Becoming Reliant

Paul Virillio clearly has very strong views on the increasing amounts of technology in our society today.  The entire time he was describing how negatively technology was impacting our world today, all I could picture were the people in the Pixar movie Wall-E: fat, sluggish people who can’t even walk and never take their eyes off their screens.  They don’t know how to interact with one another because people only talk via electronic methods. The people in the movie Wall-E thought they were being much more efficient because of their machines, but we the audience can tell that there are some serious problems in their behavior. We as humans are not meant to rely so heavily on machines and electronics, and our minds have been reprogrammed in the ways that we think of time and space. Virillio seems to feel like our society will actually turn out that way based on the increased reliance we have on technology. 

Parts 2 and 3 of Open Sky continue to focus on the detrimental effects that Virillio believes technology has on us. One thing that Virillio touches on is the fact that people put more stock in shaping their alternate, online identity rather than their real one.  People will, according to Virillio, suffer from a lack of self-identity because they will be so focused on their online one.

There is also now a desegregation of public and private lives.   All of civilization has been focused on creating the public sphere and forming communities.  Now, however, private lives are being published in public forums now.  We discussed in class the other day how interesting it will be to see how elections and other very formal things go with our generation – every presidential candidate will have a long Facebook history, probably with many embarrassing pictures and lots of dirt to dig up. Nothing is a secret anymore, and the media can find anything about anyone if they want to.

Overall, it’s pretty clear that Virillio’s thoughts on technology are very pessimistic when I personally think that not everything is that bad. Yes, there are definitely some downsides to our progression in the electronic world, but there are many benefits as well and I think Virillio needs to look at both sides of the situation.

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“Open Sky” Part I

To be frank, Open Sky is a very complicated and technical book, and much of the information goes right over my head. However, what I did understand seemed to contradict everything we have learned this semester in our Digital Communications class.  Virilio argued passionately against modern technology because of the social implications he believes it has had.  The quote at the beginning of the book says, “One day, the day will come, when the day won’t come”.  This alludes to Virilio’s dislike of new communication technologies because he believes it creates gaps in our social interactions. No matter where we are, we can be somewhere else.  I definitely feel that this is true – it’s easy to be completely disconnected from the present with texting and social media, and so we’re not always fully present. Virilio terms this as being “telepresent”, and it’s a huge problem today.  Nikolai Gogol once said, “Without even leaving, we are already no longer there” (9).  And while I agree with Virilio that these are huge problems, but I also think that the benefits that technology has on our society (increased availability to information and education, improved communication between nations and peoples) outweigh these potential downsides.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 of Writing for Digital Media discusses Communication Law and the Internet, particularly that concerning privacy and libel.  Even though I have always been surrounded by these ideas, especially privacy and our right to it, I have never once studied the actual law behind it all.  I found it very interesting because it applies to the way we interact with the Internet and websites every day.

The privacy part was of particular interest to me.  Every single day, we go online and use various websites.  Oftentimes we use an account to sign in to get our personalized version of the website.  Well, these interactions are allowing various websites to access some of your own personal information.  For that reason, most require you to sign or agreeing to a user agreement of some kind before officially signing up. Carroll points out that if you ask virtually any person if they are concerned about online privacy they are likely to agree.  However, very few people actually read the user agreements or privacy policies that the website provides. If you “pair this general apathy or lack of concern with technological changes that make it easier to steal, survey, duplicate, buy and sell personal information, the result is a general vulnerability of data privacy” (259). If people really cared a lot about their privacy online so much then they would take the extra time to read what they are agreeing to. 

I also thought it was interesting to read just how much easier it is to “get wiretap permission and to share what is heard, and to survey and to collect information on individuals without their knowledge” (259). I think that this is what many Americans are concerned about when it comes to privacy nowadays – the fact that the government could be listening in on any conversation you have without your knowledge terrifies many people. 

These issues in communication law were quite interesting to read about and I feel as though I learned a lot from this chapter. 

MY VIDEO!!

How Furman’s campus affects its student population

That Awkward Moment….

…when I read the wrong chapter!! These are our class notes from today on chapter 6 rather than chapter 9  (whoops!!):

Chapter 6

Steps to “editing” online content:

  1. Identify your readers and the purpose of the content
    1. What are the readers’ needs? Interests? Their purposes for visiting your site?
    2. What hardware and software are they using? How/ where they are accessing your site?
  2. Define document structure and links
    1. How will your users navigate through your site?
    2. What main sections/pages will you have?
    3. Begin to map out the brand of your site
  3. Defining the style
    1. Colors? Fonts?
    2. Images?
    3. How far can the ruler scroll down on each page?
    4. Writing style
  4. Edit
    1. Do your links work?
    2. Is your style, both language and visuals, consistent throughout?
    3. Is your content successfully communicating your purpose and fulfilling the users’?
  5. Copyedit
    1. Check consistency (again)
    2. Grammar, punctuation, etc. (proofreading)
    3. Check out your site in different browsers and on different machines
  6. Copyedit II
    1. Going over content again for focus, flow, grammar, etc.
    2. FACT CHECK
  7. Write headlines
  8. Test usability
    1. Would a user who was new to the site be able to navigate without getting frustrated?
    2. Would he/she get what he/she set out to find?
  9. Search engine optimization (SEO writing)
    1. Defining all the terms you want to be used to find the site

