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Culmination of my Experience on Networked Narratives (Self-assessment on The Class)

TOGE

 

 

 

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: [1] avoid or limit the amount of time I spend on online spaces; [2] Don’t fall victim to anything that pops-up on my screen as a notification which appears of my interest; [3] don’t upload or share too much of my personal information on social media spaces; [4] 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)

https://hypothes.is/users/karel

https://hypothes.is/users/Dr.Kittens

FIELDGUIDE PROJECT (Published on Arganee Journal)

http://journal.arganee.world/2019/377/

fieldguidecoverpic..

 THANK YOU!!

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Jane Kitten Comes Alive! And She Is To Darn Hot, like ‘Spicy Watermelon-Bubble-Gum’… Is That Even A Thing?

 

This week as been an interesting one for sure. Especially with the class and our final project. I think this project will prove itself to be more fun than expected. So, this week we talked about coming up with a topic for the final project, as well as creating a ‘profile’ for our alchemist (mentor).

For my final the topic relating the final project, finally decided on what to go with. At first, I was think of doing something in relation to ‘online surveillance’. But after carefully thinking about it, I discovered that it was not an interesting topic anymore. But then, just recently, I came up with another one and this is is a keeper (Identity theft in online social spaces). My main focus with this topic is to mainly gain a deeper understanding of the things that go with it. In this case, I will be observing online places like Facebook, Twitter, or dating sites, where there are countless of ‘fake profiles’. These fake profiles are created for many reasons, I assume. And many of them include profiles with pictures of people that don’t belong to the person creating the profile. These photos or personal information can be stolen from pretty much anyone, saved onto a system (a computer or phone, for example), and used later on. This phenomenon is not only happening in online social spaces, but also is dating websites or applications. It is scary to think someone else has an exact image of you and your personal information, as they try to pretend to be you for their own means. Scary indeed!! It also has the same negative effect in online dating spaces, with these fake profiles trying to fool you, only to later try to scam you or make a fool of you.

Since, I’ll be working closely with my alchemist and mentor, this week I took the time help my mentor come to live. She already has a name (Jane Kitten), and a complex character profile. She is an expert in social media, especially in online dating and social spaces. It is for this reason that she will be very useful in my research and search for an answer to my topic.

Below is a picture of my mentor and a link to her profile:

 

MEET MY ALCHEMIST (MENTOR)

janekittens

Link to her profile:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BgMk_4_J67AVdFs0aj_JlZWBPWTuwvKhp4XNRhvebbU/edit?usp=sharing

How she looks like:

 

I KNOW!! SHE’S BABE!! LOL. Stay back guys, she’s mine. And best part of it, is that she is only 50% human and 50% ‘kitty cat’. It take this much to receive the proper help I need to deal with this topic, and so I believe Jane Kitten will be the perfect partner for this journey. She is smart, she knows about social spaces (Facebook, Twitter, Hinge, Tinder, and more). She is super sweet like ‘watermelon bubble-gum’, but determined and focused on her work when the time is right. This is Jane. But then again, don’t fall for her, …..because she’s mine….

 

Thank you for reading!

 

GIFs over MEMEs

 

 

This week in case, we went over another digital form of communication, known as GIF (Graphic Interchange Format). This one alone is very similar to MEMES. In fact, you could argue that GIF is the next level that follows. Regardless of how they work, one thing can be understood: they both aim to present a message or idea with text and image (still or motion picture). GIF however, does the job presentation of a message much better, since it contains a short motion picture that goes along with text. This alone gives it a clearer and vivid idea of what the person behind the GIF is thinking of arguing.

Just as I thought, in the previous class discussion, that MEMES are a useful informal way of communication in online spaces, I think that GIFs are even more efficient at their job. My reason to think this is because of the way they are formed together. Yes, a motion picture image can go a long way in describing a vivid idea of what you’re trying to say. Just imagine for a moment that you feel sick. If you only had the option of writing a short text of how you feel at this moment, it probably wouldn’t be very clear to the audience of how sick you are, how sick you feel, or what type of sick it is. You short text, in this case, will also be missing the visual representation of feelings, humor, sadness, or even anger. The audience might know that you are sick because of your short text (let’s say: composed of 3-4 words only).

But what if you mixed your text with a motion picture (short clip, in this case)? Now we’re talking. This is another layer that facilitates visualization to the audience. With this option of motion picture, you can now choose what time of image you want to put on your GIF, and how detailed in terms of representation of your idea. Now, the audience can see if you have a cold, a fever, and more, based on the type of motion picture you attach to the GIF. They can also, see the level of seriousness of your sickness if you attach the right image (how much emotion is showing). All of these are solid reasons to how a GIF can provide a better visualization of your idea.

