A Networked Society: Promises and Paradoxes

The conveniences of a complete digitally integrated society no doubt has its benefits. In “Life in a Networked Society”, the communications company Ericsson gives us a glimpse into what total integration of technology in a society looks like with the example of Estonia, a country in Northern Europe. Estonia utilizes the internet X-road to connect different government systems ,centralize services and store information for its citizens. Dr. Carrie Ginter moderates a documentary discussing the Estonian society and how it developed during the digital boom in the late 2000’s. Every part of Estonian citizens lives utilizes a unique id card or mobile identification that allows you to access everything from medical records, your children’s teachers, licenses for your business, or a bus ride across town. According to the documentary the technology fosters never before seen access and transparency of governing structures, while allowing people a tailored user experience for their lifestyle.

Conversely much of what has taken place in Estonia is exactly why many people choose to support endeavors that allow them to function autonomously online. The idea of a society foregoing anonymity scares many people especially because access to information in particular, forgoes power in many dictator government run countries. The Dark Web is an alternative to the internet we are accustomed to. It allows people to use the web without leaving an IP stamp that identifies them. This technology was invented by the US Navy, but is accessible to everyone now through a special encryption browser. Jamie Bartlett discusses on a Google Talks forum that the Dark Web will become more mainstream in the future because it allows for the most part, complete anonymity and a growing number of web options of venues that are on traditional internet like Facebook.  Bartlett also discovered through his research that although there is anonymity, users have managed to build trust with each other through screen names and reviews. Joseph Cox adds that the Dark Web is not what we previously thought it to be, full of illicit activities and freedom fighters, that it is more “morally colorful” than dark, and encompasses real people whose attitudes regulate what flourishes. Cox in his investigation not only saw drugs and guns sales, but book clubs and hackers taking down child pornography sites.

When I contemplated the idea of a networked society it was kind of scary. The idea of relinquishing control in many ways becoming a number doesn’t appeal to me. As I watched the documentary “Life in a Networked Society”, I couldn’t help but think this is not the full story after all it was facilitated by a communications company. I don’t believe networked societies are simply convenient without faults. The documentary explains in the beginning  that the conditions of Estonia coupled with government and private sector initiative fostered its innovation, while at the end explains that the intentions and mindset of the people contributing to innovations control the future. So what if the intentions of the government and corporations are contrary to public opinion or not fully disclosed. The idea of transparency and anonymity is such a paradox in networked societies and I’m confused as to how they can be simultaneously maintained and still flourish.

Terry, K. (TedX). (2014, November, 17).The dark side of the web exploring darknets | Kyle Terry | TEDxSalem. Retrieved from Kyle Terry TedTalks / YouTube

McAlister, J. (James McAlister). (2015, July 21). BBC Documentary 2015 – Discovery Channel – Inside The Dark Web HD. Retrieved from BBC Inside The Dark Web / YouTube

James. (GeekBlogTV). (2012, November 17). The Hidden Internet – Exploring The Deep Web. Retrieved from The Deep Web / YouTube.

Ericsson. (Ericsson). (2012, July, 9). The Networked Society, On the Brink. Retrieved from Network Society on the Brink / YouTube

Ericsson. (Ericsson). (2013, January, 22). Life in a Networked Society. Retrieved from Networked Society / YouTube

Cox, J.  (The Lost Lectures). (2014, June, 20). Joseph Cox: The Deep Web Isn’t All Dark. Retrieved from Joseph Cox The Deep Web / YouTube

Beres, D. (2015, August, 19). What You Should Know About The ‘Dark Web,’ An Anonymous Haven For Hackers. retrieved October 31 2015, from The Huffingtonost Web Site: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-is-the-dark-web_55d48c50e4b0ab468d9f17d7

Bartlett, J. (TedTalks). (2015, September 24). How the Mysterious Dark Net Is Going Mainstream | Jamie Bartlett | TED Talks. Retrieved from The Dark Net, Jamie Bartlett / YouTube