A Dying Whale

Chapter 9 of Writing for Digital Media by Brian Carroll is entitled “WE THE PEOPLE Part II: News as Conversation”.  This chapter is focused on the interactivity that journalism has taken on in recent years with the widespread influence of the Internet. 

In order to stay relevant with news sites now on the Internet, newspapers have been forced to expand their reach by following suit and also creating websites to post their news.  Nearly all newspapers now also have an online component to them, and users can put their own voice into the news they are receiving in two different ways.  First, news sites are becoming increasingly customizable, so you can receive the news you want without having to first sift through other information.  Secondly, news is much more of a conversation nowadays – there are live chat rooms, bulletin boards, and comment sections that allow anyone to post their opinion.  Newspapers also often have twitter accounts so that they can post quick, up to date reports on the news, keeping their followers more recently informed and feeling confident that they are getting the most and best information out there.

Carroll compares the newspaper industry to a “giant whale threatened with extinction” (211). Like a whale, newspapers have historically supported an “ecosystem” (if you will), but now the “ecosystem” is changing and the whale has to change with it. If the whale doesn’t change with the times, then it will go extinct. Newspapers are the same way – if they don’t adjust and modernize with everyone else, they “will surely die” (211). 

Invisibility is Key

I don’t know if I ever realized just how much effort goes into the process of editing video until this project when I actually have to do it myself.  And I definitely didn’t realize it was such a art form until I read this article, Visual Storytelling: Videography and Post Production in the Digital Age.  There are so many techniques and pieces to keep in mind throughout the editing process that had honestly never occurred to me.  It’s important to have good editing because I (and probably most other audience members) never notice the editing unless it is poorly done. 

The most interesting thing I read in this article was probably the quote from Louis Malle (a director), who said “I keep telling my editors, if you win an award for editing, I won’t work with you anymore.  Your editing shows” (230).  I thought the concept of editing so good it was invisible to be an extremely fascinating one.  I’m sure Malle wouldn’t actually stop working with an award-winning editor, but he gets his point across, for sure.  If the editing overshadows the actual piece itself, then there’s a problem because it then takes away from the content.   

From what I’ve read in this article, I’ve got a lot to learn about the editing process!!

Slideshow with Audio!

 

Check it out!!

REAL LIFE!

CARE for AIDS is starting a club at Furman and I am in charge of the social media!! I’ve made a twitter account and Facebook page for the organization, and I really feel like I’m putting the skills we’ve learned in this class to use!! I even used what we learned with photoshop to create an image to promote CFA at Furman:

Image

 

I meshed the CARE for AIDS logo into a picture of the Furman bell tower and lake that I took for this class project.  I wanted to portray the message that CARE for AIDS and Furman are really working together and CFA is ingrained in Furman’s campus… and I think I succeeded!

I love being able to apply all this stuff to the real world, and the things I’m interested in!! I’m really making a difference with these new skills.

Dynamic Duo

Multimodal Polyphony by Anders Fagerjord was a very interesting article that discussed the importance of the combination of various modes of communication.  Fagerjord begins the article by saying that we usually think that “the simple lables of ‘alphabetic’ and ‘image-oriented’ will be sufficient to describe the communication practises of coming generations” (1).  He continues to go on and describe the various other methods that are also important to communication and interactions in today’s day and age but maybe don’t get as much as recognition as ‘alphabetic’ or ‘image-oriented’.

Fagerjord focuses a lot on the “flash documentary” which he describes as a “true Web genre that became widespread in 2000 and 2001.  I had never heard of them before reading this article, so I found this section particularly fascinating. They are timed slideshows with a narration.  The still images are made to move by “moving the frame in panning, tilting, or zooming over the image… a technique [called] slide-motion film” (2). The combination of still images (photography as well as drawings and paintings) and audio (speech, music and sound effects) are shown to be extremely powerful and meaningful through these flash documentaries.  The combination of audio and visual is very different from that of image and language for 3 reasons: 1) we can listen and look at the same time, instead of trying to read and look, 2) the audio adds a rhythm and dynamic to the slideshow that words alone wouldn’t offer, and 3) new rhetorical possibilities arise with the movement of frames.  These 3 things, among others, offer insight into why a slideshow can be made so much more powerful with just the simple addition of some audio, whether that be narration or music.