of Orphan Black had a lot of fun dreaming up ways to use cybernetics to entertain. 

Side note. This post is not to be confused with the other on cyberpunk, but linked to. Orphan Black is set in the present not the near future.


References:

Wiener, Norbert 1948, Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the animal and Machine, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

#3 Understanding Cyberspace

The New communications technology class has given me a chance to look into things I take for granted. And today is no different. 

Understanding cyberspace for me, is like asking how cheese is made. Funny, I know 😊 While there are many who know the process to make cheese, very few actually do. We just know that it’s ready made in the fridge section of Coles. A cupple of bucks sees us satisfying a craving for a cheese toastie. This is the same for me with cyberspace. I know it’s there, I use it every day, I understand it is virtual space created by interconnected computer networks on the internet, but I lack a deeper understanding of how it works, where it is, if it’s real, etc. etc. 

I agree with Albert Benschop, with a Masters in Sociology and Psychology, he said that cyberspace is an ‘almost real…social world of people without bodies’. Benschop believed that when we’re online, we leave or bodies behind and seek an empty connection through social networks. When what we really need is the physical, touch, taste, smell, love. We require food to survive, don’t we also require real connection as well? I know many who seek this on social media, and never seem to get enough of what their searching for. And I understand the irony of talking about disconnecting in order to reconnect, on social media. 

Now I’m craving a cheese toastie…

With this class, and the required weekly blogs, with topics I know very little about, I find I’m learning a lot. Not enough to call myself competent 😎 but just enough to scrape by in this world of new technology. 

References:

Barki, David 2002, Peer-to-Peer Computing, Technologies for Sharing and Collaborating on the Net, Intel Press.

#3 Humans and Technology

This weeks class topic is to explore the meaning of Humans and Technology. Like last weeks post, this brings to mind far too many movies with men in leather jackets and woman in tight black corsets, bending in all manner of kung fu/sexy positions.

But to look at Humans and Technology literally, I know personally how many benefits there are.  The number of times my mother has been plugged into machines to asses her health status is too many to list. They have even saved her life on many occasions. Now, had there been no oximeter, a tiny black device that fits on the finger to measure oxygen levels and heart rate, my mother would have died from multiple blood clots. She was mildly breathless, and simply asked the chemist for a inhaler. They tested her, and freaked when it said her oxygen level was 73. It’s meant to be above 90 to live.

There are many examples though, of technology going wrong and creating health problems, even death. For example, the Therac 25 device, a machine in charge of dosing patients with radiation therapy, between June 1985 and January 1987, gave incorrect doses. 100 times the correct amount. Resulting in three deaths and serious injury of several others. Those managing the devices never thought to check the machines, thinking them correct and without human faults.

I am torn between my feeling of the use of technology in the field of medicine. But, I think, like all things technology based, we need to use common sense and double-check everything. Even though technology was brought in to make our lives easier.

 

Leveson, Nancy 1995, Safeware: System Safety and Computers, Encyclopaedia of Computer Science, 4th edition, John Wiliey and Sons, Chichester, UK.

Trapscott, Don 1994, The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the age of Networked Intelligence, McGraw-Hill.

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