Another reason to why I think GIFs are useful as a form of communication is in relation to its form of delivery. Being one that is always digital makes the difference in how the message is delivered in terms of speed and accessibility. The internet has really opened many possibilities for communication all over the world, in various ways. You can now send a message, GIF, MEME, video, sound, and many other tools of communication at a speed that is not possible with the mail services. Even the fastest of mail services can only deliver within days, but not in seconds or minutes (as in the case of online communication).

Yes, communication through online space is now almost instant and very reliable. For this reason, GIFs make another useful way of communication, as it can reach a certain audience in no time. This means, your message and idea get across faster and you can receive faster feedback or responses. In addition to this, there is more accessibility with this form of communication. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, the information you post online can be visible to almost anyone who has access to the internet and online spaces. So, this means that more people can have access to your GIF in no time. Doesn’t that make your day? Not only is your GIF being distributed at a fast speed, but also to a large amount of people. And the best part of it is that your GIF message will tell your idea in a way that is easy to understand, without the need for someone to read a written paragraph from you.

Why Wait for Your Sculpture One Week, When You Can Take a Picture Today?

 

 

This week for class, we went over the topic of ‘digital art’ and how it has transformed art production. A discussion over this topic was started with an example of one of the forms of digital art we have today (digital photography), which originated from a more physical and simplistic form (sculptures, paintings, ect…). Looking at this example helped us clearly see the radical change that has taken place over the many years, on this art form of portraits and imagery. From the discussion, an argument emerged: that the valuable aspect of man-crafted art was lost with such change. Although this is true in many ways, I personally found myself partly disagreeing with this claim, for personal and contemporary (related to the present day) reasons.

 

At first, I did understand that there was a point to this claim and idea. But soon, I opened my understanding to other possibilities, as I brought into question aspects of ‘constant life-style advancement’ and ‘human’s desire for evolution’. If we think about it, our lives never stop due to the natural clock-of-life. This means that we are constantly living in the present and looking forward to the future, while often times remembering the past.

 

Before the evolution of such technology, traditional forms of art were both a need and desired life style. This is because it was not only useful in many ways, but also enjoyed by people. Just imagine, living in the ancient times of Greece, when Aristotle was alive. There are no cameras, or smart phones for take pictures. Naturally, the only option is to turn to the man-crafting skills of imagery if you desire a self portrait. In this sense, there is a need for a person or people with such formidable skills. And it is in this sense, that there is more value to their work and to the actual artist. This is all they had at their disposal, as they were limited to other technologies. It is obvious to why, looking at it from a perspective of the present, someone of us can argue that such artistic value is no longer there with more modern forms of photography and imagery.

But is this really true? I think it only partly, and is our perception of it is based what we choose to believe or accept. I personally don’t think the value of photography and the artists who work on it has been at all. It has merely changed, to adapt to a different time and era. Today, we have plentiful ways of capturing an image. We do it through our phones, laptops, digital cameras, and more. And although, we no longer rely on sculptures or paintings (since they are more expensive now), we still can appreciate the technology behind it and the capabilities that exist. In fact, we might feel blessed that it is this way now, since there is so much benefit to it, including the speed in which we can attain a portrait, picture, or image, type of quality, amount of copies, and low costs. And the best thing about it is that we can have it at any time we want, and wherever we want. The fact that we have become our own photographers is not so bad after all. Even with this being the case, the artists who have passionately devoted themselves for a career in this field (throughout the years), still are able to work in it in a more advanced way. Will you really be the one taking the pictures on your wedding day? I don’t think so. It is more than likely that you will hire a professional photographer to the videos and pictures of the wedding. And this professional will be able to capture the moment live and provide you with the work in days-time. My point in all of this is that, I think this form of art has not necessarily died, but rather transformed and changed to one more suitable to out era and life-style. Nowadays, we value speed of results and place great demand on it, since we live fast-paced lives.

Memes For Your Enjoyment

emotional-memes-tie-my-shoe-for-the-rest-of-my-life

Image link:

http://favoritethings.danoah.com/33-memes-that-hit-you-right-in-the-feels/new-sad-baby-meme-funny-sad-memes-memes/

 

 

This week we covered the interesting form of communication known as ‘memes.’ For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a purposeful or humorous image, video, or text that is mixed together to tell a message. Because of how eye-catching these are, they normally spread though the web quite rapidly by internet users. I find memes to be an unusual and efficient form of communication these days, as they carry messages across with ease and specificity. And it is perhaps this efficiency of content delivery that as helped them in popularity.

I can’t remember the very first time I came across a meme anymore. But I do remember the time I became aware of what they were (they were something more than just a regular picture; an ongoing trend part of the digital world). Thinking back to this moment, I think I was in my teenage years when this happened. And after that moment, I have noticed them more often than I probably should. It’s easier to notice something, after you have become aware that it exists. Memes are really an undying trend online, and can be found in almost all digital spaces relating to social media. People post and upload them for all purposes. Some of these places where they can be found are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and even on Youtube as thumbnails or part of the videos. It is this high usage of them online that help them spread between many online spaces and search engine.

