My class of Networked Narratives, with Professors Mia Zamora and Alana Levine, has been one of interesting ongoing learning within digital spaces. I can share that my accomplishments and performance within the class were some that provided me with a certain experience, which affected what I enjoyed most, and what I learned in relation to the light and darkness of the internet, and what I took away from it.
To put it in simpler words, this class for me was one of the kind. I don’t remember ever taking another class like this in the past, and this is actually a good thing. It felt quite casual, and it makes sense to why this would be the case. After all, the context of the class requires you to be very well involved constantly in online spaces (surfing the web, visiting certain web sites, managing applications, researching information on certain topics, and similar activities). Obviously there we had lectures in class, but the rest of the time, we were expected to be immersed in the internet. This was also the case, even during lectures in class. But this was probably the factor I enjoyed the most. Being exposed to the internet almost frequently (online spaces), in order to work through assignments and ideas, made it all the more connecting to the purpose of the class. So, by immersing ourselves with the many events taking part of the online world, we got the chance to really dive into our selected topics of interest, and become all the more involved. This is not to mention that throughout the entire semester, we were expected to be working on (towards) our ‘Fieldguide’ project. This project required us to accumulate and investigate sources on our selected topic, relating to some type of darkness (negative phenomenon) in the internet.
This brings me to the next past of my self-assessment on the class: my reflection on what I learned about the darkness or light of the internet in 2019. Now, I understand that there is some light to the internet nowadays. But since working on my research project (Fieldguide) was mainly focused on investigating information on the darkness, I will focus such as part of my assessment. I have to honestly say that I did learn a lot of material which I was a bit clueless before taking this class. I was introduced to so many topics that were part of this ‘darkeness’ in the internet, which I found it hard at first to believe. Some of these things I learned about were Algorithms, Capitalism Surveillance, Online Identity Theft, and Catfishing (my selected topic), to name a few. Hearing about these is one thing, but learning more about them is a different one. Perhaps to some people out there these topics might seem very familiar, but that was not the case for me. For example, although I had previously heard the phrase Algorithms and a small definition of it, I did not know exactly how it worked. This class allowed me to take the interest on learning more about it, aside from my own personal means. Soon, I learned that such phenomenon was found almost everywhere online, as it is the reason to a few things I had already noticed but never deeply questioned: why is it that after I look up one image online, the rest of the recommended things are still related to that first image; why when I watch a video on Youtube, it is followed by a list of other videos similar to what I previously watched; or why I get random pop-up messages or notifications of things I am actually interested in, as if I left my trace (footprint) somewhere on the internet? Similarly to this topic or phenomenon, I learned about the others listed above. They all had negative aspects to them, and very little positives. But one thing they share in common is (despite them being different): they are part of the internet and we are subject to falling victims of them as we find ourselves in such online spaces; whether we watch videos on Youtube, browser sites on Google, watch movies online, and shop on Ebay or Amazon. Such darkness exists, I think, not only because there are certain people out there who want to take advantage of others, but also because certain parties (groups or associations behind programs, software, websites, applications, and more) take advantage of technology can understand us, for their own profit.
Putting all of this together, I feel I did manage to get away with something from the class. This ‘thing’ that I got away with was more knowledge on how to be more careful to falling victims of the various types of phenomenon occurring online these days. And while working on my fieldguide project and researching online, I came up with a list of measures to take, in order to prevent me of being a victim. My recommendation is:  avoid or limit the amount of time I spend on online spaces;  Don’t fall victim to anything that pops-up on my screen as a notification which appears of my interest;  don’t upload or share too much of my personal information on social media spaces;  don’t trust anyone online who I personally don’t know in real life. It might seem as a simple list, but I find it helpful when combating the dangers found in online spaces. I am already trying it, and I feel a positive chance, as I have more control and power over my personal data and actions.
This all ties together to my overall performance in the class and my grade contract. To be honest, I think I did pretty well during the entire semester. I submitted the required assignments, attended classes and lectures as expected, posted regularly on my created blog for the class, communicated on Twitter with the Netnarr group, completed the required amount of DDAs, finished and published my fieldguide project to the Arganee Journal, and put me best personal effort in learning on the various topics that drove the class towards its goal (end). So according to the grade contract, I believe I met all or almost all of the expectations with my performance. But it is said that actions count more than words, so with this in mind, I recommend to anyone interested to carefully look below at the various examples of all the work I’ve done.
HYPOTHES.IS (accounts for Karel and Jane Kitten)
FIELDGUIDE PROJECT (Published on Arganee Journal)