Bartlett, J. (Talks at Google). (2014, October 2). Jamie Bartlett: “The Dark Net” | Talks at Google. Retrieved from The Dark Net / YouTube

Bartlett, J. (The Register). (2015, June 4). Jamie Bartlett, Light and Dark on the Internet: The Register Summer Lectures, 2015. Retrieved from Light & Dark on the Internet / YouTube

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My Recommendations Week 10

When I researched this weeks topic I have to admit I was somewhat naïve. Dark net and elusive marketplaces remind me of stuff you would see on James Bond or some other spy thriller. I was really taken back, and watched hours of documentaries and TedTalks on the other internet and why we as a culture have become so obsessed with anonymity. Many people feel that personal privacy is so important and necessary, that it is worth what it contributes in illicit activities.

Terry, K. (TedX). (2014, November, 17).The dark side of the web exploring darknets | Kyle Terry | TEDxSalem. Retrieved from Kyle Terry TedTalks / YouTube

McAlister, J. (James McAlister). (2015, July 21). BBC Documentary 2015 – Discovery Channel – Inside The Dark Web HD. Retrieved from BBC Inside The Dark Web / YouTube

James. (GeekBlogTV). (2012, November 17). The Hidden Internet – Exploring The Deep Web. Retrieved from The Deep Web / YouTube.

Ericsson. (Ericsson). (2012, July, 9). The Networked Society, On the Brink. Retrieved from Network Society on the Brink / YouTube

Ericsson. (Ericsson). (2013, January, 22). Life in a Networked Society. Retrieved from Networked Society / YouTube

Cox, J.  (The Lost Lectures). (2014, June, 20). Joseph Cox: The Deep Web Isn’t All Dark. Retrieved from Joseph Cox The Deep Web / YouTube

Beres, D. (2015, August, 19). What You Should Know About The ‘Dark Web,’ An Anonymous Haven For Hackers. retrieved October 31 2015, from The Huffingtonost Web Site: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-is-the-dark-web_55d48c50e4b0ab468d9f17d7

Bartlett, J. (TedTalks). (2015, September 24). How the Mysterious Dark Net Is Going Mainstream | Jamie Bartlett | TED Talks. Retrieved from The Dark Net, Jamie Bartlett / YouTube

Bartlett, J. (Talks at Google). (2014, October 2). Jamie Bartlett: “The Dark Net” | Talks at Google. Retrieved from The Dark Net / YouTube

Bartlett, J. (The Register). (2015, June 4). Jamie Bartlett, Light and Dark on the Internet: The Register Summer Lectures, 2015. Retrieved from Light & Dark on the Internet / YouTube

My Recommendations Week 9

” 588 2300 EMPIRE!” Sang a woman in an upbeat rhythm. That was the phone number on a commercial for a carpet installation service in Chicago where I grew up. When I reminisce about television advertisements I watched as a child, I remember a lot of the catchy phrases and for products, most of which I never used. The advertising and public relations industries have both experienced the benefits of digital technology in more ways than just the accessibility it affords, but the nature of both, remains to influence and control public opinions.

Wynne, R (2015, April 28). Five Ways The Internet Hasn’t Changed Public Relations. retrieved October 20 2015, from Wynne Communications Web Site: http://wynnepr.com/category/news-insights/insights/

Giuffrida, N (2015 August, 25). The Evolution of PR in the Digital Age. retrieved October 20 2015, from Hallam Web Site: https://www.hallaminternet.com/2015/the-evolution-of-pr-in-the-digital-age/

Kokalitcheva, K (2015, September, 28). Google advertisers can now use email addresses to target ads. retrieved October 20 2015, from Fortune Web Site: http://fortune.com/2015/09/28/google-advertisers-email-ads/

Brown, D (2014, April, 30). PR in the Digital Age: Where Now?. retrieved October 20, 2015, from Spin Sucks Web Site: http://spinsucks.com/communication/pr-in-the-digital-age-where-now/