But how exactly does this happen? Well, as I said earlier, they are very contagious. This possibly because of their efficiency of on-point/direct message delivery. It is true that a message can be delivered clearly in text alone, but even so, there is something more about an image being combined with text that improves visualization. One probable reason is because they are many times more humorous than a regular picture or simple text, as they are combination of the two. It is no wonder that when we search online for memes, or randomly come across them, you will likely notice how comical they spear to be. They can be sometimes political,, personal, religious, and the genre is as wide as there is topics available. And their content vary from one to the other because they are tools for communication after all. But still, more often than not we come across humorous memes because of people natural desire for enjoyment, even in online spaces. Don’t believe me? Give it a try and just go to the Google search engine, then type ‘memes.’ You will see how many of them have humor to them, rather than actually arguing something or providing a sadistic message.

(Class Activity) Five Meme Image Story

This little guy (Pikachu) had his identity stolen online. He tell’s his owner, but he soon came to realize that not much could be done about it.

[1] PIKACHU on facebook

facebook-notification-farmville

[2] pikachu on facebook

 

[3] part three

 

[4] facebook pikachu

 

Credits:

(Links of memes)

https://imgflip.com/i/2vl6he

https://imgflip.com/i/2vl7jo

https://imgflip.com/i/2vl7si

https://imgflip.com/i/2vl818

https://memegenerator.net/instance/16579133/sad-pikachu-facebook-notification-farmville

 

 

Selfie-Unselfie Project

 

Nowadays, we take pictures all the time to capture moments or how we’re feeling, since we have the technology to do so. And most of these images are the so called ‘selfies’. Despite these type of images just being another regular picture, it is the nature and technique used when taken them that differentiate them from regular images. How is this possible? Well, ‘selfies’ have their own type characteristics that set them aside from the rest. Normally, they are pictures where you are the star and center of attention. This being the case, you face will most likely be the one in front of other faces (closes to the camera), or you will be the person who appears to be taking the image. Interestingly enough, just as there we have ‘selfies’, we also have ‘un-selfies’. These are pictures that don’t normally focus much on your face or body exposition. But they still a star as the center of attention (this might be an object, thing, ect…). Bellow is a good example of this.

 

selfie 2

Normally, I am one of those people who don’t like taking selfies because I don’t like to worry of how I look, but rather who I aim to be. But for the purpose of this message, here it is. A picture serving as a common ‘selfie’. As simple it might look, there is more the picture above than looks the eye. Because after all, when we take pictures, we take them with a purpose (whatever it might be). And they do say a lot about us psychologically, and even physically. Anyway, although it might not be very apparent here, I had just taken a shower and decided to take this selfie picture.

Bellow is another example of a selfie’s counterpart. Still my picture, but not showing the same characteristics.

selfie 1

In this image, I took a picture of two my favorite books, which I still read often and re-read more times than I probably should. These are just common books. But it is the content that I am interested and look at. Both books’ content are based on writing (mainly old fictional short stories and the writing process of them).

 

Anyhow, going into more depth on why I took these pictures, I can touch on two specific things:

[1] I wanted to capture a moment when I was feeling good about myself.

For some reason, I always feel extremely comfortable and confident with myself after getting of the show (It’s as if I become a completely different person, who thinks and feels different from before taken a shower). And I’m sure that this has nothing to do with me feeling clean at this moment, but more with the moment of experience. For as long as I remember, I my brain goes into a thinking-state-of-mind under the the running shower. Why this happens it still unclear to me, but I know I think of a million things at this moment, from people, memories, activities, and much more.

[2] Share with the world (or selected people) what matters to me and a part of my own person.

What better way to share with others part of you, than with a picture. Honestly, a picture can tell so much. On the first picture I shared my highest state of emotional comfortableness and on the second image my interest and simple passion.

 

Verdict:

In a sense, these picture were not random. I have to be honest that there was some planning when taking them. I intentionally wanted to show these two sides of me in this form or self-representation. And so, I decided to take the pictures in the form shown above. Another part of planning that went into thought when creating them was the atmosphere that can be felt from them. For this reason, I found that taking them in black and white was a perfect representation of my emotional estate. It’s been culturally known in many parts of the world that black and white pictures are normally representative of peace, old-fashion style or taste, and abstraction. There is more to their overall definition, but for the most part this is it for me. Needless to say, the two images represent a lot about me and of who I am, just as the words I used above. So, it is true that a picture can tell a thousand words. But it is also valid that such picture can tell even more from the person who takes it.