Gaming and Other Computer Use for Entertainment

In our present time and culture, the accessibility of entertainment is at arms reach at any moment. More than ever we have been afforded instantaneous interaction  with our favorite forms of entertainment. I myself don’t enjoy gaming regularly, that being said I have been known to play a round of Candy Crush Saga every now and again. Gaming has inundated our online world which makes it difficult for internet users to view an area of interest online without a predictive ad scrolling on the screen. Although I  find this annoying at times, this proves to be an ingenious  way of marketing gaming technology to someone who would have probably not have explored it otherwise. That’s how I got sucked into Candy Crush Saga. I also have dabbled into gaming for cognitive development, although again, I’m not a “gamer”, the logical side of me definitely understands the benefits that come from the art.

In an article for TEDBlog, Andy Robertson discusses thinking of video games as more than simply something to be used for entertainment and self development, but as a resource having “intrinsic value” (2012). Robertson states that peoples opinions are polarized on gaming, either it contributes to violence and is a waste of time, or they help with relaxation, self improvement and entertains. Robertson explains that if we looked at other art forms strictly for there ability to cause harm or for self improvement, we miss there value and cultural significance just as we do in video games. Robertson equates the impact of video games likened to that of films and books in the way that we experience them with our minds and emotions, the difference being games invite us to interact with the story. This allows the possibility for game players to also experience and appreciate various cultures through video games.

In a research study concerning the effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, cognition, and affect, as well as physiological arousal and prosocial behavior, Craig Anderson and Brad Bushman perform a meta analysis of scientific literature as well as conduct their own experiment. In their convergence of research about movie, television, and video game violence, Anderson and Bushman explain that because television, movies, and video games have a similar psychological processes, have a large amount of research literature, and exhausted early criticism of aggression studies with further research, the two seemingly separate themes correlate and can support the topic. Anderson and Bushman  conclude that violent video games do increase aggressive behavior in children and young adults. The researchers also learned that exposure to violent video games also increase physiological arousal and aggression related thoughts and feelings, as well as decreases prosocial behavior with game usage. Anderson and Bushman initial finding were confirmed in August by the American Psychological Association(2015).

The part of the article I found the most interesting was the explanation of the General Aggression Model (GAM). According to Anderson and Bushman, the activation of aggression is largely based learning, activation, and application of aggression related knowledge structures. Violent television, movies, and video game increase aggression by teaching participants how to aggress through priming cognition, increasing arousal, and by creating an aggressive affective state.

This model helped me to understand the psychology behind why so many of us enjoy violent media, especially if you have a passive personality. When we watch violence, especially when its interactive we are allowed to live vicariously through the characters, and not only experience how they react to stimuli, but how we believe we should react if we are presented with the same circumstance. This makes us feel powerful and less susceptible to being taken advantage of. When we have not been taught the proper models of handling violence we still learned a model of handling violence, through our environment and whatever that encompasses. It when these technologies become the only teachers of behavior models that they become dangerous to our culture.

American Psychological Association. (2015). APA review confirms link between playing violent video games and aggression [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/violent-video-games.aspx

Anderson, C., Bushman,B. (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychol Sci 12(5), 353-9.

Casey, M (2015, August 17). Do violent video games lead to criminal behavior?. retrieved October 7 2015, from CBS News Web Site: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/do-violent-video-games-lead-to-criminal-behavior/

Robertson, A. Finding the meaning in video games: Yes, they have value beyond entertainment and self-improvement. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from http://blog.ted.com/finding-the-meaning-in-video-games-yes-they-have-value-beyond-entertainment-and-self-improvement/

My Recommendations Week 7

Let me start by saying I’m nowhere near what anyone would consider a “gamer”. I personally don’t like games because I’m somewhat competitive, but not good at competition, if that makes sense. My older sister on the other hand is a wiz, board games, sports, Atari, whatever game you gave her she mastered that very day. To this day she loves video games, and I couldn’t care less about them. As I researched this weeks topic, I realized how integrated computer gaming technology has become in our culture and found several interesting pieces on not only how gaming can effect cognitive abilities, but also how the future intentions of gaming developers is not just entertainment.

American Psychological Association. (2015). APA review confirms link between playing violent video games and aggression [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/violent-video-games.aspx

Casey, M (2015, August 17). Do violent video games lead to criminal behavior?. retrieved October 7 2015, from CBS News Web Site: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/do-violent-video-games-lead-to-criminal-behavior/

Robertson, A. Finding the meaning in video games: Yes, they have value beyond entertainment and self-improvement. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from http://blog.ted.com/finding-the-meaning-in-video-games-yes-they-have-value-beyond-entertainment-and-self-improvement/

Tsukayama, H. (2012, January 12). YouTube: The future of entertainment is on the Web. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/youtube-the-future-of-entertainment-is-on-the-web/2012/01/12/gIQADpdBuP_story.html

Singleton, M (2015, August, 28). YouTube as you know it is about to change dramatically. retrieved October 7 2015, from The Verge Web Site: http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/28/9220377/youtube-as-you-know-it-is-about-to-change-dramatically

Craig A. Anderson & Brad J. Bushman (2001). Effects of violent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: a meta-analytic review of the scientific literature. Psychol Sci 12(5), 353-9.

My Recommendations Week 6

As I reflect on my experiences with politics and media I remember a time when I worked on a campaign for a local government official. I was so excited to help and see the inner workings of a political operation, so very intrigued by the art of it. I also remember when President Obama ran, it was the first time I witnessed the impact social media had on the election process and it made me and alot of my other friends feels like we did that, our tweet, post, and forwarded message made that happen. In a TedxTalk, Mark Shepard discusses how political assesibility afforded by digital technology has led to an upsurge in rude and disrespectful comments that have become the norm on social media. Shepard discussed how to avoid these behaviors and how to communicate responsibly your opinions. I found this commentary interesting because a lot of use believe that because social media is a platform to express yourself, that it gives your a license to be disrespectful without responsibility. I believe we should be reminded that we all have an opinion that should be heard but you don’t have to tear others down to achieve that.

Shepard,M.(TedxTalks). (2014,July,23). The impact of social media in political debate/Mark Shepard/TedxGlasgow. Retrieved from The impact of social media in political debate / YouTube

My Recommendations Week 5

The digital age has allowed people access to even the most secluded parts of the globe. Everything we know and experience, has the possibility of being shared with any number of people, at any time. While most of us share the joys of our life’s experiences on social media, the internet has afforded us a platform to share the face of injustice. Information is at the ready whenever social conflicts arise and whom it reaches is not explicitly controlled by gate keepers.

The Gezi Park Protests in Turkey exampled how social activism has transformed with the aid of social media. The demonstrations started with when a small group of citizens enacted a sit in to protests the demolition of Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey to make way for a mall. The ruling government party Adaletve Kalkinma Parties, AKP, had been gentrifying the city center which angered and displaced many citizens. Coupled with police brutality and unlawful rules, the people began to rebel against the government in the form of mass protests on a weekly bases. In the short documentary Gezi Park Protest in Turkey the filmmakers chronicle the uprising and how social media was utilized by the participants. Gezi Park Protest /YouTube

I also recommend Youth collective activism through social media: The role of collective efficacy by Alcides Velasquez, Robert Larose. This articles explores the reasons why  youth participate in collective online political activism.

Busch,S., Büsch,T. (Documentary). (2013. November,5). Gezi Park Protests in Turkey (2013)-Documentary. Retrieved from Gezi Park Protests /YouTube

Larose, R., Velasquez, A. (2015). Youth collective activism through social media:the role of collective. New media and society. 17(6)899-918.